Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Handwrite Your Notes to be More Efficient

Although a large collection of apps like Onenote and Evernote make collecting and organizing ideas fairly easy, especially if you are working with web addresses. However, if you want to make sure that the notes you take stay fresh in your mind, you would be much better off taking a few seconds longer and writing your notes and ideas down by hand. The benefits of handwriting your notes also far outweighs any time you might save by using a note-taking app.

At this point, it is more or less common knowledge that using a pen and paper to jot down notes has a large impact on your ability to recall whatever was written down. By internalizing new information in this manner, you will be able to much more easily remember not only the specific information you wrote down but also a good chunk of the supporting details.

If you’re the type who already takes notes or are planning to start this highly beneficial habit, we recommend getting your hands on our Think Tank notepad.

Compared to sticky pads or loose-leaf lined paper, the Think Tank is a perfect size for writing down new ideas, goals, things to do or any other kind of list. And if you happen to also have one of our great planners, pages from the Think Tank fit great when taped onto the planner’s page, giving you the option to move your list in a way that keeps it front and center no matter what day of the week you are on.

While everyone writes things down differently, that doesn’t change the fact that taking notes by hand will benefit you tremendously. You’ll be more aware of the work you’re doing and - if you wrote down the steps needed to complete the task - your path will already be laid out in front of you. By taking notes and taking a moment to plan things before you get started, you’ll find your time spent working is much more efficient and that the work completed will also be higher quality.


Monday, 28 November 2016

Why we don't do Cyber Monday or Black Friday

We have been getting asked if we are doing any deals surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and rightfully so! If there is a deal, "home girl” is the first who wants to know! 😉  Here is why we don’t participate in Cyber Monday or Black Friday and why we don't believe in ever discounting our products. 

We are not fans of marketing schemes and we believe in charging a fair price for a product that meets the needs of our customers. Our planners are priced to sell and we don't play around with marking them up so we can offer discounts later. We want to provide you with the best product at the best value. 

We understand that our planners are more expensive than the ones you may find at a local office supplies store and that is because they are filled with content that you won’t find in any other. Our planners are organized by design for productivity and every aspect has carefully been thought through. 

We know that if you get a planner and use it, the cost of the planner will be outweighed by far when you learn to save money on groceries every week, budget and pay off that loan, eat healthier, exercise more and crush those lists and feel more balanced. This is why we created STARTplanner. To change lives. 

We are a small business and we don't plan to treat anyone that buys a product from us as part of our marketing plan. We plan to treat them as a wife, a mom, a recent grad, a husband, or an entrepreneur who is investing in something to better their lives. 

We are a company that believes in people, in fairness and in making a product that creates more space for intentional moments for YOU. We are so thankful for our customers and we do what we do because of your support. Hearing your success stories that have resulted in using our planners is what fuels our passion for STARTplanner. Thank you for believing in us!


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

3 Super Easy Thanksgiving Dishes to Fill Out a Plate

For first time hosts, Thanksgiving can feel like a whole lot to tackle while getting an ensemble of food on the table that you and your guests will love. Now assuming that you have the basics (Turkey, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, and Stuffing) covered, your dinner might be looking a bit bleak in the assortment of brown to white. To help spruce up the dinner table and the plates around it, we’d recommend a trio of easy-to-make Thanksgiving Recipes to help round out your festive dinner and make sure all of your guests are happy (and blissfully overfed).

First off, French Green Beans and Shallots:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • About 1 cup water
  • 3/4 pound (12 ounces) haricots verts (French string beans)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

This super simple recipe takes relatively no effort at all to cook, and helps bring a sweet crisp vegetable element to the table that can be often lacking. This recipe is something I personally favor over the more often served Green Bean Casseroles as it is easier, healthier, and opens up room for other casseroles like baked mac & cheese.
Cooking these bad boys starts off with sauteing the shallots in the olive oil for about 8 minutes to help diffuse that shallot flavor through the oil. After that, add everything else but the water, mix it up while heating on high for about 2 minutes and then add half a cup of water and cook until the water has evaporated. Take your time and taste the beans for doneness, adding too much water and not cooking it off can dilute that tasty shallot flavor you worked up earlier, and overcooking your beans will ruin their wonderful texture and bold sweetness.


