Uncategorized · Planning

Planning… How to choose a planner?

Part 3 of 3

Over the past couple of weeks I have introduced you to the idea of planning, why you should consider it. how to start yourself off and how I plan. Now we are looking at how to choose a planner that will suit you. There are so many of different options out there – weekly planners, monthly planners, daily planners, spiral bound, disc bound, ring bound, traveler’s notebooks, bullet journal, and the list goes on! But which one is right for you?


There’s a few things you should remember before choosing your planner

1 – A planner is simply a tool to help you get organised, its not going to do it for you. It will help you plan your time more effectively, but its not going to give you more hours in the day. The better your skills become at planning the more you will get done with the time you have.

2 – Don’t wait until you find the perfect planner before getting started, there’s no such thing as the perfect planner for you – but you will find one that works for you now and which may be different from what will work for you in a year. Your planning needs will evolve and so will your planner.

3 – What do you want? Sit down with a pen and paper and figure out what you want to plan. Its easy to get caught up with ideas from Pinterest and blogs on things you should be or could be planning for but, what do you need.

4 – If you are using a planner already or used one in the past think about what worked well and what didn’t work so well.

5 – Now think about what would you like to be able to do with your planner…

  • Size – do you want to carry it around with you, or leave it on your desk at home or work?
  • Detail – do you what to plan out every aspect of your day, or would you like an over view of what you want to get done in your week/month – or is it a mix? Do you need to include your children’s and husband’s schedule as well, Do you need good page organisation and lots of space to accommodate everything.
  • Permanent or removable – are you happy with a fixed layout, or would you prefer flexibility, and how flexible?
  • Binding – Will it be strong enough to carry in a bag without getting damaged. For example if you want to carry a spiral planner you will probably need covered wire for durability.
  • Extras – Most planners include extra things like pages for taking notes, birthday pages, etc. Think about which ones you will actually use and which you won’t, and know which ones you can’t live without. Do you need the option of adding extras?
  • Design – apart from how pretty it is, Are there pockets for storage? Plenty of pages for notes?
  • Timeline – some planners start in August and end December the following year, others are 12 months, January-December, others are undated and can start any time.
  • Style – you are going to be looking at your planner a lot over the next 12 month, and if its something you love to own and use, it will keep you motivated to use it.

Planner Size

The planner size will depend ultimately on your preference and how much you want it to hold. But to give you an idea of sizes available, these are the sizes of paper inserts for ring bound planners, but most planners come in these standard sizes.


The next consideration is your preferred layout, the most common are monthly, weekly and daily.

Monthly Planners

If you like an overview of your month, a big picture view of appointments, activities and events and a place to write done a few key to do’s or goals, a monthly planner could be perfect for you.


Weekly Planners

The next level up is a weekly planner, giving you more scope to add details to your days and giving you space to add more daily tasks and goal setting. There are different options of layouts with horizontal, vertical or even hourly – find the style that suits your needs best.


Daily Planners

When you really need to organise your day in detail, by hour or just have so much to plan for each day then you may need to move up to a daily planner, basically having a page for each day. Layouts can vary, with options of finding one that has the hours broken down for you to a blank page per day… find one that suits your needs


Types of Planners

6 Ring Binder

Probably the most popular type of planner, with so many fabulous designs and are reusable year on year. Examples include, Filofax and Carpe Diem. These aren’t cheap planners that you use for 12 months and throw out. They can be personalised and are designed to be reusable, and will last years when well maintained. There are lots of options to personalise them with many shops supplying different inserts.


Discbound Binder

It combines the personalisation of a binder system, but a lighter system. They can be folded back on themselves making them easy to write on. They are not as common as other types of planners.


Coil or Spiral Bound Planners

Coil/Spiral bound planner systems are also a very popular option. They are distinctly known for their heavy metal coil that are strong and durable. Now, these planners are not reusable, which is important to keep in mind, and many coil/spiral bound systems can run you the same price as a reusable binder.


Wire bound Planners

Like coil bound planners, wire bound planner systems are also not a reusable option because they are spiral bound, however, these planners are slightly different from coil bound planners because their binding is a cinch style wire, instead of the heavy duty coil. Generally speaking, these planners are less expensive because of the lower cost binding method used.


Book bound planners

As the name suggests, these planner systems are bound like books! Again, they are another non-reusable option, but generally speaking these planner systems are much more compact. So this is an option for those who prefer simplicity.

