24 Ways to Stay Organised

When you are organised, life can feel as easy as a vacation. Here are 24 tips and tricks to help you feel happy, relaxed and calm in your daily life.


  1. Set alarms on your Phone. These are great for time sensitive tasks. I set alarms for everything from bus pick up reminders to calls I need to make on certain days.

  2. Have an assigned spot for your keys and purse. This tip will save you so much time, every time you walk into your home place your keys and purse in their designated spot(s). You will always know where they are and you won't have to hunt them down when you need to leave. Plus, you'll love it so much that you will want to find homes for everything else you use on a regular basis.

  3. Have a place for your planner. Like your keys and purse, it'll make it easier to find your planner when you need it and it gives it importance in your mind as a key part of your life organising system.

  4. Have everything that is scheduled and/or time sensitive for everyone in the family/household (appointments, schedule, kids activities, events, deadlines, etc) in one calendar or planner. Life is easier to schedule if you have everything in one place. You won't have to hunt through 47 different planners and calendars to find out if someone is free on a certain day or to know what's on the schedule for any given day.

  5. Establish habits. Habits make life so much easier, as if it's on auto-pilot. This is especially true for those boring or annoying tasks.

  6. Establish a morning routine. This gets your day off to a great start and enables you to attach new habits as you become more and more accustomed to your routine. If you'd like to learn how to set up your perfect morning routine, check out this post here.

  7. Review often. Looking back is a great way to see what's working and what's not. Check out this post for more on this!

  8. Cut out what isn't working. Keep an eye on what's not working and if you can get rid of that squeaky wheel, do so as soon as you can. If you can't, then try to simplfy or change it so that it is working better for you.

  9. Visualise the end results, your final outcome, and work backwards from there. If you know the reason WHY you are doing something in the first place, it's easier to do the tasks and get them off of your to-do list as you move forward towards your goal.

  10. Do a little bit every day to build consistancy. Things can get done a little at a time. Even if you are going slowly, it's better than not starting at all. Building consistency creates habit that will eventually make the tasks easier too!

  11. Be prepared. Boy scout or not, life is unpredictable so always be prepared for what could happen. Just remember not to spiral down into becoming a Debbie Downer and focusing on all the bad things that might happen.

  12. Plan in time for the unexpected. Leave space in your planner for things that may trip you up, especially if it's for an appointment, deadline or other time sensitive things that you can not be late for.

  13. Don't over schedule yourself. Even if you are physically and mentally capable of knocking 712 thing off of your to-do list in one day, it doesn't mean that you should! If you keep up that pace, eventually you will burn yourself out! Here's a post with some tips on this.

  14. Schedule in Breaks. Don't forget to take care of you! You need a bit of rest and recharge through out the day. Write a tea break into your planner or schedule time to play with stickers and paper in your planner.

  15. Tell someone and be accountable. By letting someone know of your plans, they can help make sure that you do it by checking in with your progress and reminding you of deadlines.

  16. Have someone give you a deadline. If it's a task or chore that doesn't have a built in deadline, have someone create a realistic one for you and then hold you to it and if you're late you can owe them a coffee or something. If you don't have someone to do this, try the Flight app who send a donation on your behalf to a charity you hate if you fail.

  17. Simplify! The simpler something is, the easier it is to do it and to keep at it.

  18. Declutter everyday. Or most days ;) By doing it on a regular basis, you will form a habit of decluttering and it keeps your house, purse, desk and mind clear and working like well oiled machines.

  19. Have regular braindumps, then organise the items into task lists. This keeps your brain clear and stops it thinking the same thought ('I have to do , abc, xyz plus 4 million other things!'). Think of it as decluttering your brain.

  20. Learn from your mistakes. We all make them and failures actually help us learn and move forward.

  21. Don't write things on scraps of paper and backs of envelopes. Once it's out of your head, you'll probably stop thinking about it and if you lose that scrap of paper, it's gone! Plus, it's more recopying, just put it into your planner in the first place!

