When in doubt, be a unicorn – Happy Monday!

Stationery Mondays

The other day I went to Black Ink, which is a store that sells Japanese goods, including stationery. They have a great variety of all-paper things, and I could easily spend HOURS there! I have written about this store before and you can read about it here

The shop has a great variety of erasers. I was looking into the bowl full of cute erasers and i found this one. I love it and for some reason, this little guy makes me smile so he lives on my desk. I hope it’ll make you smile too! Have a great Monday and a great week. Leave me your comments below and let me know if you like cute erasers.

Thanks for reading this short post,

Em J

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Planner stories from around the world

On the second installment of Planner stories from around the world, a new section that I started blogging about a couple of weeks ago, today I am featuring  My Summer Touch. Initially, I called this section “Dream chasers” but I am still undecided about the name so, for now, let’s call these stories “Planner stories from around the world”. As a reminder, this is a section where I will be featuring stories from people within the planner community, who are writing their own stories. People who have the courage to be creative, act on their own dreams, be happy and write new beginnings with YouTube channels, online stores, blogs, planner systems and so on.

Enjoy Clara’s story and please, share it widely. Thank you for reading and if you have suggestions about someone I should reach out to, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments section. Enjoy!

Planner stories MySummerTouch

1. What is your name, where are you from and where do you live?
My name is Clara,  people know me as MySummerTouch on YouTube,  Instagram,  blogger, Twitter,  Tumblr,  periscope.  I realize that it’s  a lot.  And I am Marusya Ivanova on Facebook! Ha ha!  A whole another story about this name! I’m from Russia,  lived for several years in the US  and then I came back to a different part of Russia where I am right now.

2. What notebooks do you currently use, what for and why these particular notebooks?
I have quite a  long history of using different planners and journals. Originally I “came out” on YouTube as a planner lover,  showed a lot of Filofaxes,  and then my love explored in using Franklin Covey,  Midori Traveler’s notebooks,  Hobonichi,  Lovedoki.  Fairly recently I started to show my journals,  and this love turned out into the love of art journaling, which I am yet to show.

3. Why do you journal or plan?
I just recently realized that I have always loved planners and journals, loved to collect books on time management,  artist journals,  traveler’s notebooks,  sketchbooks,  and have always watched those on the Internet,  on YouTube particularly. I love to be organized,  love to organize,  and love to write things down.  Even poured out myself on paper,  and I love beautiful things,  so it all came into what I’m doing today.  I’m on Instagram every day,  and I try to post out videos on my YouTube channel MySummerTouch every week on weekends.

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4. Why did you decide to open your youtube channel?
After some time after getting back from the US, I realized that I forgot my English,  and started to listen and read books in English.  It wasn’t enough,  I wanted a real chat with people from all over the world.  I always loved YouTube,  and the main thing that I was watching on it were planner videos,  so it was a no-brainer to start a YouTube channel about planners and productivity in English.

5. What drives you to continue working on your channel?
I have the need to share my joy and my happiness with other people,  and I enjoy the interaction with people literally from all parts of the world.  It makes me happy.

6.What is your dream and what would you say to people who are working to achieve their own dreams?
I’d say,  there is no failing,  just not enough attempts.  If you won’t stop achieving your dreams,  you will get what you want! Don’t ever stop,  it’s worth it to continue to pursue your dream! My only dream right now is to be happy, I’m getting there,  I’m much happier now than before!

7. What are your favorite stationery shops?
I like to visit one of the big towns that are closest to where I live, there they have a huge bookstore that sells stationery and art supplies,  and I spend there half a day just choosing things I love to try out.

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8. Who are your favorite journalers, entrepreneurs or people that you look up to?
My absolute favorite instagrammer is @janethecrazy, I enjoy beautiful Midori Traveler’s Notebooks that she writes in,  her style is absolutely perfect,  I would say,  it’s  creative mess.  And I consider my art journaling teachers Mary Ann Moss and Teesha Moore,  love their color sense and artistic expression!

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9. How did you learn to journal the way you do, and what keeps you inspired?
I started to journal because I needed to clear out the mess in my head.  It’s almost necessary,  I’d even say it’s necessary to keep me thinking clear. Then I was bored with just plain pages,  then I bought my Midori Traveler’s notebooks in China,  and started to decorate my journals with magazine clippings and writing over them.  Now I am fully into painting and sketching.  There is nothing more inspiring than an artistic journal to me.  Just yesterday I received two  private messages on Instagram,  one said that my all my work is just amazing,  another one said that my journals inspired the person to make her own artistic journals.  I was surprised and pleased.  I’m glad I get to inspire people!

