I’ve discovered a new brand of stationery, called Spencil.
It’s super-cute, a little like Smiggle, I guess, but much cuter and it feels like really good quality. I picked up a couple of things, but I was travelling, so couldn’t go overboard.
It’s a really lovely brand, lots of fun, and they have a program where you can help fundraise for your local school, just by shopping. They are based in south-east Queensland and have just a couple of stores so far, but I am certain they will expand. You can find them here.
By now you must know that I’m a kikki.K addict. The brand just speaks to me.
The products are gorgeous and I love how inspiring they are. I do use some digital planning systems – it seems almost impossible to escape Microsoft Outlook, but I’ve always been drawn to paper. Particularly for planning, I need to sit and gather my thoughts and then write it out. I think the “writing it out” part helps to cement that in my brain, it really helps me to focus and then remember.
But back to kikki.K – in addition to the gorgeous and inspirational products, the stores themselves are styled in a way that speaks to me. I love the base of white, with the pops of colour. That’s the aesthetic that I aspire to and I think my own home has aspects of that aesthetic.
So I’m always drawn to spending more time in-store. When they began running workshops, I jumped at the chance to go to one. I’ve done the Planner Workshop (twice), a Christmas Workshop, a Mindfulness Workshop and the new Dream.Do.Enjoy.Share Workshop. And I really loved all of them.
The Planner Workshops are fantastic. I went to my first one when I was quite new to planning, and I went to my second one last year, when I already owned (and used) 4 planners and a bullet journal LOL.
But still, I found it useful. It helps you to brainstorm the best ways to use your planner, to work out what you want to track and therefore what sections to set up. It also gives you some insight into their Habits and Goals Workshops by giving you some tools to help you prioritise your tasks – which tasks are the ones you absolutely have, which ones will make your life easier, which ones can wait.
The Christmas Workshop was lots of fun. I still go home to see my family at Christmas and the planning is all done by my Mum (I know right, so lucky!) so the planning part of the workshop was not so relevant to me. Although I can see how awesome it would be for people who have to plan the whole event out.
I really enjoyed the Mindfulness Workshop as well. It’s not something I would have considered attending a few years ago, but as I get older, and as my work makes me more stressed (well, my old work did), I came to relish those moments of Mindfulness. The workshop gave me ideas for practicing Mindfulness, to help me to prioritise myself when I needed to.
What I love about the workshop (apart from the free goodies that you get to take home, and the Lindt chocolates that you get) is that they give you the tools to continue practicing what you learn. While you’re in a group and everyone has different ideas and needs, they still help you to brainstorm your own needs and apply what you’ve learnt to your own life.
Finally, the Dream.Do,Enjoy.Share. workshop – this was my absolute favourite. Longer than the others, and the newest, it was such a great evening. The content was amazing and thought-provoking and powerful, and even quite emotional for some of us. Aside from that though, it was a perfect intersection of women attending. They were fun, interactive, empowered, unafraid women. It was an absolutely inspiring night. Some of us have kept in touch and we meet up every couple of months.
So, a little about the workshops in general. You pay a fee, but the gift that you receive on the night is usually worth more than the fee. Plus you get a discount off everything purchased on the night, as well as $10 off your next workshop. The instructor introduces herself and the course, and then invites us to introduce ourselves and say something about why we are there and what we hope to achieve from the workshop. She then takes us through the material – either through the planner, or through the workbooks that are provided as the gift. Everyone is given ample opportunity to participate and interact and I find that the people who attend seem to be quite open and honest and genuine people.
If you’re considering a workshop, I would say – if you can spare the $40, do it, it’s a great experience. At worst, you’ll have a night out with like-minded individuals and take home some gorgeous stationery. Almost certainly, you’ll have an inspiring and amazing evening. You may even meet people who you continue to interact with, long after the workshop.
I really found my groove with bullet journalling. I will probably always incorporate a part of it into my planning life.
Right now, I use it only for my calendar. “Collections”, as they are called in the bullet journalling world, are kept in my ring bound planners. But more on that in other posts.
As I’ve discussed in previous posts, my planners are for the different parts of my life – photography, planning blog and IG, work, home. I don’t have day-to-day “calendars” in those planners. I hate the idea of having multiple calendars. I needed a system where I could keep of track of all those different aspects in one place. And so I use my bullet journal for all calendar activity.
