Unboxing: Erin Condren Wedding Planner

Is it bad that I knew what wedding planner I wanted months (and months and months) before my darling fianc√© popped the question? If so, whatever, I don’t care, because I have had my heart set on the Erin Condren Wedding Planner, and I’m so thrilled I have one in my hands!

Thankfully having overly high expectations did not ruin the eventual arrival of the planner; it is absolutely wonderful and makes the (surprisingly stressful) planning process a lot more fun. I also think it’ll make a really cute keepsake at the end of all of this.

In classic Erin Condren style, the planner came in an absolutely gorgeous box. Annoyingly it arrived on a day I wasn’t at home, so I had to wait an agonizing 24 hours (yep, drama queen) until it was re-routed to work.

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Everything about this is just too much. I love the thought and care that goes into some decent wrapping, especially when you’ve forked out the big bucks for a luxury product.

As with all Erin Condren planners, you can customize the cover. I had picked out the fireworks style for a while – I wanted something sparkly and fun, but not too girly (so no flowers). Of course you can purchase any other cover any time, but I’m happy to stick with this one, especially since we’re planning for our wedding to take place on 30 December, right around New Years ūüôā


The inserts are great – the cover page made me extremely excited. There is a tab for each month of the year (which, luckily for me, was calendar year – but you can pick the starting month and whether you need 12 or 24 months).

And then for the serious stuff – places for lists!! The tips and suggested schedules are really helpful, since there are more moving parts than you’d even think with a wedding, and it was a great trigger to remember to do certain things, or at least write down they’re needed for later.

 And it wouldn’t be an Erin Condren without a tonne of stickers to come with it! There was a promotion on where you got three sets of stickers with your planner, plus it came with customised wedding related stickers at the back.


So planning my wedding has been so much more sticker-filled fun than I even thought! While this planner does set you back a pretty penny, I do think it will make a really fun memento of the process. I’ve filled pages with collages of images I liked from bridal magazines (like a real-life Pinterest!) and collected together the various paper paraphernalia from bridal expos so that it’s all in the one place. I brainstormed venues and thank you cards, and tracked our engagement gifts. And I even filled out the budget section, and started tracking the money out (although I’ll be setting up a proper and comprehensive spreadsheet to that effect – numbers move and change, and you need all the help you can get to avoid a wedding blow out).

This wedding planner has been a source of so much fun to me – and I’m so happy I went for it! I’m excited to keep filling it up with ideas and inspiration ūüôā

 

Emily Ley Dapperdesk Planner Unboxing

From the second I saw the Emily Ley line of planners, mainly The Simplified Planner, on Instagram, I fell in love. The clean, crisp lay out, with tidy, well-organised font and luxe paper just spoke to me. The daily spread of half time/appointment-related information, and half to do list, with plenty of space, it’s perfectly with how I like to and choose to plan, and would alleviate the need for the more pain-staking approach of bullet journalling. The Simplified Planners were gorgeous, but I tend to prefer non-spiralbound style planners. So I sighed in relief that I was saving myself from another planner splurge, until I discovered the Dapperdesk range. 

Styled as more of a planner for him, the Dapperdesk planner is a leather-covered perfect bound planner, with all the same interiors as The Simplified Planner. I agonised for ages, but couldn’t justify the high price of shipping from US to Australia – so I was totally thrilled when my future in-laws generously splurged on the 2017 Dapperdesk planner for a very unique and special Christmas present.

Every little detail is so perfect that I had to share. The planner arrived in a gorgeous minimalist-style box. Be still my heart…


The soft brown leather with gold monogramming makes this one very classy planner. While the cute covers of The Simplified Planner are really fun, this style fits more with me generally, and will look really classy at work. 


The paper is an absolutely beautiful weight and quality, and I could take photos fast enough to get to the good part of writing. 

The inside covers are a lovely soft grey pattern.


And you can see the daily layout style in the picture below.


So clear and easy to populate! I find this layout really intuitive and gives a lot of options for the planner to function as a brain dump as well as something to actually help and assist. 

There are several lined pages at the back for notes. Despite keeping these to a minimum and reducing a lot of bulk with unnecessary introductory pages (again, so good), the planner is still chunky:


However the paper is absolutely stunning, and it felt really special to write on each page. 


What really works for me with the Emily Ley style planners is how you don’t feel a need to spend time decorating each page. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good stickering session as much as the next person, but I can find it impractical for my work and sometimes a beautiful layout does not necessarily go hand in hand with functionality.

So, that was a lot of pros! Beautiful quality, beautiful paper, beautiful presentation and beautiful layout.

The cons? This planner will set you back a cool $75USD + shipping (ouch). It is also quite large and bulky, so you either need to have a decent sized handbag, or know where this planner will be living permanently. I know some people find the hour-layout a bit restrictive and in that respect, it may not work for everyone in terms of customisation. 

But for me, this planner is about as close as it gets to perfect. I can already see myself coming back to this style year after year. 

I’d love your thoughts on the Emily Ley, and Dapperdesk in particular, planners.

Happy planning!