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10. Tell us about 2017, what are the next steps and how do your journals help you get there?
I hope to turn my journals into something more beautiful and pleasing to my own eyes.  I am my own harsh critic,  I try not to destroy pages when I don’t like them.  My next steps will be improving my calligraphy and to combine my art journaling and journaling together in one place,  even to combine it all with a planner,  all into one place,  so it will be one journal for everything – journal,  art journal,  sketchbook,  commonplace book.  I also want to learn to paint as a professional that will be a lot of work,  but I’m willing to go there.  Just recently I have drawn a model’s face in my Hobonichi,  and I was so immersed in it,  that I almost physically felt happy.  I completely forgot about time,  and I had something to show as a result! I want to draw more faces and people in general.  It makes me relaxed  and feels like meditation. I encourage you to try it too!

Thank you! 

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You can find Clara at:
Blogspot: mysummertouch1.blogspot.com
Instagram: @mysummertouch
Tumblr: Mysummertouch
YouTube: youtube.com/MySummerTouch

Thanks so much Clara for sharing your story with us and for inspiring us to do what makes us happy!

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Saturday planning inspiration

Happy Saturday to you! Thank you for stopping by and having a quick read to today’s blog post. I decided to plan my day today with my Filofax Original in Navy. This is one of the first Filofaxes that I bought. I remember I kept going to my local stationery store in Boston and kept looking at how beautiful it is until I bought it!

This is a classic Filofax, and the navy color just adds character to it. I love carrying it around.

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Together with my Hobonichi in A6, these two have helped me carry on today, a busy Saturday, as always. If you ordered a Hobonichi for this year and your book is sitting on your desk waiting for 2017, I am sure you are still as impatient as I am to start using your new book. Mine looks like this and is my work planner/journal. Completely functional!

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This is a brief post today, thank you for reading and stay tuned for an amazing post that I will be uploading tomorrow, where I will be featuring Kayla Ocampo from Rainbowholic. Stay tuned!

Happy Saturday!

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Having multiple planners – Effective or confusing?

If you read my blog – thanks so much if you do – you will notice that I haven’t posted much lately, and the reason is simple. I am reaching the point where I am reassessing my planning system and how I want to go forward from here on.

I use multiple planners like many of you, for so long I thought that this system was working for me, using a planner for my home management, another for work, another for journaling and also another planner for my personal stuff. It did work, for many months it worked. Now, half way through 2016 I am finding myself feeling overwhelmed with so many planners and I am starting to question whether having just one or two planners should actually be enough.

If I had to choose only a planner or two I think I would use my hobonichi, and my A5 Filofax ring planner, or maybe my day designer. fI do see no that having multiple planners can be ineffective because I forget things or I can’t remember in which planner I wrote them down! That defeats the purpose of having a planner.

For now, I am still pondering my options and what is it that I will be doing, but for now I am leaning towards considering having a planner or two. Anyway, stay tuned fore more news on how the second half of the year goes by with the dilemmas of planner systems.

How’s your half of the year going so far and how’s your planning system working for you?

Do let me know, I’d love to know!

Thank you for reading!

Em J

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Make your own Traveler’s Notebooks, three ideas

I am not exactly the most crafty person, I do make some inserts myself and I try to come up with ideas but I am not very handy or crafty when it comes to  making big projects. I admire people who do and I so wished I was the creative kind. This is also why sometimes I also force myself to make things because I believe that it will stimulate my creativity, the one that once upon a time was very active.

This said before I bought the traveler’s notebook that I have right now by Webster’s Pages I thought of making my own cover. I gave up! I still watched many videos about how to make my own and about how to make a cover without all the craftiness. While searching I actually found a few ideas that I am sure will help you create your own fauxdori if you are interested. Even if you don’t want to spend money on a cover – which I understand – I encourage you to watch these videos and try to make your own. These ideas go from very simple, for example, I love the idea by Journalingmylife in Youtube where she made a fauxdori out of a Filofax flex! Her set up is brilliant and I enjoy her videos a lot. Also, she is based in India and I just think it is great to have a fellow stationery lover from across the oceans! Check out her videos and enjoy them, she has some amazing ideas for different set ups!  You will fine her under her handle journalingmylife  and her video is here .