A personal favorite, Candied Yams (Without the yams):

  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly-packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup pecans

While yams can be great, sweet potatoes are probably one of the most underrated vegetables around, which is probably why all the best pumpkin pies are also made from sweet potatoes, they’re just that delicious.
This recipe starts off nice and simple, mix your brown sugar, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a dutch oven with the butter, make sure this mixes well into a festive glaze, then add all of your sweet potatoes, which we recommend cutting into 1 inch thick rounds, but it’s your party and you can take some artistic liberties. Once the potatoes are in, stir them up real good until they are universally coated with that delicious sauce and let them cook covered for about half an hour. While those are on the stove, you’ll want to take your pecans and roast them in the oven at 350 F until dark brown, then chop those bad boys up and garnish your finished product with them, they’ll make a big difference in contrast in the final dish.


Speaking of other casseroles - Spinach Gratin:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 pounds frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (5 (10-ounce) packages)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

This is probably the best and only way to get a lot of young ones to eat spinach and like it, and when cooked right can be a bombshell of a side dish. Of course you can flop the procedure and end up with a dish full of glop to be prodded disdainfully, but no guts no glory.

This bad boy starts out in a heavy bottomed saute pan with butter and onions, cooking until the onions acquire that translucent appearance, then add your flour and nutmeg and cook those into the onions and butter for about 2 minutes. Once your butter and flour of mixed well, add your cream and milk and cook until thickened, forming the backbone of this casserole.
For this recipe we typically use frozen spinach, which you should defrost for about 10 minutes before you start, then squeeze out the excess moisture before adding it to your white sauce and onions. Then follow that up with ½ cup parmesan, salt and pepper and transfer that all into a baking dish, where then you’ll add the other ½ cup of parmesan on top along with the grated Gruyere which will cook into a delicious crispy cheese topping when cooked in the oven at 425 for 20 minutes.
This dish is best served immediately after cooking, which can be tough to work out along with any other last minute prepare items. But, the 20 minute cook time does mean that if you have a helping hand in the kitchen you can whip this up and throw it in the oven the moment you pull the turkey out and have both ready for the table 20 minutes later along with any stove-top dishes and other casseroles.

Now with Thanksgiving rolling up real fast, it’s a good time to get out your grocery lists and head to the markets before they’re flooded and it takes an hour just to get through the checkout line.


Monday, 21 November 2016

Organizing More than Your Schedule by Using Tape

If you’ve spent any amount of time on our site, it should be pretty obvious just how much we love organization. Usually this manifests itself in articles and products that have been developed around the ideas of meeting goals and getting your schedule in order. However, those aren’t the only things that our products can help you with. For example, our STARTplanner tape is something that people who’ve used it love on a ton of levels but we often receive questions about from people who are not sure what it is actually for.

When it comes to your planner, our tape is great for highlighting sections, blocking off areas and setting up custom tabs - all without having to worry about doing damage to the paper itself as we use an adhesive that makes it easy to pull the tape off if needed. The thing is, though, that the tape can be used in all kinds of ways to help make your life more organized all around rather than just making sure you get something done on time.

For example, you can create your own tabs for books and pages you often reference, and you can make the tabs as small or as large as you want. One of our favorite uses as far as tabbing books is concerned is on cookbooks (really makes pulling up the crab cakes recipe a ton easier), which also makes putting together a big meal easier versus remembering page numbers or flipping back and forth blindly between recipes in the same book.

Our tapes and their easily-removed nature also means posting important notices and notes (or bills) on the fridge, by the front door or anywhere else in your home that’ll help keep those things in mind.

We know this doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface of the ways that organizing tape can be used outside of your planner (and we’ll absolutely be sharing more with you, too). Have you come up with or discovered an intriguing or effective way to use STARTplanner tape? Let us know in the comments below - we’d love to hear your take on our tape!


Friday, 18 November 2016

How to Pull off Thanksgiving Without Pulling Out Your Hair

Thanksgiving and Christmas can be two of the most stress inducing holidays for any host. Especially when the guests are expecting amazing home cooked meals with all of the classics from cranberry sauce to turkey. Many people nowadays are even giving up the entire cooking aspect of the cooking experience and taking advantage of local catering services or one step further from the holiday spirit and eating out at what few restaurants are open in the season.
We’d like to think that in the ever increasing business of modern life, we can still make time for the holiday season and hold onto some good old traditions, it just might take a little bit of planning to get everything to come together.

