Planners, Lists, Journals, & To Dos

Does anyone else feel like this new year snuck up on them?  I feel as though I’m still trying to get a grasp on 2018!  As a planner & list maker, I’m feeling a little lost!  Usually by now I have a plan of action for the year, my lists are made, my planner is filled, & I’m checking things off.  This year my planners, lists, journals, & to dos are slowly coming together & I’m finding it hard to fill in the blanks.

Not because I don’t have any idea of what I want to do, but more because I’m struggling with the format I want to use.  I want to simplify things this year.  I’m finding that “simplification” means something different for me than it may for others.  So, here’s my start to a “simplified” 2018!

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My Daily Life

Before I get into all my planning & such, I’d like to explain what my daily life looks like.  I’d also like to share some life events that are probably the reason I’m struggling with the planning bit.  Maybe someone can relate!

Life Events

For the past 5 years I’ve been working with the local technical college as an adjunct drafting instructor.  Drafting was my profession for 15 years.  Up until about November, I taught one class from 1:30 to 3:30 in the afternoon.  I’d say things started changing in about September.  Here’s a list of events that have happened since September that have greatly changed how my day goes:

  • End of September – my son moves 3 hours away to attend college.
  • Mid October – the transmission in my vehicle goes out while I’m at a doctor’s visit an hour away.
  • Mid November – I’m asked to fill in for the teacher at the main technical college I work for that is about 45 minutes away.
  • End of November – My friend & colleague of about 18 years passes away.  This is the teacher I was filling in for & it was unexpected for me.
  • First week of January – My uncle passes away.  He had been suffering with an incurable form of cancer for over a year, so it wasn’t unexpected, just not expected at the moment.
  • August thru the 2nd week of January – My internet is continually going in & out & staying out for weeks at a time.  This is a small annoyance, but it affects my side job, as well as my main job.

Daily Schedule

So, all these things, some more significant than others, have slowly added up to change the way my day goes.  These things are slowly starting to work themselves out, as life usually does.  ; )  Currently, this is what a typical week looks like:

  • 7 to 11 – morning class {Mon – Thur; includes driving time}
  • 11 to 1:15 – Catch up email, blog posts, housework, website maintenance, & social media posts. {Mon-Thur + Fri. mornings}
  • 1:30 to 3:30/4 – afternoon class {Mon – Fri}
  • In the afternoons/evenings I usually have a grocery trip or two, paperwork to do for school, & sometimes I manage to cook supper – ha!  I also have two dogs that need attention.  : )
  • On the weekends, if there’s not a family event happening, I work on the projects I do for my blog posts, any sewing orders I have, & sometimes I get to work on personal projects.

All of this is subject to change if school is out & we’ve even had a snow day this year!  Anyway, all of these changes have made me have to re-figure my usual plans.  That’s what’s been holding up the process a bit!

Planning to Plan

I’ve gone through making my own planner, buying a planner & printing a free planner throughout the years.  This year, I finally settled on buying a printable planner from Printable Pineapple on Etsy.

I picked the 2018 Huge Planner Set which has options for full size and half size.  I printed out the half size to fit in my little zip up binder.  It has a monthly spread….

And a weekly spread.  I like this layout to keep up with daily tasks & notes.  It also has a habit tracker, gratitude box, & dot graph at the bottom.

I filled in the first week of January & kind of got side tracked!  It will get there eventually!  I also purchased the Graph & dot grid set & added several sheets to the back of the planner.  Since this is something I will take with me, it will be great for impromptu sketches & such.

The last sheet is the first two months of a yearly declutter challenge from Home Storage Solutions 101.  It’s 15 minute daily tasks to get your whole house organized.  I did this in 2016 & it worked well for me.  It’s time to do it again!

This little binder will be used to keep up with daily schedules & such.  I needed something that was portable & this fits the bill!

I keep a yearly calendar above my desk so I can look for dates quickly when I’m on the phone & such.  This was a free printable from Hope Ink.

I have another monthly calendar on the pull out drawer of the desk.  This is where I write down when bills are due.  I can glance at it while “balancing the books” for the week & know what’s coming.  This was a free printable from Elegance & Enchantment.