  22. Don't fight your Planner. If it isn't working well for you, it's probably not the best planner for you. Tweak things, change things around or get a completely different planner system, whatever it takes to get one that suits your needs.

  23. Change your rings. If you find yourself somewhere you can't write and something pops into your head (why doesn this always happen in the shower, while driving or just as you're falling asleep?), switch one of your rings to a different finger. If you habitually wear the same rings on the same fingers, finding one on the opposite hand (after your shower, when you get home or after you wake up the next morning), it will feel odd and prompt you to remember that thought that popped into your head.

  24. Have fun! Find systems that don't feel like such a chore, making them pretty really helps me. If that works for you, great! Make things pretty! If not, if it feels more like a distraction than anything else, find what does work for you and do that.

 All goodies used in this dashboard are from my April Hip Kit Club kits. 


 Happy Planning!

It's Never Too Late to Make Your Dreams Come True

What do a blogger, a marathoner and parachuter have in common. Nothing necessarily, but in this case, they are all over 100 years old. But, we'll come back to them in just a bit :D

'In nine hundred years of time and space and I've never met anybody who wasn't important.'

                                -Doctor Who


Everyone is important and has a life to live and a gift to share with the world.

If you aren't sharing your gifts with us, what is stopping you? What is holding you back? Do you believe that you are not able? 

If you feel that you can't dream big and achieve your big goals, then think again!! Eleanor Roosevelt says you should 'do one thing every day that scares you.'  Life really is short, it's in the everyday that memories and acheivements are made little by little. As short as life is, there is still lots of time to do what you do best. Life is amazing and it's for living, whether you are young or only young at heart.


The idea of old age is changing. In the 90s, the cast of FRIENDS was teasing Ross about kissing the old lady librarian, who was 50 years old. Now, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow and Courntey Cox are redefining 50, along with many others! Think about it, if that 50 year old lives until she's 80 or more, that's 30 years! That's a long time she'll have to achieve her dreams!  Just think of all the things that you've accomplished in the past 30 years... Life is for living!

Here are some amazingly inspiring stories:

Dorothy Custer parachuted off a bridge for her 102nd birthday.
Flo Meiler started track and field at 60 and now she's still winning medals in her 80s!
Olive Riley began a blog at 107 yeras old.
Buster Martin walked the 2008 London marathon at 101.
Jennifer Figge swam the Atlantic at 56 years old, the ATLANTIC!

If sports (extreme or not) aren't your thing, that's perfect! Not everyone was put on earth to jump off of a bridge. The thing is to find out why you were put here. What are you supposed to share with us? What do you want to do most in the world?

If you don't know what you'd like to do, if you don't know what your dreams are, then you can download my FREE Dream Printable that has lots of prompts that will help you figure it out. Just pop on over to this link to get it:

FREE Dream Prompt Printable

I recently made this Dream Spread for my planner, it's in my bullet journal so I can take a peek at it whenever I need a bit of inspiration. I wrote in some of my big dreams and left room for more when the inspiration strikes me.


Of course, not everyone grows old gracefully and stays spry and able to do amazing things, so in order to stay youthful, in mind and body, you need to take care of yourself and that starts now! Whether you are 18 or 80. There are two big factors that I see to keeping youthful and spry: eat right and move your body. Let's look at these two important things more closely:

Eating right.

This does not mean the latest health craze. Quinoa, smoothies and gluten free will go out of fashion just like Atkins and fat-free.

What you need to do is eat REAL food.

The closer a food is to nature, the better it is for you. Now, this doesn't mean that you have to eat raw wheat from the field, it simply means that you need to watch out for processed foods. This is really hard if you live in the States. EVERY thing comes in a box! I mean, I've even seen apples slices in the grocery store! What you don't realise is that they are covered in preservatives to keep them from going brown and those presevatives are not food. Most processed food is not food! They are full of chemicals plus, there's added sugar, salt and fat that you're body can't handle.  

