Monday, April 7, 2014

How I Use the Calendars in Mom's Toolbelt

One thing I like about have a lifetime subscription to Mom's ToolBelt is having access to a variety of calendar page layouts and knowing I will get the new year's dates without having to look past my MTB download page.

Landscape month to a page Summer theme page 312 of mtb-calendar-monthly-2014-pdf

I love the landscape month to a page view for jotting down my blog planner but I now realise that I need a computer version so I can have active hyperlinks to linkup pages and pattern tutorials.
I link up with several different linky parties and I find it a nuisance to have to open my blog page up so I can scroll down and find the various link up addresses.

Excel version mtb-calendar-BASIC-5wk-xls9703  the basic 2pg (3) table

Today I used the excel version of the month to a page calendar to insert the links into the correct days and I also added a picture of the paper piecing pattern I am going to make as well as a link to the tutorial for the more complicated paper piecing block.
I included notes on what I want to sew each day so that when I walk into my sewing room I don't get side tracked by the first pretty fabric or pattern that I see.

I opened the xls with Numbers on my Mac. It converts just fine.
I merged the cells on one the day sections to add a picture as cell background and I created hyperlinks in other cells.

Export it as a PDF

When I finished I exported it as a PDF into my Google Docs drive so I could access it from my iPad. I didn't need the info about my posts on the iPad but I did want to be able to see the sewing plans and patterns links I had.
I like to use the iPad in the sewing room because it doesn't take up much space.
Here is an image of my calendar. The top photo is my beach :) The PDF maintains the hyperlinks too.



Laptop - Google Docs - iPad - Google Docs - Laptop

I can swap files back and forth from my laptop to my iPad using GoodReader on the iPad to link to Google Docs. A while back I paid $9.99 for the GoodReader app and it has been worth every cent.

I open all files I download in GoodReader now. I can read them, email them, make notes on them and upload them to Google Docs.

One reason I decided to pay for Mom's Tool Belt files was the convenience factor. Just like paying for GoodReader. You generally get what you pay for and if it is for free then it is often limited in its usefulness. Also I liked the drawings on the themed pages :)

I use affiliate links to MTB in this blog. I think Mom's ToolBelt is a good thing and I like sharing how I use it.


Happy Organising,
Val

Friday, March 7, 2014

Personal Planning - Training Your Brain with the 100 Days Calendar


When you don't get up, shower, dress, have breakfast, clean your teeth and put on your makeup then go to work it is pretty hard to set up a routine that you stick to. For a long time I have gotten up when I feel like it, had breakfast as late as 10 o'clock, forgotten to clean my teeth, had a shower after doing the garden or housework and tried to do some yoga in the evening. Really the only habit I had was to clean my teeth before bed.

I needed to find a way to make me feel happier about my day.

37 days ago I discovered the Hundred Days Calendar.  It is a very simple and amazingly affective way to train your brain. The link takes you to the site of the free printable.

I know that it is said you need to do something for 21 days before it will become a habit. I needed 30 days before I just did my 10 mins of yoga without thinking I had to do something else. Before then, each week we would go shopping in the morning and I skipped the yoga because I had to get ready or I just wandered into the kitchen and started breakfast without cleaning my teeth.

Why couldn't I just follow my plan of clean my teeth and do 10 mins of yoga before breakfast without ticking it off. I don't know. It was just too hard.
Knowing I had to tick off my calendar each day reminded me to do those things and also made me think that I would be disappointed if I didn't get to tick them off. It motivated me to get them done each morning.

There is room for three goals each day. I started with two. Clean my teeth and do 10 mins yoga before breakfast. Now I am comfortable with those I have added the morning shower. So regardless of what is planned for the day I am having my shower before breakfast. Just like I used to when I went out to work. If you are not retired you probably can't understand what I am talking about. Suddenly losing the daily routine is quite unsettling. I finally feel as if I am in control again.

This is why it is so important to set up routines with children. It makes them feel in control and safe.
Here is a cute routine I found at I Heart Organising blog.