Last year, I remember what came super popular was buying a passport cover by Kate spade and turning it into a fauxdori which I thought was brilliant too. Ms. Wendaful has a great video where she shows her “Katedori” and I find it so fun to watch. You will find the video here  and of course, don’t forget to check out her blog where you will find some beautiful inserts and more ideas.

Last, we have the highest level of being crafty which to me is this video made by  Craft Made Simple where she teaches us how to make a fauxdori cover with fabric which I love love love. You will find the video here . This fauxdori cover that she shows is so pretty and I love it! If you have the tools and the energy to create one fauxdori from scratch, check out her video! It’s so neat!

And these are all the ideas I have for a traveler’s notebook without being super crafty – like myself – so check them out and let me know what you think!

I am really loving this traveler’s notebook fever and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I am!

Thank you for reading! Happy end of the week.

Em J

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Filofax series, part IV: The “Lists” Section

Welcome back to the last installment of my Filofax series  today we will be talking about the lists section. In theory, this section should be straightforward and easy to understand but there are also sometimes occasions where we are not exactly sure what to include in a list.

The reason why I think it is important to have this section in a planner is because lists help have a better idea of what the components to a project, a thought or a plan are. The possibilities are endless! Lists help us empty our minds and create categories or group items into different categories of things. For example, you can make shopping lists and know that you have that list available when needed. You can also make lists that help you know what you need to do to accomplish a goal or a project. For example, you can make a list of items you need to set up your home office. A list like this will support you in numbering the pieces of furniture that you need, or the items that you need to buy or how much money you will need to budget for this project.

You can also make lists of books that you want to read, and the list will help you keep them in mind when you need to borrow them from the library, look for them or buy them.

It is very simple and you really don’t need to have a special insert for this section. For example, what I do is to add pieces of paper from different note pads that I have around my office, I perforate them and add them to my planner. My lists section is a collection of paper in different sizes, colors, types and even shapes. I love it! It is fun and it also keeps your mind busy in creating an entire section that can be customized to your needs. You can also make lists just for fun!

Last year I participated in the “lister’s gotta list” challenged launched by The restet girl and it was fun. If you are someone who loves listing items and group them in categories for your projects or plans, then a “Lists section” is definitely the way to go.

How do you use this section and how does it help you? I´d love to know so please leave your comments under the “comments” section here in the blog.

Thank you for reading and until next time for another Filofax series.

Em Jorden

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Be happier: This is how your Filofax can help!

hap·pi·ness
ˈhapēnəs/
noun
  1. the state of being happy, it also means pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, cheerfulness, merriment, gaiety, joy,joyfulness, joviality, jollity, glee, delight, good spirits, lightheartedness,well-being, enjoyment – basically, anything that makes you smile, according to the google definition.

In the Buddhist tradition happiness is the ultima goal, and it is also the ONLY thing that all of us, human and non-human seek for. Happiness is everything we all want, and why wouldn’t we? But happiness doesn’t come just like that, or does it? Many of us can attain contentment through simple things like shopping, food, watching a movie, doing something fun but this will only be temporary happiness, right? Ultimate happiness is ever lasting, or at least something that lasts a little more than a few minutes or days. Most of us at some point, stop wishing to last long and conform with only enjoying it for however long it is.

If you are like me, who has a full-time job and also has to comply with many obligations at home, as well as on the side things, there is a point where you feel out of balance. Like life is sucking you in and you don’t even know what is happening. This is where a planner comes into place. That little thing made out of paper and bound together so that we can get a hold of our days and nights. A planner is important not just because it gives you an excuse to sit down for a few minutes and reflect on your day, but because it also helps you organize yourself, manage your time, know where your time is going and have a sense of what you are doing with your life.

Don’t under-estimate the power of a planner, be it Filofax, Inkwell,Erin Condren, Hobonichi or a Midori  all of them, are great tools to help you manage your time so that you will have enough time to do the things you enjoy. The way to start using your planner as a tool to enhance your life – instead of overwhelming you – is by writing down your appointments and having an idea of what are the things that you can’t move because they depend also on others, then write down the special events that you have, go ahead and write down the things you have to do like going to work or meetings that you have and then scheduling the emergent tasks wherever you have a window of time and then check for the number of hours that a project or a task that you are working on will take, that will probably leave you with the number of hours available for you to do the things you enjoy and if not, you will also have a sense of the time that you DON’T have to do things that you enjoy and you can change that by moving things around so that you have time for those things.

