DIY Planner | Moleskine Hack UPDATE

Moleskine Planner Update on Cup of Tea
Remember the post about my DIY Moleskine Planner? I basically took this plain Moleskine notebook and added my own hand drawn calender and to-do areas to make my own perfect planner, customized just the way I like it!

I’ve been using the planner since August, so I figured it was time for an update, as I have made a few tweaks to it.

But, first thing’s first – this planner still rocks my socks. I can’t stress how much I love having a weekly to-do list, sorted by category, instead of a daily to-do list. Some days you’re just really productive with cleaning – you get in a groove! Other days, it feels like a blogging/computer work day. It’s quite freeing!

I did find, though, that I was missing a way to track appointments/deadlines each day. While it may be nice for some to-dos to have a whole week to get accomplished, some things have deadlines. My current set up was too messy.

So right now, I’m trying a new layout in my Moleskine planner. It’s a 2×6 grid. The left column is week days, for appointments, deadlines, and things that HAVE to get done that day. The right column is dedicated to my to-do categories. Right now it’s Home, Blog, Work, Church and Other. I eliminated the Errands/Appts category because I know have the left column.

New Weekly Planner Layout for the DIY Moleskine Planner Hack

And then, the bottom left and right boxes are for Saturday and Sunday.

I write appointments and deadline tasks on the left, and then any other to-dos to be accomplished by the week’s end on the right, in its appropriate space.

Close up of the new weekly layout for the DIY Planner Moleskine Hack

It’s a little different from the past set up. Before it was a 2×3 grid, with a box for each task category. See below for a side-by-side comparison (old layout on left, new layout on right). There is less space to write weekly to-dos, but it hasn’t been a problem, since some to-dos get added to the daily slot.

Old vs. New Weekly Layout of the DIY Planner Moleskine Hack

I’ve been using this set up for a month now, and I’ve just about hit planner perfection! So basically, it’s a weekly planner with monthly views. The layout is a month view, and then the weekly views for that month. Then the next month, and so on. I love it!

The final “phase” in my planner vamp is just making sure I set aside “planner time” every evening and every Sunday. That way I can organize my thoughts and action items for the next day or the next week. I still need to work that into my routine.

Even though I absolutely LOVE my DIY Moleskine hack, I still love drooling over a few planners!

if I had to buy a new planner (and it’s so tempting!), here are a few I’d definitely consider.

Daily To Do Instant Download from Printable Wisdom source

Printable Daily Schedule from Printable Wisdom (Etsy) | If you like the simplicity of a one sheet-er that you can print yourself, this one is adorable! It has space for errands to run, calls to make, etc. I’d probably use this one for a weekly to-do list. You could haul this file down to your local Kinkos and print them off and have them spiral bound, if you want!

Weekly To-Do List from Lizzie Lou Creations

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Weekly To Do List Printable from Lizzie Lou Creations (Etsy) | If you’re looking for another printable but more simple/flexible, then this one is a great option as well! It would look nice even printed in black and white. The same Etsy shop has a cute weekly to-do list with additional categories that looks like it would be fun to have.

Emily Ley Simplified Planner

 

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Simplified Planner – Weekly Edition from Emily Ley | First of all, all of Emily’s products are adorable! But this planner, in particular, is spot on! (No pun intended! Well, maybe a little intended…) I love the navy and polka dots! But the inside is really what stands out. It’s just simplified. No bells or whistles. There is just enough guidance with prompts to keep you on task, but clean enough to let you organize it your own way.

Kate Spade Planner

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Kate Spade Large Agenda | I love this cover! So cute! But, like the Simplified Planner, the actual pages are so simple and clean. No fuss. Which is what I would look for in a planner.

So what do you think? Are you a paper planner person? Or all electronic? Would you DIY your own planner? Let me know!

For other Moleskine hacks out there:

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*As always, no affiliate links in this post… I’m just not that cool.

Christmas Gift Ideas | The Perfect Mug

Favorite Mugs for Gifts at Cup of Tea

Buffalo Check Mug | Make It Happen Mug | You Got This Mug | Attingham Tea Cup | Monogrammed Travel Mug | Snow Day Latte Mug | Have a Cup of Cheer Mug | Gold Christmas Tree Mug

It’s no surprise that I love hot drinks! And one of my favorite gifts to give or receive, whether it’s for Christmas or any other time of the year, is a pretty mug!

I’ve rounded up some of my favorite mugs on sale right now. Some are perfect for Christmas, and some are perfect any time.

Mugs or tea cups give you a base to really build a lovely, thoughtful gift. I usually stick a few of my favorites teas in the mug before wrapping it up. You could also stick in a small bag of local coffee beans, honey sticks, candy canes (great for stirring in hot drinks this time of year!), or any other small trinket.

Some of my favorite places to shop for sweet, unique mugs are Anthropologie, C. Wonder, Etsy, and Target. My favorite every day mugs are large hobnail ones from Target!