Bullet Journal Update

I delved back in to the Bullet Journal system of planning at the start of June, and I’m thrilled to report that I’m still completely obsessed. I really think I’ve found the ultimate solution to my split personality desire to maintain a uniform system, and having a short attention span and wanting to try something new. My Leuchtterm Bullet Journal 100% achieves both of these desires – I have the uniform Leuchtterm notebook that fits within my ever-growing collection (currently two filled, and three in progress – more on that later), in multiple colours for trying something new, in multiple page formats – lined, dot grid and blank, for trying something new, and each page being a delightful combination of lists, dreams, journalling, drawings, colour, monochrome, daily layouts, weekly layouts, weight trackers, monthly overviews – suiting every random whim that comes into mind.

I spend a¬†lot of time trawling Pinterest for¬†inspiration on all different facets of the bullet journal – colour, layouts, collections to include, trackers to incorporate and pens to try. I feel like this system truly is every evolving and ever changing, and I’m excited that it can be constantly modified to suit my needs.

The key constant in all of this is the Leuchtterm notebook. I really think this is the premium of all notebooks in terms of paper quality. While what I want to scrawl on every page changes from day to day (or minute to minute), the desire to open up this notebook for all my scrawling purposes never goes away.

 

I thought it would be useful to look at some of the layouts and lists I’ve incorporated into my bullet journal in my first two months of use, and let you know what I found worked and didn’t work.

Monthly Layout

I trialled this for June and July. While I loved the concept, and it was kind of fun to draw up at the start of the month in anticipation of all the great things I had ahead, I found I never really referred to it. For these kinds of events and appointments, I prefer to rely on my digital calendar (which is a whole different post!). I’m abandoning it for August, but I think it is a page that will come in and out of my bullet journal, depending on the nature of the month ahead. I’ve also seen some pretty fun monthly layouts I’d love to trial, even just to fill out at the end of the month as a reflection exercise of all the great things that have happened…I’ll keep you posted.

Habit Trackers

I¬†love having a habit tracker in my bullet journal, and I find this page to be an absolute must for me. Although you can see from the pictures I only stuck it out in June (and ‘stuck it out’ is strong, considering most habits barely registered in June!), I was on holiday for the bulk of July and lived the blissful life. I’ve incorporated the habit tracker for August, and am already finding it to be a great source of inspiration and motivation to stay on track with the small life goals, while also acting as an informative record of what I¬†actually do.

Gratitude Log

The Gratitude Log is another winner in the Bullet Journal page family in my eyes.¬†I’ve always loved journalling, but I often find myself not bothering for months at a time because I’ve got¬†too much to write – kind of like when you have¬†so much¬† to clean so you sit on the couch and watch Netflix – or just rambling on about the little things like wanting to be skinny, instead of taking stock to reflect on the important things. The¬†gratitude log has been a really effective avenue to reflect daily on one or two little things that I’m grateful for, and keep a more focussed journal. I’ve also found that filling out the gratitude log will prompt me to want to write something more long-form in my various journals. So a total win-win.

 

You can see that I’ve trialled a double-page spread and a single-page. I tend to favour the single page spreads in my Bullet Journal (probably as a reflection of my lack of ability to focus on one thing at a time). I have a few new lay-outs for the gratitude log that I’m going to trial over the coming months – again, I’ll keep you posted!

Weekly Layouts

I’ve trialled a few different weekly lay-outs. I go back and forth on whether they’re necessary – I really think it depends on the week you have planned as to what lay-out is right for you, and whether you need one at all. I rely heavily on Outlook for work, and as a result also schedule most appointments in on Outlook as it syncs to my phone (and new calendar app), so sometimes I find writing out my appointments for the week in my bullet journal to be just a lot of double-handling, and not achieving too much. As a result, I’ve started just writing in my non-work to-dos, the exercise I plan to do each day and any major events that I need to do prep for, such as my first market stall.

I’m really loving how unique this particular lay-out is that I’ve trialled for the first week of August. Most of my lay-outs have been more generic, since I thought I’d prefer lots of open space for lists and scribbling. I was surprised to find out how much fun I had filling in this lay-out once it was all drawn up. Maybe it was because of¬†throwing some colour in for a change, or the fact it was more of a jot-your-thoughts situation than a formal¬†planner per se – but I really found it fun, and I’m going to trial more of these fill-in-the-blank spreads.

Daily Lists

I absolutely swear by these. The only way I feel like I get anything done on a Sunday is to write down every single mundane thing I have to or want to do, and whenever I find myself at a loose end, consulting the list for the next item to jump out at me. Initially I was scribbling these in an old notebook that wasn’t quite filled – didn’t want to hurt my bullet journal! Then I realised how much calmer I felt keeping all of these lists in the same spot as my other brain dumps in my bullet journal. This helped not only from a minimising how much crap I had perspective, but from being able to carry across anything I didn’t get done (that was an actual task, e.g., pay bill) into some future to-do lists. I do not make these lists magical. Sometimes I write a nice header. More often than not, I write them in pink. I don’t know why, but I’m digging it, and these are the spreads that bring me the most peace.