I have a Leuchtturm 1917 A5 slim dot grid journal (that’s a mouthful), and I have it in a kikki.K leather notebook cover.
I think what I love most about using this system is that it’s still as beautiful as a traditional kikki.K planner, it has lovely details, and it has the pocket set up inside to allow me to decorate to my heart’s content.
You can see here, that I’ve decorated the pockets and I’ve included my business cards.
see how it was originally set up. We planner girls have added our own spin to the system to make it pretty but still incredibly functional.
For me, I’ve pulled in the parts that work for me.
I’ve started my journal with a title page, shown at the top of this post. The postcard on the left is one of my own (my addiction to macro photography is real).
Next up, I have my future log. When I set it up, I ran it from April to September because I wasn’t sure how long I would take to fill the
journal. So to cope with any events that popped up for October and beyond, I added this little feather sticky note. And I could add as many as I need to record any future-future events.
As a side note, I think one of the most satisfying parts of bullet journalling is the hand lettering. I’ve always loved calligraphy but prefer the more modern lettering styles. So, I use my bullet journal as an opportunity to practice my lettering whenever I can. I’m not great at it, by any means, but I love doing it, and I love the effect. It just adds something special.
After my future log, I dive straight into the monthly layouts. I have a couple of monthly pages that I use.
First, I like to do a title page, and this is on the right hand page – it’s the opener to the month ahead. I use different styles each time. Sometimes this gorgeous ring system, which so many people on Instagram are doing. I didn’t invent this, I just loved it so made a version for myself. This is nice, because it gives you a visual representation of how your month is going to look. For me, I was travelling a lot at the time, so I shaded in the dates that I was away, just so I could easily see when I would be around for any events at home.
I also used to include the traditional “down the page” monthly list but with the ring calendar above, I was finding it less useful.
One of my favourite spreads is the “Focus” and “All the things” page. I like to choose 3-4 things for the month that I know I have to get done and have them listed as a reminder, so that when I flip to the month, there they are, waiting for me!
“All the things” is my version of a brain dump. I despise the term brain dump, I think it sounds awful, so I call mine “All the things” and I literally list all of the to-dos that spring to mind. Sometimes, I try to make separate lists for each part of my life, but I find that can stifle the process, so I usually just write until I’m done. And of course, I can go back and add to it at any time, but usually new items are added within the weeks where they happen.
After this, I do a weekly spread. I struggle with the weekly spread. I’ll show you what I used to do and also how I’ve changed it. I used to do a single page for the week, and then start my days. I would only set up Monday in the daily spreads, because I like to let the day use up as much space as it needed.
I think this layout is really pretty and I used it for four months in this bullet journal, but I was finding that I would fill out what I could on the Sunday when I set up the spread, but then I would never come back to it. I would just add new appointments into the days or into my Outlook calendar. It was almost a waste.
So I’ve recently changed it to a two-page spread for the whole week, with no separate daily spreads. Please forgive the photo quality, it was an iPhone shot on Sunday evening “before the pen” 🙂
I’ve just had a week in this layout and it seems to have worked. I like having my weekly goals, notes and to-do list all available to me during my week, without having to flip pages. I have one bookmark on this spread, and one back on the “all the things” spread, for easy access.
Finally, at the end of the month, I do a monthly review. Having recently just applied for an started a new job, now more than ever I realise how important it is to have a log of my achievements. I think we forget the really awesome things that we do and achieve throughout the year. Not only should we celebrate those things, but we should also keep track of them. For work, we should keep them for our quarterly reviews, for pay reviews, for job applications. And on a personal level, it’s again satisfying to remember – “hey look, I DID that! it was me!”.
So that’s my bullet journal. I’m very attached to it. It’s pretty. It’s functional. And I freak out if I can’t find it.
I recently purchased a new planner, and it’s a zip around, which I find incredibly appealing for an everyday carry – imagine I can fit everything in it! Money and phone as well as “all the things” LOL.
So, in usual #plannergirl fashion, I may change all this up very soon, but you know what? I’ll keep you posted.
Let me know if you do something similar to me with your bullet journal and calendar system. How do you use yours?
Isn’t it nice when there’s a place for everything and everything is in it’s place?
That’s how it felt when I set up this planner.
