Plum Paper Planner Review + My Top 5 Tips for Planning in 2016

Do you love planners? I do! There is something about the physical reality of a paper planner…being able to lay everything out with pen or pencil, add designs, take notes, and so much more. I have always preferred using an actual planner instead of one on the computer or online (though those do have their uses).

The one thing that I have searched high and low for is the perfect planner layout. I can be super-picky about my weekly layouts, any extra pages, the thickness of the cover…I know it’s a little crazy, but a great planner can make things so much easier!

The last couple years I have started using them again and have spent hours looking at different stores online, reading reviews, noting my favorites and just generally agonizing over the decision (told you I’m a little crazy). This time I think my searching has paid off! Enter Plum Paper!

I have actually been using this new planner for a little over a month and have been anxiously awaiting the time to share it with all of you! With the new year a couple weeks old and now that I’ve had some time to try out the new planner, it’s time!

Plum Paper 2016 custom plannerPlum Paper 2016 custom daily planner inside front page

I love how easy this was to customize! The cover image and words and 13 months instead of 12 so I could start in Dec’ 15 (plus much more you will see below). Isn’t it pretty?!

Monthly Pages

I love everything about the pages that make up each month! The 7 labels for the weekly categories were ones that I wrote myself. Just imagine what you could do with 7 categories for each day of your week! It took me a bit to determine the best way to use them, as some things fit in multiple categories, but I’m getting use to it now and loving it.

I added on extras, one sheet of To Do Lists and another for Bill Recording. I’ve been mostly using the To Do Lists to track my weekly menus, which is really helpful. The other thing I really love is the monthly highlights page at the front! 3 goals, important dates, things to remember, plus extra spaces for notes!

Now on to one of the other features that sold me on this planner…

the Blog Section!

They have a ton of different sections you can add on, but the one that I loved was the blog planning section! I am trying to improve how I plan the blog and I hope this will be a helpful tool in that goal. I’ll admit, I still am learning how to utilize this section and some of the pages aren’t currently relevant, but I have high hopes!

Overall, I am so glad that I purchased this planner. This is the best one I have found thus far and incredibly reasonably priced. I would predict that I will be making another purchase from them next year!

The only complaint I’ve had so far is that I wish the cover was thicker or plastic. I put my planner in my purse on a regular basis and I worry about it being bent up.

My Top 5 Tips for Planning in 2016

  1. Start off the week laying out the priorities for the week. I use this time to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything (a meeting, outing, etc) and set time aside to work in my studio and to write.
  2. Make sure you keep it with you! This is regardless of how you plan, be it a physical planner, cell phone or computer. It is so easy to think of something you need to get done and forget it by the time you get home. I take mine with me to work and almost always write things down in my first break. Also, if I remember something when I can’t write it in there, I put it in the notes section of my phone and write it down as soon as I can.
  3. Actually check your planner throughout the day! It doesn’t help you to lay things out early in the week and then leave it alone the rest of the day. Our memories are fallible, that’s why we use planners 🙂 I have had multiple times I have thought I was done when I got home, not checked my planner and then realized the next day I forgot to do something.
  4. Don’t overschedule! It’s demoralizing to constantly not finish what you have set out to do. Now, this is something I’m guilty of on a regular basis, so this is definitely a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. I really am trying to work on this, but it’s rough! I have a tendency to overestimate how many things I can get done and underestimate how long each thing with take me.
  5. Reward yourself by checking things off as you go! Each time you do it gives your brain a little hit of dopamine, which is always nice. Not only does it make you feel rewards, it provides motivation to keep productivity high so you can keep checking more things off!

How do you plan? Do you like physical planners or are you more tech-based methods? What’s your favorite? Any tips for planning? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below!

Sara (1)

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My Top 5 Tips for Setting Goals for 2016

Ah, the new year…The time for reflection, celebration and resolutions. Next year everything is going to be perfect! I’m going to do all of these amazing things to change my life! Right?!

Ok, while there are people out there who set their resolutions like that, that’s not what I’m talking about today. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of resolutions. Most of them sound exactly the same and very few are achievable. They are generally these huge, vague yet life-changing statements with no actionable plan as to how to go about making those changes. Get in shape! Eat healthy! Save money! Quit my job! All great concepts, but without breaking these things down and planning out how you want to do that, these things are almost impossible to stick to.

It’s my belief that setting resolutions like these are the reason a lot of people only stick with whatever resolution they set for the first few weeks and then continue on with life in exactly the same way they were pre-resolution.

Now, goals….those are a different story. I love goals! As you’ve seen in previous months (like this post and this one, for example) I love setting goals for myself. Some months I do well, some not so well. But I always have those goals in the back of my mind. I’m currently working on my goals for the next year, so I want to share some of that planning process and mindset with you!

  1. Be specific. Goals work best when they are clearly stated and you can look at them and say “Yes I finished that goal” or “No, I didn’t.” Being specific also makes it much easier to break down that goal into smaller pieces, especially if you have a larger, more complex goal in mind.
    • DSCN1222_picmonkeyedExample: You want to to end 2016 in better physical shape than you are at the end of 2015. What does that look like to you? Does that just mean you’ve lost weight, or you can lift a certain amount? Are you going to exercise, change your diet, maybe both? How many times a week do you want to exercise? How do you want to change your diet? These questions can go on, but you get the idea.
  2. Be realistic. Setting a goal that is far beyond what is possible is not only setting it up to fail, but is very demotivating and demoralizing. While I know that some of the goals you may have in mind are huge life changes, realize that they may not be achievable in one year. How can you break those down into 1-2 smaller, more manageable goals that you can work on this year to get you to your ultimate larger goal?
    • Example: You want to start your own business, quit your day job and be self employed full time, making $100,000 a year. Outside of extreme examples (I’m sure that there are a few people that have managed this) this probably isn’t likely to happen in one year. Especially if you haven’t even started your business yet. Instead break that down into a few smaller goals, like getting the business started and making your first few sales.
  3. Write it all down. Don’t just write out you main goal. Write down the steps you will need to take to get to that goal, plans for setbacks, smaller goals within that main goal, etc. Planning is essential for success.
    • DSCN1439_picmonkeyedExample: You want to start eating healthier. You’ve already narrowed down what that looks like and how you want to achieve it. Now write down steps like finding X number of healthy recipes, cleaning out your pantry, setting up for meal prepping or cooking in general, etc. Plan how you will stay on track through things that might cause you difficulty, like stress, holidays or eating out.
  4. Pick a focus. By this, I mean choose goals that focus on 1-2 areas of your life, instead of spreading yourself thin trying to change everything. Now, I mostly mean this for brand new goals, not continuations of existing goals. But even then I would say not to try to focus on too many at once. Change can be hard. Cliche, I know, but true. Instead of trying to change something in every area of your life and overwhelming yourself, try to narrow it down to a couple areas that mean the most or would have the most impact.
  5. Plan, Plan, Plan! Ok, I know this was kinda covered in all the other tips, but it’s important enough that I felt it needed it’s own number. Start planning now for the changes you want to make in 2016! Goals are much easier to start working on if you have everything laid out, and sometimes the planning period alone can take a week or two.
    • DSCN1580_picmonkeyedExample: You want to exercise 6 days a week. Lay out where you will exercise, what exercise options you want or have available, what time of day works best with your schedule, etc. Spend a week or two looking at your schedule and how your week generally goes, noting when you have the most availability or energy. If you need to join a gym, now would be the perfect time to start looking at them and pick which one to join.

So there you have it! My top 5 tips for setting your goals for 2016! What tips do you have to set and succeed at your goals for the coming year? I would love to hear them! Let me know!

Sara (1)

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