It doesn't mean that you can't have cookies, cake and all your favourites, it just means that you need to make them yourself. The lure of fast food is strong in the States and more and more in other countries. There's a burger joint on every corner, but if you can keep fast food and processed food to a minimum you'll be all set. You don't need to cut it out all together, just reduce it. Your body doesn't recognise the processed stuff and doesn't know what do do with it so it stores it as fat, making you gain weight and feel lethargic. And you can't chase your dreams if you don't have the energy or not even around to do the chasing!

Move your body!

I'm going to tell the story of 2 women I know, best friends from high school. I met them both when they were just turning 50 and were both about the same weight. One lady was walking on a regular basis and is still very active today, and she was worried about her friend who wasn't very active at all. A few years had gone by and the second lady started putting on weight, content to spend time at home watching TV. We were at a wedding once, when they were in their mid 50s, we were planning to walk from the church to reception with the first lady in our group, not a very long walk, maybe 20 minutes. The second lady decided to stay at a cafe near by, have a coffee and a piece of pie and take her car to the reception. This may seem like a little thing, I know I brushed it aside as a minor thing at the time. But after years full of little decisions like this, these two women are leading two very different lives today. They are 67 now, the first lady goes on hikes with her husband on a regular basis, walking all day sometimes. The second lady, needs a cane to walk and most times resorts to her wheelchair. 

Taking care of your body not only allows you live a longer, healthier life, it also gives you the physical and mental stregnth needed to do all the things that you want to do with your life. Your dreams will keep you young in your heart!

'The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.'

           -Coco Chanel 

What are you thinking out loud? What is your gift to the world?

Don't forget to download your Free Dream Prompt Printable!!


A Planner Girl's Adventure in Scrapbookland


Planner girls and Scrapbookers are sisters in papercrafting crime. These two worlds are not so dis-similar however many differences there seem to be. We are all connected by our love of stickers and paper!

A couple of weeks ago, I met my sister-in-law, Violaine, in Parc Floral, just outside of Paris for our annual scrapy get together. I was a scrapbooker before coming over to the planner side (and I still scrapbook, just not as often as I used to) and we've been going to this event every year for about 7 years now. She's pregnant and decided to only come for one day, but I went for 2 days.


Celebrate Altered Book Album


Debby Schuh always has the most amazing classes and she's the main reason we go to these events. Her classes are fun, unique with absolutely adorable projects! This first class was no exception. However, it's hard to cut and stick when your fingers are numb from the cold. The event organisers hadn't turned on the heat! My feet were also numb and I couldn't feel my bum! My chair got so cold that even sitting on my coat didn't make a difference. We took a coffee break, the warm cups, defrosting our fingers, helped a lot. We also took a bathroom break to get out of the cold room and the lukewarm water of the sink felt like it was burning my frozen hands! Neither one of use was able to finish the project. :( I will though, it will make a great little planner!

 Christmas Joy Album


After a quick lunch, where I accidentally bought my preggo SIL a sandwich with jambon de parme, (Oops!) we were back with Debby and her Christmas album. I love having my Christmas album all done in advance, so that when December rolls around, I can simply add photos and memorabilia and not have to worry. Doing it in the spring means that I don't have to add in yet another project to my fall to-do list, which is always crazy full!

Eventhough they had finally turned the heat on, the room was still not warm and we were chilled through from the morning. Also being quite chatty I didn't finish this one in class either, but I did get it finished on the train ride home while watching Outlander on my phone! I felt quite spoiled being able to travel alone without all my geeklings constantly needing things from me and the younger ones climbing all over me.

We did a bit of shopping after this, but I only bought a few things. I limited myself to only 3 rolls of washi (I have so much already), some stickers and I found a mini Happy Planner! It's so cute, even if I don't have a purpose for it just yet. Most of the stands sold primarily stamps and stencils, which a I usually don't know what to do with, but that changed on Day 2.



