Thursday, December 26, 2019

It is almost time (Planner setup)

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Today, I want to talk about time.  I know, boring subject, but there is a purpose for this topic.  I am not going to talk about time too much on this post, except for when it comes to setting up your planner.

How much time do we really have?

Photo by P.Lynne Designs (c) 2019
We all know what time is and how valuable it is in a day.  I feel that if I have a lot of time on my hands, I am not being productive when I watch a video or playing a game on my tablet. I like to be productive, as I am sure many of you do.  I am not saying don’t play games or watch videos.  Find a set time in the day/night to do that sort of thing.  This is part of your scheduling.  I do not write it down in my planner, but I make a conscious effort to note that in my head. 
Experts say that went you go to bed each night, turn off the screens.  What does that mean?  It simply means turn off your computer, turn off your phones and tablets, and do not play the television all night.  If you cannot do that, at least put them in the next room.  If you put them in the next room, you now have to physically get up to answer any texts or comments on your posts on Facebook, for example.  I know if I have to do that, I do not want to get up, so, I save it for the next morning.

For instance, I turn off my phone.  Not because the experts say that I have to, but I have a phone that constantly needs charging.  It is a Samsung Note 4 and on its last lap around the mobile bin. I will get into my issues with my phone at a later time and hopefully, I can change my phone soon. Next, there is my desktop computer.  I keep it on all the time, except when Windows 10 updates without my knowledge, and it automatically turns off the computer.  I have the computer downstairs because where I really want my computer, which is in the next room, my nephew and his girlfriend are living there until they can find an apartment.  My laptop is powered down for the moment and in my backpack for when I want to work in my room or decide to go to a coffee shop or the library to work. Those are examples of turning off the screens.

I have a flaw that I am working on.

One problem that I still have is my Ipad.  I carry it to bed with me.  I look at my messages, play games, read articles, and watch YouTube videos.  This is a bad example of turning off the screens.  When I don’t do these things that I mentioned, I find myself walking over to my Ipad, unlocking it, and just let the light from the screen put me to sleep.  It is my 5 minute night light, which I am trying to correct right now.

My tips for scheduling:

In addition to powering down your screens, which is more of a “how to get a restful night of sleep” than “How to schedule” tip.  I have these other tips:

  1. Get a good planner. 
I have I ready mentioned in Part 1 of Planning for Beginners 2020 Edition, steps for buying that first planner if you do not already have one.  I have watched plenty of YouTube videos prior to writing that post, to make sure that I was pointing the reader in the right direction.  This is sort of part 2, and I apologize for not writing a proper post for this second part.  What I have learned from my experiences and watching those videos is get a planner that is right for you and how you plan. 
Photo by Pixabay
No two people can have the exact type of planning and planners.  I have mentioned that I have 4 different planners.  One is for my business, for my personal life, for my budget, and I am trying out bullet journaling, after a failed attempt of it for 2019.  The planners are all from Erin Condren, but I am open to trying new ones.  This is the brand I have chosen for me.  There is also the Happy Planner, Moleskine, The Simplified planner, Mead has a planner, Emily Ley, and Carpe Diem, to name a few thousand.  It seems that everyone has a planner to sell.

  1. Have a “Think Tank” session. 
Choose a day to think about what you want to do and accomplish for 2020.  You do not have to take the whole day, but take a good chuck out of your say to set up your system and your schedule.  Place standing dates and dates (such as doctor’s appointment) that were scheduled in 2019 and place them in your planner. 
So, decorate or not decorate it according to your tastes.  Make a schedule that you are comfortable with.  I have 4 planners, and I am fine with that concept.  I know others who have 8 or 5.  There are some people who stick with one paper planner and have a digital planner. Do what makes you happy. 
Take ideas from people and make them your own.  You do not have to make an exact copy of their setup.  Before you begin, ask yourself, how can I make this work for me?  Use a scratch piece of paper, and write out a budget on what you are willing to spend and what you can spend.  Next, draw or write out your sections, such as Home, Business, Budget, and personal.