These mugs would also be awesome for the Tis the Season Mug Swap! Have you heard about the Tis the Season Mug Swap that I’m co-hosting with Caitlin at Coffee with Caitlin? Be sure to check it out and sign up! Deadline to sign up is November 26, and we’ve had an amazing response so far!!

And if you’re looking for some other cool mug ideas, swing over to Caitlin’s blog and check out her picks!

 

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My Favorite Blogs (That I Hope Become Your Favs!)

My Favorite Blogs at Cup of Tea

Ever since I started blogging, I’ve had the best time getting to know other bloggers! It’s just such a hoot swapping stories, getting inspiration, and sharing ideas.

I was featured by Tif over at Bright on a Budget for Tour Around Blogland. Basically, it’s a chance to share some of my favorite bloggers! (Others have also talked about their blog process, but I’m shaking things up!)

I’ve been an avid blog reader for several years now (I actually prefer reading blogs over reading magazines!) and I love being a part of the community, even though I am on a relatively small scale. And when it’s nap time, and a rainy day (like it is today), one of my favorite things is curling up with the lap top and cruising Blog Lovin’ and do a little reading.

So here are a few of my favorite bloggers at the moment!

Bright on a Budget | If you love fashion and beauty, but aren’t willing to break the bank for it, then Tif at Bright on a Budget is your girl! I am always SHOCKED at the amazing deals she scores. My favorite posts are her Wardrobe Re-Wear features, like this one. So clever, that one! She is a serious bargain shopper, but love her every day life posts as well. We will be hosting a giveaway together soon, so stay tuned!

Come Home for Comfort | Whitney at Come Home for Comfort features amazing recipes, clever organizational tips (like this!), and all around good cheer. Every time I read a post of hers, it feels like I should be curled up on her couch, under a cozy blanket, sipping some tea and just chatting. And she’s from the MidWest, so bonus! 🙂

In Residence | I don’t remember exactly when I stumbled on Anne’s blog, but I loved it the moment I did! First, she’s married to a resident, so we have those fun years of supporting our doctor husbands during their medical training. Second, our kiddos are only a few weeks apart!  Third, and most importantly, her content is so awesome! I especially love her style posts, but her recipes always look delicious. Plus, she always recommends some good reads (in the book form, not blog form).

But First, Coffee | So if you like beauty reviews and makeup tutorials, style, and recipes all with a touch of sarcasm, Kallie is your girl! She was also the host of that fun Mug Swap I mentioned a few weeks back. But, seriously, I love her writing style. I have had tea coming close to shooting out of my nose on several occasions, which is something you don’t expect from reading a mascara review post. While I love reading her posts, her 60 second review videos (like this one) are pretty stellar! Plus, she’s a hot drink fan. That should be enough of an endorsement right there!

Here are a few other favs, grouped by category:

Beauty/Hair/Style:
The Small Things Blog
Lauren Elizabeth
Designer Bags & Dirty Diapers
Lily Pebbles
Un-Fancy
Life with Emily
Vivianna Does Makeup
A Spoonful of Style
Coffee With Caitlin
Polka-Dotty Place
For All Things Lovely

Mommy & Baby:
Hello Bee
The Stir Crazy Moms’ Guide to Durham (if you’re local!)

Food/Cooking:
Cookie and Kate (vegetarian)
Lemon Jelly Cake (she writes about other topics too, but her baking recipes are to die for!)

Organization & DIY:
I Heart Planners
I Heart Arts & Crafts

A bit of a round up for you! Hope you take some time to visit a few new blogs!
Do you have any current favorite blogs? Let me know down below!

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DIY Weekly Planner | Moleskine Hack



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*I’ve written an update with a few extra tweaks – you might be interested in that!

I know I’m not the only one who loves planners, lists, keeping organized, etc!  Anyone else love changing out your planners regularly, hoping to find the system?  I do! I do!  (In fact, you may remember I purchased another planner back in the Spring… and it just didn’t work for me.  I didn’t like how the monthly views were all together… kind of annoying.)

A few months ago I showed off my newly purchased Moleskine notebook on Instagram.  The master plan was to take that notebook and turn it into my own little customized planner.

I frequently try different ways to keep to-do lists.  But in early summer I noticed I was loosing track of tasks for the blog and for my consultant work (not good!).  So it was time to rethink my strategy!

My last few months at my last job, just before leaving to stay home full time, I started (can I say invented????) a way to group to-dos by category.  Instead of saying “these are the tasks I will accomplish today”, I wrote to-dos to accomplish by the week’s end.

So I modified this idea for my new home/mom life, and have been using it diligently for the last few months.  It’s high time to show it off!

This custom planner is a home schedule, master calendar, work tracker, AND a blogging calendar, all in one 🙂

First up, here’s an over view of the notebook itself.  It’s the Moleskine Classic Colored Notebook in the Large size.  It’s big enough to hold all my musings, but small enough to toss in the diaper bag.  I love the soft covers of Moleskines versus the hard covers.