Finance Tracker

Well…June was a big fail on this front!¬†I realised that sometimes, life is just to hectic and you don’t feel like doing something. For me, that was tracking just how much $ I blew threw in June. July, I was on holiday. August – it’s working for me so far. I used to print off a page from the Mindful Budgeting program to regularly update, but as with the daily list situation, I found using too many forums for recording information was overwhelming and counter-productive. I think this tracker has potential to be a regular staple in my bullet journal from month to month, and I think that this simple lay-out is the right option for me.

Weight Tracker

This is a new one for me. There are hundreds of really clever weight tracker lay-outs on Pinterest, and I went for the most boring. However, I wanted to make it a page that acted as inspiration and motivation not only for the pounds I lost, but for a regular reminder of the reasons why I want to lose weight. It’s nothing special, but it’s mine, and I’m working on making it a priority to just flick to it every day for a little boost.

Collections

I have created¬†so many collections. This is my number one favourite thing about the bullet journal – it’s like a permission to make lists about literally anything that comes into your head. I am a perfectionist worry-wart who thinks a thousand things at a thousand miles an hour, and getting all of those thousand things out of my head, no matter how huge, or pipe-dreamy, or mundane, or unnecessary, and onto a page, is like letting down an extremely heavy backpack at the end of a long hike. It makes the air feel clear and my shoulders drop down from around my ears. I swear by it. There’s no rules about what can and can’t be a collection, so you do you – get down what you need to get down. Dream wedding? Things to do on a Tuesday? Cafes to visit? New patterns to try? Shopping wish list? Things to Learn? Pen Pals to write to? Hilarious quotes? Your favourite toilet paper brands? Whatever needs to be out of your head, put it down.

 

And that’s not even all! I’ve trialled all kinds of weird and wonderful things in my bullet journal that I want to continue to share with you.¬†At first I was scared about doing my bullet journal ‘wrong’ and putting down too many lists, or not enough lists, or not sticking to a monochromatic theme, or not knowing how to letter nicely. I have to remind myself constantly that my bullet journal does not exist for Instagram. It exists for me, and for my sanity and enjoyment.

These two months with the bullet journal have been really eye-opening. I employ the system in my personal life, and I also maintain a Leuchtterm for my work to dos. The work notebook is a literal shambles in terms of hand-writing, colour application and maintenance, but from the outside it looks professional, and I kind of love having a physical record of the type of work I’ve done while at the firm (aside from the actual recording of my time, which is a nightmare).

I definitely don’t see myself abandoning the system any time soon. I am a bit enamoured with The Simplified Planner, which I saw in a store in the USA and desperately want to buy for work next year (my personal life is far from busy or interesting enough to need a page per day!). But the flexibility and individuality of the bullet journal means that it can function independently, or alongside a more traditional-style planner. It really just does whatever you need it to do!

Okay, that’s the end of my (first of many) love affair rants about the bullet journal. But I’ll leave it with this thought: the main thing I love is that every bullet journal is different, and serves a different purpose, and inspiration can come from all avenues. I’m excited to have found some source of comfort and stability in planning processes, and I’m excited to share more about it with you all.

Inbox Zero

One of the most important habits I’ve implemented in both my personal and work email is reaching Inbox Zero on a daily basis. Email is an integral element of communication and identification now.¬†And as a direct result of using your email as your identity for anything and everything, your email is a hot spot for serious clutter.¬†Since getting rid of clutter is basically the ultimate unicorn goal¬†of life, I wanted to share some useful tips in reaching Inbox Zero yourself.

Unroll.Me

I definitely struggled most with keeping my personal inbox at zero. I attribute this to a lot of things – but mainly that my personal email is just the place where every single online store registration, pointless competition or scoopon advertising email hides and multiplies. I tried the unsubscribe button, but I never seemed to clear all the junk that was already sitting in my inbox, until a colleague told me about Unroll.Me. Once you create an account, Unroll.Me scans your inbox and comes up with a list of all your email subscriptions. You can then go through and select to unsubscribe, keep in inbox or ‘roll up’ – that is, include that as part of a single summary email sent to you each day that gives a quick snapshot of all the emails you’ve expressed an interest in still viewing, without needing to see as a stand-alone¬†item.

If you delete the roll-up email, but want to see what you received that day, you can check out your daily roll up on the Unroll.Me website once you’ve logged in. It’s a really accessible and usable interface, and you can check your past allocations of different lists in unsubscribe, roll up or keep, and change them if need be.¬†To date, I’ve unsubscribed to 261 lists, rolled up 98 lists and kept only 45 lists in my inbox. That means I now receive at most 3 emails a day directly to my inbox, and I can quickly deal with them. My roll up email I receive each morning requires a quick scan of content and is quickly archived. All other emails are read and dealt with, or archived.

Maximise the app functionality

Until it was tragically discontinued, I used the Mailbox app administered by the same team that runs Dropbox. It was a magical app that used the swipe functionality of a smartphone to allow you to quickly and easily sort your emails – whether to delete them, mark as unread, get ‘sent’ to you again at a later date (basically reappear as though they were a new email on the day or a few days before they were actually relevant – great for concert tickets), or get filed away. As an extra bonus, every time you cleared to zero, you got a new daily picture. It was a magical time.

