How my whole planning system fits together

This year I have three diaries/ notebooks going. I know what you’re thinking and I agree, three is probably too many but I’ll explain the intricacies below.

Shining Planner

Moleskine weekly diary planner

Bullet journal

  1. Shining Planner

I use the shining planner to review the month that’s just passed, and to set goals for the month ahead. It has a really thorough review and intention-based process. I use one of the pages not as it’s intended because I just do a list of all my goals for the month on that page.

I also love these prompts at the start of every week:

  • this week I want to receive…
  • I want to give myself the gift of…
  • I want to feel …
  • I am grateful for …

And your top 3 prioritiesย  – personal and work – for the week.

For the rest of the week, I put in anything that has a scheduled time but that’s it.

—>>> Goals for the month, setting intentions for the week and top 3 work and personal for the week. These top 3’s are usually taken from my goals for the month, or something urgent that’s come up, like a geyser thing we had a few weeks ago.

This planner stays on my desk at home because it’s too bulky to carry around with me.

2. Moleskine weekly diary planner

This is my preferred diary format – a weekly horizontal down the left and on the right, lined paper for my lists.

(do you know how few diaries have a horizontal weekly layout? I’ve seen only 3 – this one, my beloved Legami and another spotted on the fly – I should do an instastory from Exclusive Books!)

I write those same scheduled things from the Shining Planner down the left side of this diary (standard things I would write out for the month, like Tues 6pm Barre, 7pm Spanish). If the nanny’s off work, I would note that down here, or if I’m working from home, I also note that down here. In other words, all appointments with others or with myself (upholder!)

The right side is for my personal and blog goals. Beth and I chat every Thursday night and set goals for the week ahead. So on a Thursday night of one week (say, 5 October) I write things down on the next week’s page (week starting Monday 9th October). Meanwhile, I still complete (mostly!) the current list for the rest of this week. If this is confusing, sorry about that. It makes complete sense to me because I’m just “pausing” the current week for 30 minutes to think about next week, without actually starting next week until it arrives. Make sense?

I usually put no more than 4 – 5 personal and 3 blog goals for the week ahead. These are all from my monthly goals. Sometimes they’re carried forward from previous weeks – it’s all okay.

If other things crop up, I can easily add it to either of the lists (I leave space) without feeling overwhelmed. Other non-goal things I add are usually appointment-making things.

3. Bullet journal

The only real planning that goes on here is my weekend to-do list and the daily to-do list I write when I work from home. That’s really it.

If you read this post, you’ll see I mention the goals review and goal-setting here too. This is just for a quick brainstorm, key points, etc. to jog my memory.

My weekend lists are my favourite things ever – I like a combination of out and about (I’m an extrovert), productivity (either in the house or on computer) and true relaxing (reading/ photos, etc).

The items on my weekend list are sometimes carried over from the Moleskine (finish a book, or finish editing photos, for instance) but are mostly new things. I never put house stuff on my weekly list because I work full-time and the only time I get to potter and organise is on the weekend, unless it’s to do a quick 10-minute organising project.

Then the whole thing repeats every week, and at the end of the month, on Goals Night, I do my monthly review and goal-setting.

And that’s it!

All that said, I’m already excited for next year because I decided I’m not ordering the shining planner so I’ll only have my diary (it’s looking like a Moleskine for now) and my bullet journal.

Has this helped anyone? Please let me know.

How does your planning system fit together?

My house also has a to-do list

For about 18 months before we moved out of our old house, we finally did all those things on our list that we needed and wanted to do.

I had a to-do list I was working off of, and when we found the current house, I had about 12 small things left on the old list (from about 60).

So then I decided we will no longer leave things and only fix when we’re selling.

Be realistic with time and money

This is not your fantasy life; it’s your real life. You still have to work and rest and do other stuff on the weekends, so do pace yourself.

Things in the house cost money, even if it’s to buy new pillows or a tablecloth, it all costs money. You have to realise you need to keep money for paying off the bond, emergencies, holidays and doing your house to-do list.

Balance big and small things

I’ve shared before about a small change we made in our bathroom. I’m so glad we made this change otherwise I would have been unhappy for years because we can’t afford a bathroom remodel.

You can go even smaller – a new duvet cover or pillow cases do wonders too.

This might not work for you if you’re a maximiser; this is someone who has to have the perfect solution and will happily wait til that can be done.

