Thursday, 2 March 2017

Planning for Positivity πŸ“

Hey everyone! We're already into March, and I can definitely feel spring in the air. I love in-between seasons, and this one is special to me because it's when daffodils are in full bloom. There is a feeling of "potential" vibrating within everything and it makes me feel incredibly pumped for the days to come. 

While life is unpredictable, I still like to feel as though I have something under control, and that's where my butterfly planner of goodness comes in. 

I really enjoy having an organiser. It helps me to keep track of the things I've done and the things I want to do, and ensures I don't forget anything. I know that some people are put off by the idea of paper planning for various reasons, one of them being that it's too much pressure. I personally don't see it that way, and am in a planning routine that means I feel cheerful when I've kept up with my goals, but don't feel like beating myself up when I don't.

I could never quite get behind the whole "bullet journal" thing that seems to be super popular now. I find it to be rather counter-intuitive and a bit of a faff, honestly, and it doesn't really suit the way my brain works. A more standard diary setup seems to be best for me. My equipment of choice is a personal planner from Paperchase. This is my third year using it and I absolutely adore it. It is still in great condition, and is better quality than I expected considering it's vastly cheaper than getting something from Filofax. I don't like the fact that it closes with a ribbon rather than a popper clasp, but I can deal with it, and it does look cuter, even if it's less convenient. The butterflies on the cover, including the extra dangly friend, make me so happy as I love anything butterfly-themed!

The inside cover has little slots, and the back cover has a flap. Neither of these get much use as my planner stays home, so I don't ever need to carry any extra pieces of paper in it. There are different sections, each split with a pretty card divider.

My set-up is really straightforward and more or less just sticks to the guidelines laid out by my Paperchase planner refill pages. Two sections are the main ones-- diary, and notes.

The diary is self explanatory. It has week-to-view pages, super useful for tracking appointments or deadlines. As well as noting those, I also make to-do lists for each day. If I don't get everything done that day, I try to do it another day. I tend to leave ticking off the boxes for the end of the week, and seeing if there's anything left over that I need to carry over to the following week. Sometimes, I'll forget to structure a day, which is often the case if I'm unwell. What I will do at the end of a day like this is think of all the things I ended up doing that day and jot them down, as a kind of retrospective checklist. Doing this has helped me so much mentally. I think it can be easy to completely forget or to invalidate the things we achieved for not being significant enough, when in reality, anything we get done is important. It's frustrating when we feel we didn't perform at our best, or didn't keep ourselves motivated. But being angry at ourselves helps no one, and it's much better to focus on what we did achieve, and do the best we can to do better next time. 

Lately I've taken to writing moments or quotes on a post-it note to remind myself of during the week. My quote for this past week has been from Laura Berman Fortgang's TED talk: "Career satisfaction doesn't come from what you do. It comes from who you get to be while you're doing it." It gave me a well-needed change of perspective on things, and I've found it useful to remember. 

I also like to write something cute and happy to be thankful for. This week I'm reminding myself of the people and the experiences that have already started to make, and will hopefully continue to make 2017 a much better year than the last.

The notes section is often a mess of hurriedly scrawled ideas and lists of things I need to remember to discuss with people, from important topics to silly in-jokes! I'm very much into lists as I find them to be a good way of processing my thoughts. Most of the list-making in my organiser tends to relate to my business/fashion design, blogging, YouTube ideas (I've still not given up on my channel, haha), and the more mundane things like keeping track of foods I like, as it's useful to have meal prompts, sometimes. I feel perhaps I've outgrown the organiser for my list-making and need something bigger than the personal size, whose pages are restrictive for visually exploring an idea. I have ended up using an exercise book dedicated solely to my lists but might have to upgrade even that and go for A4 size, as I like to treat different puzzles or questions about my career etc as projects to work through. Projects need space!

I realise my organiser isn't particuarly artistic. It's quite tempting to continuously Google people's organisers and lust over their artistic setups, photo-ready calligraphy, and carefully applied washi tape... and then take a look at your own organiser and wonder where you went wrong. The thing is, organisers mean different things to different people. If you don't feel naturally inclined to use your planner as a means of creative outlet, then don't. Equally, don't feel as though you're not allowed to enjoy decorating your planner. Do what works best for you.

As I go along with my organising, I do find that I'm gradually decorating things more. I used to write everything in pencil, and used a plain white refill pad. Then I moved onto this cute vintage themed paper. Then I started experimenting with different colours. Now the post-its. I think the more positive I feel about the future and where my life is going, the more enthusiasm I have about planning. It's become therapy in its own right and I love it.

I use a different colour for each day now, and I choose those colours based on how I think that day feels. It's one of those synaesthesia things that's a little difficult to articulate but essentially, different colours feel differently to me and use those colours to set a mood for a day!

I think I might have rambled on long enough about my planner now! I think it's evident that stationery is somewhat important to me! Do you keep a planner? Do you prefer to keep track of things digitally? Do you like making lists? Tell me of your life-organising habits!

Thank you so much for reading, and I'll see you lovely people next time 


  1. I find your planner super cute *o*

    I wasn't 100% sure what you meant with the bullet journal trend, so I googled it, and when I looked through the pictures, I could only think "If someone has enough time to draw a planner for each day / week, he can't be so busy to need a planner at all" haha. Ok this is not really true, because when I think of all the hours I spend with other 'useless' stuff, then maybe I could pull it off too haha. (But I don't actually want to xD).

