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This ONE Planning Hack Will Save You Hours

Raise your hand if you love using a planner.

Ok, now put it down.

Now raise your hand if you love the idea of using a planner but is seems super complicated and every time you try, it is great for like a month and then you just drop off the planner train, landing on your caboose.

Does that sound familiar? Me and my ADHD definitely have walked that path before. Overall, planning has really helped me when anxiety or ADHD see a task and MAGNIFY it to impossible proportions. And being able to look at my tasks at a glance and know what is expected of me helps both my anxiety and my ADHD a great deal. I can worry a lot less about forgetting things. I can lessen the overwhelm by seeing tasks I don’t want to do (like dishes) next to things I enjoy (like crafts) and see that the dishes will take me half the time as my embroidery for the day. (YAY!)


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A friend introduced me to this concept about eight years ago, and ever since then, it has remained the one planner hack that I go back to every single time. In my planner, this is a non-negotiable!


This hack saved my anxiety and ADHD, plus helped me save so many hours a week!

First, you need to decide what categories you are going to put your activities under. It can be as many as you want. I tend to find five are what most people use. If you want to borrow my categories, you can save the image below, print it out, write it on a sticky note, or copy and paste it into your digital planner.

Income Generating Activities (IGAs) are any activity I do that contribute to my business. This could be designing a pin, scheduling posts, or designing something for my shop. You would have to decide how you want to use this if you don’t have a side hustle.

Family time – this is time spent with the family! This could be everyone at the dinner table without devices or playing a game together. (May I suggest the latest Mario Party?) It is really important to add this onto your planner. Even if it moves around and you have to retro-actively highlight something in the past, I recommend it. That way, at a glance, you see what your weekly balance is like. Because this color tends to have the least amount of space in my planner, I also include things like doing my Bible reading or going to Bible study in this. I consider my church friends family, so this fits for me!

Self-care – these are things that are good for you, but aren’t necessary to simply being a live. (At least, that’s how I code it.) Things like doing my nails, getting a haircut, etc. If it’s necessary to me not dyeing, I color it orange.

Work – if you have a job or volunteer on the reg, you can consider using this to mark out hours. Don’t forget to include drive time as included hours when you’re highlighting!

Hobbies – yay! This one is pretty self-explanatory. But basically, if you look forward to doing it, it’s fun, and not necessary, it should go here. If you simply LOVE working in your garden, or even going to the gym, it should go here.

Health – I mark everything from cooking, eating, exercise, to medical appointments here. I even include my shower time!

So how does this help you save time or manage anxiety or ADHD?

Well, firstly, I can’t claim it will do any of those things for you. I can, however, attest that it has made a big difference for me and my individual needs. I tend to get anxious when I worry about having enough time to get things done, worrying that I forgot something important, or in general getting discouraged when I look at a generic To-Do list that seems big enough to bury me alive. And it turns out that worrying and redoing a task five times (ADHD yaaay) wastes a LOT OF TIME. If your needs and challenges are similar to mine, give it a try! I’ve heard from a lot of people even without my particular challenges that this method helped them a great deal.

How to Plan

With the color coding system, I like to add a week at a time on a weekly spread. For things like doctors appointments or set dates, I use the monthly spread, and then just add the appointments to my week when I get there. Things changes so often, so I don’t like to write things down in my weekly spread until I’m about to start that week.

WHICH BRINGS ME TO SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT. Use pencil, erasable gel pens (there are also super cute ones, too), or go entirely digital, like I’ve recently done. Pen is a NO-NO! If there’s one thing that irritates me to the point of not being able to concentrate, it’s an illegible planner. You might also want some white out tape, which I prefer, because you don’t have to wait for it to dry! Simply drag it over your mistake and get back to working. Nice!

Once you have your basics penciled in, start with highlighting! Then once you have everything colored, you can now see at a glance if you have an imbalance. Did you not schedule enough family time this week? Is it something you can adjust, or is it something to amend next week? Too many green slots and not enough orange? You can fix that, too!

And that’s it! This little trick has saved me so much time and greatly lessened my mental load.

Have you tried this? Or maybe something similar? What works for you? Let me know in the comments!

Happy planning!

"XOXO, Amber" in hand-styled script
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6 Books for Successful Christian #BossBabes

A graphic of four women from the back shows them linking arms. The text reads "6 Books for Successful Christian #BossBabes."

More and more in this social age, women are looking for the perfect balance of raising their families, saving money, and earning income, all while hoping for the miraculous schedule of time managed by yourself. Wow! It’s no wonder that there are so many books on self-improvement, time management, and character building. And while those are helpful and great experience often lies between the pages, it is doubly refreshing to find a book that teaches you practical ways to better your business ventures while nourishing your soul and deepening your relationship with God.

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  1. Girls with Swords by Lisa Bevere

In Girls with Swords, Lisa likens our prayers to swords, and goes through practical steps on how to sharpen your prayers. With shared personal experiences and analogies to sword fighting, this will empower to better your spiritual life.

