Why I ditched my electronic calendar

I’m as attached to my mobile as any other millennial, I just can’t be without my phone. But as much as I love my phone, I’ve never really been a huge fan of my electronic calendar. It just hasn’t  been the same as writing things down in something tangible. I find it’s harder to look at all of my due dates and appointments all at once. I just can’t visualize things the right way when I look at a calendar of dots. What does that dot represent? Is that a holiday or something I scheduled? It drives me insane.

So I swear by writing things down the old fashioned way. I need to have a paper planner. But as paper planners have become more of a thing of the past, I’ve found it harder and harder to find a planner that I like. The past few years, I’ve even gone planner-free because I was tired of spending money on them and then not using them because the layout didn’t work for me or I didn’t like the size or style of the planner. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t thought about having a paper planner. Or browsed for one. Or drooled over the beautiful, customizable, build-your-own planner sites. During my hours of planner research, the closest to what I was looking for was the Passion Planner by Angelia Trinidad.

I was really excited for my mum when she told me that she had ordered a Passion Planner to help her stay organized in her retirement (I swear she’s the busiest retired person I’ve ever met), and to assist her keep her schedule straight while she’s dealing with post-concussion syndrome. I guess she had been researching planners, too and really wanted to give the Passion Planner a try. I admitted to having planner envy, and because my mum is the greatest, she also ordered a Passion Planner for me! I’m probably a little too excited about this.

So my planner is finally here and I’ve started the process of setting it up. Honestly, I wasn’t really sure where to start. It’s like starting a new notebook. I never use the first few pages, because what if I fuck it up and make it look ugly? Spelling mistakes, failed doodles, crappy handwriting. Disaster. Am I the only one like this? Yes, I’m a total freak?  Cool, cool.

Anyway. Luckily for me, there is a huge community behind Passion Planners, so there are heaps of resources to give me some inspiration. I may or may not have spent a day watching YouTube videos of how other people have set up their planners. The Passion Planner has its own YouTube and Instagram account with videos and tips and planner pron. But the planner addict thing runs deep and there are lots of people posting inspiration and planner set up videos. Maybe I’m not so strange after all.

The planners are pretty easy to customize, even though they have a lot of pre-printed sections. I’ve seen some Instagram videos where people have used washi tape to cover headings they weren’t using or needing and to replace it with headings that suited them better. Some of these planners have been turned into complete works of art. It’s pretty impressive.

The Passion Planner comes in two sizes. The compact is 5.5 inches wide and 8 inches tall. I have the full size planner (8.5 inches wide x 11 inches tall) and at first, I was worried that it might be  little too big, as I’ve never had a planner this size before. It’s a little too big to fit in my purse, but it fits in my work bag or my tote bags, no sweat.

The planner has a soft cover. I’m a huge fan of that. I’m not as big a fan of my particular cover design. The design of my cover is plain. You do have some options when it comes to cover design, but they are limited. I have an all-black cover. My plan is to customize it to brighten it up a bit. I have an all black covered moleskin notebook right now, and I’ve doodled on that. I plan to do the same with my planner.

My Passion Planner

As far as layout goes, there is month-at-a-glance pages, as well as weekly spreads (my preferred planner layout!). The week layouts have a full seven days, which I appreciate. I’m not a fan when weekends have less space than Monday-Fridays. The days are broken down into half hour increments, starting at 6am and going until 10:30pm. These pages include room for To Do lists, both personal and work ones, inspirational quotes, places to spell out your focus for the week or day, and there’s room for reflections.

There is one intimidating part of the planner for me: It has a huge emphasis on goal setting. Every six months, the planner has a section for brainstorming and mind-mapping your goals for the next 3 months, one year, three years and lifetime. Goal setting stresses me out. I want to achieve all the things and figure this is the quickest way to fuck them all up. Writing them down means I’m committing to them. Because just getting out of bed and living in this world is hard enough, without the pressures of achieving your wildest dreams.  Haha, lololol, kill me.

That being said, I want to use my planner the way it was intended. So I’m going to give it a try. I like that there is space in the planner to revise your goals to tweak them, change them or update them as you go on. Maybe this won’t be an intimidating as it seems. We’ll see.