My days are still pretty free form. I like to sew as soon as I get up so breakfast is still quite late and sometimes I like to sit in bed and play on the iPad but I always do my routine before breakfast.
If there is something that you would really like to include in your day then print out the Hundred Days Calendar and write it on each day. You will be surprised and pleased how well it works.

Happy Organising,
Val


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Organising my Blogs


I don't plan to make a living from my blogs or related business but I do want them to generate some affiliate income from Mom's ToolBelt and I want to encourage visitors. After all my blogging is not just a personal journal it is a publication and I hope that I can give back some of what I get from reading other people's blogs.

With that in mind I decided to do a bit of organising :)

Mom's ToolBelt is mainly a household organiser but I really like the calendars and binder/notes pages. They can be used for any kind of organising and combined with some of the free printables around Mom's ToolBelt printables make awesome organiser folders.

The first thing I did was print out a February calendar and plan my sewing blog. I used page 120 of the mtb-calendar-monthly-2014 PDF from the Calendar section under Monthly Dated then PDF 2014. It has all the seasons and black and white calendars for each month in lots of page layouts.

I have lots of BoMs and Challenges on the go and I love to join up all the Linkies for them. Each one has to be linked up on a particular day so I had to organise what went where.


It has helped me decide what to sew each day and also motivated me to do more sewing and blog more. Getting organised has helped me find more time. Well, really it is allowing me to use my time more efficiently.

The next thing I did was look for some specific blog organising printables. I found a PDF at Living Well Spending Less that I downloaded for free and just printed out a few pages that suited me.

I liked the Long Term Goals page. It really made me think about what I wanted from my blog and how I might try to make it more inviting. I want it to be good for me and for the visitors.


I also liked the Year at a Glance page. I haven't quite worked out the best way to use this yet but I will probably print out one for each blog I write and put in some post headings or topics that I could use throughout the year. Kind of like a brainstorming page but with a little more purpose.


I have been getting March ready lately. I am quite a visual person so I have used different coloured pens to highlight the different posts I make such as linking up or sewing progress. This pretty March page is page 216 of the Mom's ToolBelt mtb_calendar_monthly_2014 PDF.


I don't actually have a folder for my blog planner yet but I will buy a small ring binder and set it up like my Home Planner with a cover and spine and dividers from Mom's ToolBelt.

If you like blogging it can be a very satisfying experience to turn your blog into more of a publication rather than just a few musings. Getting organised is a step in the right direction.

Happy Organising,
Val

Saturday, February 15, 2014

2. Setting up 'My Home Planner' folder - Tab1 Goals

Using Mom's ToolBelt
Adding At a Glance pages and Journal pages for each goal.
I know what I want but that doesn't mean that I will get it. Time spent thinking about what you really want and how you might achieve it is time well spent. The time I spend playing with my planner printables, finding just the right one for what I want to write down is also time well spent. The more I fine tune it the more usable it gets.

It is easy to make goals. You only need to think of 4 or 5 areas that you want to make some progress in. My goals relate to

  1. Finances - because I have a pocket money allowance that I can spend on anything I like and if I want everything I have to plan what I will spend it on. It sometimes links to my other goals too.
  2. Gardening - because I have been traveling on and off the past few years and we have had the house on the market most of last year my gardening just stopped. I was never around at spring planting time or I went away and nothing got watered. I like to garden so I had to have a plan to get back into it.
  3. Sewing for the home - because we are building a new house near the beach and I want to make new things with a beach/seaside theme.
  4. Personal sewing - because I love to quilt and do BOMs and challenges and sew some colthes and I want to do it all.
  5. Blogging - because most of my personal sewing is related to my blogging I wanted to make sure it all linked together nicely.
There are other things that I think about along the way like housework, meal planning, eating healthy, doing yoga and exercise but they have their own tabs in my folder or their own planner sheet so they get done.