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Traveler’s Notebooks/Journals

Traveler’s notebooks are a planner system that are becoming more and more popular. Based on a unique binding of a reusable cover with a string band system that holds a variety of small bound notebooks together within the cover. In part this is a reusable system because you can use one cover over and over again, and in part this is a non-reusable system because the bound notebooks inside tend to be smaller notebooks and are easily filled up and need to be replaced depending on the frequency of their use.

TravelerNotebook mockups

Planner Accessories and Refills

If you purchase a reusable style planner, your planner will either come with a selection of inserts to get you started or you will have the option to select your inserts. There are a number of shops online that sell an even greater variety of refills and other accessories comparable with many planner systems

Oh yeah … what is a Bullet Journal

A bullet journal is a method of journaling and note-taking that uses bullet points as the core structure. You can use any planner that takes your fancy, but usually you will see people using a book bound journal or planner or a travelers notebook. You can keep a daily log (stuff you need to do or have done today), monthly log (traditional calendar with list of stuff you need to get done that month), rapid logging (symbols to help you keep track) and a future log (year at a glance). The main idea behind bullet journaling is that you jot down quick notes instead of writing long sentences. Its like a diary, todo list and journal in one.

Over the next few weeks I’ll go into a little more detail about travelers notebooks and bullet journals, and if there is anything you would like to know about ask away.

I hope you found this useful in helping you choose your new planner.

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest Mammy Planning, and on Facebook Paper Ink Planners and on Instagram Paper Ink Planners


Planning! Ok lets start…

Part 2 of 3

Last week we looked at reasons why you might want to or need to start planning.  You had a little exercise, on one sheet was the old way of planning, where you probably wrote too many to dos and didn’t get half the things checked off and probably forgot to check stuff off or even to refer to it during the week.  It might have been nice marking some of the things off, but a little frustrating not getting everything done.

On the second sheet (or sheets) is where there was value, its where you had your brain dump, cleared your head, there would have been more satisfaction and relief with the second sheet.  But now what to do with it… I follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done Method of planning and once you get started I find it the easiest and most effective.

First you need to take time and make sure you’ve everything on that (second) list, collect everything you must do, want to do, dream of doing, anything that’s unfinished or you are waiting to make a decision on.  Empty drawers, go through your inbox, old notebooks, walk around your house (applies to home, office or both).  This is the collection stage.

Once you have collected everything, process it… for every item ask yourself; what is the very next thing I need to do to get this done, if its only one thing that will take less than two minutes, do it.  Otherwise put it on your next actions list or delegate it to someone else or file it if its reference that you might need at another time.  You need to separate everything under the following ..

  1. Project list (anything that will take more than two steps to complete) You can separate your projects lists into home, business and personal, but make sure you give each equal priority.
  2. Next actions list (single action times)
  3. Inbox (open items you still need to make a decision on)
  4. Reference (information you may need again)
  5. Someday maybe (you don’t want to action now but maybe in the future)
  6. Waiting on (you’ve delegated to someone or waiting on something)

Now you can start filling out your calendar, but only with appointments/meetings and date specif projects/actions.

I divide out my next action list into mini lists, where they are relevant and I won’t miss them, so I have…

  • Desk (when I’m at my work desk, something I need to focus on on, or print or do at my computer)
  • Errands (when I’m out and about)

You need to look at your next action list every day, taking note of the things you could be doing that day.

You need to look at your projects list at least once a week, to update and look at what you need to be adding to your next action list… I’d have 5 to 10 projects on the go at a time, but keeping it simple just looking at the next step on each.

Have a couple of ‘Inboxes’ for new items/idea, a physical one that you can throw stuff into and notebook/planner/app to write things/idea down as they pop up. Keep that head clear, pop everything down (unless you need to do it right away and then do it!!) but trust in your system that you will empty these inboxes when you are doing your weekly review and add to your projects.

I’ve read David Allen’s book a few times and other blogs to get different views on the method and definitely think its worth giving a go.  Kara from Boho Berry had a few interesting blogs and I love her visuals to explain it


But how does this work in a practical everyday way…

The simplest way is demonstrate how I use it is to let you know how I planned today, Wednesday March 7th 2018..

In my planner I filled out all appointments, meetings, activities and deadlines for projects in my monthly calendar.  Every Sunday I empty my inbox, update my projects list and next actions list (takes me 15 to 20 minutes because I do it every week).  I also fill out a weekly planning sheet, I pull any appointments, activities from my calendar, I look at my next actions list and if there anything that needs to be done on a certain day I write that in.  And I write my pillars in, these are the everyday tasks I need to do to keep everything moving forward.

