What I learned in July

This has been a full month of birthdays, holidays, and catching up at work.

It’s been fun to start and play with a new bullet journal

I’m using dot grid this time and it’s fun! Like blank, but more structured. My 3rd bullet journal last year was blank so this is the third type I’m trying out.

Speaking of bullet journals, are you signed up to my list? My newsletter’s going out later today and there’s a fun bullet journal survey in there.

If you’re on instagram and you use a bullet journal, please take a pic and tag me @organisingqueen so I can come see yours.

You can go to the beach and relax even without beach weather

Like last year, we mostly had cold, wintry weather at the beach. Last year, we spent 10 days there and had 2 proper beach days, while this year, we spent 7 days and had 1.5 beach days.

We watched Wimbledon, read books, played games, went for walks (11 in the 7 days!) and had fun connecting as a family. Of course we also had no internet 🙂

We need to rethink the party situation

My twins are very different – I have an extrovert and an introvert. They wanted different types of parties this year and it was so interesting watching this all unfold, knowing that one of the parties would not have suited me at all, but was “perfect” for her.

That said, I felt “on” the whole weekend and was knackered at the end. I told myself it’s just once a year, which it is, but I’m wondering how to still have the separate parties but make it easier on the family (mostly me!) all round. I’m considering having them on two different weekends, but we’ll see. I took only 1 picture of the first party so maybe having a friend or parent around to help? Dion wasn’t allowed as it was a girls only party!!!

Any suggestions would be very welcome!

And one last fun thing, dipping bowls make great change bowls or ring holders 🙂

What did you learn during July?

My new bullet journal – #2 for 2017

I used my first bullet journal for 2017 (and my 4th overall) for the first 6 months of the year, and when the time came to replace it, I had a couple of choices:

  • use a thicker notebook for another 6 months, or
  • use thinner notebooks so I could try out a couple of different styles

I asked for your feedback here and you weighed in 🙂

Ultimately, I decided to try out a dot grid notebook since I have used blank and lined paper before. So I went with the one at the bottom of this stack.

So how am I feeling about my bullet journal choice, 3 weeks in?

  1. It’s a smaller notebook, so I feel sometimes like I’m cramming things onto a to-do list
  2. I’m still getting used to the dots (they’re quite light) and to be honest, it feels like I’m writing on blank paper most of the time 🙂
  3. I feel zero perfectionism about writing in this notebook. I’m not sure if that’s because there are another two waiting for me or because it’s a smaller page with rougher paper so it feels like it lends itself more toward scribbles.
  4. I love the rougher paper because it “soaks up” my gel pens. Yum!
  5. I’ve had to cover my notebook with plastic because I don’t want stains or moisture on the cardstock cover.
  6. I’ve migrated nothing but I did reprint my friendship spreadsheet and I took photos of my reading pages 🙂

What type of paper do you most enjoy in a notebook? Lined, dot grid, grid or blank paper?

Did you start a new bullet journal at the start of the year? Are you still using the same one?

PS I used 3 bullet journals over the course of last year, but I only started in March 2016.

My moleskine happiness

At the beginning of the year I told you all about how my actual favourite planner wasn’t available in our bookstore, and how I was using the shining planner instead.

That is all still true.

I’m also using a hybrid bullet journal/ planner system for this year.

What I may have not mentioned on the blog but my Instagram friends have definitely seen in my weekly planning posts is that I bought myself a Moleskine weekly notebook diary.

A local bookstore had a sale during February and had all their 18-month 2016/ 2017 diaries on special.

When I saw a nice purple one, I grabbed it and have been happily using it ever since.

So what do I now use for my weekly planning process?

  1. Shining planner
  2. iPhone
  3. Moleskine
  4. Bullet journal
  5. Delicious gel pens

(this seems like a lot but it only takes me 5 – 7 minutes after I uncomplicated my life again)

The Moleskine is thin enough that I can easily carry it around with me, together with my bullet journal, and it makes me so very happy to have all of my life visible and in one place 🙂

The point of this post (and today’s life and organising lessons) is to say this:

You can change your mind. If you thought something might work for you and it’s not doing its job quite like you envisioned, feel free to change it.

There are no gold stars for sticking with something that’s clearly not working.

Also, if there’s a tool that will make your life easier and you can afford to get it, do so! I’m talking about a planning tool here but I remember DesignMom once saying they had 5 hairbrushes in her girls’ room to make getting dressed easier.

In the comments do let me know if you’re doing something that’s no longer working for you.

Is there a place in your life that could work better if you bought something to augment your system?

PS next year (or later this year, I should say) I’m not faffing around – the minute the diaries appear in the shops, I’m looking around for the Legami and I’ll just hand over my card 🙂

Yip – I’m doing a bullet journal/ diary hybrid

I wrote a few weeks ago about my goals diary planner for this year. If you didn’t read that post, or just want to refresh your memory, you can find it here 🙂

And if you want to get your own copy, you can get it here.