Including At a Glance pages.
To write more specific goals for each month I selected At a Glance Planning from the topic list on the downloads page then downloaded the PDF in At a Glance Planning Pages directly below the zip file box. I chose page 1 because I figured I could use it from FEB through NOV. I typed in the goal and printed it out then retyped the next goal and printed that out until I had a page for each goal area 1 to 4. 
Here is my Garden Goals page:



Including Journal Pages
I also have a two journal pages after each At a Glance page so I can write in more detail how I will make things happen or just be a bit more specific. My Garden notes has a frame for a map of the yard. To get the journal pages I selected Journaling from the main list then downloaded the Summer PDF. For the Garden notes I used pages 5 and 4 to get them as facing pages. For the other notes pages I used pages 3 and 4.
In Acrobat Reader you can't type titles at the tops of the journal pages. I have Acrobat Professional that allows me to add in text boxes anywhere I like. Most of the Mom's ToolBelt pages are editable just in Reader though.



Here are my Personal Sewing pages:




Grouping all the goals on one page for the week:
I really like to do things more than one way. Flicking from page to page is OK but I like the look of this weekly glance. Even going through the process of writing weekly goals for each area helps me achieve them. It is time well spent.
This planner page is a free download from Money Saving Mom. Once on the page click Weekly Goals Saving Sheets in the Table of Contents and download the PDF sheet.
After downloading it you can type in the headings you want.
I will start using this in the coming week.

My next post will be how I organise my Housework schedule using the calendar from Mom's Tool Belt.

Happy Organising,
Val

Monday, February 10, 2014

1. Setting up the 'My Home Planner' Folder - Cover and Dividers


The first thing I did after buying my membership to Mom's Toolbelt was download the covers, spines and dividers file for Summer - mtb-covers-spines-dividers-SUMMER-pdfe

I thought the ready made title was perfect so I just printed out page 1 for the cover and slipped it in the folder cover sleeve.

I have an A4 2 D ring folder. The spine of my folder is 1 1/2 inches or about 4cm. 

I used the second narrowest spine on page 12, typing in My Home Planner. It always seems a shame to print out 4 spines when you only need one but I have kept the others just in case. I had to trim this one down a bit on each long side to fit neatly in my folder spine.

Then I did a bit of thinking about what I needed to have organised right then and there. I have a 5 tab set of divider sleeves that I got from Big W. So I needed 5 important areas to start with.

The desk went into storage so I used the kitchen table to get started.
I wanted to have a place to keep my goals for 2014 so I used page 5 as my divider, typed in my heading - Goals for 2014 - and printed it out.


My housework routine has been very successful for me since 2011 so that was my next divider. I used page 6 and typed in Housework Routine and printed it out.

Since we will have to plan for two weeks shopping and meals I thought I needed to include this. I love the different pages so I clicked through and chose page 16 for this divider and typed in Meal Planner and Shopping Lists. The text gets smaller automatically as you type more.


My husband took over doing the budget and the bills about 6 years ago and I am happy to let him keep doing it but it is easy to lose touch with what has to be paid and when. I decided to make a Budget divider so I could handle it all without a pause if need be. I used page 16 again. Just typing in the heading Budget. 

While looking in cupboards ready to pack up to move I realised that I had a lot of things that I would be hard put to remember if I needed to claim insurance so I started inventorying my dinner sets and tea pots and such. When I finish typing up the lists I will put them in my folder along with basic info on our larger appliance and furniture items. I thought since we would probably be buying some new things when we moved into the new house it would be good time to make a list. I have a very organised warranty and receipts folder set but I will cover that later.
Once again I used page 16 and typed in Inventory and Serial Numbers. Printed it out and put it in the divider sleeve.


The divider sleeves come with little cards to write on and slip in the tab but I had just bought some printable labels that almost fit so I used those instead.
The labels are Avery White Mailing Labels 33 to a page (64mm x 24.3mm).
Fairly small but I had to cut them down a bit for the tabs. The Avery site has great software for making the labels. Very easy to use.

My folders sit on the shelf of the makeshift pantry while we are renting for 6 months. When we get the desk back after the new house is built they will be stored there.


The next post I will go through what I put under each divider heading.

Happy Organising,
Val