My Story Book Album


I went back alone the next day, crossing the entirety of Paris with the Metro all on my own, and started with this cute class from Debby. With no sister-in-law to chat with, I did finish this project in class, and I got a chance to chat a lot with Debby too.

Rainbows and Butterflies 


When I saw that my friend, Terhi, fellow Hip Kit Club Design Team member was teaching, I made sure to sign up for one of her classes, even if I seem to be allergic to mixed media save a splash of watercolour here and there. Tehri is the queen of mixed media and she made it sooo easy! Just look at what I was able to make under her guiding hand!


She showed me some of ther pages and if you think her work looks amazing online, you should see it in real life, knocked my socks off!  My most favourite  part of my time with Terhi was being able to sit and chat and get to know her better! Imagine the sweetest, kindest person you know, got her? Good! Now, imagine the most talented. Mulitply each by 4 and add them together and you get Terhi! She's fantastic and I love her to bits!

After coming home, I sat down, took what she taught me and made this for my next Hip Kit Club assignment:


I think I'll be adding a little more mixed media to my planner from now on ;)


Dream a little Dream Album


My last class, I was back with Debby Schuh. She really is the reason my SIL and I go back to this event year after year. I was looking forward to this one as much as the Christmas one! It was a twist on the elastic system used in Traveller's notebooks. It's like a creative TN with super powers! I think I'm going to use this as some sort of memory planner since there are 12 pages. 


This idea is unique and absolutely genius, not to mention gorgeous. I'm sure I'll be making variations of this in the near future!

The not so good stuff

No review would be honest if there weren't some cons to balance all these pros. Everything was not sunshine and roses over these 2 days. This little planner girl CANNOT overlook poor organisation in a company who's sole purpose is to ORGANISE events! Sure, a few bumps in the road can be expected, but it's been 10 years that they've been holding this event and each and every year there have been major problems. I mean come on, heat seems like a pretty basic thing when it's only about 8°C outside! I was not alone in thinking that I was just another dollar sign walking in the door and I more than likely will not be going back. 

Ok, let's not dwell on the negatives, let's look at another photo of pretty things!

However I'll follow Debby where ever she holds a class in my corner of Europe and I'd love to meet up with Terhi again!

Happy Planning!

Find Your Perfect Planner and Achieve Planner Peace


Finding Your Perfect Planner

I've got quite a few posts on my little blog now about the wonderful world of planners, and I thought I'd do a round up of all those posts that can help you find your perfect planner and get it working perfectly for you. I would like for this post to be a reference or expert planner directory for you so that when you need to find just the right solution for your situation, you can find it easily. You may not need all (or any) of these posts today, but keep scrolling! There may be something you like today and all the links may very well come in handy in the future. Feel free to book mark this post and even note the web address (http://bit.ly/hootdirectory) in the back of of your planner! Share it with your friends as well:

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Remember that even it you've found your perfect planner, things change. Life situations, daily routines and seasonal changes can impose some planner tweaking or even a complete change, so your perfect planner today may very well be frustrating you 6 months from now, or maybe it will continue to serve you well for years to come.  Maybe it was perfect for you 6 months ago and now it's just not serving you as well as it once had been.

Last week I gave you a quiz to find out if your planner is lacking in it's service to you. If you missed it, go ahead and take it now, I'll wait...

13 Ways to Know if Your Planner is the Right Planner For You

Here's another cheeky little quiz:

Find out if you are Planning the Correct Way?

If these quizzes or even your own intuition tell you that something needs changing, the following planner series can help you decide what would work in your planner. If you've been a planner girl for a while, don't shy away from the term 'newbie'! These are the basics, but if you are changing things, then sometimes it's great to get a review!

Newbie Planner Girls START HERE!!
OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: Choosing a Binding
OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: What SIZE to choose
OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: What Inserts do I Use?  
OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: 4 things to do Before you Buy All the Things!
OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: How to Make Multiple Planners Work

And if you're new to the Planner World and would like a free (and pretty) Planner Newbie Cheat Sheet with some of the definitions of those terms and acronyms that seem so foreign to you, but everyone else seems to know what they mean, then just click here:

Planner Newbie Cheat Sheet

I also have a class specifically to help newbie planner girls get started in this slightly overwhelming but fantastic planner world. Click here for more information:

I'm a Planner Noob! Now What?