Everyones pillars are different, I’m a work at home mother so mine are between home and work tasks.   I have a basic cleaning routine, that’s roughly based on Fly lady’s model, I do one daily cleaning task and one zone cleaning task every day.  So today my daily cleaning task is vacuuming upstairs and a general pickup upstairs, my zone is halls and today’s task is wiping down the front and back door.  I’m sure I’ll spot other things that need doing as I’m going, but I get around to everything by following the routine and if I veer off and start doing other things it just messes up my day.  My house isn’t perfection, I’ve three kids, I cover most things every week and that’s fine… Momentum not perfection.   (I’m not planning out things like cooking and cleaning up after dinner etc, or even laundry as they just get done every day).  My other pillar are my work tasks, things like replying to customer enquiries, sending out invoices, getting parcels ready for delivery, I do as needed.  But I have days set for key activities, like blog writing, admin, scheduling posts etc.  today I’m editing and scheduling this blog.

Between school and playschool drop offs, collections and activities I have two blocks of time to get everything done… and I’ve a two year old at home….


When I get up I have a coffee and look at my day ahead so I know exactly what I need to do … Momentum not perfection… if I run out of time I move on and come back to it later, or it doesn’t get done today, it’s not the end of the world.

After school drop offs – I’ve a two hour window to get stuff done

Planned …

Work Tasks (1 hour max)

  • Edit blog, do graphics
  • Schedule blog to post later in day
  • Send invoices
  • Chase supplier about delivery
  • Next actions list – desk.. register warranty

Home Tasks (1 hour max)

  • Pick up upstairs
  • Vaccum
  • Zone – doors

If I get that done I’m having a coffee before the playschool pick up, my lunch and then the school pick up.


Activities and play-date this afternoon – but have an hour after lunch


  • finish any work tasks from this morning
  • next action list – 5 minute list item before heading out the door


Homework, dinner, tidy, bedtime, put away laundry and I’ll have a final look at today tasks, emails, messages etc that need to be finished.

I wasn’t in town so I didn’t look at my errands list, I was at home but didn’t look at my home list as I had enough to do.  Don’t set yourself too many tasks in one day, if you find you have time by all means go to your next actions list but planning isn’t about working harder, its about getting the most out of your day while moving forward ..

Momentum not perfection

Let me know what you think, is this a planning system that could work for you?  Next week I’ll look at different types of planners and how to choose one that will work for you.

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest Mammy Planning, and on Facebook Paper Ink Planners and on Instagram Paper Ink Planners


Planning! Where do I start?

Part 1 of 3

I started this series before Christmas, but never finished it (irony lol) and also I got very busy with my business.  I will finish it this time …promise

You’ve seen the posts, blogs, articles before….. Planning for a successful week, Setting Plans for the New Year, How to set up a Bullet Journal, etc – but have ignored them, as its not really your thing, too much hassle, you’re not organised enough.  But is it?  Have you ever wondered do you need to start planning?  And just don’t know where to start!

Ask yourself the following…

  • Are you overwhelmed by the amount of things you need to do and remember?
  • Do you lie in bed awake at night thinking about the things you need to do?
  • In the mountain of “stuff”, do you find you forget things?
  • Do you find yourself in a panic or rush with last minute errands or tasks?
  • Do you write down to do lists on different pieces of paper or apps and loose them, or forget to look at them?
  • Do you forget about the movie you wanted to see or book you wanted to read?
  • Do you forget what you had planned for dinner, or forget to pick something up in the shop?
  • Do you find you skip from one task to the next without completing anything?
  • Do you get annoyed with yourself for not getting enough done?


If any of the above sounds familiar to you, it may be time to start planning.  Many of us are excellent at planning in our work environment but fail to carry it through to our home lives.


So lets try an experiment, this week you need to grab two pieces of paper and a pen.

On sheet 1,  write out your week, 7 days, with any appointments, non nonnegotiables that have to be done, etc.  Then write a basic list of to do’s, nothing hectic what you’d hope to get done this week, any errands you need to get done, anything you need to buy.  Stick it up somewhere you will see it and mark things off as you get them done.


