Planner Review: May Designs

I was recently asked to review my May Designs planner. (um… that only sounds like the most fun ever). So here it is! I’ve only been using the planner for a couple of months, but I have really gotten into the rhythm of using it daily, which is something I always worry about when switching planning systems. 

Create a Planner System That Works Best for YOU!

First of all, the coolest thing about May Designs is that you design your own notebook. You choose the cover design, add a monogram or name (or year), and you choose which package of pages that you want. You can get plain old notebook pages, a monthly planner, a monthly and weekly planner, graph paper, etc. 

Another great thing about it is the size. Here, I have it in a little binder and it fits pretty perfectly. Admittedly, I miss my old planner and this one was a little too simple for me, so I did need to supplement it with a binder and notebook pages. This binder is from Office Depot/Max and the dividers and paper are from the office supply aisle at Target! 

 The page package that I chose had both monthly + weekly views. The weekly views are all laid out vertically in a 2 week spread. So, if you are someone who tends to write to-do lists on your days (like me), you may need to supplement it with some notebook paper, too! 

The pages I chose are pre-dated, which I liked. I always tend to mess something up when I’m trying to fill in my own dates. I think it was a little extra for pre-dates, but worth it! I’m using my daily to-do lists instead of writing everything in the daily spaces. 

Overall, the bi-weekly spread is nice, although it can get a little cluttered-looking by that second week. The page quality is pretty good and my color-coded pens don’t bleed through, which is fantastic! I’m not crazy about part of every Sunday being taken up by a calendar of the month, but it’s certainly no deal breaker. 

The monthly view is just my favorite! I just love the simplicity of it and even the tininess of the boxes! Additionally, there are 6 pages in the back of the planner for notes (the only thing I have written back there so far is my morning routine).

This post was written because it was a request. If you’d like to request your own post, do it here!

Do you love planners and planner-related things? Have you ever used a May Designs planner? If so, how did you like it? If not, aren’t they adorable?!

Top Lessons I Learned About Procrastination During College

This will probably be the dumbest question you’ll read all day: Do you struggle with procrastination? Like, literally able to do ANYTHING except for the one thing that you’re supposed to be doing? 

Oh, I’m sorry, would it have been easier to ask: “Are you human”? 

If you answered “yes” then welcome, you’ve found the perfect place where you belong! 

I recently read that we’re supposed to “read what we need to learn”. And if you’ve taken a look around this blog for more that 4 seconds, you’ve probably seen the word “productivity” aaaaabout 42 times. 

Go ahead. Take a look around. Crazy, huh? 

I’ve obviously been working on learning how to get rid of procrastination for a while now! 

(5 Anti-Procrastination Strategies to Help you Get Through Finals Week)

Here are the biggest lessons I learned about procrastination in college! 

Procrastination is one of those things that is just so difficult to overcome! The worst for me was in undergrad because there were just so many other things to do: parties, friends, work, moving. You name it and it could distract me from schoolwork. Here are some of the things I learned that helped me balance out my social life and school work! 

5 helpful lessons you need to learn to kick procrastination to the curb!

1. Procrastination is a form of fear.

Last year, my super nice professor gave us a take home midterm. “Awesome!” I thought. “She is just the coolest person ever for doing that!” And she was. But did the fact that I had this thing in my house all of spring break make me want to take it? Absolutely not. 

It sat on my desk until the day before. Why? Fear. Fear of failing. Or maybe just fear that I would start it and realize how hard it was and that I hadn’t actually learned anything so far. It even prompted me to write this post! So, what’ s procrastinating college student to do?! 

2. In order to accomplish things, you have to face that fear. 

Choose an “Anti-Procrastination” Day. Back in the day, I used to try to use the FlyLady system for keeping our house clean. My attempt at those routines ha been long gone for a few years now, but there are a few things of hers that I do still use. 

One of them is anti-procrastination” day

Choose one day a week to just get those tasks you’ve been dreading over with! I promise, you will feel so much better once you do! Most of the time, once I start a task, I realize that it’s much easier than I expected. Just jump right in!

