10 Ways to Slow Down Your Busy Life

Life can get really busy, really fast. And it comes in seasons–some seasons are busier than others (i.e. new school year, new job, Christmas, project deadlines, etc.).

Whatever the reason, busyness requires some balance. We can’t go at a constant 110mph without burnout. Rest assured, if you don’t establish balanced habits, there will be casualties. That’s why there needs to be some in-between times tucked here and there where we can slow down, recharge, regroup and collect our sanity. Here are 10 ways simple you can slow down your busy life.  

1. Read a Book

This would be my number one, book nerd that I am! But seriously, research shows that reading is a great way to relax. And I’m not talking about something highly analytical. Read something for fun! Or maybe you read highly analytical stuff for fun…Well, whatever you consider enjoyable and relaxing, read that! 

2. Play a Game

I’m not anti-video games but, truth be told, I wouldn’t much miss them if I never saw another one as long as I live (except maybe Mario Kart cause I’m kind of a sucker for Mario Kart :P). So when I say game, I’m talking good ol’ fashioned boards, cards, dice, spinners and instructions that take 20 minutes to figure out. Taboo, Monopoly, Risk, Boggle (my fam’s current fave), Pictionary, Scategories, Dutch Blitz (our all-time fave card game) you name it! Get your favorite people together, take a load off and have some fun!

3. Write a Letter

The art and habit of letter writing isn’t as common as it used to be. But it’s not dead and just like physical books, I don’t think it’s in danger of dying. There are plenty of people who still write letters. You can even join the Letter Writers Alliance, an online society that is dedicated to keeping this tradition alive!
Writing a letter doesn’t cost much, just a stamp and some time to put your thoughts on paper. Ah, yes–time! Take a few minutes to indulge in some real text messaging. 

4. Take a Nap

Take 15 minutes and just shut down. The car, the couch, your bed, if you’re lucky. Steal away and take a snooze and then pick up where you left off! 

5. Crank Up the Classics

Make your morning or afternoon mellow with classical tunes. Classical music is soothing and will brighten your mood or ease your tension. If you’re feeling frazzled and like you can’t catch up with the craziness around you, keep calm and listen to Beethoven.

6. Take up a Hobby

I’m a firm believer in hobbies. Everyone needs something they can go to exercise their creativity and give dreams a place to play. Some people play instruments. Some cook. Some go fishing. Some paint pictures. Some scrapbook. Some have a combination of several things. Whatever your creative outlet is, give it a space in your busy schedule and don’t miss out on the things that put a smile on your face and keep your brain happy.  

7. Cook a Meal

We live in a microwaved society. These days you don’t have to know how to cook much because food can be put in the microwave, poured out of a bag, shoved in the oven, called in, or picked up at a window. But if you find yourself too busy to cook every so often, you might need to slow it down and take out your pan or casserole dish. Taking time to cook a meal is not only the healthier choice, it can also be a good way to interact with your family, reflect on the day, think through problems, or just escape the craziness.

8. Take a Walk

If the weather permits, get some fresh air and go for a stroll. Walking outdoors is a great way to clear your mind and get your thoughts in order. Not to mention the added health benefits and the inevitable need for a tall, refreshing glass of water afterwards!

9. Say No

You don’t need to say yes to everything. One of the best ways to slow down is to be mindful of what you can realistically fit on your calendar without sacrificing the health and sanity of yourself and your family. That means sometimes saying no to good things. Not all good things are beneficial or necessary right now or in this season. In the words of the apostle Paul, “all things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient,” (1 Corinthians 10:23). It’s okay to say no. Sometimes, it’s the best choice you can make.

10. Be Present

I will be the first one to say this to myself: Put Your Phone Down. I know I’m just as guilty of this as the next person but do you notice how many face-to-face conversations we have with our phone in our hands or, worse still, with our faces in our phones? Most of us can remember the days when phones were hung up in cradles on the wall or side table. We did function without smartphones once upon a time so I know it’s possible to do so now for at least an afternoon or evening. Instagram can wait. Nobody’s going to get mad at you if you don’t check your FB feed again (and if they do, you need to find some new friends). YouTube will still be there when you get back. Vine will still be funny, tweets don’t expire, you can replay the scope on katch, and your email and texts will be ready for you to open at a later time.