On sheet 2, Start with a blank page, also open a notes section on your phone or even text yourself.  This is where any time one of those I need to, I want to, I really should, That needs to be … all those things that pop into your head.  Don’t do anything with them just make a note of them (unless its something that needs to be done this week and then write it on Sheet 1), you may need more paper – even sit down with a glass of wine tonight and just clear your head.


Dont try and get ahead of yourself, planning is all about getting more done with less stress.


Next week, Part 2 … don’t worry about that till next week


If you found the above helpful I’d love to hear your feedback.  Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest Mammy Planning, and on Facebook Paper Ink Planners and on Instagram Paper Ink Planners


Planning! Where do I start?

Mammy Planning

Part 1 of 3

I started this series before Christmas, but never finished it (irony lol) and also I got very busy with my business.  I will finish it this time …promise

You’ve seen the posts, blogs, articles before….. Planning for a successful week, Setting Plans for the New Year, How to set up a Bullet Journal, etc – but have ignored them, as its not really your thing, too much hassle, you’re not organised enough.  But is it?  Have you ever wondered do you need to start planning?  And just don’t know where to start!

Ask yourself the following…

  • Are you overwhelmed by the amount of things you need to do and remember?
  • Do you lie in bed awake at night thinking about the things you need to do?
  • In the mountain of “stuff”, do you find you forget things?
  • Do you find yourself in a panic or rush…

View original post 371 more words


New Year … My best year 2018

So here we are nearly at the end of February and I’m only writing about my new year now!!!  I’ll be honest I had a busy few months with my planner business and took my eye off the blog.  Worse I started a 3 part series of blogs and never finished them!!!  But that’s me, I go head into a project with a rough idea what I’m doing but no proper plan, goals or strategy.   I’m super at organising the practical things, and I do love my lists, but unless its on a list somewhere I loose momentum and its forgotten.

I had a great first year in business last year, but it was a little haphazard, with no real goals and targets – that all sounded a bit serious.  But if I want to move forward I need to set some, but where to start?  I do enjoy planning and organisation blogs and vlogs, and found a super vlog by Laura from “How to get your shit together” on goal setting and she had a review of Lisa Jacobs “Your best year 2018”.  And based on her review I had to purchase it. So here’s my little review too, its not to late to start your best year.


I am a novice at this kind of stuff and needed a book that not only explained what I needed to do, but brought me along and showed me.  And that’s exactly what this does.  Its not just a book but a workbook.  She starts with an introduction on how the workbook works, she explains the philosophy of the book and how she sets her years’ goals, etc and she asks questions on where you are now and where you want to go.  She has a load of exercises to bring you along, and she also has sample answers to help you when you are stuck.



By the end you’ll have reasons why you are doing what you are doing, an annual stratgey of where you are going and want to go, an actual plan (yipee!!!!), everyday action plans and monthly tracking sheets to keep you focused and on track for the year .. its everything you need in one book.  I’ll be keeping it on my desk and referring to it all year.



She also has a personal version for anyone who is more focused on personal goals for 2018, but this one has a mix of both.  And as a working at home mammy my goals are business, family and personal…. it all counts.

I’d definitely recommend this book and it can be purchased on amazon, not sure what retailers in Ireland stock it.

I’m going to be looking at different ways and tips to help organise my life as the year goes on, reviewing different books, experts and the advise that’s out there.  Of course I have to finish that series I started before Christmas, and I’ll be looking at budgeting, and other topics to get the most of you home life.  I’m very excited to be going forward and hope you will join me.


If you found the above helpful I’d love to hear your feedback.  Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest Mammy Planning, and on Facebook Paper Ink Planners and on Instagram Paper Ink Planners

christmas · Planning · Uncategorized

10 Week Plan for a Stress Free Christmas.

Almost everything can become less stressful when a little thought and a plan is put in place.  10 Weeks out is the perfect amount of time to start getting ready for Christmas, its close enough to feel like you’re not starting too early and far enough out to give you enough time to have everything in place.  The following is my 10 week plan to a stress free Christmas.  It’s flexible enough to be modified to suit your needs, but getting a few things done every week will mean by the time Christmas week comes around you will have time to relax and enjoy the festivities instead of last minute stressing.

Little P.S. before we start; I’m not even going to suggest when you should put up your decorations or tree, everyone has their own opinion on that.