Although Mailbox is gone, the inbuilt Mail app on iPhones now has a lot of the functionality that Mailbox offered, including the ability to easily sort with a swipe. I find dealing with gmail on a laptop or desktop surprisingly clunky¬†as you can’t just drag emails – you need to click to select, then move to folders (although I acknowledge this may be my lack of understanding of how gmail works…). Using the swipe functions is quick, simple, and intuitive, and can be done almost anywhere you go with your phone (which for me, is basically anywhere on this earth).

Rules

Setting up Outlook rules has been critical to maintaining my work email at Inbox Zero. I have no idea how to do them in google, but setting it up in Outlook is a quick process through the help icon. As a result, you can direct all your outside work / personal emails straight to the personal folder, avoiding awkward moments when your boyfriend emails you something ridiculous while your partner is in your office. And you can save yourself from that low-level stress that comes with flagging emails in your core inbox and never dealing with them – the emails are automatically sorted and listed as unread, and you can check the individuals folders as and when necessary.

I recommend starting with setting up rules for friends or family you email often in a non-professional capacity, redirecting those emails straight to a Personal folder. Then you can start playing with rules for certain types of emails you get regularly for certain projects that don’t require immediate attention.

Setting up a simple system of local folders

At work we have an integrated online document management system, which makes filing matter-specific folders very seamless. However, email is rarely limited to work-only matters, and it’s important to have a simple set of folders for filing emails you want or need to keep. I have 15 local folders set up to capture personal emails and non-billable project-specific emails. 15 is definitely more than I would like, but somehow I have quite a few projects going on. The benefit of Outlook is the powerful search function which allows you to find things quickly no matter where they are, so your folders can be more generic. I just haven’t overcome a compulsion to have a separate folder for each project, rather than more over-arching concepts like ‘Community Projects’ and ‘Yoga’.

Use those dead five minutes towards the end of the day

You know the ones I’m talking about. When you have Ctrl+Tab+Facebook’d on autopilot a couple of times and read a few articles blowing hot air on the latest non-issue (usually someone’s completely pointless faux-authoritative opinion¬†on parenting, veganism or millenials), and it isn’t quite time to start work on something new, or there’s no motivation to finish something off…or you’re just in that delightful stage of CBF. Take just one minute to clear out all the emails in your core in box that you’ve dealt with, or don’t need to deal with any longer. Be ruthless with the delete key, and drag and dump the save-worthy emails into your local files. Only leave in your inbox what must¬†absolutely be left behind. Challenge yourself to keep at 3 items or less.

These tips merged between personal and work inbox – which I tend to recognise as personal = gmail and work = Outlook. However, the key thing to come out of it is discipline. It is great to deal with your emails as and when you read them. But you only need to commit to once a day, getting rid of (either deleting or filing) everything that no longer needs to be front of mind, being those emails in your core inbox.

As you get into the habit of maintaining Inbox Zero, you’ll find that your stress levels lower as you aren’t faced with a scary pile of unfiled documents and uncertain locations. You’ll also find you don’t waste time looking at useless subscription emails who only aim to sell you stuff and steal your money, under the premise of a ‘once in a lifetime sale!’. They’re lying. It’ll be back. And you won’t need that sale – now or later.

All you need is to commit just a small part of your day to achieving a clutter-free inbox, and you’ll reap the benefits of a less cluttered¬†mind.

 

 

Introduction to Bullet Journalling

Bullet Journalling is a modern-invented productivity powerhouse. Touted as ‘the analog system for the digital age‘, this brainchild of Ryder Carroll hit the internet in 2013, and has become a foundation stone of organisational strategies for the modern day. The #bulletjournal instagram hashtag has over 100,000 posts, and you can bury yourself in beautiful Pinterest images of creative bullet journals from all over the world.

I’ve been using the Erin Condren Life Planner for the last few months, and really not felt it working for me. While there are a lot of things I do love about it, I just was generally looking for something very different. There’s a whole post in my thoughts on the Life Planner, that I’ll share another time – but after some going back and forth, and debating what I wanted to do (that Life Planner was not cheap, and I was having a lot of guilt around switching) I thought it was time to give the bullet journal another go.

There is an amazing introduction to bullet journalling via the website that is definitely worth a read. My take on it is that bullet journalling is setting up a notebook to be whatever you need Рa compilation of a calendar, diary, daily to-dos, dreams, goals, and capturing all that information inside your head down all in to one spot.

I’d tried the system in 2014, and really loved it, but fell back into using the layout as a written journal rather than a planner, due primarily to my life and job at the time. I’d unintentionally used a similar method when writing my honours thesis – I had a simple notebook, and started a fresh page for each daily to do list, which¬†really functioned as a brain dump of everything in my head – tracking how much water I drank each day, what tasks I needed to do for my thesis, random things I wanted to do when uni was over…any thought that floated through my mind so that I could focus on my work rather than get distracted by what was floating past.

The bullet journal functions in a similar way. It is premised upon rapid-logging Рgetting your thoughts on paper and out of your head, in a simple and easy to read, easy to access and easy to understand format.