First off, if you are hosting Thanksgiving, you better be getting Thanksgiving Day as well as the eve off. Managing most of your prep work and cooking on Thanksgiving eve and warming/finishing things up the next day will give you more time to spend with your family, which is something many hosts suffer from as they lock themselves away in the kitchen while their loved ones mingle. Managing your time to cook what can be cooked ahead of time (pies, sauces, hams, gravy) the day before, and cooking the centerpiece item like the turkey, duck or ham the day of to maximize on freshness and to have that satisfying effect of oven-to-table to start the meal.

Of course, cooking time isn’t the only thing causing your hairs to go gray this season. Fridge space can become especially sparse when you cook items ahead of time especially when Every Single Guest wants to bring a cold desert for the meal (It’s almost a family tradition). Buying a block of ice or freezing a couple jugs of milk to cool an ice chest to fridge level temperatures so that you can expand your cool storage capacity and not need to buy an entire extra fridge or freezer.

There are a few other thanksgiving hacks out there to help sort out your troubles, but a lot of those will involve the specific dishes you want to cook and easy tips and tricks to sort them out. Beyond that, just find as many cooks as you can fit in your kitchen without spoiling the soup and partake of some holiday cider, eggnog, or wine, whatever suits you and yours.


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

STARTplanner Blogger Event

A couple weeks ago we had the opportunity to spend the evening with some amazing ladies! STARTplanner put on an event for some of our favorite local bloggers. An evening away from home, work, dirty diapers, and laundry, was just what we all needed...can I get an amen! 
We had the event at a local shop here in Vickery Village that just opened up on Halloween, The Phase Shop
If you are local, you definitely need to check this boutique out. They have items for every phase of your child's life.
...and even some cute stuff for you;)
The Phase Shop also has a room that you can rent out for small events and it was absolutely PERFECT for our blogger event! 
Sarah, our PR guru, did an amazing job coordinating the event and bringing everything together. 
And a huge shout out to the talented event stylist, Chanel Van Reenen, for coming early to help us setup:)
Custom wine labels by Gardenia Labels.
How cute are these cookies!?! Yummy Delicious Cookies by Whimsical Originals made these to look like our Hustle Daily Planner. They are almost to pretty to eat...almost;)
No event is complete without bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes:) And we are obsessed with these START cupcake toppers, by A Southern Staple.
And many of you might recognize this lady on the left...the very talented Hannah Crosby who did the artwork for our 2017 Hustle Daily Planner cover.

 Hannah led us in a painting demonstration and everyone got to create their own little masterpiece. Who doesn't love some acrylic paint and rose gold foil?

You know we are all about setting GOALS here at STARTplanner. So the evening wouldn't be complete without everyone writing down their goals for 2017. We are so excited to watch these ladies crush their goals in 2017!!!

And one lucky goal setter was chosen to take home this gorgeous piece by Hannah Crosby.  Congrats Lesley Graham...I have to admit we're a little jelly over here;) 

Kristy telling these ladies all about STARTplanner, our 2017 planners, and all the fun Bling they all received in their swag bags.

Jenny designed the artwork for our swag bags and we just love the quote she used, "Live everyday with intention". This is such a great reminder. Life is short and it's so important to make the most out of every opportunity we are given.

What an amazing night we had! To all the bloggers who attended, Jessica GarvinAnna LeisemeyerClaire CervinoKatie CrenshawMireille BeckwithOlivia ArnoldShannon BennettChanel van ReenenPascha ShepardLesley GrahamHarrison SappJoleen Pete, and Joni Lay, we loved meeting y'all and getting to hang out together. We had a blast and we can't wait to do this again! 

A huge thank you to all of the local vendors in Vickery Village who helped make this event a huge success…CincoCherry Street Brewing Co., The Flower Post, Copper Coin, Brits Clothiers, and Joseph & Friends!


Sunday, 13 November 2016

Planning Projects To Achieve Long Term Business Goals

New business owners can find the act of planning out and achieving their long term plans and goals to be daunting, intimidating and impossible. There is so much to get done, and time is money so we frantically get done everything we can in a day to race deadlines and get everything done.

Well, organizing everything that needs to be done into projects can do a lot to organizing your thoughts and demands in a way that they can more easily be approached. Now the easiest way to define a project is… well, anything that takes more than a few minutes and contributes to the overall needs of your business.

When planning out projects, some take a little more thinking than others. Active tasks that you repeat on a day to day or week to week schedule should be set aside into their own list or section of your business planner.