I print these out on card stock & both sides of the paper to help them last longer & save paper.  I’ve also signed up for Motivated Moms chore planning system, which I still need to print out.  I followed her free challenge at the end of last year & I really liked having household chores planned out daily for me so I didn’t have to think about it too much.  It’s only $9 for the whole year & totally worth it!

Journals, Journals, Journals!

Some people have one journal for everything & I tried that.  To simplify things for myself, I need more than one place for different processes & ideas.  This helps keep my mind focused on only what I’m looking at.  Then I don’t see a note about another task & think, let me go take care of that right quick!  I can go down a rabbit hole very quickly & not accomplish what I started out to do.  : P

Okay, at one point I jumped on the bullet journal wagon, but wanted to blend it with an art journal.  The left is an example of me trying to be artistic but keeping things orderly.  The right is a better idea of what my brain looks like on a daily basis!

This journal will be for brain dumping & doodling!  That means no rules, boxes, or to do lists.  Just a flow of things as they come at the end of the day.  Something I really need!

I also have a sketch diary/pad.

This is used to sketch out pattern ideas & do my drawings for the free coloring sheets.

When I’m laying out block style quilt patterns, I prefer to use graph paper.  This makes it easier to use a scale & get accurate measurements.

You can see the list of what this binder held right on the front.  I’m in the process of reorganizing it to take out the “business” section.  It will go into it’s own binder & this will be only for patterns, finished sketches, & penpal stuff.

I had started jotting down any and every project in this notebook I found lingering in my drawer.  Then I got the Quilting Diary from one of my penpals.

I’m planning on moving quilting projects to this book & making it into a sort of scrapbook for the quilts I’ve made.  I can put notes in the “agenda” part & use the boxes to the right for pictures & fabric snips.

All in all I think I’m finally heading towards more even ground, which is wonderful!  Of course my dog Hefy-Lou thinks planners are for naps & sometimes I feel the same way!  : D


Have a great weekend!

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  1. Joyce Stratton says:

    I honestly don’t know how you do it all. When I was working full time I rarely had time for anything craft related. Of course, the company I worked for expected 14 hour days 6 – 7days a week. I kept a Franklin Planner for everything and then a monthly calendar to write in when bills needed to be paid. Thankfully hubby was really good at helping with the housework.

    Please don’t do what I did and get so overworked and stressed that you become very ill. Be kind to yourself. We all enjoy your blogs and seeing what you’re creating.

    • Kristie Cook says:

      I only put in about 24 hours teaching a week, so it’s not full time. When I was still drafting, I worked 40 + hours there & 10 hours teaching & I rarely made anything! It did stress me out & I think that’s why I developed thyroid cancer. I’m in a better place now & I enjoy changing up what I do during the day. It keeps it from being boring! I’m so glad you enjoy my blog & appreciate all your kind comments. 🙂

  2. Skye says:

    There is alot on your plate and after some big changes I can see why it’d be hard to find a natural flow again. I too tried one journal, and printables, and and artsy bujo styled journal, I found that I too need more than one, and to not clutter them or my mind can’t stay on track, but bought ones work better for bills, appointments, etc. Then I’ve got a sketch pad for craft stuff and another for arty drawing. And a lined book for my crafts and BOMs. I need to organise my paperwork again though into some sort of system and not a bottomless box 😂 I’m so glad the journal is helping you 😁 Actually my journals are right in front of me ready to be updated 😁 but I too feel like 2018 is going to be another fast flowing one.

    • Kristie Cook says:

      I think once I finally get into a regular routine things will smooth themselves out. Change is never easy even if it’s something you want! 🙂

  3. Sandra says:

    Full time working is wonderful for the money you have to spend, but horrible for no time. When I was teaching (English – major homework load, and French) I rarely sewed except for school breaks. Now I have retired, I have time, but have to be smart about the $$! Seems crazy to have and use a planner when retired but I find it works for me. 🙂

    • Kristie Cook says:

      That is very true! Since I’m an adjunct I can only get up to 25 hours a week. It pays well & leaves me with time to create. A happy medium for now! 🙂

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