If you find out that you are a traveller's notebook kind of girl, here's a fabulous tutorial for making TN inserts. Making them yourself allows you the flexibility of choosing paper quality, lines, dots or whatever your fancy, not to mention book size!

A Simple Insert or Booklet Tutorial for You



Tips to make the best of your planner once you find the perfect one

Once you've settled on a planner set up that seems to be working rather well for you, it's time to tackle the more in depth skills of organisation. Try these posts to improve your system.

A planner is made from paper and it should be your slave not the other way around. If you are feeling like a slave to your planner, here are some hacks to make your current planner work better for you:
Perfect Planner Hacks to make Your Planner Work Better for You Now!

The Secret to Successful Planning and Why I HATE It!
here's a little more on that topic:
Do you even remember the Resolutions you made in January?

And here are lots more posts to keep you on your toes and on top of things!
My Dirty Little Planner Secret
7 Steps to Create a Morning Routine that is Peaceful, Powerful and Perfect for YOU
Where will you be in 2018? How to get where you want to be.
The Biggest Secret to Achieving Your Goals in 2017
6 Easy Tips for Keeping Your Goals Top of Mind
How to feel CALM, not stressed, no matter how busy you are.




Planning your Dreams

“Dreams is full of mystery and magic . . . . Do not try to understand them.” the BFG

Everyone has dreams and goals they want to achieve and I believe they need to be worked towards daily. They have a place in your planner right along side the dentist appointments and grocery lists. This is the juicy bits of life, working toward something that means something special to you and makes you happy. Happy, not only when you achieve that dream but also every little step you need to take along the way.

This is my favourite section, planning your dreams!

Where Your Dreams are Born and Grow into Goals

The story of how one of My DREAMS came True

If you don't know where to start, if you don't even know what your big dreams are, then start with this post:

Start the New Year off on the Right Foot with a Free Goal printable



If you've loved this post and still want more, you can check out my classes, here on thehootingpirate.com and also at bigpictureclasses.com. I have new classes coming out on a regular basis, I'm finishing one with Studio Calico and I also have a webinar with getitscrapped.com coming at the end of May. If you're interested, you can keep up to date when new classes are released by signing up in the tag just below.


13 Ways to Know if Your Planner is the Right Planner For You

You're planner should be a workhorse, slaving away to keep you organised. It should be easy for you to use and you shouldn't feel like you have to change any of your habits or routines to satisfy this book. It's just a thing made of paper after all, it should hold no power over you, however its power is to keep you on top of things!

Your planner is there to serve you, not the other way around. Take this quiz to see if your planner is the right planner for you.

  1. Do you find the boxes are too small? Do you often have to squeeze things in or does your writing often leak out into neighbouring squares?
  2. Are you a lefty and in a coil or rings? Those can really get in the way for us lefties (though if you love rings or coil binding there are work arounds).
  3. If you need to take your planner with you, is it a struggle to get it to fit in your purse?
  4. Is it hard to find things you are looking for in your planner?
  5. Does it need to close when it’s not in use and you just can't get it to shut?
  6. Are you keeping track of things for other people? Children, spouse, parents, co-workers, etc and there just isn't room for everything?
  7. Do you struggle with the layout of traditional store-bought planners but can't seem to find the perfect versatile layout with online printables?
  8.  Are there too many things (elements, pages etc) in your planner that you just aren’t using?
  9. Do you dislike the order of the pages, boxes, lists etc?
  10. Do you need more of a certain element (boxes, lists, etc) on certain pages?
  11. Do you need less of a certain element? For example there are too many spots on your to-do list. You can only do so much in one day! ;)
  12. Are you writing on scraps of paper or backs of envelopes?
  13. Is your planner big enough to plan as far into the future as you need to plan?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, it may mean that your planner may need some tweaking. If you answered YES to many or even ALL of the questions then you really need to change things up!