I spent a peaceful Sunday setting up my bullet journal. It felt like the right time to kickstart my new bullet journal in June, when I turn 26 and begin tracking my 27th year on this earth (I swear I’m still 20…??). I also feel that I have more of a handle on what my life looks like, and what I want out of it – so I’m not jumping back and forth between planning systems and projects and ideas. I know what I want to record, and what I want to remember.

All you need to get started is a notebook (any notebook), and a pen. I began by going out and buying myself a Leuchtterm A5 dot-grid journal. I used a Leuchtterm last time I tried the bullet journal, and fell in love with the beautiful paper and design, the quality covers and the page numbering (which becomes very convenient). I have used Leuchtterms for general journalling (I’m on my third, and love how they all look stacked together!) and use one for on and off lists at work, which I find¬†to be way more convenient when all in one place.


I bought my journal from the specialist stationery store, which left me with few options when wanting the dot-grid style. If I hadn’t been chomping at the bit to get started, I definitely would have ordered the black from Larry Post, but I’m still pretty happy with navy. There are official Bullet Journals¬†for sale, although every time I look, they’re sold out! Hopefully my second bullet journal can be in an official book…

I have Leuchtterms in blank, grid and lined. I find the grid and lined a bit too definitive, and they generally end up quite messy. I tend to favour blank pages for general journalling, and was going for that option, but after a heavy stalk of the beautiful instagram feed of @bujo.auslife , I figured the dot-grid was the perfect balance of providing some neatness and structure, while leaving space for some creativity in lettering.

I used the first page of my bullet journal to capture one of my favourite life quotes by Thoreaux. It felt like an appropriate choice to kick off the start of a new year of my life, and a new organisational method.


I googled around for some inspiration for setting up for the month. I have borrowed very heavily from the @bujo.auslife instagram, and from the traditional bullet journal method. I started with a two-page spread setting out a monthly log and a habit tracker.

A monthly log functions as a month overview. I’ve seen lots of bullet journals that prefer to draw up or stick in a traditional month calendar with boxes for this page, but the list-lover in me was drawn to this simple list style. I love that it captures just the big key events for that month in one place. I left a column to the side to include little signifiers, so that I can easily see important events or birthdays.
Officially the monthly log is a two page spread, where the left side is the log as pictured above, and the right side is a monthly task list. I prefer to set monthly ‘goals’, and think of my tasks on a weekly basis, so I skipped the tasks page. But the best thing about bullet journals is that this is totally allowed – unlike a pre-printed diary or planner where you’re beholden to what’s on the pages before you.

The habit tracker is something I’ve seen across instagram accounts, and I just love the concept. I had a 108-day duolingo streak going (I was heartbroken when I missed a day!), and loved how it tracked the fact I did my lesson everyday in the app. This habit tracker provides an avenue for doing the same thing within the bullet journal, but all types of goals. I’ve listed my various exercise and gym options, drinking 2L of water a day, meditating, duolingo and reading for now, with room to add more habits that I want to work on as they occur to me. I’ve seen different people record days they completed their tasks in different ways – colouring in the boxes in different ways, or putting in dots. I plan on doing dots, because the minimalist style is really appealing to me lately.

Next I included a gratitude log. There¬†is so much information out there about the benefits of introducing a practice or habit of gratitude into your life. All science and questions aside, there’s no doubt that taking time to appreciate the little things only breeds gratefulness and greatness in your life. I’m planning on taking a minute at the end of each day to populate this log before I go to sleep, so I go to sleep happy, rather than pondering the long list of work or activities I have to do the following day.


I debated a little about what to draw up next. I chose a weekly spread to capture general events happening on each day, including exercise classes and lunch and dinner plans, and any major to-dos that I knew were coming up in the left-hand table. On the right, I started jotting down some general weekly tasks. This spread will definitely evolve as I continue to trial this system, which is why I’ve left it extremely simple.


I do think I’ll end up doing daily to-dos as well – as a chronic list-maker, I can always find something to list down and cross off! But I’m really happy with the pages I’ve chosen as my starting set-up.

One of the best parts of bullet journalling is the concept of collections. I can’t see anything about collections on the official site, but the collections pages are some of my favourite to browse on instagram. They really function as a themed brain-dump – capturing lists of books to read or that you have read, addresses, ideas, dreams, memories…anything that is swirling around your brain, make a collection! I already started three – a list of future ideas for my etsy store, blog post ideas (which I used to just jot down in random notes on my iphone), the list of addresses for my penpals and books I want to read. I definitely see my collections growing overtime as my bullet journal evolves.

The magic of the Leuchtterm notebook comes with the pre-numbered pages and index. As the bullet journal functions as an all-in-one place to capture your lists, your calendar, your tasks and your future plans, having a functional index¬†allows you to quickly keep track of where you’ve stored different information – your monthly logs vs all the ideas you had for your friend’s hen’s party, for example.¬†Having an index also allows you to effectively ‘thread’ pages – rather than trying to save a few pages to dedicate to a particular project, like I normally would to track all of my etsy store ideas, stats and information, you can record in the index that you put your ideas on pages 2, 7 and 19, and record that information in the bottom right-hand corner of your pages.

