Planning & Productivity Part 1 - Getting Started

Ahh, planning!   The planner community has considerably grown in recent years, and for good reason. Despite all the advances in technology, most people still need to write down their to do list, appointments and what not. It's not surprising, really, considering how ingrained "writing it down" has become to many of us.   Today I want to talk a little about how I plan and stay productive. And the tools I use to do and stay so. At the end of this post I will have some pretty great goodies so stay tuned and enjoy!

Ahh, planning! 

The planner community has considerably grown in recent years, and for good reason. Despite all the advances in technology, most people still need to write down their to do list, appointments and what not. It's not surprising, really, considering how ingrained "writing it down" has become to many of us. 

Today I want to talk a little about how I plan and stay productive. And the tools I use to do and stay so. At the end of this post I will have some pretty great goodies so stay tuned and enjoy!

Planning:

I never thought I would be the kind of girl who decorated an expensive planner and then used that as an excuse to how I stay productive. And it's certainly true that you absolutely do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on planner supplies to have a successful day, week or year. But if you are anything like me, you are a lot more likely to actually put something to use if it is attractive to your eye and you enjoy using. 

I used my fair share of ugly planners and even tried to go fully digital before I discovered the planner community and the world of Plum Paper, Erin Condren and Happy Planners. My first thought was: "why on earth would I spent over $50 for a planner?!" And believe me when I say that I hemmed and hawed over buying one! In the end I saw what so many amazing women were accomplishing by using their planners and the creative outlet that it provided that I freely admit I jumped on the bus. 

My first "real" planner was a Plum Paper design and I followed it up with an Erin Condren Life Planner because I just had to know what all the fuss was about. For me, the Plum Paper was simply the best option (more on that in a later post) and I can say with 100% certainty that planning has become almost a lifestyle, an outlet and the sole key to my productivity. 

My first planner attempt was a horizontal Sugar Paper LA planner I purchased from Target. Although I absolutely adored the simplicity of planning in this planner, the design just did not fit my needs. 

My first planner attempt was a horizontal Sugar Paper LA planner I purchased from Target. Although I absolutely adored the simplicity of planning in this planner, the design just did not fit my needs. 

Productivity:

Productivity to me means having a successful day where I accomplish my goals and tasks in a timely manner and no one gets hurt. 

In order for me to achieve this I need to have a few systems in place that can back each other up and act as failsafes when I reach overload or am stuck dealing with an idiot for a client all afternoon. I know this isn't nice to say but the reality is that I spend a LOT of time with individuals who haven't the first clue how to make their business work for them without costing them a fortune. True, this is why they have either come to me for help or hired me to help them, however it is quite a daunting task. It's often a lot like trying to explain how spontaneous human combustion works to a fish. Often I can not quickly and smoothly move from one task to the next and I need to make sure that Houston has no problems each day. 

This is where I need my planner to make all the difference, even if it means I have to plan each day to the minute. A lot of women in the planner community are teachers and stay at home parents or small business owners themselves. Where I do not look down on this, it's a whole lot different than juggling ten clients (all with different needs) all at once. And this is where the beauty of the free printable comes in. 

From brain dumping to itemized structure, Miss Tiina has repeatedly saved my life  with her amazing printables. 

Miss Tiina printables are one of those things that you can easily use for any aspect of your life. Here, I like to use them to structure a work day in the event my Plum Paper is not up to the task. 

Miss Tiina printables are one of those things that you can easily use for any aspect of your life. Here, I like to use them to structure a work day in the event my Plum Paper is not up to the task. 

Planning & Productivity:

Armed with my handy printables and my fantastic planner, I have a few other tools I would like to highlight before I get you to the goodies. 

Digital Madness Overload:

I do still use digital filing for a hundred and one things and I do so in the form of EverNote. Because I cannot keep my client files on paper (for numerous reasons, the most obvious being why would I want to???) and because I cannot keep the five hundred business cards I have collected just this quarter in my planners, I need EverNote to sort me out.  Truth: I have files for everything in stacks for more of everything. A personal stack is password protected and contains vital information about my family and home while the stacks on my business branding boards is open. Client log ins are pass word protected and absolutely every one of my clients has a stack of notebooks of their own. EverNote is basically my brain and without it not only would my business fail but I am pretty sure I would die. 

Even my bags have bags:

Keeping everything together and organized is made simply with ThirtyOne. Last year I decided that enough was enough with my ThirtyOne addiction and I became a consultant. While yes, this does enable me to receive many products for free the bigger part is that it is another business to juggle. And anyone who knows ThirtyOne as a business knows that there's virtually no way to contain it to a virtual office and filing system. 

I am lucky enough to be able to keep everything I need to remain productive as each day flows into a week by using a few great products from ThirtyOne. Having everything together and able to be taken mobile changed my life and bettered my business because I was so highly organized. 

I am lucky enough to be able to keep everything I need to remain productive as each day flows into a week by using a few great products from ThirtyOne. Having everything together and able to be taken mobile changed my life and bettered my business because I was so highly organized. 

Going mobile and staying sane:

When it comes to keeping my plans organized, I required something a bit... more. Having my amazing Plum Paper planner was wonderful but where was I supposed to keep my pens? Or my notes from the last brain dump? Being on the go and needing to constant both take and refer to notes for client discovery calls, etc, I opted to order myself a case from daMommie Cases that would keep things in order, clean and able to move, on the go when and where I needed to move. 

So Ends Post 1:

Now that I've handed you some great tools on how to master your productivity (with an outline on how to layout your days and weeks in Wednesdays post), how would you like to be able to shop my collection:

 

Plum Paper

The wonderful people behind Plum Paper planners have offered an exclusive promo code just for you lovely readers! 

Use code ELLE10 and take 10% off your next purchase.

The wonderful people over at Plum Paper planners has 

 

 

daMommie Cases

Tonya of daMommie Cases is one of the sweetest people I know.

And she is offering my readers a 10% discount using code ESENTME on her storefront. 

 

daMommie Cases promo!

Planner Penny

I have used Planner Penny stickers exclusively now for a year and can honestly say they are the best! Kim is so amazing she is offerng my readers a 20% discount!

Use code ELLE20 to take advantage of this sale. 

Planner Penny promo!

Finally, as promised I have created a ThirtyOne party just for you! And as an amazing "thank you" t each of my readers and subscribers I will be hosting a giveaway at the end of the week, awarding one lucky winner all the hostess benefits from the party! All you have to do is place an order to start stocking up on products and you'll automatically be entered to win! As a bonus, if you cook a party with me you'll be entered to win 10 more times, raising your chances to claim the amazing Hostess Exclusive benefits! 

Head on over and start partying now and I will see you all on Wednesday for the next Productivity and Planning installment!

Until next time,

Comment

Elle Ay Esse

I'm Elle, a California girl transplanted to the Midwest with a goal of landing in New Orleans some time in the next five years. I'm self taught in all aspects of design, harking back to the bygone era of MySpace custom flash layouts. I have an eye for pattern and a love for color that makes me a perfect candidate for working as a web designer. Combining my love of design with coding and helping others and I am a natural teacher of all things blog related. My first ever blog was created on AOL Hometowns back n 2003 so I have had a lot of time and experience watching Blog Land grow and evolve and become a place of sharing stories, reviewing products and even making enough money to help support their families.