The idea of using a planner is to write down things, and to give you a visual idea of how you spend your day, how much time certain tasks will take you and what you can do to make time to go to the gym, cook nice food, spend time with your family or simply spend an hour or so doing something that you truly want to do. This is also a great way to see what your habits are and how you end up spending your evenings or mornings and how you can change that to re-program your life so you acquire healthier habits like going to the gym, cooking at home or meditating.

There are all kinds of inserts on Etsy, Pinterest and various sites like Philofaxy  or other fellow bloggers where you can find pages that will help you take life over control, at least partly and the things that can be controlled. Also, there is a great tool that I love which is called Chronodex that was created by Patrick Ng where you can actually color different areas of the Chronodex shape to administer your time visually and get a better idea of what you do with your days. This tool is so easy to use and will help you change your habits as well or know what changes in your life you need o make to have a more fulfilling and happier life.

Ultimately, we all come here to be happy and if we let life to suck us in, we will never get to that point where our lives will be more balanced and our minds and hearts filled with joy rather than stress.

Use your planner to change your habits and the way you spend your time, you will notice that it is very easy to make adjustments and achieve your goals easier. Be happy and try! It will be easy to get things done.

Let me know if it works and what you think about these ideas.

Thank you for reading and until next time,

Em Jorden

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Day planner Filofax review

Last year I bought the day planner Filofax inserts and I have not used them until now. These inserts are ideal for someone who is on the go often and who wants to have a clear layout of their day. The inserts are undated which is great because you can use them any time any year and month. It is divided into a section where you can add the times for your appointments, to dos organized by priority and reminders.

On the back of the day view you have a one page section for notes which is find very useful because for me, usually it is hard to write everything I have to do on small sections that come in the week on two pages for example. These inserts are ideal to be used for one day use or you can simply start using it on a particular day and continue using them on several days or use one page for a whole week if needed and if you have enough space.

Here is a picture of how these look like, I decided to share with you an example of how I use it for some writings that I am doing. These are by Filofax by I know that other bloggers also have their own versions of these or something similar. I bought these because I am too lazy to print my own but there are plenty of examples like these on pinterest for example.

They are great and very useful when you want to have your tasks, appointments and reminders organizer on one single page together with notes and priorities.

Have you use these inserts before and what do you think about them?

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Turn off distractions – Stay focused with your planner

Has it ever happened to you that you find the time on a Sunday night or Monday morning to set up your planner and write down all the things you need to do for the week? Then the week comes and you find yourself migrating or transferring some tasks on Monday to Tuesday and then from Tuesday to Wednesday and so on until the week ends. Sometimes, we actually manage to accomplish our daily goals and manage to complete at least our top priorities, but often we also don’t get there or are even close.

New year is one of my faaaaaaavorite, most fun celebrations, I have always liked it because that is an opportunity for everyone to come together and celebrate or at least try. It gives us a chance to re-set our lives in a big way, make up for mistakes and try to get back to track or initiate new things, plan new things, start anew, change our lives. We are inspired by endless possibilities of change. Aren’t we?

It now it is already April and with the beginning of Spring comes, we all begin to wonder “what am I doing?, this is not what I had planned on January 1st!”. The initial motivation that had us with a huge sense of hope on January starts to fade. In addition to our motivation wearing off we also have all these pictures and Facebook or instagram or pinterest or email notifications remind us of what we want and don’t have. These are also called: DISTRACTIONS. The good new is that we can always re-set our lives – I believe so – and go back to basics, where we can focus on our goals, on our plans and on the things that make us happy. After all, what did we come to this life for but to be happy?

Happiness starts with connecting with yourself, with being in touch with your fears and your dream, the ups and downs. Happiness also, doesn’t just “come”, we ought to work for it, we ought to get up early, to go bed early, work out, be mindful, eat healthy, nourish ourselves, spend time with family: DO WHAT MAKES US HAPPY.

It is not a cliché, this really is how we can become happy. Also, planning and sticking to your tracking chart, changing the way you plan (maybe), changing your habits, staying on track with your goals, and most important setting up actionable – little steps – that you can take to achieve your goals, to be happy.

Because I know the struggle I came up with a few things that I think can help you and me to stay on track with those goals that we set on the even of December 31st of the previous year. I hope they will help you and that you can actually bring yourself to be more aware, more conscious and more focused and intentional about your plans. Because remember, your day to day appointments and to dos have  A LOT to do with your final goal. The one you will revisit every month or every week, and then every end of each year.

