Friends! How is January going for you thus far? I have to admit, I am doing a fair amount of oscillating between being super organized and productive to being super tired and blah. The up-and-down emotions might be due to Whole30, so we will see how things shake out over the next few weeks. But I did want to share a few planning tools that have really helped me shape some new discipline in my life. Sometimes you need to be outfitted to accomplish more, right?
My Day Planner.
I am a bit planner obsessed, and every January I am on the hunt for the PERFECT planner. Which seems to be a bit like a unicorn - something all the chic, superpower wonder women have but something I can't seem to get my hands on. I can never find the perfect planner with just the right amount of white space and just the right size. It might sound crazy to some of you, but I just have this need to write out my daily plan. I tried using my iPhone two years ago and it was TERRIBLE. So many missed appointments and I never felt like I knew what was going on. So when I heard the raving reviews about The Simplified Planner on In Honor of Design I had to know more. I compared it to a lot of similar planners on the market, and went for the splurge. It feels a little crazy to drop this much dough on a planner, but I had some birthday cash, so I went for it. You guys, I bought this gem in October (remember when I was feeling all kinds of inspired and disciplined?) This planner has been sitting on my shelf, staring down at me for 3 months, just waiting for its moment to be used. And I am LOVING it so far. It's truly my favorite day planning book. And if that makes me seem like an old lady... well, that's probably about right.
You Need A Budget.
I've talked about this before, but this app has truly become a game changer for us. When it comes to our personal finances, Stevie and I want to grow in our diligence, discipline, and ultimately, our generosity. This app, You Need A Budget (also called YNAB) is the way we sync all our income and spending, so we can see every transaction. I know that a lot of tools do this (such as Mint, which we previously used), but YNAB requires you to punch in every transaction you make. This seemed daunting to me at first, but I've actually grown to love it. Mint was too user-intuitive for me, because I never even had to lift a finger and everything was automated. Which means I just never paid attention and never really knew where we were at with our spending. With YNAB, I am required to go in the app several times a day and punch in my receipt to see where I'm at with all my budgeted categories. I really can't say enough rave things about this app - I just love it! And if you check out the site, it gives you tutorials and and a free 34-day trial!
Excel & Google Docs.
I would be lost without my lists. I use excel workbooks to keep all my writing work organized, both for the blog and freelancing - pieces I'm working on, pieces I've completed, jobs I've been paid for (and haven't been paid for yet!), pitches I've written, editors I've reached out to, brands who have reached out to me - everything! Because it's way too hard to remember all of that and try to sift through email months later. Keeping copious lists is the way that I stay on top of things and make sure I don't miss a deadline or forget to reach back out to someone. I use Google Docs and Google Sheets the same way, and I love sharing these docs with others if I have a project going. Stevie & I even keep a doc of all the home sprucing we want to do - decor ideas, furniture we want to invest in, work that needs to be done on the house. It feels good to mark a big "X" next to those items as we complete them. I even share a Christmas List Google Doc every year with my family, where we can all write what we want Santa to bring us (and then we can all purchase accordingly!) Seriously. Docs are the best. I'm sure tons of you guys use them, too, so it's not a totally bright idea - except that it is.
There are so many awesome blog posts around the web right now about how to get organized in the new year. I love January because it's the opportunity to assess everything and strategize on how to do things better. How to streamline and be more efficient and all that good stuff. I am feeling a spazzy amount of inspiration for 2016 (seriously, Stevie is confused by my vigor) and I wanted to share a few posts that have me feeling really motivated. People are so creative, you guys. I love gleaning from others' research.
Emily's Ley Preparing for a Big Year
The Private Life of A Girl 11 Productive Things You Can Do During the Holidays
Camille Styles 16 Quotes to Help You Conquer 2016
DesignSponge Work-Life Balance as a Creative Entrepreneur
I hope some of these tools and sources help you get inspired for YOUR year! Happy planning to you! xox