I’ve been dying to get a custom planner. So many of the planners advertised as being custom online really just mean you can add your name to the cover page or choose your background image. That’s nice but it really wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted a custom layout with very specific areas of accountability and goal setting. There was nothing on the market that really covered what I wanted. I wasn’t shocked since what I wanted is pretty specific and kind of a random combination of things, so I decided to try to see if someone makes custom layouts.
I found an awesome girl named Leah on Etsy who sells printable planner pages. I emailed her and she said that she would custom design something for me. I wanted to incorporate everything from daily creative goals to scripture study goals. I wanted some color on it. She took that information and design something perfect with every single category I was looking for lit up in rainbow colors like I asked.
Side A and side B. I am absolutely in love with this layout and I have printed a ton of pages already. I started on this planner this weekend and it’s making me really productive. I have every category of creative goal listed, and all my basic housework for the day with space to write in additional tasks that should be done. I can keep track of my mood and monitor my mental health. I list what I’m grateful for and that’s a great way to start the day. I have a space for specific things that I need to do during the day and overall goals such as dieting goals or certain attitudes I want to have or something like that. I’ve got space to keep track of scripture study and prayer. I’ve got a section for self-care to remind myself to slow down at least enough to do a couple of basic things to maintain my mood. I have a homeschool section where I can both set daily goals for what I want to cover with Angelica and keep records to record what actually happened in homeschool that day. Sometimes we end up covering subjects that I didn’t plan for or not covering things that I did plan for. So it’s dual parts planner and record keeper.
I really think this planner will make me more productive. With every kind of goal laid out and everything listed that I should be doing I really have a lot of inspiration to get working. Realistically since there are only 24 hours in the day, and since I don’t feel very well for some of those hours a lot of the time, there will probably be many days where I don’t meet every category in my creative goals list and do homeschool and clean the whole house Etc. But having these things written down reminds me to do things and gives me clear-cut goals to achieve. It provides me with inspiration, and if I am having a fantastic day I might actually get a lot of it done. It keeps me accountable.
Sometimes I feel so dulled or tired or depressed that I stretch my mind to even think of things that I could do. I can’t think of things that I might enjoy doing and it’s hard to get up and do the things that I know I should. Having something in front of me that lists everything and with little spaces to be specific or to check off if I’ve done something might give me a push. Hopefully my faith section gives me the reminder I need to turn to God and get to know Him better even in times when I want to crawl into myself and slam the door shut.
This planner is absolutely perfect and now I need to start using it to make the most of my daily life. I’ve just begun my 30s and it’s time to be serious and productive. I want to do things that matter. I want to make a beautiful home for my husband, give my daughter a wonderful education, and spend my time doing things I love to do. No one knows how long they have.
I am a pretty prolific diarist. In addition to this blog, I use this colorful book right here to keep a daily log of my mood, what I am reading, my goals for the day, a prayer, and a list of what I am grateful for. I also sometimes write regular diary entries on top of my daily log. I keep a productivity journal that allows me to list my most important tasks of the day and of the week and log how much time they are taking me and what I am truly getting done. On top of that I use an app called Diaro to write brief descriptions of my day and what’s on my mind, and I attach photos. So basically I am always writing something.
I find the doing all this writing about my life and what I’m doing with it reminds me to actually try to do something with it and get stuff done. It’s also going to provide a record of family life for my daughter when she gets older. Maybe these things can be passed down for a while. And what I write on the phone app is backed up on Dropbox.
Journaling sometimes acts as a form of therapy for me. Writing can be very therapeutic. When my mood is fluctuating and I’m having a hard time, this blog and my journals give me a place to vent and sort out my thoughts. When things are going well I have a record of it to look back on when things are going poorly, or even just when I want a trip down memory lane. Writing about my creative endeavors and posting poetry and art allow me an outlet that I don’t have in my daily life for sharing creativity.
I have been an active diarist for most of my life. My uncle gave me a beautiful leather journal when I was in Middle School. It wasn’t my first Journal technically, but it was the first one that I wrote in seriously. After that I filled journals for years until something rather traumatic happened and then I didn’t write one for a long time. But since then I’ve come back full force and blogging is what I have to thank for that. That, and my love of stationery.
Every 5 minutes my phone pops up with some notification from a social media app. Sometimes it is Facebook telling me I have a like or a reply to one of my comments. Many times it is Instagram telling me I have a like or that people I follow have new stories. Or it is WordPress even, alerting me each time someone likes a post or follows me.
I have installed App Blocker on my phone. I just want to experiment with what it would be like and how my productivity would be affected if I blocked social media for a certain number of hours a day. I’ve decided to start by blocking Facebook, Instagram, and WordPress from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I will still be able to blog on WordPress during the day by using a web browser to type my entries. I just won’t be getting notifications. Of course at the end of the day, when the app allows notifications to pop up, I’ll go through all my notifications and see what everybody is up to on their blogs and mine. But during the day I want quiet to create and clean.
It isn’t that I don’t care about this stuff, because I definitely do. With Facebook I like to keep up with people, and having moved across the country it’s a good tool to use to see what everyone’s doing. On Instagram I follow all sorts of artists, writers, and inspirational people and friends, and even people I’ve never met in person but I follow them and they follow me because we are interested in each other’s lives. I enjoy looking at people’s diaries. I have an art Instagram, a bookstagram account, and my regular one that’s a diary of my daily life. So obviously I like Instagram. I just feel that it gets distracting to always have these notifications and something to check on my phone from these apps. On WordPress I like to see my followers or likes so that I can check out everyone’s blogs. And I like to see who is enjoying my posts. But I will save that for mornings and evenings.
I just need to spend more undistracted time with my family. I want to spend more time reading, writing, and creating without dividing my attention. Maybe I’ll come out of this realizing that social media and all the likes or comments or stories don’t really distract me that much, or that I miss them. But maybe I will find that I have a cleaner and more organized mind and a better sense of focus. We’ll see.
I love to use apps on my phone in addition to blogging to keep me organized and on task. I am constantly looking for new apps, but here are a couple that I have already.
ColorNote. It lets you write notes and make calendar plans in the six colors of the rainbow. The memo function and the calendar are separate, and you can set alarms to remind you of the events you put in the calendar. It is a colorful, fun way to track appointments and keep lists.
Mastery. Mastery is an app I’m just starting to get into. The premise is the theory that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. So in Mastery you choose a few skills (they can be anything) that you’d like to track your time devoted to, and use the app for that. You set the timer to track your hours, and you also set rewards for yourself in the “store.” You could use the time you log practicing a skill to buy yourself an episode of your favorite tv show, or promise to get yourself a new purse, or give yourself a piece of chocolate. You determine the rewards and how many “coins” (earned through time practicing your skills) the rewards will cost.
Goal Tracker. A simple app, this lets you set goals, indicate how frequently you would like to accomplish said goals, and then set an alarm to remind you. You can set goal alarms for daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. It is perfect for cleaning up around the house because you can schedule your chores. It isn’t good for long range accomplishment like Mastery seems to be, things like “become a better poet,” but it is great for things like “clean the baseboards.”
As I find more productivity apps that I like I will post them. I’ve used various ones and deleted them, but I might bring some back.
For now, here’s a to do list to keep me on task and focused this afternoon. This morning I took Angelica to a playground, went to Target, and went to the pharmacy. Now I need to do some other things.
-take a shower
-add goals to my apps
-clean some baseboards. I really do need to do the baseboards.