It’s not about being discontented

I feel like you can be content with where you are in life, but still make a few changes to be happier. The Nester’s blog is a great place to read more about this concept.

A few small changes that have made me super happy in the past – my yellow desk, yellow cushions, a new side plate, my navy blue kitchen, etc.

How do I plan my house to-do list?

I make a gigantic list. I used the 100 things to do page from my shining planner but my master to-do list (it’s in the pack when you sign up to my list) works just as well.

I walk through the house, room by room, and write down everything that I want to change in the next year or two.

I have quick things like get a plant for the landing, and big things like redo kitchen floors, on the list.

And then because I’m looking at this list regularly, about once a month, I have those things in mind so if I see the perfect rug for a child’s bedroom, I can get it.

That’s it really.

Does your house have a to-do list too?

If you’ve never made a master list for your house, why don’t you do that this weekend?

What I learned during November

Oh November!

It’s the month when people all over South Africa feel that fatigue from work and start counting down the days to mid-December when things should officially quiet down.


This month I learned that:

I really, really, really didn’t enjoy the lead-up to my Spanish dance exams

I passed but I didn’t have much joy in the process. It was trying on my emotions and on my physical body with my right ankle playing up a lot of the time.

Interestingly, people kept asking me, “why are you doing this?” and my usual answer of “because it’s fun and I love dancing” didn’t always feel true ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I knew right up until the end though that I’d done my very, very best and that’s all anyone could ask.


I love, love, loved running the 5 Love Languages of children workshop

I had an awesome group of women who identified both their love languages and those of their kids.

I plan to run another one next year – look out if you’re local – otherwise, no need to wait – book your session on Skype for only R400.

The cooler weather does wonders for my temperament and productivity

I think back to last year and the unbearable heat, and it’s clear to me that’s why I was so uninspired.

This year, I’ve had full lists of things done in the house, and it’s only because I have energy due to the rains cooling things down.


Were all babies born in Oct and Nov?

We had 1 party in March, 1 in July (our kids’ one) and 5 in Oct/ November. That’s crazy.

On the subject of parties, I’ve decided I’m done keeping a gift shelf. I’d much rather get what I need when the time is right.

It’s never too early for Christmas music ๐Ÿ™‚

I cracked quite early in November…. first with only my absolute favourite (O Holy Night), and then with a couple of songs every night, until the 19th when I played TWO complete CDs. Glorious!

Do you like Christmas music?

I had a great reading month

My most notable book read/ listened to was Rob Lowe’s Stories I only tell my friends. It was exactly what a memoir should be for me – warm, funny, heartfelt and not too heavy even in the not-so-pretty bits. Interestingly it was the exact opposite feel to Love Warrior.


And now, for my December goals…

My intention for this month is to finish this year well by choosing joy and peace.

A few of my goals:

  • Enjoy the time with my family over Christmas/ New Year
  • Take a half day to close off this year properly and prepare for 2017 by setting goals and intentions
  • Do my filing (seriously, my filing has not been done in well over a year!)
  • Get all the kids’ school stuff done – stationery, school shoes, etc.
  • Eat delicious food and
  • Potter to my heart’s content
  • Enjoy the socials I’ve arranged with friends

Over to you!

What did you learn during November?

What are some of your goals for December?

PS If you haven’t yet read my Christmas post, it’s here if you’d like to have a look. I updated it with a link to a fabulous blog post which is also so worthy of a read.

PPS Pics in this post are from the Shining Year workbook which I completely endorse.

{Mindset Monday} How to have a great work week

Next week we’re going to talk more about my own (good) habits, and then I’m going to listen to Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better than Before, again…. and very possibly write a few more posts.

One of the things I tell myself (and others) constantly, one of my mottos, if you will, is that there are things you can control and things you can’t.

We all know this.

So I like to think about things I can control.

And one of those things is to be prepared.


At work, I start off the week ahead on a Friday afternoon. Fridays are actually like Goals Night for me. I review the week that was, look at the week coming, check the important things that need to be handled, I follow up on outstanding things, clear my inbox and I plan.

The outcome is a to-do list for the week ahead, but definitely to know what I need to do on Monday morning so I can leave all the work behind me and enjoy my weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

Have only 6-ish items on the list for Monday

I still follow my Eat the Frog principles of doing important and urgent things, and not adding more than 6 to the list. I might add more to the list during the day but that’s really just to get my brain clear, and not an actual intention to do it that day (unless super urgent).