The pages are covered with dots in a grid.  How awesome is that? It’s like little polkadots everywhere 🙂 And like all Moleskines, it has a strap to keep it closed, a page marker ribbon thingy, and a pocket for things in the back.  I love the quality of Moleskines!

So here’s how I have it organized!  I created my own monthly views by just drawing lines in a grid pattern.  Each box/day is an 8×8.  I’ve combined Saturday and Sunday into one day.

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I use the monthly view as a blog planner and mapping out posts. (It looks a little sparse for September, no?  Don’t worry – I took these pictures a while back!) For our own personal calendar, I still use my weekly note pad from Target, as well as iCal to sync with our phones.

After a month, I then add the corresponding week’s week at a glance view, one week per page. I draw a 2×6 grid, with 6 13×14 rectangles.  I label each box as a category.

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As the week goes on, and a to-do pops up for a category, I add it in the category box with a small check box to the left.

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When you get in close for a picture, you inevitably capture a shadow 🙂

Here are my categories I’m currently working with:

  • Home – larger “deep clean” type tasks that aren’t a part of my usual daily or weekly cleaning schedule.
  • Blog – the week’s posts, link ups to remember  and then bigger projects I hope to tackle during the week
  • Work – items that my clients have requested with deadlines
  • Errands – sometimes errands, but sometimes also appointments or play dates!
  • Church – I do A LOT of volunteer work for my church, and if I drop the ball, my volunteers I schedule don’t know what’s going on.
  • Other – any miscellaneous tasks or to-dos that don’t necessarily fall into a category above

As the week goes on, I look at my tasks and try to tackle what I see.  I love the flexibility of to-dos for the week, verses a list of tasks for the day.  I have more productive days than others, so I like not being pressured to get certain things done on certain days.

In the back of the notebook, I’ve added some page tabs labeled with a few of my categories.  This allows me space for note taking, jotting down ideas, or other schedules that are important.  For example, I’ve got my monthly deep cleaning schedule jotted down in the Home section, as well as my yearly home tasks.

And finally, in the back pocket, I’ve got stored some spare page tabs.

So there you have it!  I’m LOVING my Moleskine hack and have been using it for a few months now.

You may like a few of my other blog posts on staying organized:
Daily Schedule of a Stay at Home Mom
Daily & Weekly Cleaning Schedule

If you’re interested in seeing other Moleskine hacks out there or other planner inspiration, check out my Pinterest board on the topic:

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Daily Schedule of a Stay at Home Mom



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I have always been a schedule-driven person.  Schedules keep me on task and it ensures that I keep productive throughout the day, because while I may be a schedule-driven person, I am also a closet Lazy Person.

So, when I transitioned to my new life as a Stay at Home Mom, I decided to make myself a schedule to make sure I didn’t forget any day to day tasks.  Besides being a mom and keeping a home, I also have blog responsibilities and work for clients (I’m a marketing consultant, doing work from home).

Sharing my schedule with you isn’t meant to be braggy.  I enjoy reading how other people schedule their days, and then I try do a little tweaking!  My schedule also isn’t to make it seem like I have it all together.  Trust me – this schedule doesn’t happen like this every single day.  This is what I HOPE happens every day.

Here’s an example of my typical day:

5:00am – Wake up and quiet time; Work on blog
6:30am – Breakfast with husband, clean up, then start to get ready for day
7:00am – Baby wakes up; Fix baby breakfast; Play time
8:30am – Bath time
9:00am – Baby’s first nap, then tackle more computer work
10:30am – Baby wakes up, do some housework with her
11:00am – Snack, then run errands
12:00pm – Lunch & Play time
1:00pm – Baby’s afternoon nap, tackle blog/work items
3:00pm – Baby wakes up & have snack; Tackle more housework
4:00pm – Prep dinner, husband comes home
4:30pm – Dinner time, then clean up
5:00pm – Baby play time
6:00pm – Get baby ready for bed
6:30pm – Baby in bed.  Go downstairs and pick up toys
7:00pm – Watch TV with husband
8:00pm – Shower
8:30pm – Tackle more client work (if needed)
9:30pm – Bed time!

It looks intense all written out. I promise it’s not!  Basically, when Elizabeth is up, I try to stay away from the computer and phone, and tackle housework only.  She loves coming around the house with me, starting laundry, vacuuming, and so on.  When she’s asleep, that’s when I work on the computer and finish either blog work or work for my clients.

I find that when I stick to the same routine every day, it flows well!  And by tackling a little housework each day, I don’t have one day where it feels overwhelming.

Do you stick to a schedule?  Even if you don’t stay at home like me, do you find that a schedule helps you stay on track?  Or are you a to-do list person instead?  Tell me all about it!

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