3. A good plan is worth a million minutes. 

I’m a planner. No doubt about it. But even if you’re more of a “free spirit” than I am (in which case this entire blog looks like pure insanity to you) it’s still helpful to make a productivity plan! A productivity plan is exactly what it sounds like! Make a list of your stuff! The tough stuff that you’ve been avoiding or the tediously boring mind-numbing stuff that you hate to do. Then get started on it! Here are some tips to help you get going

4. It’s easy to get distracted (especially when you’d literally rather be doing anything else). 

Back to undergrad and midterms (and finals): When I came home from class in the afternoon, I just wanted to relax by doing nothing. Which is fine, as long as “nothing” doesn’t turn into all afternoon (like it often does). 

If this is a problem for you, too, try this: Give yourself a “reminder”. For example, place your study guide near your computer, so that when you’re thinking about heading over to Pinterest, you remember that you’ve got an exam to study for. 

Or set a reminder on your phone, so that 10 minutes into that Insta-binge, you remember you still have reading to do! 

5. Bribing yourself is definitely okay. 

There are a lot of times in life that bribing is frowned upon. Luckily, college is not one of them! I would use whatever it was that I was just DYING to do against myself. Like, If you finish your rough draft in time, you can go to brunch on Saturday or watch that new Netflix.

Set up a reward plan for yourself and really stick to it! You are the boss of yourself and you are not about to be stopped by some weak little distraction or lack of self-discipline, right? If all else fails, designate a hiding spot for your phone/computer until you get your work done!

Organized Study Time

What lessons have you learned while in college? Are there any specific “anti-procrastination” tips that really help you out? Share them with our readers below! 

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Is Your Planner System Working Best for YOU?

Last weekend, my family and I drove to Savannah for a super amazing wedding. My parents rode with me and my husband in our car, and as soon as my mom and I got in the backseat, we found my 2014 planner. I had forgotten it was back there but LOVED having an opportunity to flip through it and see what I was doing a year ago! My biggest focus was selling our house (CHECK!).

I know that using an electronic planner on gmail or a phone is easier, sleeker, and more portable, but there is just something that I love about flipping through an actual bookthat I used to use and remembering how I felt when I wrote those seemingly unaccomplishable to-do items! I was so scared and unsure of the future, but now looking back, I can see with that everything works out fine.
I think that’s just why Ilove physical planners so much! I recently had a request to share how I organize mine, so here you go!

Create a system that you’ll follow
-TO-DO: what do you need to do? When you open your planner, is it made evident right away? Is it set up in a way that will keep you on track in a focused manner?
-DOING: What are your current projects? How much progress have you made on them? What’s today’s biggest priority? Where should you start next time?
-DONE: What have you accomplished so far this day/week/year? Are you using your time in the best possible way? Can you see your own productivity patterns?

Make it something you’ll WANT to look at daily
-MOTIVATIONAL: Does your planner motivate you to enjoy your time on this earth? Does it reflect your goals and priorities? Is it helping you get the most out of life?
-DESIGN: Is your planner aesthetically pleasing to you? Is it a color palette that you enjoy seeing daily? Is it streamlined enough to keep you focused?
-ENCOURAGING: Is your planner encouraging to look at? Does it make you proud of what you’ve accomplished? Does it show you that you’re progressing in life?

Find a way to transfer tasks throughout the days
-TENTATIVE: Do you have an efficient method for writing in plans that may or may not happen? Do you have a way to block off certain times of day/weeks?
-RESCHEDULED: Do you have an organized system in place for rescheduling plans that get interrupted by life? Are you happy with the way that looks?

-INCOMPLETE: Do you have a way to show yourself that you didn’t complete a task? Do you highlight, check boxes, cross out, use arrows, etc. to move them?

Tell the story of your life
-WHO: One year from now, will you know who you spent this day with? Will you be able to see who was important to you? Who did you give your priority time to?
-WHAT: One year from now, will you be able to tell what you did on this day? Do you record the details of your important events? Did you balance work and fun?

-WHERE: One year from now, will you know where you went today? Even if it isn’t terribly exciting, will you be able to see how those errands led you to your goals?

What tips do you have for organizing your planner from day to day? Are there areas with planner organization that you find challenging? And of course, what kind of planner do you use?!