How I Became More Productive

When you are a wife, a mom and a small business owner, organization and planning is the key to productivity. I truly have seen my business flourish so much since utilizing this system.

I've heard the stereotype about creatives.  I know I can absolutely fit in that stereotype.

Maybe you other creatives out there don't have to work as hard at being organized like I do. Maybe you're an artist and planning and organizing is second nature to you.  If so, raise your hand and let me know!

I have found that becoming a mom of multiples has not only demanded the need for organization its caused me to yearn for it.  And ultimately I've seen how being more organized effects my productivity with my family life as well as a creative business owner.

Use the things in your planner that inspire you.  For me this is color, art, and quotes.  I see open my planner daily so it's important to me that I'm inspired when I do.  These happy little stickers were purchased and downloaded off of Etsy.  Thanks Mandy for that sweet little happy!

Use the things in your planner that inspire you.  For me this is color, art, and quotes.  I see open my planner daily so it's important to me that I'm inspired when I do.  These happy little stickers were purchased and downloaded off of Etsy.  Thanks Mandy for that sweet little happy!

Early last year I got frustrated with my digital calendar.  

I constantly felt like I was forgetting things that my husband had told me about, doctors appointments for the babies and school functions for my second grader.  I saw a friend of mine talk about her paper planner and I began the ultimate research on Pinterest of course. There are lots of different variations of planners out there with lots of different prices.

I found that the Erin Condren Life Planner perfectly fit my needs.  (This is NOT a paid ad for the EC Life Planner, although Erin, if you would like to offer me a discount for next years planner I wouldn't say no). This planner gives you a monthly calendar view along with a weekly view.  You have the option for a vertical, horizontal or an hourly layout.  The vertical layout is also broken up into 3 boxes to be categorized however you need.  You could label them "morning, afternoon, evening" or you could have one for appointments, one for To-Do's and another for whatever your need is.  There is also extra lined spaces on the sides and bottom which is where I like to list out my Daily Sketch Prompts and my Menu Plan for the week.

Blank paper in the back of the EC life planner allow for journaling or "Master List" making.  I refer to this list when I am planning out my week and my month.  Thus...more productivity!

Blank paper in the back of the EC life planner allow for journaling or "Master List" making.  I refer to this list when I am planning out my week and my month.  Thus...more productivity!

I'm a big believer in color. I like it! It makes me happy. You'll never see me in all black and if you do you know something's up. 

It's the same with my planner.  I need it to LOOK pretty and colorful so that I am drawn to it.  If I had a simple black and white covered planner with simple black and white calendars I wouldn't be excited about opening it, so I probably wouldn't and therefore my life wouldn't be nearly as organized or productive, right?

Not all of you ladies out there like color as much as I do thought.  Some of you need calming neutrals.  Some of you get all giddy about simple black and white.  Thats what makes this world go round.  Use what you like.  Find something that will make you happy so that you will WANT to use it!

Some perfectly lovely ladies like to go all crazy and decorate each day with stickers.  

There are You Tube videos galore of women decorating their planners.  You go ladies!  I know your planners are bomb!

I, however, cannot do that. 

I do use some stickers to help me better organize my planner.  The ones above I've used 2 packs of already for this year.  I use the same ones over and over so when my eyes glance over them I know what they are. And they are pretty! Bonus.  

I also researched pens when I purchased my planner.  This brand was highly recommend by the You Tubing ladies as well as the Pinterest EC planner fans.  They don't bleed through the paper and mess up the other side. Perfect!

I have a color assigned to every member of my family. Again, this helps me easily know with just a glance who has what going on that day.  Now when my husband comes home and tells me about his next student event I grab my orange pen (Go Vols) and write it in my planner.

In addition to assigning a color for each family member, I have a specific color assigned for OFF THE WALL HOME.  

I only use this color when I am writing down something for Off The Wall Home.  In my To Do list, I use this color when I need to add something for Etsy, our Happy eMail Newsletter or the blog.  This has been a huge help for me in staying accountable and  keeping up with my own work.  When you are a wife, a mom and a small business owner, organization and planning is the key to productivity.  I truly have seen my business flourish so much since utilizing this system.

How I Became More Productive with Paper Planning

TIP: Leave your planner sitting out somewhere where you will see it and it will get used!  

This one is huge for me.  I know we like to be all tidy and have things up on the shelf where they belong, but for me, if it's not out every single day for me to see it, it will not get used every single day.  I learned this tip from Ashley at Under The Sycamore when taking her Snap Shop online photography class.  She has the same theory for the camera and using it every day. And it works!  

Just try it and see.  Designate a spot for your planner on the kitchen counter beside your coffee maker.  Or leave it on your desk if you have one at home where your computer is.  I leave mine sitting on the table in my studio.  This is where I come every single morning and start my day. I even leave it open when I am filling it in at night so when I come sit down the next morning all I have to do is look at it.

What do you think?  Are you a digital planning ride or die girl? What paper planner do you prefer?

  • EC Life Planner purchased online.  (Click on the link provided above for $10 off)
  • STAEDTLER pens purchased at target.  (can be found at any office store and amazon)
  • Planner stickers and bookmarks purchased at Michaels.