The A5 Kikki.K Ice Blue Perforated Planner was my very first Kikki.K Planner and my first planner that I began planning in, in earnest. I loved the size of it, and the amount of room that I had to fill in my days and plan out my life. At the time, I wasn’t working on my side-business in any great detail, so it was mainly my 9-5 job and my general life things that I was tracking.
Later, when the Pink Lavender Planner came out, I absolutely loved it and had to have it. I moved into that one and this poor little beauty sat on my shelf, becoming a storage haven for old and used inserts.
As I began my tentative photography business and setting up my websites, I needed to track more information and as I started to get involved in Instagram challenges and the Planner Community in general, I found that there was information that I needed to keep referring to on a regular basis, usually when I was at my desk, working on blog posts, or challenges or other photo-related things. Since I didn’t need these things “on-the-go”, my Reference Binder was borne!
In here, I have 5 tabs and keep things like:
any hand-lettering challenges I am currently doing
a running list of books I want to read for personal or professional development
a learning section for notes on any personal or professional development that I do
a career section – how many times do we find ourselves needing to update our CV and can’t remember what we’ve achieved in the three years since we last applied for a job or did a performance review?
actual reference information such as my Tombow dual brush pen colour tracker, the hex / colour codes for my logos and branding, my website information, etc
I also keep a little notebook in there (the one with the little blue birds in the photo above). This is my little planner sidekick. It’s a reference for my reference – in here, I keep track of which tabs I have and make notes for other things I’d like to keep in there. It’s like a rolling review, in case I want to change up the layout, add or remove sections.
Here are some of the layouts in the planner:
I’m always keen to hear how other people plan and organise. Do you keep a Reference Binder as well? What do you keep in there? If you want to share a picture of it, post it to Instagram and tag me! @desleyjane_plans and use our hashtag below.
PROTIP: If you really don’t have a use for an un-used planners, consider using them for storing old inserts that you need to keep for reference. It also helps to maintain the shape and integrity of your planner if you keep it stocked – that way the cover won’t warp inwards.
In my previous post, I gave you some information about why I started planning in the first place and I gave you the list of things that I have to work with and plan for.
I have spent a lot of time planning in ring bound systems and I love the flexibility of that. I love the decorating aspect and I love that you can change things up whenever you like. As you’ll discover, I have multiple ring bound planners currently and they are integral to my system.
In the last year, I also discovered bullet journalling and it really appealed to me. As a list maker, it seemed like the ideal solution for my on-the-go planning. It was just a notebook that I could easily fit in my work bag and take with me wherever.
Still, I had 4 other beautiful planners sitting there on the shelf, so I decided to make use of them and create my planning system. Now I use a fusion of both bullet journalling and traditional planning and it’s so comforting to know that everything has a place.
As the planner community knows, this isn’t a static thing – planning is dynamic and fluid and that is why we love it. We can change things whenever we feel like it. If something isn’t working, we can adopt a new method and continue on.
As I mentioned, I have 5 planners now and some get used routinely, some are more reference-type systems and I’ll go through them briefly now. In future posts, I will delve more deeply into each system.
I use a Leuchtturm 1917 dot grid notebook. It is a softcover notebook because I needed it to fit inside my Kikki.K pink leather notebook cover.
This is my day-to-day planner. I used to separate work and personal and photography and planner paper goods all into separate planners (and I still do to some extent) but for agenda/calendar planning, it made no sense to me to have them all separate.
Let me explain: if I have to go to Sydney for my work, and I also have a flatlay shoot to do, then I need to be able to see quickly and easily whether I’m actually in the right city to do that job. I don’t want to consult multiple calendars and try to coordinate each of my lives. So I use my bullet journal predominantly for my calendar and day-to-day planning.
There are some things that I need to keep, to write down, to record, but I don’t need to carry them around with me. And so, my reference binder was borne. I also use it for my professional and personal development notes.
I will take you through this planner in an upcoming post.
This A5 size planner goes with me when I meet with photography clients. It holds everything I need for discussing a job, including some forms, business cards, some examples of my work and lots of notes pages for the business but also for general notes, just in case it’s the only planner I have with me.
This is my newest planner and one I am still mapping out. It’s the one that I use most often and I just love it.
At the moment, I’m also trying to improve my handwriting, especially since I am starting to post my spreads to Instagram and FaceBook. My writing can be ok, but more often it’s quite a mess – when I’m in a meeting or on a call, I typically write very quickly and very messily.