Things to check off as they are needed to ensure you keep on top of everything that needs to get done. Other plans will only take a day and obviously don’t need much description, but keeping note of them and their due date will help you keep tabs on them, especially when bound together in an organizer in order of due date so you never slip on a due date.

The other breed of tasks will take more time to accomplish and as the above should be organized in order of due dates, but also should describe the time that it takes to accomplish the task, and to help keep things to schedule you should also make a note of how often work will be put into this project, a daily or weekly schedule to get some of the project done so that you avoid those dreadful last minute all night rush to finish a project at the last minute to keep your clients happy.

By keeping and organizing all of your projects in a well kept folder or planner you will remain on top and in control of your business and workflow, getting the most out of your time.


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Making A Plan For the Week In Just 20 Minutes

Many experience a degree of dread or apprehension at the idea of making a plan. We are afraid of being unable to live up to our goals, that what we want to be and what we can be are for some reason things that exist separate from one another. We’re going to change that, and help you build a plan with minimal time investments to make it easier for those who think it takes hours to organize your entire life into a planner. It’s easy, really easy, just too many of us get lost in long term goals and don’t understand how to translate them into what we can do on the week to week.

The first step is reflection, look back at the last week and think of what you wish you accomplished or had time for that week, or perhaps on a wider scale look back to the last month, or even two weeks. You build your schedule, you figure out your time frame, but week to week is a nice jumping off point. Once you’ve taken the time to think of what you wish you got done last week, write these down, they’re the initial goals for what you are going to get done this week.


The second step is priorities. What do you want to change the most in your life? Are you going to start a diet and stick to it? Are you going to finish up your college degree? Or maybe pursue a promotion at work, or advance our home business to the next level. You should be in tune with your desires, take the time to write these down physically and order them in some way to see it all on paper. When we build our plans, we find ourselves pulled every which way by the various aspects of our life, but setting out one major aspect to stick to and accomplish development in will help you set out on goals that will feel the most important when you accomplish.

Once you have your priorities straightened out, you can set a simple 5-7 goals of things you want to get done in the following week. Keep it simple, keep it easy. You want to actually accomplish these goals and not give up. Of course they should be enough work that we feel like we got something done, but just remember that Rome was not built in a day.


We’re not going to get our entire life in order in a day, but we can certainly get ourselves moving in the right direction. Once you finish your first week, keep expanding your week to week goals until you can finally make it to your dreams, whether they be a size 7 or that fancy new office and promotion. Just remember, you can do it, and slipping up is okay so long as you don't break the habit of setting goals.


Make a Healthier Meal Plan Your Kids will Eat by Tracking Snacks & Juice

Being a mother makes it hard to say no to the puppy dog eyes and tugs at pant legs, but sometimes it’s best to take a firm stance for the long term health of your children rather than concede and help them develop habits that encourage short term indulgences.

Once your young ones outgrow the jars of mashed fruits and veggies, things get real complicated fast. It’s easy to swing through the McDonald's drive through and get them a happy meal and a ice cream cone to make them happy, but short term happiness is hardly worth developing habits that have long term impacts on health. This is why you should take the time to set up a meal plan to help organize the food each week so that you ensure a well balanced meal plan to ensure your little ones are fed with what they need to grow up healthy.

The first step is to organize a shopping list with all the food for the entire week. Setting out and planning every meal at the start of the week will save you time on multiple shopping plans but will also help aid you in organizing and following a well constructed meal plan to ensure that you and yours are healthy and well fed in the coming days. By shopping once and following a shopping list you avoid impulse buys of junk food and can more easily follow a food plan by just never having unhealthy food enter the household. Of course, strictly following a diet can also slow the metabolism down so it is okay to plan out one day a week where you can break from the diet plan and take the kids out for whatever they want. They’ll enjoy the weekly reward and you’ll enjoy the day to day improvement in lifestyle and development of good healthy habits.

Following that, it helps a lot to research different diet plans to find out what works for your family. And what works for you may not work for growing children, so take the time to find the best compromise. Perhaps if your kids are big into sports you can help them out with protein and vitamin rich diets, and ensure that they have complex carbohydrates like multigrain pasta on the nights before big games or long practices to ensure they have the energy to pursue their interests, and the support that they need to be the best that they can be.

After that then you just need to commit to following a daily planner to help develop and hold to these good lifestyle habits, save money, time, and help your family be the best that they can be.