10 Weeks Out

  • Conduct a Christmas Audit – have a look around the house for decorations, wrapping paper, sticky tape, gifts you have already purchased, ingredients for baking etc; anything you don’t need to buy again – make a list of what you have a what you need.
  • Write out your perfect Christmas schedule, basically your wish list of activities, places to go, people to see and when you’d ideally do them.
  • Write out your gift list, who are you buying for what are you getting for them
  • Write out your Christmas budget, what can you afford to put away this month, November and December – merging you wish list of activities, gifts for family and friends, and what you still need to get (yeah I know basically everything!! But at least you know what you can afford now). Also keep a track of all spending to help you budget next year.
  • If you need to book anything, eg santa, dinner with friends etc, now’s the time to do it
  • Now’s the time to get those Aliexpress/Wish orders in if you want to get them in on time
  • Buy a Christmas scented candle, might as well get the ball rolling

9 Weeks Out

  • Write your Christmas card list, who are you posting to, who are you giving by hand
  • Buy teachers’ gifts, and cards and/gifts for school friends
  • Buy ingredients for Christmas baking (cake, pudding, mince pies, cookies)

8 Weeks Out

  • Buy friends and neighbours gifts
  • Buy sticky tape for wrapping
  • Buy command hooks/strips for hanging decorations
  • Schedule confirmed plans and activities into your Christmas calendar
  • Get baking!! Time to make Christmas cakes and pudding. Make mince pies and cookies now and pop them into the freezer

7 Weeks Out

  • Make your on line shopping wish list, check out deals and offers – Black Friday is 24th November this year so special offers will be offered around this time
  • Declutter your wardrobes, time to throw away some items – maybe some relatives are asking for gift suggestions, this year you could actually tell them what you need
  • Buy Christmas outfits/PJs
  • Get your family portrait taken for your Christmas card, if you order them

6 Weeks Out

  • If you make hampers, start them now
  • Buy the last of the family gifts, don’t forget your partner
  • Order Christmas cards if you get them specially printed
  • Or buy your Christmas cards

5 Weeks Out

  • Make or buy your advent calendar
  • Buy wrapping paper and gift tags
  • Buy Christmas crackers
  • Write Christmas cards

4 Weeks Out

  • Stock up on the drinks cabinet
  • Stock up on pantry items
  • Buy/Order your Christmas Wreath
  • Order flowers for presents, family graves etc
  • Post gifts/cards to family and friends in Australia, New Zealand, etc by the end of this week

3 Weeks Out

  • Declutter kids toys, bin/recycle broken ones and donate good ones
  • Post gifts/cards to family and friends in USA, Canada, etc by the end of this week

2 Weeks Out

  • Make ginger bread house
  • Wrap presents
  • Go for a walk/drive to see Christmas lights in your area
  • Post gifts/cards to family and friends in Great Britain and Europe by the end of this week
  • Buy icing for cakes, cookies etc

1 Week Out

  • Print out Christmas printable and activities for kids
  • Post gifts/cards to family and friends in Ireland by the end of this week
  • Read Christmas stories
  • Watch Christmas movies
  • Ice Christmas cakes, cookies, etc

Christmas Week

  • Enjoy, time to set your own Christmas Traditions

There’s loads of free printables on Pinterest to give you inspiration, and a little motivation to get started.  And as I said earlier this is a guideline, feel free to make this list your own.

If you found the above helpful I’d love to hear your feedback.  Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest Mammy Planning, and on Facebook Paper Ink Planners and on Instagram Paper Ink Planners


Autumn Bucket List – 25 Things to do this Autumn

One of the things I enjoy about planning is making fun seasonal to do’s list for my planner.  Here’s my Autumn Bucket List, with a mix of things to cook, activities with the kids, family activities out and about, some practical stuff and some just for me’s


  • Buy an autumn scented candle
  • Make a caramel smoothie
  • Make and decorate a “thankful for” list
  • Have a bonfire
  • Go through summer clothes
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Make an Apple Pie
  • Create a leaf craft
  • Go for a long walk
  • Check fire alarms
  • Watch a scary movie (proper grown up one)
  • Make toffee apples
  • Make a DIY front door wreath
  • Play hopscotch
  • Plant some Spring bulbs
  • Read a scary book
  • Try a new soup recipe
  • Carve a pumpkin
  • Go blackberry picking
  • Clear out the spice press
  • Have a pumpkin spiced latte
  • Make a chilli
  • Play conkers
  • Jump in some leaves
  • Make a Christmas Bucket List


If you liked my Autumn Bucket List, keep an eye on my blog as I’m currently working on a practical guide to planning for Christmas, and of course my fun Christmas Bucket List.

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