What ever your answers, your planner should make you smile whenever you open it. Once you've decided on any changes you'd like to make to your planner, next add a fresh look to your planner! A new spread is a quick and easy make-over that you can do today. I've got a really pretty spread that you can easily recreate in your planner.

If you are having troubles changing things up to work better for you, stayed tuned for next week's blog post. I'm gathering a great list of resources for you to explore to help find your Practically Perfect Planner.

Don't forget to consider what IS working in your planner. What are the good and even great things about it? These are the things that work so well you don't even realise they are working for you until they go away. What have you not even noticed in your planner? It’s probably because it’s working, it’s often only the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.

There are a trillion different combinations of planners, pages, and set ups, if you don't love the one that you are using now, if it's not working for you the way you'd like it to, then tweak a few things to get it closer to what you need from your planner.

Happy Planning!


4 Keys to Planning a HUGE Event or Project

There are many different types of large events and projects that need extensive planning. If you have one that your are planning, it may look completely different that the one I'm sharing here today, but the steps to planning are basically the same regardless of the actual event. As you follow my plans in this post, keep your own event or project in mind, so that you can adapt the steps to fit your specific needs.


My daughter is making her first Communion in May and if you aren't in Europe you may be thinking 'Cara, That is not a HUGE event or project. Sure, it needs some planning, but it's not huge'. In my corner of Europe, it really is!

We are having a sit down, formal, 7 course meal for over 40 people... wait for it... in my home!

Cooked by me.

Yah, see I told you it was big. I've seen communions that could rival weddings, not only in size but also in grandeur.

My daughter's won't be that big, but there are still a lot of moving pieces. Besides the formal dinner, there are her preparations at school and at the church, there is the mass itself, and other meals and get-togethers through out the weekend, as well as lodging all the people who will be coming. Plus, my favourite part of this whole event, creating the decorations and invitations.

That's a lot to do and a lot to organise. So like the good little planner girl that I am, I've created an entire planner devoted to this celebration!

Communion-dashboard-FBall goodies used in the dashboard are from the March kits from the Hip Kit Club

I've started it out with a lovely little dashboard, grab a cuppa and hit play and watch how it all comes together.

This is only the beginning, There will be many sections, including a place to brainstorm, a to-do list, invitations (guest list, design ideas), seating plan, menus, grocery list, shopping list (I need to buy 40 sets of dishes!) and of course we can't forget the decorations! I'm sure I'll be adding more as I get closer to the big day.

Now your event may look completely different but you should always start by brainstorming to-do's and then prioritise them, schedule them into your daily planner and set deadlines along the way. This brainstorm list will lead to the different sections that you will need in your planner that you set up specifically for the event or project.

If you follow these 4 key points below, you should be able to pull off your event or project with great success!

  1. Plan ahead, the earlier you can start the better! At the very least brainstorm a big list as soon as possible. Having it out of your mind and down on a concrete list will take off a load of stress as well as get your plans started.
  2. Hack away at the projects as time allows. Planning early allows you the time to work on it at a reasonable pace. You won't be completely stressed out by the time the big days comes which would leave you unable to enjoy it.
  3. Give your self deadlines along the way. Working backwards from the day everything needs to come together, decide when smaller projects within the whole HUGE event need to be completed. Mark these in your planner and stick to them.
  4. Decorate your planner early on, it's prettiness will motivate you each step of the way. I truly believe that a pretty planner is much more motivating than a plain one. If you don't have time to really set it up the way you'd like, grab a few clips and dashboards from your stash and put some pretty supplies in the pockets and that's all you need to put a smile on your face when you open the planner.


Happy Planning!

A Sneak Peek Inside Studio Calico's April Planner Workshop

I'm teaching over at Studio Calico all this month! There's a workshop that goes along with each of the kits, and I'm heading up the Planner Workshop for April! The kit is called 'Written in the Stars' and it has a fabulous dream theme. 