I’ve only had my planner for a few weeks, so I’m not sure how it will be using it long-term. But so far, it’s probably among my top 3 favourite planners, ever.

Do you use a paper planner? Which one is your favourite? What features do you look for in a planner?

Tell me all about it in the comments below.

 

Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored. I just love paper planners and have been really happy with my experience with this planner, so I wanted to share it for anyone who loves paper planners like I do. For the rundown on how I manage sponsored posts, you can visit my about page

 

My 3 Summer Projects of 2017 (Because I don’t know how to vacation)

With my new day job, I’ve been spoiled with a ridiculous 10 weeks of vacation. I’ve had summers off, which at first sounded like a really great idea. But by the third week, I’m starting to get a bit restless. So for the last few summers, I’ve tackled a project to keep me busy. Two summers ago, it was updating the main bathroom. Last summer, it was the development and launch of a website for one of my freelance clients.

See? I’m bad at vacationing.

This summer, instead of tackling one big project, I’m working on a few smaller ones:

Setting up the office

I’ve fallen into a bad habit of working from my couch. While it’s nice to have the flexibility to choose to work there from time to time, I’m not a huge fan of the fact it’s becoming my home base. My end tables are covered with office supplies, which frequently end up in my dog’s mouth. There are a lot of distractions when I work from the couch and it means there is next to no work-life separation. I could easily just work all the time.

We do have a home office. It just doesn’t look like one right now. So I plan to set this up so it’s useable as a workspace. This is going to be quite the project. Because there is so much stuff in there that doesn’t need to be.

Which brings me to my second project of the summer:

Decluttering the house

We bought this place 8 years ago and I can’t believe how much stuff has collected in that time. Our guest bedroom, spare bedroom and home office are all full of random stuff that otherwise doesn’t really have a home. Instead of having three storage rooms, I want to restore them to their former glory: a guest bedroom, a workout room/ spare room and a home office.

This means I’ll have to go through boxes and piles of random stuff that we haven’t really used. I have boxes in what should be the home office that are full of kitchen and living room items we packed up three years ago when we tore up and replaced all the floors on our main level and have forgotten about. Clearly, it isn’t anything we need. We haven’t gone looking for that stuff for three years.

There are binders and notes from the various post secondary courses we’ve done that need sorting and consolidation. We have more books than shelves to put them on. There are clothes and shoes and even extra furniture that is just taking up space. So I want to tackle those rooms, decide what’s to be donated, what’s to be recycled and what needs to be trashed. It’ll be awesome to have more useable space and I purging and organizing. It feels so good.

Yes, I know. I’m weird. Stop looking at me like that.

Taming my wild garden

Not a euphemism.  I’ve never really cared too much about our garden, if I’m being perfectly honest. I’ve had gardens other places that I’ve lived. My favourite was the front garden in the house I lived in during my second and third year of college. It was beautiful and full of wild flowers, Black-Eyed Susans, hostas and poppies. Until the new home owners ripped it out the day they took possession of that house. Those fucking monsters.

This could be why I lost interest in putting an effort into my garden. I was fine to let my front garden do its thing, but haven’t really planned it out or planted anything new. It fit it with my surrounding neighbours and their (lack of) landscaping. Everything was cool.

Then last summer, my stupid new neighbours ripped out their garden, built it up with brick edging, planted gorgeous plants and even finished it off with mulch. Their garden makes ours look pathetic. So at the risk of having my heart broken when we sell this place (hopefully in the next few years), and another beloved garden is murdered by some heartless monster, I want to tackle my garden.

Those are my summer projects. Do you plan projects to take on in your down time or vacation time? Or are you better at taking vacation than I am? Can you teach me how to relax?

Tell me all about it in the comments!

What the actual duck: Canadian-ing at its best

Canada doesn’t get much attention these days on the world stage. Our world leader isn’t a racist, bigoted rotting orange in a suit, but nor is he the Prime Minster Centrefold he used to be. Thanks for stealing that attention, Macron.

We are kind of quiet about things and stay as neutral as possible on the world stage while still trying to achieve our goals. We don’t like to cause a ruckus. But when we do, you know we’re super sorry about it.

So it might surprise you to learn that Canada has trouble brewing. And it comes in the form of a giant inflatable duck.