  1. If you can, have a separate budget book. 
Yes, that is what the Erin Condren Monthly deluxe planner is for with me.  This is not a new concept.  I adopted this technique from Shay McMillian, AKA Shay Budgets.  What I like about this planner is that there are notebook pages inside of each monthly section, where you can write down your notes, your income, your expenses, your sinking funds (I am still learning about those), and your financial goals.  You do not have to go all out like me.  I am testing this system for the first time.  What was not working for me was using Excel for a budget, and placing it in my main planner.

  1. Business/Work Planner
Also if you can, have a separate business planner (or work planner if you still have a corporate job).  When I planned out My Ambiance Life and decided to talk about business ventures, I did not realize that I had a whole audience of readers who were both entrepreneurs and corporate workers, or corporate workers ONLY.  So this tip is for you too.  Many times, for example, we often find ourselves not only placing appointments in our personal planners dental appointments for our children, but that “all-inclusive” staff meeting from XYZ company, or meeting with a client, who wants to do 14 fittings of a wedding dress that she is not sure of in the first place into that planner.  Why not have a separate planner?  Even better if you can leave on at the office and carry the other one around. 
Photo by Pixabay
Not feeling the need to have to carry one around.  Does pocket-size mean anything or using your phone as a digital planner?  That is why I carry my Ipad.  I put all my dates in there

5. Putting it all together.

Find a way to coordinate your system.  Make a conscious effort to look at it every day.  Decorate if you want to.  I know of some people who go wild with the decorating and some who take on a minimalist approach to it.  I am in the middle.  If I feel like it, I will decorate it.  I do not make a habit of it.  I like stickers, which goes back to my days of making scrapbooks. 

I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject of setting up a planner.  Place them in the comments section.

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Friday, December 6, 2019

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Planning for beginners the 2020 edition Part 1

Today’s topic:  how to plan out 2020 without pulling your hair.

Well, I have news for you...

You cannot, but you can look like you are an expert, but first, let’s talk about planners.
Image by Jess Watters from Pixabay 
Please note:  there are so many planners out there and no one has the same style and technique in that is ideal for everyone.  So, guess what?  You must find it yourself.  I am not being mean about it.  It is like journaling, which is why I am including it with journaling.  Also please note:  I am not an expert in this.  The only way I can teach you is from my experience.   So, here is my experience with playing with planners.
I have had many different types of planners.  The one I started with is called DayTimers.  It is nothing fancy about this system at all.  I worked with this system from the smallest to what was called, the folio size.  I ordered it faithfully, and with its boring green and white style, you could order it in daily only and weekly only.  Both had the monthly layout with them, but you can also order just the monthly layout as well. 
What I liked about this system was I could archive it.  The layouts came in both spiral and binder style.  The last style I ordered was in 2006, and it came in a daily, spiral style, with a monthly layout feel to it.  All the style allowed you to plan things by the hour, which is a plus if you had clients to meet with, not so if you had an event that ran all day.
I stop ordering them and did not keep up at all.  I had no clients, just a job at Archiver’s, and my schedule was easy to keep up without a calendar, paper or digital.  That failed miserably.
Fast forward to 2014.  I was getting bored with entering my dates into my phone.  I was not looking at it half the time, as well as forgetting to enter the date in the first place.  I had all these papers that I carried around in my purse, which started looking like a briefcase.  I had to curb that ish quick.   I was looking at the Daytimer’s website (only because I received a catalog in snail mail, begging me to come home), and I learned that Franklin Covey (yes, THE Franklin Covey), had bought the Daytimer’s line.  I did not like Franklin Covey when I first started planning and my mind were not changing on how I was feeling about the brand, which to me was a little on the “Old man” side of planning.  So, I started researching.  I needed something that made planning fun, and NOT a chore.
Enter Erin Condren.  I looked at it and thought that for a cute planner, it was expensive. Well, so was Daytimers.  I had not learned about Happy Planner at that time and that was 2015 when the Erin Condren website had a sale because it was in the middle of the year.  So, I went for it, and at $35 (as a comparison to the normal $65) I decided to order it.  I was happy with my purchase, and it went nicely with some stickers that I also ordered it.  I have been with the Erin Condren Life Planner ever since 2015, and I love it.  Most of the time, I order when it is on sale, and as long as I am not too late in the year.  If I am, I order next year.  I also like to decorate the pages, more on that later. 
The first question is, are you a planner person?  If you are, great, you are ahead of the people who want to learn.  If not or you want to learn some tricks of the trade, sit back, grab a cup of your favorite beverage (mine is either coffee or water), and prepare to learn.
1.       Choosing your planner.
There are really two types of planners: paper and digital.  Digital planners are on your phone, your tablet, laptop, or your desktop.  They can also be on your TV since televisions are slowly becoming the family hub center.  You access your planner through an application or app.  
Paper planners, on the other hand, were once a dying thing.  There are many planners to choose from.  I have mentioned 4 already:  Franklin Covey and Daytimer’s are the oldest planners, and the Erin Condren life planner and Happy planner are some of the newest planners that came into existence in the past 10 years. 
There is no style that is wrong for it is a matter of preference.  The best way to choose is to think about what you want to do with the planner.  For instance, I have an Erin Condren as I said before.  The way I plan my planner could easily transfer to a Happy Planner, which I have plans to try for next year.  It is cheaper than ECLP, and I can go to any craft store for one.  This leads to to….
 2.      Price
When you first start using a planner, you do not want to go overboard with price.  One reason is if you get bored with the planner, you do not want to feel like you are stuck with it. You can get a fairly cheap planner monthly calendar at Walmart for $5.99 (not sponsored by the company)