Be realistic

Be realistic both with your time and with your energy levels. If you have 3 hours of meetings in the morning and you’re a morning person, you’re not going to get much serious brain work done in the afternoon. You’re only frustrating yourself by thinking you’re Superwoman.

Keep a master list for the week…

but don’t worry about the future tasks til you need to, i.e. on Tuesday ๐Ÿ™‚ Every week there is much more than 6 items i have to take care of for the week ahead. But the key is to leave unimportant things (for that day) undone while you focus on just that day.

That’s it!

Repeat every Friday afternoon, and you can leave your work at work every Friday but return on a Monday fresh and ready for people to bring it on ๐Ÿ™‚ (I couldn’t resist!)

11-01 755

Happy Monday – have a great week!

Will I keep on bullet journalling?

Bullet journal |

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 |


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 |

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?

What I learned in April and… my May goals

I spent this morning completing my goals review for April and setting goals for May.

A Goals Night, of sorts, but on a Monday morning.

To be honest, I can’t think of a nicer way to spend a Monday morning, unless it’s at the beach ๐Ÿ™‚


April was a great month in many ways; here are some of the things I learned:

  • A friend and I FaceTimed (?) and it was such fun. I also had numerous phone dates which is a new thing for me but it was surprisingly fun. I say surprisingly because normally I’m not a fan of the phone. I think what made it different was that I was not taken unawares, and the expectation was to sit, chat and connect. In other words, it wasn’t a sales person trying to sell me something ๐Ÿ™‚
  • The house-buying process has changed a LOT in the last 11 years. My word, one needs hours and hours to complete application forms by hand or on the telephone, and a TON of paperwork. I created a folder and there are over 20 documents in there!
  • Seeing friends after nearly 24 years is just as wonderful as you’d imagine it to be. We had such fun that the intention is to now do something together every 2 – 3 months.


    • D and I had our 21-year anniversary. The three friends in the pic above saw the whole thing unfold and I remember Thembi (bottom left) saying, “finally!” when I told her we were officially “going out”. Ha! Fun times. Fun fact – Linda (pink dress) and I share the same birthday.
    • Show houses are so much work. We had two this month and I’m hoping that the person gets a bond approved otherwise it’s back to the drawing board ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
    • It really is very easy to read more books. I read 9 books in April. The key is simply to spend a lot less time on social media and more time with your nose in a book. I used to have the excuse that my phone had to be right next to me so that I could activate “sleep” on the Fitbit app. That was true but they updated the app so when the device syncs to your phone, it picks up the sleep cycles automatically. Now I don’t need my phone with me anymore and this is a good, good thing. Try sleeping and waking up without it and see ๐Ÿ™‚
    • Bullet journals are a lot of fun to read about, talk about and try out. I’ve written two posts so far – have you read them? And my third one will publish on Wednesday.

And now, for my May goals.


I mentioned before that this year I’m focussing on 3 – 4 key areas and I set goals within those areas.

What are those areas for you?

        • Health?
        • Family?
        • Work?
        • God?

This month, try to set just one goal per important area of your life to keep you focussed throughout the month.

What did you learn during April?

PS the notebook above is a Piccadilly one. I LOVE them, because they all have the same format – a blank page for mindmaps (or doodling/ sketching) and lines for writing the notes. I haven’t bought one for years, but I’ve seen the A5s at CNA for about R90, which is a complete bargain.

5 reasons for you to try a bullet journal

Bullet Journal |

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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|

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 |

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 |

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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!

Diaries that do and don’t work for me

I wrote a post last week on Konmari-ing the memories. Please make me happy and go have a read.

So when I was busy looking through all my stuff, I found my stash of diaries.

Here they all are – 2008 to 2016. I used the top 2016 one last year as it was an 18-month diary. By the way, I’m really not in love with 18-month diaries. It feels kind-of “off” to me to not start the year in January.

Diaries that work, and don't |

Diaries 2008 – 2015

Then I started paging through the diaries to see which format resulted in an empty-ish one and which ones were thoroughly used.

Diaries that work, and don't |

My birthday, 2008. The daily style was my least favourite format but I did write down my frogs daily, and of course my appointments.

Diaries that work, and don't |

I think this one was from my birthday week in 2003

My favourite type of planning is weekly planning so although this slimline diary is small, it had the right paper (smooth and easy for the pen to glide across), just enough space and I used it very well.