There are three planner spread tutorials using the April planner kit and add-ons. The first project is with the Main kit only. This video shows everything that came in the main kit.

Here's a peek at the project for the first lesson: 

Sneak shot

The second lesson is with the main kit plus a stamp set.

Detail shot lesson 3

Here's the stamp set I used and you can get it in the Studio Calico shop even if you aren't part of the workshop.


The last lesson, and probably my favourite, is a tutorial using the the digital add-on as along with the main kit. I helped create this printable for your planner and I'm so excited with how Design interpreted my ideas. This is the result:

Prinable image
 And here is what I did with it!


Happy Planning!

The Secret to Successful Planning and Why I HATE It!

Urg!!! If there is one thing about planning that I don't like, it's reviewing, bleck!! But, to move forward into the second quarter of 2017, it's so important that I review how it's been going so far. I know it's important, so I do it. I teach it in my classes, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it!

Alright, let me go grab a nice strong cuppa and some chocolate and let's attack this thing.


I think the reason I don't like to review is that I'm a starter'. 

I love the blank page, and new idea and all the potential for a new month. A fresh Monday morning gets me jazzed up and energised for the week. However, my motivation wains, I get bored and I move on to start another new and exciting project!

I find 'finishing' very difficult. And reviewing has that feeling of finishing that I seem to be allergic to. It's so much more fun to move onto the next month/project or random fun thing that crosses my path. 

Feathers 1goodies from my March Hip Kits

Here's what I've learned about reviewing over the years:

  • Reviewing allows me to improve upon what I've done with past projects so that the future ones are easier and better executed.
  • Reviewing mid-project, or after each yearly quarter, helps me adjust my path if I seem to be getting off track or falling behind on my 'deadlines'
  • Reviewing allows me to see where I'm slacking off on a long term project and where I need to step up my game
  • Reviewing also lets me see what is no longer working and what I need to stop.
  • Most importantly, reviewing lets me see my WINS! It shows me all that I have actually accomplished, and it usually surprises me.

A lot of us tend to concentrate on the things we haven't done, or haven't finished. That certain craft that turned into a mess, the exercise programme we completely abandoned and all the various balls we've dropped. Reviewing opens our eyes to how awesome we really are.

One year I set set myself to read 24 books, I love reading, but had let other things get in the way in recent years and I wanted to carve out more time for it. Come December I was on book 20 and with Christmas preps I knew I would never achieve my goal. I was upset with myself until I realised that I had read TWENTY books! That was about 12 or 13 more than I had read the year before! I think my goal of reading more often was definitely achieved.

Feathers 2goodies from my March Hip Kits

If you are nervous to review your progress, start with listing the accomplishments. That'll give you the confidence-boost you need to peel back that layers of why you dropped the balls you did.

Here are 5 guidelines to reviewing your progress.

  1. Check what you wanted to have accomplished at this point
  2. List what you did finish, noting especially what you really rocked at
  3. Decide what is still left to finish
  4. What happened? Why did you drop the ball?
  5. What projects will you continue with and what will you leave by the wayside?


Here are some of my main goals for the year:

read 25 books 
Juliet's first Communion
52 Baking days
teach live somewhere this year
teach 3 online classes this year
1-2 date nights a month
knit and scrapbook more

What do I need to get done in April through June to be able to achieve them by the end of 2017?

After reviewing I found that I'm on track for most things, so far, except the scrapbooking and knitting. But I can totally see why, there's no plan! What does 'scrapbook and knit more' even mean? So I need to address this for Q2. I also have to get moving a little faster on the plans for my daughter's First Communion. I have about 45 people coming to my home for a sit down formal dinner party! Eep!


 Ok, now it's your turn. Let me know in the comments what you could be reviewing. If you are having trouble with reviewing, this lesson from my class Plan Your Dreams is a great place to start: Lesson 6: The Adjustment Bureau


Your Foolproof 3 step Formula for Creating Fantastic Clusters

Clusters are gorgeous, if you can get them right!