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Breaking Your Year Into Days and Saving Time

If you never seem to have enough time in the day to get done what you wanted, then you might need to take the time to better break down and plan your tasks to help you achieve everything with as little stress as possible (and isn’t that always the goal?). Good plans can make miracles come to life - as far as what you can get done in a day is concerned.

If you have to do a lot of commuting in your life, then it might be a good idea to figure out how to minimize your driving time whether it be through only going to certain destinations once a week, or just reorganizing your daily schedule so that you avoid a lot of back and forth.

Another big time saver for those of us who cook is to cook big on one day of the week and prepare smaller simpler meals for the rest of the week that either take little time to prepare or take advantage of the leftovers of your giant sunday roast. While a lovingly prepared home cooked meal is good for the soul, nobody has the time to spend 4 hours a day cooking.

Budgeting your money is just as important as budgeting your time too, and if you’re working time to keep up with the bills you are racking up, then it might be a good time to consider living within your means in a way that can free up time for you to actually enjoy the finer things in life rather than working 60+ hours a week to keep up with expenses.

Everything can get a little easier when you sit down with a planner and start breaking things down into easily graspable numbers, breaking the year into months, breaking the month into weeks, and seeing that you prepare enough rewards in your schedule to help keep you dedicated and enjoying your new re-organized life.


Taking Constructive Breaks

Now it’s been proven that the most productive people in any work or study environment typically work around 50 minutes and then take a 20 minute break to relax their brains before getting back in gear. This work pattern helps keep you on track during your work time, keeping up a good pace and staying focused until it comes time again to take a little breather.

Giving your mind some time to wind down can be an amazing change that can deliver some immediate results as far as performance and overall work contentedness goes. But a lot of people in the modern technological age are taking their breaks in ways that don’t help the mind disengage, so despite taking a 20 minute break, being glued to a few youtube videos has been found to not help us loosen up our brains and relax.

Some people are absolutely glued to their electronics, and we’re sure that some benefit from that consistent lifestyle. But for most people who find themselves mentally exhausted, it really pays to take a walk, read a book, or even stay at your desk and fill out a coloring book, which is yet another great way to help relieve stress and enjoy yourself in a leisurely way.

In the modern age where everyone derives all their media electronically it can seem absurd to use something as simple as a coloring book to wind down, but because we spend so much time working with electronics in the modern workplace, it’s precisely the reason why we need a little analog entertainment in our life whether it be expressing ourselves with drawings or reading a chapter of a good paperback book between workloads. It's also going to give your eyes some much needed rest as an added benefit.


Sunday, 6 November 2016

Helping Your Baby Sitter Help You

It’s date night and your favorite aunt has her own plans so you need some hired help. Maybe your kids are difficult with strangers, or maybe just have some important allergies or need a special routine to help ensure they handle all of their homework and get to bed in time. It can be difficult leaving your kids with someone from outside of the family, or even with a teen from one of your siblings who isn’t quite up to snuff on childcare. You want to avoid seeming overbearing when introducing these people to your children’s needs, so we’re going to help you put together a list of important information that the baby sitter can consult as needed, a babysitter field guide.

First off, it’s obviously important to have everyone’s allergies in a simple and easy to consult format, maybe you don’t keep any nut products in the house and think it’s okay to omit this up until the hired help brought a snickers and you get a call interrupting your date and ruining the whole night. This is essential information and should never be skimped out on. To follow up on that, of course you want emergency contacts, and the information for everyone’s insurance, just to make sure that everybody is safe and happy.

Now to get off of the topic of safety and back to something a little more cozy, it’s a good idea to have a soft and hard limit on everybody's bed time. A cue on when the baby sitter should start having things wind down so your kids can sleep when they actually go to bed (rather than kick and jump and make unwanted trouble.)

Of course the final major important thing to include for your babysitter is what and how they are going to make sure the kids are fed. It’s a good assumption that most people you hired don’t have the skill to handle anything more than a TV dinner, so have leftovers or extra money for the bunch to order pizza, or something simple enough that you can trust your hired help to cook without burning down the whole house. I’m personally a fan of the home cooked meals, so I’d go with clearly labeled leftovers that can be heated up in the microwave.