In case it isn’t obvious, I’m extremely excited about this system, and I’m really looking forward to putting it to the test. I found myself putting information all over the place – a planner to track my food and exercise, a planner to write lists in, a planner as a calendar, a notebook for work plus a list pad, and it was just all getting a bit much. I never had the right book with me at any particular time to capture what I wanted to, and there was so much information sprawled all over the place¬†so that this complicated organisational system was riddled with inefficiencies. As a result, this streamlined approach really excites me, and I hope to report back at the end of the month still full of enthusiasm.

If you’re thinking of trialling bullet journalling, I definitely recommend reading the official site. Other great resources that I used when deciding how to set up my notebook are¬†Boho Berry¬†and Tiny Ray of Sunshine. If you do check out those links, I highly recommend¬†making a cup of tea and settling in for a good long read – there is so much beautiful inspiration on those blogs that you won’t be able to tear yourself away. Lastly, check out the #bulletjournal and #bujo hastags on instagram.

However, tread lightly when you delve into an instagram vortex. It is easy to get overwhelmed by how creative and beautiful (and neat!) some people are with their bullet journals, which is why I referred to @bujo.auslife before – remember that your bullet journal is yours and yours only. If you want to make it beautiful with stickers and washi and coloured pens and doodles, don’t hold back! But at the same time, the journal still works, whether or not you spend hours drawing beautiful things, or simply jot down the tasks and events that make up your day. I’m definitely a sucker for comparison, so¬†I had to be firm with myself when setting up my journal that I only needed to include what mattered to me, and it didn’t have to be beautiful (which is fortunate, since I’m a terrible drawer). I’ll still be maintaining (read, using up!) a journal for more long-form recording of my thoughts, primarily because that’s usually an extremely messy brain dump of whatever emotional mess I’m in at the time, and I like to keep that part of my brain and life separate from a place where I capture events, activities and goals related to work, life, this blog and etsy, which I think is definitely the system that works for me. But the best part about the bullet journal is that since it is, in the end, a blank notebook, you can just allow it to grow and transform as you need.

Have you tried bullet journalling? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Everyday with Emily sale

A quick post this afternoon to let you know I’m hosting a two week sale over at my etsy store, http://www.etsy.com/everydaywithemily – for 20% off every order over $5. I’d love for you to check it out, and maybe stock up on your sticker collection! Enter the code YAYMAY20 at check out to snag this great deal. I’m always happy to customise colours too, so get in touch for any special orders you’d like. Hope to see you over at my store!

Everyday with Emily: now on Etsy!


Just stopping by the blog quickly on this delightful long weekend to let you know that Everyday with Emily is now an etsy store! The store focusses on icon and quirky word stickers, with the goal of maximum versatility and¬†maximum fun. Each sticker sheet contains a minimum 45 stickers, which are perfectly sized to be used in any medium: Kikki K, Erin Condren, Plum Planner, Happy Planner, Midori, Bullet journal, your standard wall calendar … anything!

Stickers can be purchased in transparent (my fave), glossy or matte, and colours as you preference. Each sheet retails for $1.50AUD, plus shipping – total bargain. Come stop by at http://www.everydaywithemily.etsy.com or click this link, pick up a collection of fun stickers and¬†get organised ūüôā

 

Meal Planning 101

Okay. So. Being an adult is hard. Whatever. Everyone knows it. But I swear the hardest thing is grocery shopping and not throwing it all away a few days/weeks/months later. Try as I might, I will never ever obtain my mum’s secret power of not wasting a single piece of food and always being fed. It is some kind of insane superpower she¬†caught from a spider bite many years ago, and rudely didn’t pass down by genetics or whatever. The closest I’ve ever gotten is when I embarked on a 4 week challenge where all I ate was chicken and vegetables (delicious), but even then, there was wilted broccoli in the back of the fridge because well, broccoli kind of sucks and I cannot manage to keep on top of all of the food I buy in a fit of inspiration on the weekend, only to bin it the following Thursday, followed by trying to remove the weird slime. Ew.

So I’ve been embarking on a project of meal prepping. It has involved much more planning than I anticipated, but it is very rewarding. And attempt one was very enlightening. I made many mistakes, and I thought you’d appreciate either laughing at them or learning from them. More likely the former than the latter, but that’s okay! These mistakes are so dumb¬†that you wouldn’t have made them. But don’t you worry, I sure did! And here they are, in step-by-step form.

Step one: Get out the recipe books.

In order to properly meal prep, you need to actually know what you’re going to be making. So, get your recipes ready. I mostly stuck to old favourites, but I did introduce one new dish: a chicken and broccoli casserole in an attempt to prove to the boyf that I will not habitually throw away all broccoli.

Step Two: Set up your plan.

I just used some spare paper in my Kikki K planner for this purpose. However, there are some great printables available online: I like this one, this one or this one.

Or of course, Kikki K has got your back: check out this option, or this one.

As always, the real benefits come from nailing right down to the details. You typically eat breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. But if you’re anything like me, giving up snacks is unheard of, so those snacks should be accounted for. Then, assign what you’re eating for each meal.

Step Three: Work out how many serves of each recipe you need to make to fit in with your plan.

This is where I messed up. I’ll tell you about it in a minute. It’s hilarious. But, get an idea of this, because it’ll define your shopping list.