We’re all busy and we’re all connected and that’s great but at some point, you gotta put it down for awhile and interact with what’s going on right in front of you, in the flesh, face to face. One day your kiddo won’t want to play catch with you. One day your friend might move away to pursue another chapter in life. One day your significant other may decide that someone else has more time for them. You don’t want to look up one day and find that you missed it all.


What are some of the ways you take it slow? Do you need to make commitments to be more intentional about slowing down your busyness? Why do you think it’s so hard to stop sometimes?

How to Use Multiple Planners | December Boot Camp

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I’ve recently made a discovery: one planner isn’t going to cut it for me. Now, I know that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti (it’s a book by Bill and Pam Ferrell, check it out 😉) but there’s something about me that is very un-spaghetti like. Some things just need to be compartmentalized in order for me to function. Which is why one planner isn’t going to work.

After coming to terms with this fact, (I literally thought there was something wrong with me when I couldn’t seem to function with my one DayTimer) I finally decided to join the land of multiple planner planning.

And then it happened.

Corie, The Reset Girl, did a scope on her master planner list in her main planner. You can watch the replay on katch.me/therestgirl. My mind was blown and something inside my noggin clicked and I knew I’d found what I’d been looking for. So over the past few days, I’ve been developing a master planning system of my own.

Here’s how it works:

I’ve recently made a discovery: one planner isn’t going to cut it for me. Now, I know that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti but there’s something about me that is very un-spaghetti like. Some things just need to be compartmentalized in order for me to function. I finally decided to join the land of multiple planner planning.

 

1. Determine how much time you have to invest in planning.

Be honest about your time. You may want to have time for multiple planners and notebooks but your reality doesn’t match up. Maybe you can count on a whole Sunday afternoon or just a few minutes during your lunch break. An awareness of your time will keep you from setting yourself up for failure and unnecessary disappointment.

2. List all your planning needs.

This includes all the areas of life that requires you to make lists, schedules, and notes. Examples include:

  1. Daily planner
  2. Home management
  3. Work
  4. Prayer/Bible Study
  5. School
  6. Home business
  7. Food Journal
  8. Exercise tracker
  9. Homeschooling
  10. Church
  11. Goal tracker
  12. Brain dump
  13. Family schedules
  14. Reading
  15. Finances
  16. Recipes
  17. Projects
3. Decide whether or not you can group your needs together.

For example, if you’re keeping a home management binder, would that include your recipes and finances? Or do you want your recipes in a separate binder? Decide how far you want to compartmentalize everything and make sure that everything flows and functions well.

4. Determine what planning and note taking methods work best for you.

Going for something simple or do you like all the frills and furbelows? Do you need a planner with monthly and weekly spreads? Binders? Composition notebook? Spiral bound? Disc-bound? Erin Condren? Filofax? DayTimer? Midori Traveler’s Notebook? Kikki K? MoleskineFranklin Covey? Happy Planner? Bullet Journaling? The possibilities are endless! And It doesn’t have to cost a whole ton of money. If you have the desire and the funds to splurge, have at it! But there are a myriad of inexpensive options everywhere. If you really want to get creative, hop on Pinterest and YouTube and see what other planner girls are making and using!  

5. Match method with need.

Maybe you keep track of health and fitness in a spiral bound notebook. Better make it a 3-subject because you’ve got some detailed notes to keep about health issues, routines, and supplements. Maybe you’ve got an old Franklin Covey binder lying around somewhere and you could use that to keep track of your home business.

Consider the functionality of the method you use. Maybe a bulky planner won’t fit in your backpack so you choose something more compact for keeping track of school assignments. Or you’ve got small kiddos who can get messy so don’t sink your money into an expensive homeschool binder.

6. Choose a dashboard.

This is the planner or notebook from which your planning system will operate. This is the fun part for me and why my mind blew when I saw Cori’s master list.