Never Miss an Important Date

In our ever expanding social and work circles it can be easy to lose track of important dates like birthdays, anniversaries and any other date you’d want to never forget. Fortunately there is a free downloadable printable pdf that will help you organize all your annual events in a neat format to slip into your planner, agenda, calendar or anywhere else you store your organizational papers.

Consolidating all of the important annual dates into a simple cheat sheet can help you keep track on every event and never leave a loved one without a card or gift. Keeping and modifying a master list of annual dates as they are introduced to your life will ensure that you can easily update each New Years calendar with these important dates and impress all your friends when you don’t need a reminder that their birthday is coming up.

Now for the non-annuals, it’s a little harder to keep and organize a catch all key, for obvious reasons. But a good solution is to have an on hand calendar at your office or on your phone that you update as new dates are introduced so you are notified of everything and don’t lose track of dates written on random slips of paper that are so easy to lose while tidying up. As the more you can consolidate your information, the easier it is to find everything when you need it.


Friday, 4 November 2016

Unscrambling The Holiday Rush

When it comes to organizing the holidays so that they go off without a hitch. There is so much going on from Halloween to New Years that it’s easy to let small but essential elements to get swept under the rug. That’s why we’re going to help you create checklists for each holiday so that nobody and nothing is left out in the cold.

Creating a checklist or Holiday Planner helps get your needs organized and accounted for. If you actively check off every note that you accomplish then nothing will be forgotten or unaccounted for. Creating a checklist will also help you organize your holiday expenditures so you can help keep on a budget this year, or get a good estimate of how much you will be spending in the following years.

A couple huge lists to handle for the holidays are the gifts and cards. It’s so easy to forget to send someone a card, so having a list of every person you care about is super helpful, and then you can cross out everyone who could attend your festivities so you have a solid list of every person you should send a card to and wish them a happy holiday since they couldn’t attend.

Gifts can be a little more sloppy, especially with budgeting, but getting a list of every recipient before planning out the gifts can be a crucial asset in not overspending for the holidays. You can split your total planned gift expenses between your loved ones to get an average cost of gift, or if you plan on getting a couple really big gifts you can deduct those first and get a good idea of your price range for everyone else.

The final major part of the holidays is handling food. Missing out on a spice for a pie could be bad, but forgetting you were supposed to bring the turkey could be absolutely devastating for holiday dinners. No matter how you delegate who brings what for holiday dinners, it’s important that everyone keeps a list of what they need to bring so you never have a holiday without a hen.
There are plenty of other things that can be organized into checklists, but hopefully these basics can help put you in the habit of using this organizational method to ensure everybody is accounted for.


Keeping Your Meal Costs Checked

When it comes to gourmet cooking, one of the very first tenants learned is mise en place, a French phrase meaning “everything in place”, or that before doing everything, you should have all your ingredients on the counter ready to be used. This also has wonderful meaning when applied to shopping for food, where you should have your recipe, or shopping list, which will ensure that every ingredient finds its place in your cart – and then your pantry.

It’s super easy to go over budget in the supermarket while grocery shopping, it is also easy to forget essential items costing you time and gas to return to the store just to get the diapers you forgot or an essential ingredient to a recipe you had planned that night.

While it is easy to forget an item, it is also easy to over buy groceries, especially when you shop on an empty stomach leaving you tempted to buy all sorts of junk food. Make sure to shop after having a meal, or the very least after a light snack.

Of course, a good way to save time and money in the grocery is to go in with a plan, a shopping list and a budget in mind and hand will get you in and out without tears, and will help keep you on a diet if you are on one as it’s easier to stick to your diet while making plans (and going in with a plan cuts back on impulse buys).

The fuel grocery notepad will help you remember your meal budget from week to week, and encourages you to write in the cost of each shopping track so you can keep track of how much you are over or under your food budget so that you can cut back (or reward yourself) the next week.

Of course, even if we do go to the grocery store with a list in hand, it doesn’t mean we can’t deviate from that list at all, just ensure it’s marked down in your cost and calorie budgets to ensure you stay on track.


Taking the Time to Plan a Proper Vacation

Plenty of people nowadays have given up the art of planning a vacation whether it be for themselves, their family, or a group of friends. Far too many people have taken the road most trodden with professional vacation planners that offer cookie cutter trips to tourist traps the world over. But if you want a personalized vacation that will take you off the training wheels and down to roads less trodden where you can really experience the world, you’ll want to plan it yourself. This simple printable vacation planner will help you build a vacation from the ground up, and help you track costs to keep the vacation within your budget.