Thanks to the comments and just common sense when I thought about it clearly, I’m going to do a hybrid this year.

This is my bullet journal

So how do I use each of them?

Let’s talk about the goals diary planner first. I use it for:

  • monthly planning of events
  • setting intentions and goals for the month ahead (I finally did January’s goals as a breakdown of my annual goals last week 🙂 Remember there are no rules for this stuff. You create your own rules)
  • weekly planning of the main things
  • weekly intentions: there are prompts for how you want to feel, what you’re grateful for, what you want to receive and what you’re giving yourself that week 🙂
  • monthly goals review (what I do on Goals Night. You can join me this year.)

And then, this is how I use my bullet journal.

Remember I don’t go super fancy because my aim in using one is getting stuff done 🙂 Here are my previous bullet journal posts.

  • I use it for my weekend to-do lists. This seems to be very popular on Instagram. Either that, or people are curious 🙂
  • Weekly accountability
  • Running list of things to buy
  • Friendship spreadsheet
  • Good ideas list (this is the stuff I get from the podcasts :))
  • Books read to me by the kids (they’re as motivated as I am by lists!)
  • Goals for 2017 (copied and pasted in)


The goals diary planner lives on my desk at home.

The bullet journal moves around with me. I only don’t take it to the gym with me because I don’t want any accidents happening with my water bottle, my gel pens and my bullet journal.

So tell me, what are you doing this year as far as planning is concerned? Diary/ planner? Bullet journal? Hybrid?

PS I actually asked the people at Exclusive Books if they ordered Legami diaries this year – they didn’t 🙁

What’s making me happier this week? 5

Guys, remember how I said before that my bullet journal was too pretty for scribbling?


It was all about the cute factor!

Well, I’ve got over that mindset challenge and I now scribble, make budgeting notes, highlight, use different colour pens on the same page, etc. I half-fill pages, I cross off things and I actually (gasp!) use my notebook.

And the fact that I have all the information with me in this little bullet journal makes me a lot happier.

Bullet Journal-008  Bullet Journal-006

Who else is bullet journalling?

Have you relaxed your standards, or were you realistic about the cute factor from the start? 😉

What I learned in May

11-01 2413

  1. 1 year on Instagram has been super fun

2. 4 years since my book was published (go get your $4 copy!) and it still feels unreal


3. 2 years of Fitbitting 🙂 Here’s 1 year with my Fitbit.

Let’s talk some more about this:

I’m not sure what happened but while I still wear my Fitbit diligently, I almost don’t really care about reaching step goals anymore. I think it started with our long, hot summer (8 months is a super long time to be too hot) but it could have been before that. I still wear the bracelet because I am mildly interested in seeing what I get to… but mostly I wear it because I love the sleep stats. Super love them.

You may remember that I had a serious goal at the beginning of last year to increase my sleep. That worked beautifully and so I continue to track my time this year because I’ve found that what I measure, I manage better. And I’m constantly at my 7 hours 30 mins of daily sleep which is great. I sleep way more than this some days which balances out the occasional 6.5 hour nights.

4. I can read 3 non-fiction books in a month. Yes, that’s what happened this month. I’m surprised too because I thought my absolute top limit was two books in a really, really good month.

5. When you don’t rest properly if you’re a bit ill, your body takes longer to heal. I know, all you clever clogs learned this long ago. It’s just a really bad time for me to be a bit ill, what with Spanish exams looming, 2 big business things happening at my real work and the not-so-small matter of selling and buying houses.

6. Konmari really works. We have move dates so I went through a few rooms thinking, ” I need to declutter so I can pack” and…. I threw out 3 knives, a pair of pants and a top. That’s awesome 🙂 If you’re thinking of moving, do Konmari 🙂

IMG_86257. I actually can mess up my Bullet Journal. I’ve started to consciously write nonsense in there too because it’s not a shrine to plannerly goodness; it’s a notebook, for goodness sake.

Bonus – it is really fun to washi up some pencils. Try it and see. I grabbed everyone’s pencils at work and in one client phone call, washi’d them all 🙂


Go on then, tell me. What did you learn in May?

Will I keep on bullet journalling?

Bullet journal | www.OrganisingQueen.com

So after experimenting with the bullet journal for two months, I find myself asking these questions:

  • will I continue to use the bullet journal?
  • do I even have a need for bullet journalling given the fact that I’ve added a to-do list to my diary?

Was I not keeping a notebook before that served the exact same purpose as a bullet journal, except for the scheduling?

Yes, I was.