Now that you know your needs and methods, create a master list to keep track of each one and their functions. I find it best to choose the planner that goes with you everywhere. For me, it’s a 365 Happy Planner.

And here’s what my master list consisted of:

  1. Master Planner | Happy Planner
  2. Personal Notebook | Single Subject Spiralbound Notebook
  3. Prayer/Bible Study Journal | Mini Binder
  4. Writer’s Notebook | Steno pad
  5. The Student Life | 3 Subject Spiralbound Notebook
  6. The Reader’s Notebook | Mini Binder
  7. Health and Fitness | Composition Notebook
  8. Home Management Binder | Binder
  9. Blog/Business | Binder
  10. Church/Ministry | DayTimer
  11. Brain Dump | Fauxdori

Master Planner Key - create a master list to keep track of each of your planners and their functions. I find it best to choose the planner that goes with you everywhere. For me, it’s a 365 Happy Planner. Inspired by The Reset Girl

Whew! I know, it’s a lot!

Of course, I’m not going to be using all of these every single day, but I wanted to have designated spaces to keep track of the various things in my life that are important to me. Like I said in yesterday’s post, this is the way I engage best with tasks and goals. My eye is drawn to color coordination, my brain is alert and excited when pages turn or when ink glides across paper, and my interest and creativity are peaked when I see the row of notebooks and binders ready to be used and filled. It’s nerdy, I’m totally aware, but it works!


As part of my boot camp, I’m going to go through some of my notebooks and planners and show how I use them. Maybe that’ll give you some ideas and inspiration! Stay tuned!

Happy planning!

How to Jumpstart Your New Year’s Resolutions | December Boot Camp

The year is quickly coming to a close. In the midst of all the wonderful holiday bustle, something else is jumping around the corners of our minds: New Year’s resolutions. *Dun dun dun*

In past years, my resolutions came as sort of an after thought. On January 1st, I’d make a list of the things I wanted to accomplish and change in my life and then, well, that was pretty much it. By the time February or March rolled around, I had either forgotten my list or hadn’t made any real changes that turned into progress. I had good intentions but no real action. This year, I decided something had to change or 2016 would just be a pathetic repeat of the past. My solution was to do a boot camp.

What is a boot camp?
In episode 33 of one of my favorite podcasts, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth discuss the benefits of tackling a project in the form of a boot camp. The idea is to set up a specific amount of time to tackle something that may be difficult or not necessarily enjoyable and have some fun with it in order to get it done. It’s a short amount of intensive concentration on a particular project. I love this concept! You can make anything into a boot camp from cleaning the hall closet to potty training your child. In my case, I decided on a December boot camp. 

How does it work?
First, you have to define the problem you want to solve or the task you want to complete and then work out a process to solve the problem or get the job done.

I have 2 problems to address:
  1. Not having a plan for taking intentional, actionable steps toward my goals.
  2. Bad habits hindering my progress.
So I need 2 solutions:
  1. Figure out the ways I best engage with a project or task and then use those things to thoroughly engage with my goals and tasks.
  2. Tackle the bad habits that are keeping me from getting things done, thus jumpstarting the new year.
Now that we know the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of a boot camp, let’s set set up.
new year's resolutions

1. Decide How You Best Engage with Tasks

As a paper addict and nerdy planner girl, it’s a no-brainer that planners and notebooks are the key to keeping me on track. The acts of writing things down and being crafty keeps me engaged and helps me keep lists and priorities in check. If you’re not the creative type, decide how you best engage with task completion. Maybe it’s a simple to do list and reward system. Maybe you need an accountability partner or a buddy to work alongside with. If you’re not sure what your tendencies and preferences are, then you can use the boot camp to experiment with different ways to get things done. 

2. Create a Dashboard

Lister extraordinaire, Corie, The Reset Girl, did an awesome scope where she showed her master planner list (your can watch the replay on katch.me/theresetgirl). My mind was blown and something inside me clicked–I needed to create a planner system. I’ll go into detail about my master planner system in another post but basically it is my dashboard from which I operate. Again, you don’t have to be into planners and all the bells and whistles for this to work but I HIGHLY recommend getting a simple notebook and calendar to keep track of your objectives and progress throughout the boot camp.