But an aid is an aid, what do you actually need to do to help your vacation go off without a hitch.
The most obvious thing to plan around is your flights and the leave that you have. The cost of your flight can cost as much as half your vacation budget depending on the location you are going to, and is an essential consideration in figuring out where you should and can afford to go see.

Having your transportation and hotels planned out and purchased ahead of time can save your life and your wallet when you can hunt for deals online rather than negotiating with natives when you arrive (who may want to wring out any tourist cash they can get from you). Planning these out ahead while you have the power to negotiate and shop around is essential in controlling the budget of your trip.

Once your hotels and transportation are resolved, or perhaps at the same time if you plan on seeing multiple cities, you will want to start writing down the restaurants and attractions you want to visit. Make a list as big as you can think of, get everything down in a list and start prioritizing this list while considering how much time each attraction will cost you including transportation. A good vacation can sour fast when your plans run over each other and blow you off the itinerary so it is best to give everything a generous time estimate, so you can have downtime between events.

When you get all of this information sorted out, it’s time to start contacting websites and making phone calls to get estimates of costs, and set down your seats so you don’t have to reschedule anything while on your trip. On this step you should really take the time to figure out the total costs of your trip, and get ready to pack your bags if everything checks out.


Planning For Growth and Success, Deciphering The Business Plan For Startups and New Leadership

Almost without exception, every healthy growing business is guided by well thought out plans and projections that ensure that investments are well placed. Today we’re giving you a crash course on how to plan for and run a business with a focus on the most important step.

When planning your business, it’s best to be concise and cut the fluff, this may mean you’ll start by writing a first draft of your business plan and come back through with a heavy dose of red ink cutting out the unnecessary language. If you plan on following a plan it should be as simple and concise as possible as you will reread it, revise it, check up on it, and share it with employees and business partners.

With that said, if you are working on a new startup we need to talk about business goals and how we are going to get there. To start out you should answer some really simple, but extremely important questions:

  • What is your Product?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What makes your product better than the competition?
  • If everything goes as planned, where will this business be in 5 years?

Now the first two questions should be really simple to answer, your product and the target audience should go hand in hand, and targeted marketing will help you answer the third question by giving you an extra edge in regards to who you want to sell to. But the third question needs more than just group focus, you really should do the time to research who you are competing with and how you can handle the market better than the existing competition as they have the advantage of already being established. The final question should take some math to solve. You should have estimates of how much profit your business will make, and with that profit you should consider how to further invest and grow your business. After 5 years of growth, what will your empire look like?
Now not all of us are organizational geniuses, but there exist plenty of tools out there to help get our ideas down in permanent reviewable form.

At the very least, make it a habit to carry a daily planner that will help organize all of your ideas into one concise book to keep the year under control. If you are starting a business or taking the reigns of an existing one and intend to grow it, it’s time to take advantage of every tool you can get to give you the leg up.


Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Holiday Gift Guide for the productivity lover!


Can you guys believe that the holidays are just around the corner and with cookie exchanges, holiday parties, and traditions galore, we thought you might want to get a jump on your holiday shopping!


We wanted to come up with a list that is perfect for increasing productivity and making things happen! We have compiled a list of our top 10 gifts for the productivity lover and we think you're going to love it!! The only thing missing now is the eggnog and wrapping paper! Gift giving has never been so easy and here are just some of the things we love! 



I mean... this one is a no-braniner right?  :) Of course we think our Hustle Planner makes a great gift! Be a gift giving super hero this year with the gift of ultimate organization and goal crushing! Your friends, family, boss, teacher, neighbor, & virtually anyone on our list will love it's beautiful design and functionality.  ;) 


A grown-up twist on the elementary school #2 pencil. With fun colors and phrases like "Goal Crushin'" and "Like a Boss," they are easy to tuck into an office gift exchange, stocking or even tie on top of a pretty present for a picture perfect presentation! 


The office should be a place that inspires!! After all, you are there 8+ hours a day, let's make it pretty!! We think a punch of color on the walls goes a long way and we LOVE abstract pieces by our 2017 cover artist, Hannah Joiner Crosby! 

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!! Water makes you feel better and studies show that being hydrated helps you focus and improves your overall productivity.... so what better gift than a pretty water bottle to sit on their desk that just screams "DRINK ME!" This is one we came across a loved. 