    But otherwise I also looked into "journaling" to make my time management better, but I have to say if I use too many fancy things in my planner, I will loose the focus and only pay attention to the pretty drawings and cute sticky notes haha. I only decorate it with small stickers on each page. Otherwise, I structure it by using different colors for different topics, like university, household, freetime etc.

    I also make lists for what I want to craft/sew in the future, shopping lists for Lolita and normie stuff, recipe ideas etc. I mainly use Google Docs for making the lists. But for important things, like Lolita clothes I have to alter, or household chores I have to do, I use a small whiteboard that is hanging above my desk.

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you like it ^_^

      I didn't know what it meant either at first but I kept hearing about it. When I finally googled it I was a little confused and found myself saying "OK... but what's the point!?" Haha, I completely agree! Maybe it's something you'd be really quick at with some practice but...I don't want to practice lol.

      Yeah, I keep mine pretty streamlined! I've seen pictures of some peoples that are so cluttered and chaotic that I would personally find it overwhelming and distracting. Using different colours for different topics sounds like a great idea! I'm still refining my planning so that's something I may have to try myself, instead of colour coding the days themselves (though I do really enjoy that, haha).

      I also love your whiteboard idea! My desk is in front of a window so I can't hang anything above it but I would definitely like to use a whiteboard in future to help me with meal planning and other household chores for the week. Maybe I can hang it in a different part of the room!

  2. I always forget to use my planner. I am not good at sticking to it. It is not so fancy as yours, but it has frontpage with illustration of London and post its on first page.

    1. I used to as well but these days I try to keep it in plain sight and get into a habit of checking it each day. But if you find that a planner doesn't really help you then there's no point forcing yourself!
      Sounds like the cover is really nice! I like city illustrations, though I tend to prefer Paris-themed stuff!

  3. I enjoyed reading about your planner and how you organise you day and projects, it sounds like you have found your planner peace! I got out of the habit of filling in my art diary when I got the flu at the end of January, and now I'm so far behind it's become intimidating. I'm trying to ease myself back into it and I know logically it's silly to put pressure on myself for something that is meant to be fun.

    Bullet journaling is a strange one. The concept is actually quite minimalist, so it makes me laugh a little how extreme people go with calligraphy, layout, etc. I like the original website explaining it, and once I used it for a few days it just clicked and I found it useful. I tend to just use it when things are really busy as it's good for juggling different tasks, I don't see the point in keeping a bullet journal with a list like "respond to emails, do the laundry, work on the project you have been doing for X client for the past month" as I don't need those reminders.

    The thing that has stayed with me most is a logbook, which I keep in the same notebook as my occasional bullet journaling, where I write down everything I did that day in short bullet points, paying no attention to neatness or creativity. Initially I did this so that when I have time to fill in my art diary, I will have a prompt, but it's been quite therapeutic to write a basic diary like this. I also use this space to write down ideas or things to research later, though I use Evernote for more than extensive lists and notes.

    I might just copy my log notes into my art diary and make it look like an adventurer's logbook instead of drawing and washi taping each page. I think I need to keep playing around with different things until something sticks.

    There is another journaling technique called "morning pages", where you write a stream of consciousness for 3 pages every day. It's supposed to clear you of anxieties and negative thoughts for the day, and many people find that useful. I just found it time consuming! Do you write a diary/reflective thoughts, or are you more into organising and list making?

    I envy your planner peace! That's Virgos though ^_^

    1. Sorry you ended up getting the flu! No wonder you weren't able to do your art diary. I think you have to remind yourself that it's ok to miss days out or for it to not be perfect/consistently amazing. I'd have probably ended up drawing scribbles to represent how unwell I felt and leave it at that!

      See, that's what I initially thought when I looked up how to go about it on the original website. It seemed very bare bones, and yet it's now become a trend to make bullet journals into something elaborate. Either way, the setup never really appealed to me, but I'm glad you've found a way to incorporate it into your own planning ^_^ I'm a bit different than you with regards to listing mundane tasks-- I need that prompt, because although it's likely I'll do what I've written automatically without needing the reminder, there have been occasions I've completely forgotten really obvious things just because I wasn't feeling at my best or had other things on my mind!

      I think there's something to be said for taking things back to the basics. We lead lives of information overload, so keeping things at the bare minimum with a log book sounds useful for this. Speaking of your art diary, I've been trying to draw more as art is something I always loved but never studied/practised, so perhaps using something from each day as a prompt will help me get into the habit so I can improve!

      I have never heard of "morning pages" before. I think that sort of thing might be useful for aspiring writers who can never figure out how to get started. When I can be bothered, and remember what I dreamt about, I write in my dream journal which I keep beside my bed. It's something I really enjoy reading back through. One of those feelings I wish I could hold onto is being gently roused from a restful sleep after a positive dream, with the sun streaming in while I pick up a pen, flip open my journal, and begin to write. Always a good start to the day!

      My proper diary is my livejournal! I kept a physical handwritten diary when I was younger (I've been a diarist most of my life because I used to want to be a writer!) but eventually moved my thoughts to livejournal in 2009 and have been there ever since. It's definitely more important to me than list making, hence me having a bajillion blogs on the go! Some of my best writing is on there, and I'm glad I recorded so many significant life events in detail.

      I'm sure you'll get there soon enough! We always get things organised in the end ^_~