 There are lots of tips here for you today so that you can create clusters in your planner. It's a fantastic way to add a lot of product, yet leave lots of room to write, and I know you love your stickers, page flags and washi!! So let's add as much of your favourite things as possible, eh?  I have a fool proof formula for you, along with a free cheat sheet so that you can easily add clusters to your pages today!



One way to add the feeling of calm in your day is to cluster your stickers, die cuts and embellishments together. Like we talked about last week, adding breathing room adds calm. Clustering stickers is a great way to achieve a page with lots of breathing space.

This video will help you create gorgeous clusters everytime. Put the kettle on, grab your planner and your favourite products and hit play.

The key is variety. If you shake it up, you add interest, style and a bit of fun to your clusters. Here are 3 things to keep in mind to get foolproof clusters every time:

  1. variety of shapes
  2. variety of size
  3. variety of texture.

If you add 3 elements in each of the these 3 categories, you are garanteed to have a stylish cluster. Print off your cheat sheet now, it even has a simple formula to get you started. Click here to get the cheat sheet:

Cluster Cheat Sheet


Why does this work? Well, the variety adds interest and the more interest you have the more appealing the cluster. If you have any questions, or are having trouble getting your clusters to work, don't hesitate to ask. You can email a picture of your troublesome cluster to cara@thehootingpirate.com or ask here in the comments! Have fun with it!


Happy Planning!

Master the Use of White Space to Create a Breathable Schedule

When you use white space in your planner decorating you are also creating some breathing room in your daily schedule.


What you see in your planner will dictate how your day will go! 

No, seriously! :D

Of course the tasks and appointments you have scheduled will create the structure of your days and lend to how much breathing room you have in the day, but the decorating counts too!  The layout, the design of your page and the elements (stickers, die cuts etc) that you add, will influence how your day will play out.

Think of it this way; if you see your day's schedule written out in your planner but crowded with stickers and albeit pretty designs, you can still get a crowded feeling, like the day is crammed-full of tasks and appointments, even if it really isn't. But, if there is white space and an airy feeling to the decoration, you will also feel airy and freer as you go through your day.

Did I just get a little too woowoo on you? Just try it for a few days and see if it makes a difference ;)


I'm sure a lot of you want your days to feel less rushed and busy, so first off, you must be careful not to over schedule yourself. Breathing space and calm need to have time on your schedule too. And no, drive-thru coffee on the way to your next meeting or the carpool pick up does not count!

click to tweet: Breathing space and calm need to have time on your schedule too.

If, on the other hand, your days are feeling like nothing but white space, you may want to add more structure to your daily routine, so that all that open time doesn't feel so overwhelming. This way, you'll be able to get a better picture of the time you have available to introduce new things into your day. Check out my post on morning routines, if you'd like more help with that.


What I really want to talk about today is how you decorate your pages!

If it's an eclectic mix of stickers practially overlapping and you are looking for more calm in your day, you probably won't get it. There's nothing wrong with this way of planning, of course, there is no wrong way. However if you are looking to feel less rushed in your day, try adding some white space to see if it makes a differecne. It doesn't actually have to be 'white' it simply needs to be a more open space on your page where your eye can rest as it looks around your page, and your mind can rest too.

Here are 4 tips to help you add a little breathing room to your planner and your day:

  1. Try adding less sticker, especially if you are just adding them for the fun of it
  2. If your days are busy and you don't want to use less stickers, put them on the lines or corners of the boxes, or group them neatly so that the white space is unified instead of spread out in little pockets around the page
  3. Try using clusters on your spread. (more on clusters coming next week)
  4. Use like colours and patterns

In this video I walk you through planning with white space in my Planner Perfect planbook and then I show some more examples from my Happy Planner and Commit30. You may want to pop the kettle on, it's a long one ;)

Here's a look at the other planners so you can get a feel of how it could look in a planner with boxes.