Another fun stocking stuffer or add-on, we just love these Fuel and Delegate notepads that encourage yet another level of organization with a pop of color! Fuel is great for on the go groceries and delegate is great for those to do list you need to assign. 

Oils are all the rage and with health benefits ranging from fewer germs, more energy, to better over all well being, we think that every office needs an oil diffuser and we just adore the simplicity and clean lines of this Aria Diffuser from Young Living Oils.  We are not experts on oils but if you need a contact that is reach out and we can connect you! 

Life is messy! Its nice to be able to erase from time to time! These Erasable Frixion Gel Pens come in a variety of pretty colors and are great for color coding your planner and notes!

Every one loves a coffee mug and with fun and motivational phrases, your coworkers will be fighting over this one at the gift exchange! There are a ton on Etsy and coffee mugs are easy fun gifts. 


Papers. They pile up and add so much distraction. Get them out of site and organized with these adorable Kate Spade files that will actually look cute on the desk!. 


Sometimes it's not easy to focus in the office with all the chatter and noise. Or if you are trying to focus in the house. Yes we know the feeling.  We love to drown out the background noise so we can focus in and crush our goals, and these stylish beats headphones are the perfect accessory to do just that! 


It is crazy to be already thinking about the holidays but if you or someone you know loves organization or has some pretty big goals to meet. These items might just be the perfect gift! 


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

An Organized Teacher is a Good Teacher

It’s pretty insane how bad a rap teachers seem to get these days, especially considering just how much they do and go through to help provide kids with a quality education. Not only do they spend their workday dealing with rowdy kids (and a couple good ones), they also need to handle unruly parents, do battle in one of the most heated political workforces in the country, craft lesson plans, track supplies, grade homework and hold tutoring - and that’s just the day-to-day stuff.

Because there is so much on a teacher’s plate, it’s vital that she or he has some type of organizational effort in place. While it might be true that a handful of teachers can keep track of everything without a schedule in place, that’s the exception to the rule. Even teachers most people think have a cakewalk of a job (looking at you P.E. and art teachers) have a ton of stuff they need to keep track of and plan for.

When you bring special events or any out-of-the-norm activities into the fold, everything gets even more complicated. Permission slips need to be signed. Paperwork needs to be filed with the district. Field trips have to be planned and those locations need to be contacted.

For the most part, a trackable calendar of some sort is going to work wonders for all the daily tasks that a teacher goes through (and we obviously have the best selection of those around).

But, when it comes to those who want a better way to track issues specific to educators, our organizational inserts for teachers were crafted specifically to help you organize the important parts of your job and make your day a little bit easier.

Now, about that loud and vindictive teacher in the room next to yours - we don’t have anything ready but we’ll let you know as soon as we think of something.


Are You Making This Huge Organizational Mistake?

Not giving yourself time to decompress? Studies show that appropriately timed breaks can increase productivity and lead to a healthier happier work-life relationship.

Research also shows that the most efficient way to do any office work is a nice 50 on, 20 off system. Our brains (just like our muscles) get tired from constant use. So, by breaking apart work into 50 minute bursts followed by 20 minutes away from the computer, we can refresh our mind and be up to 10% more productive than if we took no breaks at all. Talk about a win-win. Just remember that 20 minutes of Facebook or YouTube do little to actually refresh your mind. Go for a walk, read a book, or do any other relaxing leisurely task as long as it helps break your mind away from work for a bit.

Another thing to take note of is that working overtime will help us accomplish more than normal, up to a point. We’ll be more productive for the first two weeks of overtime, but the benefits rapidly fade after that time period. By the time you’ve spent 2 months working more than 40 hours a week rolls around, you’ll need a serious refresher. You’ll get to a point where you’ll be accomplishing less in your 10-16 hour days than you would have if you were working a regular 8-hour schedule. This means those chronic overtime workers are in desperate need of a planned vacation to get themselves back onto the rails of efficiency (managers & supervisors, take note - give your employees more vacation time).

In fact, taking a vacation every 3 or so months can be beneficial even to those who don’t burn the midnight oil. Taking a few days off to experience some new sights and forget all about work can have a month-long boost on productivity.

Either way, it’s certainly a lot more fun than sticking to a life of year-round monotony. So don’t get conned into overworking yourself out of enthusiasm and take a moment to write down time for you to enjoy yourself in your calendar, your daily planner, or wherever it is you use to organize your life.