Planning for the New Year is always exciting. But then, I’m a goal driven girl, so it’s to be expected. I like lists, competitions, (even if only with myself) and due dates. They keep me accountable.
I’m also a ride or die pen and paper gal. There’s something about physically writing things down that help organize my thoughts. And this never proves more true than planning for the New Year. I have a feeling you might be similar?
I love stickers, pretty pens, highlighters, daily task sheets, and planners. And if you do, you’re in the right place. Here are my top picks for planners and all the fun accessories that go along with them to help map out your new year.
Planning for the New Year:
I’ve done allll the planners. Erin Condren for three years, two years with the Passion Planner, then the Creator and Cultivator planner from Target. And many a planner in between. However, my newest favorite is the Cultivate What Matters planner.
I don’t like to use different planners for family and business. But, it’s a struggle to find one that works for both. Keeping appointments like dental cleanings and piano, and also when and my next blog post or collaboration is due. Who has the time to reference two different calendars?
Which is why I think the Cultivate Planner has it figured out. (It’s also why I use colored pens. More on that later.) I also love their Write The Word Journals and use it as part of my morning bible study.
I’m not going to dive too deep in the Cultivate Planner in this post. I’ve got so many other fun items and tips to share! But, I did make a 12 minute YouTube video that dives into it pretty extensively, and should give you a good idea if it’s something you might enjoy!
One small note: I’d definitely recommend their full year planner instead of the 6 month. I’m already struggling because I have trips planned for July and the end of the year, and now need to purchase another 6 month planner. It’s not really planning for the new year when you only get a six month planner! It was on a killer sale towards the end of last year, which is why I snagged the 6 month one. Live and learn.
Give me all the stickers
I love a good planner, but make it pretty.
While the planner I picked is colorful and gorgeous, I love adding little personal touches to it. These watercolor-ish floral stickers make my heart skip a beat. Maybe it’s because we’re in the middle of winter and anything plant-like makes me swoon, but I’m all over these pretty little sticker sets.
Not only great for your planner, they’re a perfect way to seal a card to a friend, dress up a water bottle or note book, a laptop, scrapbook, luggage, you get the idea!
Shop floral stickers
Pens and Highlighters:
I have a slight addiction to cute pens. Honestly though, they disappear so fast I don’t mind having lots on hand. I don’t know who my pen thief is, (It could very well be me leaving them places) but it’s okay because I have a constant obsession to purchase more.
Shop my favorites:
My most recent purchase was these pens and I absolutely love them! They don’t bleed over onto the next page, and the colors are bright and pretty. They don’t skip when you write, and the thin tips make the writing crisp and clear.
My family knows me well. They understand planning for the new year is something I look forward too, so they gave me these paper mate gel pens in my stocking. They are also a new favorite of mine.
Tips for keeping your planner organize
Tabs, tabs, and more tabs. You can’t have enough. Get the ones that easily peel off the pages so you can move them around. I have a tab for my blog post queue that I change every month and season, I keep the tab on the most current one.
Also, I tab the goals I have for the month and simply write “Goals” on it. I like to look at that tab every morning after my bible study to ground and focus me.
2. Color coding
This is where all my pretty colored pens come in handy.
For kids appointments and lessons I use purple. Blog posts I use orange. For Instagram posts I use red. Important dates like birthdays and anniversary I use pink.
And you get the picture.
Write at the top of the month in the correct color what it stands for. It will be easy to search your calendar once you get a rhythm going and your brain registers the color for the activity.
I keep my planner open on my dest at all times unless I have an appointment where I’ll need it or I want to go to a coffee shop and work. Then I’ll package it up and off we go.
Here are a few cute storage options for your planner and accessories:
Sunday evenings are the time I sit down, usually with some wine in hand, and plan the upcoming week.
The first thing I do is transfer items from last week I didn’t get done onto the next week. Not every item needs transferred, but usually a few do.
From there I go to my blog post queue and grab the posts that work best for that week or are due based on a collaboration. I plug them into the right dates (my posts usually come out Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I then write in what things I need to get done in the days leading up to that post.
A few examples:
Dessert project: Bake Tuesday and photograph. Write up Wednesday and go live Thursday.
Crafting or building project: Most often with building something, I’ll start the prep a few weeks in advance depending on how large the project is. Crafting is usually done same week.
After I have the projects and timelines outlined, making sure our homeschool time and dinner times are free, I’ll go back in and decide dinners for the week.
I like to do the dinners last because looking at the day and what we have planned, I know how much time I’ll have to spend on making dinner that night. If Travis and I are building all day, I’ll order a pizza from Papa Murphys or make nachos or tacos. Easy. If it’s a slower day, I’ll spend more time making a meal with a few side dishes.
And that’s my weekly planning! It usually takes 30 to 45 minutes to plan depending on how busy the week is.
I’ll sit down the last Sunday of the month (Sunday evenings just seem to work best for me. It’s also my cleaning day. After church each Sunday I clean the house top to bottom. Bathrooms, vacuuming, all the laundry. I love waking up to a clean house and a planned week Monday mornings!)
Anyhow! The last Sunday of the month not only will I do my weekly planning, I’ll also write out the next month as much as I can. Any important dates, appointments, and meetings I take note of and color code. I’ll also look over my blog post queue and add to it as needed, as well as brainstorm upcoming projects and ideas. This takes a little longer, but honestly, not too much.
The weekly planning for me is where it’s at. I’ve found that my creative brain doesn’t love the structure of a month planned out. I love being spontaneous, which is why the structure of a week at a time seems to be my sweet spot.
How are you planning for the new year?
I’d love to hear how you plan out your weeks and months. Are you more or less structured than me? Oddly, it’s taken years to finally figure out what works for me! I felt for the longest time I was failing because I had troubles creating a content calendar for six months out. Once I released the hangup that I had to work a certain way, I got so much more productive! Truly allow yourself to play with your schedule and find what works best for you!
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