3.      Are you a decorator or “Stick it in” person
Image by David Schwarzenberg from Pixabay
Here is the difference.  Are you are a decorator, then you will want to purchase stickers, use colorful pens and markers, and have all the accessories that your little planner can handle.  If this is you, again, do not go overboard, or your $20 worth of stickers, pens, and accessories can rack up to $500 in a heartbeat, and you will wonder what you got for that much.  Trust me, I have been in your shoes, and I still, am.   The best bet is to set a budget stick with 1-3 brands and go with it.  I am on Erin Condren’s, Oh So Paper’s, and Happy Planner’s list.  I have also tried Planner Society, but I did not like the idea of renewing the subscription plan every three months.  I also tried other subscription plans with the same result, and I told you about my beef with Daytimers.       

Now if you are more of a “stick a date in and forget it” type of person, you have no worries.  You might want to use a colorful pen or two, but no stickers and accessories are at a minimum if any.  That is ok too. this means that your planner orders are going to be a whole lot less than “the decorator’s”, and your budget will thank you too. I. just. have. not. gotten. that. point. Yet. This brings me to…

4.      Watch the budget.

My suggestion no matter what your basic kind of planning is to have a budget.  Once you pick your planning system and your “stuff”, make a plan on how you are going to plan, and so forth, please price them out on your budget sheet, and divide by 12, and put that amount in your budget.  For example, if you plan on spending $1000 for the year, divide that by 12, which equals out to $83.00 per month.  On some of the months, $83 would be going towards a planner and some months the accessories.

5.      Have fun.

I am going to say this but have fun planning.  If you are stress over things that leave you ready to smack someone, then you should not be planning at all.  I look at it this way, it is your way of decorating the books.  Anyone can have fun with the project; men, women, and children.  This project does not have any age boundaries.  I hear all kinds of stories about a person who gets organized and loves it. 

There are no set rules of time management, except the following according to Entrepreneur:
1.       Start your day off right.  Not only be positive but meditate, have a daily routine, do not rush to get things done
2.      Plan for what you want to accomplish.  Have a to-do list.  Make that list obtainable and reasonable.  Going out to get ice cream is not a goal, but saying spending time with Angela, who is your 10-year-old is a short-term goal.
3.      Have a set time and day to set up your week. I try to set up my week on a Saturday before.

Well, this is it for right now.  Take care.

Vlogmas day 4/5: Real Talk Vlogging and Monetization