This is a real thing, guys. We have a giant motherducking problem.

The oversized novelty bathtub toy is set to make its debut in Toronto on July 1st (Canada Day) as part of the 150th birthday celebrations. It was meant to be a fun, if not slightly ridiculous, tourist attraction funded primarily by the Ontario government.

Yet the controversies surrounding this 6-storey tall rubbber duck has grown to be quackers.

Controversy one: The cost.

The actual cost of this giant inflatable tourist attraction seems a bit unclear. The lowest cost I’ve heard for the rent and installation of this duck is $70,000. Conservative Members of Provincial Parliament claim the cost is closer to $200,000. Our government (Liberals) and supporters of the rubber duck feel it’s well worth the cost, as such a ridiculous and fun thing will draw tourists and pay for itself. I mean, who doesn’t want to take a selfie with a giant rubber duck?

Conservatives cry that it’s a waste of tax payer money. I mean, it’s a big rubber duck, costing $70,000-$200,000. Imagine all the people we could feed with that! Imagine all the problems we could fix in our country with that kind of money!

This argument makes me laugh for two reasons:

  1. Conservatives never want to spend money on things like ‘feeding the poor’ (the way they put it), because that’s not how Conservatives spend money.
  2. That’s not how budgeting works. This amount of money, whether it’s $70K, $200K, or one million dollars, has been allocated to Canada’s 150th celebrations. So it was going to be spent on something frivolous or stupid anyway.

Controversy number two: The Case of The Counterfeit Canard

There are rumblings that the rubber duck the 150 Canada celebration organizers have chosen to rent is a knock-off. Our duck is coming from a man in the US, and while he is the owner of this particular giant rubber duck, it is not the first of its kind, nor is it a creation of this gentleman.

A Dutch design company is claiming this American duck is simply a rip off of their concept and design, and that the Ontario government should have instead contacted them to ensure the 150th Canadian celebrations were done right. And with the original giant rubber duck, not this so-called counterfeit.

The fight over who has the true copyrights to this giant duck have been going on for a few years now. The Dutch artist, Florentijn Hofman, had been contracted by events producer Craig Samborski to create this duck for an event at the Los Angeles waterfront, but when he failed to deliver the duck drawings as specified, Samborski and his partner Ryan Whaley had the giant duck built by an American company.

When asked if this controversy would impact the decision to include the duck in Canada’s 150th celebrations, the response from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism was basically:

So, that would be a no.

The third controversy plaguing the giant duck: A lack of patriotism.

What comes to mind when you think about Canada? Hockey? Snow? Canadian geese, maybe? Mountie, loons (the bird, thank you), a maple leaf?

Those are all very relevant iconic Canadian things, albeit slightly stereotypical, HOW DARE YOU.

But you’ll notice ‘giant rubber duck’ wasn’t on that list. Anti-duckers are upset that we’re investing so much money is something that doesn’t really represent Canada. See? Canadians can be patriotic. We’re just quieter about it. Why couldn’t we get a giant beave– okay, bad example. Why couldn’t we just get a giant inflatable Tim Horton’s coffee cup? Or moose? Or hockey puck?

This actually ties back into the first controversy about the cost of the duck. If conservatives and other similar-minded people hate that we’re spending so much on an inflatable duck? They’d loose their minds over the cost of contracting someone to create and install a brand-new piece.

It’s all about the Bordens, baby. Which is Canadian for:

The last, and more serious controversy surrounding the giant rubber duck is the fact that not everyone is thrilled to be celebrating 150 years of Canada, period.

See, like most countries that were ‘settled’ by Europeans, we also have a deep, dark history of stealing land that wasn’t ours and treating the people that were already here in Canada like garbage. We’re actually still pretty garbage at taking care of our Indigenous population. So you can understand why not everyone is keen to celebrate the 150th anniversary of this settlement. This is a controversy that of course extends beyond a stupid rubber duck, but whenever we start to talk about celebrating the last 150 years of Canada, it’s an issue that comes up. Understandably.

Because it’s 2017 and 150 years later people still don’t get the point when it comes to our Indigenous peoples.

So there it is. Canada has scandals and controversies, too, guys. We’re just super Canadian about it. Sorry.