Step Four: Write a shopping list.

Have those recipes you picked ready, and know how many batches of each recipe you’ll be making. Then, write your list, and specify the quantities.

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Step Five: Get overwhelmed and lie on the floor for a while.

I’ve not written this step as often as I actually implemented it.

Step Six: To the shops!

With maybe a side of cajoling for company from the boyf. Anyway, we got there, used the list, got in and out, through the till, DONE.

Except for my minor mess up with how many serves my chicken & broccoli casserole makes, and how much Moroccan chicken I would need to make. Anyway, I walked out with 7.5kg of chicken breast. I was confident my numbers were correct (even though two people absolutely would not eat 7.5kg of chicken breast in a week). The boyf was very nice and didn’t say anything at the time. But he knew I stuffed up.

Step Seven: get home, almost fall over because you decided to unnecessarily carry all of your groceries up in one hit.

Step Eight: Leave everything on the floor for a while. I have a thing for the floor.

Step Nine: Start cooking that food. This is what I think is more important than anything. Don’t just put whole capsicums and bags of carrots into your fridge. Get out the peeler and your snap lock containers (man those things are amazing), and cut, chop, cook and cry until it’s all nicely sealed and tetris’d into your fridge. Put on Netflix, it’s much more fun that way. And this way, as the work days mount, you can quickly assemble a meal that has enough vegetables so you don’t die from malnutrition or scurvy. I think scurvy is still a thing.

Step Ten: Laugh at the fact you only used 3 of the 7.5kg of the chicken because you didn’t have room in the fridge to store too many large containers of pre-cooked meals.

The key things I learned from getting into the specifics of drafting a meal plan is to pay attention to the numbers. Check how many servings a recipe will yield and¬†get your numbers right so there’s actually a point to writing out a comprehensive list.

I’m going to try again next week. I’ll give you an update on if we’ve managed to ever get through all of that bloody chicken. My freezer is looking very full.

 

KonMari in the bedroom

KonMari, that magical unicorn, has (slowly) breathed new life into my musty and messy apartment, and I’m thrilled to share that just a short eight and a half weeks after beginning, KonMari has firmly settled herself into my bedroom and I’m not letting her leave.

For the uninitiated, the KonMari method is a ‘method’ of tidying developed by the ubiquitous Marie Kondo. Kondo began her tidying business in Japan, and has published two books explaining her (very) unique method: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy (released in January 2016, this is the ‘illustrated companion’ to the first book). I’ve read the first, and have my name down at the library for the second.

The core premise of the KonMari method is to: 1. remove everything that doesn’t spark joy; 2. put everything that remains¬†away in its place. Rinse and repeat, forever and ever and ever. It’s extremely simple, but the simplicity is what makes it so effective. You read the book and go ‘well, duh’. And that’s always a nice change to having to tunnel your way through complicated ideas and systems and programs to get to some kind of solution to your fear of facing overstuffed drawers, baskets and corners of your home.So the ‘well duh’ moment you have reading about life changing magic is a welcome experience.

I KonMari’d the bathroom, and remain¬†thrilled at how effective the process has been. Seven weeks later, everything still lives nicely in its place. The drawers look as good as they did when I first cleaned them. Nothing manages to breed on the bathroom counter; in fact,¬†the total number of items remaining continues to decline as I¬†use things up because I actually know I have them, instead of buying eighteen of the same thing because I can’t locate it in overstuffed ‘storage drawers’ which I’m too scared to confront. The total percentage of items removed stays at 43%, and the aim is to work my way down to 60% by the end of 2016.

Thanks to the overwhelming success in the bathroom, I let KonMari into the bedroom. This ended up being a very long and tortuous process. Unlike the bathroom, which I smashed out in a jetlagged day, the bedroom involved a lot of emotion, frustration and laziness. I also cheated. Marie Kondo, the oracle of tidiness, says one must remove and reduce before one may purchase any form of storage. However, Ikea got the better of me, and I got some extra drawers for my existing Pax unit, in the dream of folding and storing my clothes like Marie does. Totally worth it, as I build the drawers myself (what a legend), and they did become an integral part of succeeding in this process. But I digress.

First, I took a good hard look at my wardrobe. Then I also looked at my floor, under my bed, and in some random wire baskets I have because my clothes lived¬†everywhere. Embarrassingly, I also looked in the boyf’s section of clothing storage, because my clothes seem to wander off and hide under all kinds of glorious piles.

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Ermahgerd.

I’m getting heart palpitations just looking at those photos. In case you can’t tell, this level of total catastrophe was a cause of constant and significant stress. It was impossible to sleep well, and I was constantly overwhelmed at the sheer impossibility of addressing this disaster.

But not for long! Consistently with rule one, I made a tragic pile of all of my clothes on the bed (I couldn’t take a photo because the boyf and I got in a fight about the fact I was never going to deal with all of this mess [initiated by me] and that I was incapable of being tidy [also claimed by me] and that we were going to have to sleep on the floor [also initiated by me]). But I assure you, it¬†was large enough to bury you.