So, I’m currently doing #rockyourhandwriting which is an Instagram challenge with daily prompts for you to handwrite a response. I have printed dot grid paper and popped it in there as I prefer to practice my handwriting that way. It’s small enough that I can take it with me if I think I might have time to do something.
This planner is quite dynamic, I’m not sure I will stay in this for handwriting practice as I may need more space than a personal size gives me. I’ll keep you posted. I’ll also show you inside this planner in a future post.
This is my planner for my 9-5 job. It’s also personal size, and accompanies my Bullet Journal as my every day carry. It has just four tabs for:
business planning and notes.
More on this one later as well.
So that’s my entire planning system and a little bit about why I plan. I hope that gives you some insight into how and why I do what I do. I try to incorporate a little method into the madness. It brings me order, and consequently peace, but it also lets me be as creative as I want to be. There’s ample room for decorating, for practicing my handwriting, for doodling and for working out all (well most) of the kinks in my brain.
As I said, they may not stay as they are, I may modify what I use each one for, as my needs change, but that’s why these systems are so useful – they are not fixed and unchangeable. There is always room to improve and update.
PRO TIP: Styling photos of your planner and planner pages can be very difficult. You can up your photo-game substantially by making sure that the camera/phone is held level. If you struggle to do this (it’s not easy!) then you can deliberately place your planner on an angle in the photo – this makes a huge difference.
If photo-styling tips would be useful to you, please let me know. I would love to share my secrets with you.
For me, planning was always quite a private thing. I was initially attracted to the beautiful stationery (you will discover that I am quite a Kikki.K addict – actually all stationery!) but I became drawn to the process of writing things down, recording memories and details and then going back to dwell in those memories later. I also revel in the structure and routine of the planning process. It makes me feel more organised, and ultimately it leads to me being more productive.
As a child, I had a hardcover diary that my mum gave to me. I treasured it. It was made by The Australian Women’s Weekly magazine – note that the magazine is quite a bit different now compared to how it used to be! The diary was red with white polkadots and filled with images from Australia. It was your typical week-on-two-pages layout and I loved writing in there, running my fingers over the glossy white pages – such seemingly important things going on in my life back then. It was 1988 and we were going to World Expo in Brisbane. There was a cyclone. My grandmother came to stay many times. I don’t think I have that diary anymore, but I still remember those specific details, the large rounded letters etched in my mind.
I wish I could read it again.
Step forward to now and I have numerous planners and notebooks, and notepads, sticky notes, stickers, wash tape, pens (oh! the pens!!). I have, over the last couple of years, began planning again in earnest and it’s something that I now do every day.
So why do I plan?
Firstly, I find the process of writing, drawing, decorating, organising to be therapeutic as well as creative, and I love getting caught up in that.
Secondly, I have a lot of areas of my life to keep track of and I needed some way of making sure that nothing clashes along the way.
Since I’m a list maker (if you’re reading this, I’m sure you love lists as much as I do), here’s my list:
My 9 – 5 job is corporate and involves a lot of travel. The travel is inconsistent, it could be trips each week, or no trips for a few weeks, overnight trips, road trips, anything is possible.
I have a side business as a photographer. I primarily do product photography, specifically styled flatlay shoots, creating lifestyle shots for small local businesses.
I have a website for that photography business which I have to maintain and update.
I have a photography blog. I have been blogging for almost 3 years now and have a strong community of people there. I run some challenges and enjoy creating new content for that platform.
I am crafting planner accessories – paper goods centred around my photographs. This is in its very early stages and I need to focus a lot more time on this.
I create content for social media. I am addicted to Instagram. I have two accounts (one for photography and one for planning) and I really enjoy spending time there. The planning community in particular is a joy to interact with and I have actually had business come through via Instagram.
I have this new blog, where I want to talk about planning and productivity.
I have a dog and I have family and friends and I love spending time with them.
I have all of life’s little things – dentist, bills, shopping, all the usual things that we all have to handle.
In my next posts, I will go into more detail for each system and explain how I use them and how I plan.
PRO TIP: Using multiple planners can help you gain clarity if you have a lot of things going on in your life, however it isn’t for everyone. You may find it too confusing to have your things separated. It really is a personal choice.