However, the diaries that clearly work best for me are the Moleskine and Legami weekly view diaries. See 2011 – 2014. There are a ton of pictures here.

These have days of the week on the left page and notebook paper on the right. Absolutely perfect. My brain thinks in terms of a week at a time, so I can make my list of everything I want to get done on the right (still only about 12 things max)


I don’t need a page a day and, in fact, it feels wasteful to have all that unused space daily.

Something I did notice was that the diary needs to have enough space to write. The little diary I used for 2012 was too small, the last pic above was a good size but my absolute best is the size just a teensy bit narrower than A5, 2011, 2013 and 2014 above.

Now that I’ve written this post, I think I’ve just talked myself into buying another Legami for next year. It honestly is my favourite type of diary, and the bright colours make me happy.

Have you figured out your favourite style and size of diary? Do you still use paper?

PS There’s a whole community out there using paper planners again. Next week I’m going to start blogging about my foray into bullet journalling. If you have questions, let me know in the comments.

PPS not sponsored, although I wouldn’t mind!

3 calendars at a time

monthly calendaring |

I started using 3 calendars at a time at home during the holiday season last year. It was so useful to see November to January all at the same time, especially for scheduling purposes.

Now I’m hooked.

It does freak me out just a little bit when I see too much in the way of plans, but then again, that’s the point.

I can see when it’s just too busy to meet up with friends or when we need a quieter weekend at home.

Margin is a beautiful thing and we need to fight hard to preserve it.

monthly calendaring |

At work, I write out by hand all my regular meetings and time out of the office. I find that the act of writing makes me more intentional and gives me thinking time.

Other people may be able to be out of the office for days on end but I need an office day after every day or two out, if possible, because I’m a girl who likes an under control inbox ๐Ÿ˜‰

When a client requests a meeting, it’s much easier to look at the week rather than just the day. Yes, the day may be free but it makes better sense for me to look at the week so that I have enough desk time to be effective.

monthly calendaring |

Do you use a paper calendar? How?

If you’re not currently using a nice calendar, I have some beautiful ones pinned on my 2016 calendars board, including the ones in this post.

The “tools” that help me plan my life

First of all, thank you so much for the emails, whatsapps, text messages, etc. about my news on Wednesday. I appreciate all the support very, very much!

Secondly, a reminder to get your amazing life workbook. If you want the printed copy by Christmas, you should go ahead and get it now so that it has time to get to you. As always, South Africans, I can’t tell you how long it will take to get to our shores because I always buy an electronic copy that I can print immediately. (Pics of mine to followย – yes, I’ve already started working in mine).

And now, onto the planning ๐Ÿ™‚

So I’ve recently (last couple of months) seen on Instagram that there’s a whole community of planners (people who plan).

Current planning|


However, these are people very different to me because their planners (diaries) are beautiful works of scrapbook-y goodness. My diary and notebook are pretty, that is true, but that’s as far as the prettiness goes.

I’m not really sure how long all that sticking and pasting and washi-ing takes, but my take on things has always been… whatever works for you is just fine with me.

In case there are plain Jane planners out there, I thought I’d share the things that keep my life running smoothly.

This notebook is unruled and comes in a pack of 3 at Woolworths for R36,95. I’m in an unruled notebook phase at the moment. It started when I was looking for grid notebooks and couldn’t find any.


Current planning|

Here’s how I like to use mine – mainly for mindmaps and lists….ย Current planning|

My diary is used in the usual fashion – to enter appointments and to-dos. This page is empty because I hadn’t added my to-dos yet. And ironically, I found some applicable stickers (that I didn’t buy) and added them to this page.

Current planning|

This little notebook is a Moleskine. You don’t have to have a Moleskine but I had a pack of two and in Konmari fashion, they were taking up space because they were very pretty but not being used. So I’m using my pretty things these days.

When Beth and I chat on Thursdays, we each set personal and business to-dos for the week. I write them in this notebook so there’s a central space to see my weekly goals, and then (and here’s where the magic happens), I actually schedule each of those goals on a specific day. And they get done.

Iย open my diary on the top, see what needs to happen that day, and I do it. It’s that simple – not always easy, but it’s a simple concept.

Current planning|

So that’s the extent of my planning (except for menu planning)…

Current planning|

Tell me about your system on Facebook or Instagram.

Are you one of those sticker/ scrapbook-y planner people? In which case, please (!) tell me how long it takes you!

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