The only things that are different between my notebooks through the years and this bullet journal is:

  1. the bullet journal has numbered pages and an index
  2. the bullet journal is slightly cuter and much neater than my notebooks used to be

Let’s talk about those two points:

Bullet journal | www.OrganisingQueen.com


I followed the rules and went through the entire 80-page notebook, numbering each page. I made an index but to be honest, I never go back and reference any pages. Maybe that’s because I’ve only been using it for two months but I do have a very visual memory and I tend to remember exactly where in my notebook something was written. Also, because it’s a chronological notebook, once I’m done with a few pages, I attach a binder clip to the pages I’ve done with.

The cute factor

This was an interesting thing for me to notice. I’m not sure if it was because of the indexing or the numbered pages, but I don’t feel like I can just scribble notes in the book, like I do with my “proper” notebooks. I always have a notebook next to me at the computer and when I’m doing transfers between my bank accounts, for example, I scribble figures in my notebook. I would never do this in my bullet journal. Maybe I feel like I need a list of some type?

If you scroll through the #bulletjournal or #bujo hashtags on Instagram, you will see some AMAZING books in the planner community. And they are all very neat, or maybe that’s the stuff we all Instagram? Hmmm.

Still, don’t feel overwhelmed or intimidated by all the cuteness. Do what feels right for you.

Bullet journal | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I’m writing that to myself too because here’s what I decided going forward:

  1. I’m going to use both my cute bullet journal and my scribbly HOPE notebook until the Hope notebook is used up, and then hopefully (haha!), I will feel able to scribble figures and such in my bullet journal.

2. If I do move onto another bullet journal this year, I won’t be bothering with indexing and numbers.

And then….. ta da da dum…..

I’m going to have a good think about only bullet journalling in 2017. At the moment I don’t think it would work for my style, given that I don’t want to be drawing layouts and such on a weekly basis, but never say never….


I do know that if I can bring myself to pay for a Legami weekly diary next year, I’ll use that one happily and only need a notebook for lists.

I am toying with getting a small, thin notebook (please let me know if you see them anywhere) that will easily fit into a standard A5 diary, because then it’ll be almost as good as those extra 50 pages at the back of a diary.

Where do you stand on the bullet journal and your personal organising/ planning style?

5 reasons for you to try a bullet journal

Bullet Journal | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Long before the bullet journalling trend exploded, I ran across the founder’s site and had a read. At the time, it looked like far too much work remembering symbols and such, so I clicked out and that was that.

Then everyone online started bullet journalling!

(As you can tell, I am not an early adopter; I am more a wait-and-see-er)

I’m still not convinced that the bullet journal is for me, but I thought I should at least explore it properly and I’d get a blog post or two out of it, and then be able to articulately express why it is or isn’t for me 🙂

Some background

My “system” has always been to use both a diary and a notebook to organise my life. I’ve written many times on this blog about keeping a notebook next to your computer at work, and definitely at home too.

The diary is for scheduling and some to-dos, and the notebook is for everything else.

See this post for full details

Current planning| www.OrganisingQueen.com

I like a thin notebook because I carry it around in my handbag. The craft/ blue notebook came in a set of 3 different designs (blue/ red/ green) from Woolworths for R36,95. I’ll take a pic for you soon of all of them because I bought more than one set since I liked them so much.

So, here are my initial thoughts about why you should consider trying out a Bullet Journal:

  1. will capture all your thoughts and lists in one place

I’m a big fan of a notebook catching all the bits and pieces, so this is awesome. If you’re someone with a list here, and a post-it note there, or a scrap of paper shoved into your bag, this is a great way to contain everything.

2. can be used for daily, weekly or even occasional planning

I’m a weekly planner myself, my husband is a daily planner and I know many Ps on Myers Briggs who are occasional planners. They only plan thoroughly for holidays, trips, etc.

You can make this system what you want it to be.

Bullet Journal | www.OrganisingQueen.com

3. can be customised and personalised

This is where I see the real beauty of the Bullet Journal. I’ve written before about Finding the Perfect Planner for you, and this is one way to create your perfect planner especially if you don’t see something that suits your style and makes you want to use it.

Even the size can be personalised. If you want a big A4 journal, go for it. If you only need a tiny A6 journal, that’s also fine.

4. can feed your creativity

My diary/ notebook combo are purely a means to an end (getting organised) but I see so many people using calligraphy, colouring pencils, washi tape, etc. in their journals as a means of creativity. If you need a creative outlet, this could work really well for you.

Turns our Ryder prefers a minimalist BuJo too.

Bullet Journal | www.OrganisingQueen.com

5. you don’t need to wait for the stores to start selling 2017 diaries

or use an on-sale 2016 diary with all that blank paper for Jan – April. This system will appeal to all those frugalistas 🙂

Grab any old notebook you have laying around, but make it a pretty-ish one so you’ll want to use it.

So what about my old-fashioned notebook?

Well, you’ll have to stay tuned. I’ll write more about that next time.

Are you bullet journalling?

If not, have I convinced you to just try it for a month?

The photo at the top is of my bullet journal. I bought that notebook at Exclusive Books for about R20 a few years ago!

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