I took a deep breath, looked to the sky, and summoned the power of Kondo to help me through this emotionally confronting moment of working out what of my clothes sparked joy. A deep breath later, a vast number of my clothes were in a garbage bag.

I ended up getting rid of 80 items of clothing. Many got donated to the Salvos. Quite a few became subject to my eBay experiments and have gone on to spark joy for others around the country thanks to the magic of eBay. And the rest were thanked for all they do for me, properly hung, or folded (in the tri-fold way), and put away. And finally, finally, some peace and order has been restored.

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Hooray!

What worked?

  • Being honest with myself.¬†There were so many things I’d held on to over the years, such as shirts from my exchange program, and dresses I’d worn for a special occasion, that I just knew didn’t spark joy but I wasn’t ready to let go of. But once I’d delved in, you could feel it within seconds of picking up the item – it was time to say goodbye. And it was necessary to just do it, and move on.
  • Actually picking up each item. Something about picking up the item focusses you on the actual thing you’re holding, and you can ask some pretty tough questions.
  • Moving quickly in bagging up the ‘nos’ and getting them out of the house. The longer I looked at the goodbye items, the more those old connections came back and I was desperate to return it back to my wardrobe. But once they were out of sight, they were out of mind.
  • Having drawers before I finished my work (my personal piece of rebellion against the KonMari method). Knowing that my space was going to need to change to accommodate what I would keep meant I could make some smart decisions in advance so that I actually had somewhere to put all this crap.
  • The folding. I¬†love the KonMari folding. I don’t know why because folding sucks, but for some reason, I’m totally hooked.

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What didn’t work?

  • Taking my time. I got really stressed out having piles of crap everywhere. And whenever I did the washing, I had nowhere to put the washing…and then nothing changed for a while. Set aside a weekend, tackle the job through the end and be able to enjoy the benefits.

So Marie Kondo remains my favourite person on the planet. I love her method, I love having an organised space, and I love actually living a bit like a grown up for once – as in, someone who puts things away and¬†has drawer dividers and gets a thrill from folding and goes, ‘Saturday night! Perfect opportunity for laundry and tidying while thinking of organising and how to optimise my space!’

It’s awesome. I hope you find your own brand of awesome through the KonMari method too.

 

[Organise]: Kikki.K Planner 2016

Planners have been one of my all-time favourite stationery items since I was in high school. Both my high schools (I switched schools in year 10) had branded diaries you had to use, and I loved personalising mine with drawings, notes and highlighting, and trying out different set ups and lay-outs for the different subjects I was taking. I gave a brief recap of how I was using my Kikki.K Personal Planner in 2015. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the system I came up with, but I switched up my organisation style throughout the year, and that method I described in my post slowly fell out of use.

 

Still as handsome as last year

 
My Kikki.K planner is serving a more specific purpose this year of monitoring my habit development, planning for this blog and my side hustle progress. I kept it simple and just used a refill from the Kikki.K store, as I purchased an Erin Condren Lifeplanner for my daily activities and to do lists.

The refill just consisted of plain dividers, a perpetual calendar, a To Do Section, Meeting Notes pages and (my favourite) plenty of plain lined paper. Finally, there were lots of stickers to help personalise. Kikki.K sells the refills in grey/cream, grey/white and blue/white.

  
My planner is in the following order:
Perpetual calendar
To Do List
Side hustle tracker
Blog ideas and planning
Meeting Notes

The Perpetual calendar is what I’m most excited about. I’ve set it up as a way to track my progress towards particular goals, as well as monitor how I stick with habits I’ve aimed to build for the year.

  
As you can see, it’s really simple and uses the same tools from last year – super cheap coloured dot stickers from K-Mart, and a pen! I’ve assigned each goal or activity a colour: green for exercise, yellow for perfect eating/nutrition, blue for side-hustling or blogging, white for Spanish practice and red for meditation. Yellow will be taking on a different goal each month, but the other colours are pretty set in stone for habits I want to track throughout the year ūüôā

I’m thrilled to have stuck with it so far, and feel like this perpetual calendar is really going to work for me.

The To Do Lists section is being used as my long-term To Do Lists; things I want to achieve over time, rather than today, so that I remember to do them on those quiet weekends. I prefer using a tear-off notepad for daily to do lists at work, since they’re usually very messy and updated at random. Also, I don’t really feel a need to keep them around, so it felt pointless keeping them in the planner last year.

The ‘Side Hustle’ section has been heavily personalised using a ruler and coloured pens to track income I make from various avenues other than my salary, and lists of ideas to test out in the future. This has become a real obsession of mine, and I look forward to sharing what I learn.

And the blog section is the most messy! It is where I scribble ideas for future posts, things I generally like to write about and any other random ideas that come into my head.

This planner isn’t particularly exciting, but I really feel like it’s functional and works for me. Kikki.K has released a Wellness Planner that looked like a TONNE of fun, with beautiful pages and colours and I’d love to see how people have put that to use – they also released a Wellness Planner refill for people like me that want to continue to use the planner they have. However it was just a bit specific for my needs, and I prefer the adaptability of the blank pages in the personal planner refill. I’ll share my Erin Condren shopping and unboxing experience, and some ideas I have for setting it up soon.

Happy organising!

E x