3. Determine Resolution Objectives
Since I’m tackling my New year’s goals and resolutions,  I need to know what my goals are. What do I want to accomplish next year? What are my short term projects? What are my long term lifestyle changes? You don’t have to figure out everything now, you just need to figure out what direction you’re going in so you can determine how to get started.

4. Determine Bootcamp Objectives
Now that you know where you want to go, now you have to decide what you want your boot camp to accomplish. I want my boot camp to lock down the necessary habits I’ll need to accomplish my goals. Things like tracking health and fitness, sticking to a sleep schedule and committing to regular prayer and Bible study require good, healthy habits. During my boot camp, I’m going to experiment,  research and practice the things that will help me lock down those habits, giving me a jump start for the new year.

5. Set a Time Frame
I’m doing my boot camp for the 31 Days of December. Yeah, it’s kind of the craziest time to be doing this but it’s also the perfect time because when January 1st comes, I’ll have a running start! If you want to do a December Boot Camp but your schedule is super jam packed, then try a week or 10 days. 

6. Do Your Research
Read. Watch YouTube videos. Ask questions. Do what you have to do to know what you want to know. And then…

7. Take Good Notes
Track your progress, note what didn’t work so you know to try something different. Keep tabs on what you responded well to and what made you tick. You’re going to want this information later on, believe me!

8. Give Yourself Some Grace
This is a time for practice and progress, NOT perfection. So if you skip something or a plan doesn’t work out the way you want it to, don’t stress, just keep going.


A new year means new goals & new challenges. As you think about your new year’s resolutions for 2016, be intentional about finding the best ways to keep yourself on track! Make it a boot camp and jumpstart your resolution success!

Happy planning!

How to Set Up The Reader’s Notebook

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Book lovers need a planner especially designed to help them keep track of what they read through the year. In this video I show you how I set up my Reader’s Notebook Planner.

What!? You don’t have the FREE printable planner pages!? No problem! Downloading The Reader’s Notebook is super easy: just fill in your name and email below and I’ll send my printable planner for book lovers straight to your inbox! 

Subscribe & Download!

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Okay, now you’re ready to set up your Reader’s Notebook.

Here are the supplies I used in the video plus a few extras you may want to use!

Let me know if you have any questions or feel free to share ideas for setting up your pages, I’d love to hear from you!

Happy reading and planning!

How to Use The Reader’s Notebook

I love lists and I love filling out forms (well, except for FAFSA and the paperwork at doctors’ offices, and…okay I only like filling out certain kinds of forms). That’s why I love having a planner just for my books. I like keeping track of the various aspects of my reading life.

The Reader’s Notebook contains 25 unique pages. You can print as many copies of the pages and arrange them however you’d like. Most of the pages are pretty self explanatory but I’m going to go over a few of them and give you an overview of how to use them!

Reading Goals of the Year:

If you’ve never set reading goals for the year, then definitely have some fun with this page! For the past couple of years, I’ve been setting a goal for the number of books I want to read in the next twelve months. In the past couple of months, I’ve been trying to read for at least 15 minutes as part of my nighttime routine. These are the kinds of things you can write on this page. Having a list will keep you from forgetting what goals you make.

TBR List:

A TBR, or TO BE READ list is the running list of books that you want to read before you die. Your reading list for the year will come from your TBR list. If you’re an avid reader like me, your TBR list will likely be pages and pages and pages long! 

Wishlist:

I have about a zillion wishlists on Amazon.com and most of them are for books. Why so many? Cause I categorize them according to genre so I’m not sifting through page after page of random book titles trying to find that one book I want to buy. You can do the same with the wishlists in your planner. So just write the genre or subject on the first line (i.e. historical fiction or inspirational) and write down your wishes!

Unfinished Books

Sooner or later we come across a book that, try as hard as we may, we just cannot get through. One rule of reading is never feel guilty about not completing a book. Now, of course, if the book is required for school or work, then you have no choice than to pour another cup of tea and keep plugging away. But if you’re reading for pleasure and you’re finding no pleasure in what you’re reading, then ditch it and pick up something else. Life is too short to read books we don’t enjoy. And when you ditch that boring read, jot it down in this list and give a reason why it didn’t interest you so when your friend recommends it, you know just what to say!