  1. Turn off your mobile devices: I do remember those days when mobile phones were not as prevalent in our lives and at times it feels like there’s no escape but there IS. Simply turn off your notifications and be mindful about your time. Set yourself a goal of working for periods of time without checking your phone.
  2. Work more effectively, not harder: Set yourself a goal of working for 50 minutes on something and take 10 minutes break. Stay focused during those 50 minutes and set a goal of staying at work for those 50 minutes before you can take a break. This is a great way to work and finish something if you need to.
  3. Be aware of your habits and thoughts: Really there is no magic formula to staying motivated and the only way to do things is to actually do them. On your planner write down the things that you tend to do that are distractions such as watching tv when you should be starting a new project, not sticking to your plans, feeling down when you don’t know how to start or even giving up when you feel a task is too large or too complex to even bother. Be mindful about your mental patterns and change them. Mindfulness and awareness can make you adjust your actions to developing good habits and finishing things so that eventually you can reach your goals.
  4. Use your planner as a tool to help you plan your time: Time is precious so waste it wisely! A planner is a great tool to help you know how much time you have, what appointments you have and when and how you can work on something. It will help you know how your days look like and what you need to adjust to get things done.
  5. Write it down! It is proven that when we write things down it is easier to stay focused on the things that need to get done. When you write things down, you empty your head to make more space for the things that are important. Also, by visually seeing a list of tasks or events, you will know how much time you really don’t have or do have to do something or waste it on a distraction. Use your planner to create a section for notes, reminders or a brain dump and use it to guide you through your planning process.

Distractions are everywhere and it is up to us to stay on track by revisiting our goals, our thoughts and our intentions. Stay on track by continuously being aware of your thoughts and change them by positive ones. It really becomes easier when you do it often.

I hope this was useful and that you will let me know what your thoughts are on these suggestions. Thank you for reading!

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It’s Spring! – Top activities to do this month to renew your resolutions

I had a buddhist teacher who taught us the most important principle in Buddhism which is “The mind reigns”. This means that it doesn’t matter how much you workout, how much you try to modify your life or your habits if you don’t adjust and change your mind. Buddha says “What you think you become” and I do believe it is true. Our thoughts lead our lives and the world eventually ends up looking the way our minds are. If you have a cluttered mind you will find that you forget things, you are distracted and you can’t just “get it together”.

With this principle in mind, I have been reading different posts that talk about renewal. Maybe also because the Spring has started we begin to change our lives to adjust to a new season. We start going out more, especially if you live in a cold place like Boston, we start working out more (maybe?), we start seeing friends more or attending more social events? Our children – if you have them – start spending more time outside and also, you realize that your house needs a make over. Maybe that is why they call it “spring cleaning”. But we usually never take care of our minds and we forget about taking care of ourselves. Especially when you are a mom like myself.

We have our days overbooked or over scheduled, we spend too much time on the internet or on the phone, we watch too much TV or You tube in my case, and we are too tired sometimes to do the things that make us happy, REALLY happy. My teacher also used to say that authentic happiness is long lasting, temporary happiness is just a brief moments in our lives when we think we have achieved nirvana but really, once that moment is past we go back to our old grumpy selves. By changing our minds we make sure that happiness becomes long lasting, that we are in peace and that we have the capacity to monitor our thoughts and adjust them so that they don’t drive us crazy or make our days go wrong.

With Spring comes new hopes of improving our lives. This is the opportunity to revamp our days and find moments when we begin to create new habits, positive routines and monitor our thoughts so that our minds stop being so noisy. Planners are a great tool to help us do all of these. By creating a system that will help you schedule your days and create better routines, you will realize that you have more time to take care of yourself – body and mind.

I created a list of a few things that I believe can help us in April to begin to create new habits, take care of ourselves, slow down a little bit and recover our energy. We are just into the fourth month of the year and we have a long way to go, so this is a GREAT moment to stop for a minute and reflect on how to change our minds, take care of our bodies and make our lives happier, where happiness will last longer a longer and not only a brief minute.

You can print this list and insert it in your planner, I hope it will help you regain some energy and find new ways to take care of yourself, especially if you are a mom. Moms should always take into account some of these things because remember, if we are happy moms we can raise happy children a lot easier.

Let me know what you think of the list. I believe these things should be easy to do but if you have suggestions, please send them my way. Note that the list is available for you to download as a PDF that you can then shrink to add it to your planner.

Happy April and happy planning for this month!

Em J

To do in April – Renew yourself: A list for self care for all planner ladies and gents out there, including moms!

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