Favorite Authors:

When writing down your list of favorite writers, you can also use the space to write down the books that makes this writer so special to you. It’s also a good place to jot down the titles that you haven’t read yet and want to check out. So for instance, one of my entries may look like: 

Louisa May Alcott

Favorite books: Little Women & An Old Fashioned Girl

TBR: Under the Lilacs

Month on 2-Pages:

The monthly calendar can help you keep track of book club events, book completion, personal reading goal, online reading challenges, etc. 

The other pages included in this planner are:

  • Title Page
  • This Notebook Belongs to:
  • Books I’d Like to Read This Year
  • Recommended Books
  • Completed Books
  • Library Books
  • Favorite Books of the Year
  • Favorite Quotes
  • My Books Lent
  • Borrowed Books
  • Books Gifted
  • Monthly Goals/Reading List
  • Weekly Page
  • Book Review on 2 pages
  • Bookish Notes
  • Diary pages
  • Plain lined pages

If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out these posts: 

And if you haven’t downloaded The Reader’s Notebook, just fill in the form below and I’ll send it directly to your inbox! 🙂

Subscribe & Download!

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You have Successfully Subscribed!

Happy reading and planning!

The Reader’s Notebook | Printable Planner For Book Lovers

*UPDATE!: The Reader’s Notebook PDFs have been uploaded to my new site HERE.

One of the greatest gifts my parents gave me was a love and appreciation for the written word. I love books and I love writing. I also have a thing for paper. My dad worked in the printing industry when I was really young and I have memories of being at his job and smelling ink and paper literally hot of the press. Man, does it smell amazing!

Yes, I’m a nerd. A book nerd, and proud of it. And as a book nerd, paper and ink make my nerd heart smile. And this is what got me into paper planners. I started out with an Erin Condren LP a couple years ago and since then, I haven’t tried to schedule anything on an electronic device if I can help it! Yup, my Instagram and Pinterest feeds are full of beautiful spreads, colorful washi tape, cute stickers and elegant hand lettering.

As the new year approaches and I begin wrapping up a year of reading and start planning for a new 365 days of books, I thought there had to be a better way to keep track of my reading than notes here and there in my regular day planner. I decided I needed a planner JUST FOR BOOKS. 

Both the planner girl and the book nerd in me jumped at that. The book journals that are on the market are nice enough but they don’t have all the things that I need. So I decided to make one myself.

And I figured, if I needed a book planner, some other planner girl/book nerd out there would need one too…
The Reader's Notebook FREE PRINTABLE

This planner printable has 25 pages and you can print as many copies and organize them in any way you want. 

Pages Include: 

  • Title Page
  • This Notebook Belongs to:
  • 9 Different Book Lists
  • Favorite Authors
  • Favorite Quotes
  • My Books Lent
  • Borrowed Books
  • Books Gifted
  • Monthly Goals/Reading List
  • Blank Month on 2 pages
  • Weekly Page
  • Book Review on 2 pages
  • Bookish Notes
  • Diary pages
  • Plain lined pages

There are 3 different printables to choose from, and they are each available in two sizes: US Letter and A5.

  • Classic
  • Script
  • Files

The-Readers-Notebook-3-Versions

These planner pages are super simple and minimalistic so you can have the fun of customizing and personalizing to suit your needs and creativity.

The Reader's Notebook 3

The Reader's Notebook 4

To see how I set up my Reader’s Notebook, check out this post and video tutorial:

How-To-Set-Up-The-Readers-Notebook

To see how I use these pages, check out this post:

how-to-use-the-readers-notebook

Downloading The Reader’s Notebook is super easy: just fill in your name and email below and I’ll send my printable planner for book lovers straight to your inbox! 

Subscribe & Download!

Subscribe and you'll receive The Reader's Notebook directly to your inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

If you’re a planner and a book lover then this is the perfect planner to help you keep track of all things bookish! Download your copy today!

Happy reading and planning 🙂