2. Fervent by Priscilla Shirer

I’ve mentioned this book before, but that hasn’t stopped me. And I will definitely post about it again, because it is my favorite devotional book I’ve read in years. The full title, Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer says it far better than I can. I love how Shirer does not pull any punches. She lays it out just like the Bible says: this is war. But our war is spiritual, and no physical weapons of ours will have any effect. She gives practical applications and tools, all while citing Scripture, to enable you to create prayers to defend you, your family, and claim your territory for God through prayer.

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Perhaps if you’re like me, prayer is something you know you should do, and do often, but it never feels like you’re really doing much. Not anymore! Shirer pulls back the curtain on spiritual warfare, exposes the tactics of our Enemy, and illuminates the struggles of our day to day for the spiritual battle they really are. This book is part manual, part journal, and part exposé of Satan’s playbook. In similar fashion to C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters, she skillfully gets into the enemy’s mindset to fumble our greatness in Christ.

I mean, just zoom in on these clips. Top right: She starts each chapter with, “If I were your enemy.” Top left: The book includes cards for you to personalize with your personal struggles and the prayers she helps you build with the framework of Scripture. And look! Bottom left: she opens the book with a quote from The Lord of the Rings! Trust me, you will love this book.

It will challenge you. It will inspire you. You cannot read this book as a child of God and not leave changed and empowered.

I know I have said a lot more about this work than I will about the rest, but that is how much this book has changed my life. I am absolutely not inflating its potency. While all of these books have added to my life and knowledge and opened my eyes to truth, this one in particular is my favorite. If you buy just one, this is the one to get!

3. Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley

Oh, dear sweet Emily. She is a fantastic author who endears readers to her immediately through her warmth and authenticity she conveys expertly through the pages. It’s almost like sitting down with her over a cuppa in your favorite coffee shop as she chats honestly about her life, its challenges, and the lessons God has taught her along the way.

Especially if you’re like me, always pushing yourself to get more done, seeking efficiency, grinding for results, hustling – Emily offers a quiet admonition to pause and appreciate rest and how to give yourself grace through the growing process. This is definitely the book for those who have a hard time saying no!

4. Make it Happen by Lara Casey

Don’t let life happen to you – make it happen! I could say a lot about this book, but Lara says it best:

You were created for a purpose, and it’s time to make it happen.Make It Happen is the story of how I surrendered my fear, took the leap, and got a life. In my case, a perfectly imperfect, fulfilling life as a mama, a working woman, and a grateful wife. This is the story of how I chose to make “it”―a greater purpose than mine―happen, and how you can too.
Make It Happen is for

  • women who find themselves worried, anxious, and completely overwhelmed by the constant chase for perfection
  • those seeking the courage to jump into a new venture
  • working women who are struggling to “do it all”
  • weary wives and moms looking for relief from burning the candle at both ends
  • anyone who dreams of a life lived not by accident, but on purpose

Your time has come to take a leap of faith. Join me as we surrender our fears, end the chase for perfection, and say yes to cultivating the meaningful lives God desires for us.

You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them.

5. 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs

If you have not been moving due to fear or insecurity, 100 Days to Brave will take on a journey – over the course of 100 days – to tackling your fear and embracing faith so that you can accomplish the dreams God has planted in your heart. This is a great companion to any of the books listed. The devotions are short and sweet, and are encouraging word alongside your daily Scripture reading.

6. Cultivate by Lara Casey

If the garden of your life feels overrun and overgrown, or dry and neglected and withering, Lara is here to help you navigate through the seasons of life to a place of nurture through cultivation.

We can’t do it all, and do it well. But, we can choose to cultivate what matters.

Lara Casey, Cultivate

Lara grace-filled advice helps you get to the nitty gritty and not be afraid of getting a little messy for what matters.

I have so many more books to recommend to you! (I love reading self development and devotional books.) Be sure to stay tuned for more of my fave reads!

Adieu!

"XOXO, Amber" in hand-styled script
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Train your brain to be POSITIVE!

Whether you are a boss babe, a mom, a college student . . . wherever you are at in life, you can start changing your outlook today.

Let’s talk about WORDS!

I have made a life-changing habit of creating positive expectations that has turned my health and business around. And it’s important enough that I want to share.

If someone bumps into you and you spill your coffee, it reveals what was already inside the cup. Coffee spilled out because it was full of coffee. If bumps and challenges jostle your cart, what spills out is a great tool for knowing yourself better.

Ask yourself: what spills out when you get jostled by life? Stress? Anger? Jealousy? Defeat? Worry?

If it is anything but good, healthful thoughts, you know where to start!

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Does that mean you can’t express an opinion? Of course not! Disappointment is sad, and it is something everyone of us will experience in life and in business. But commiserating is not healthy for you or anyone else. 💕 If you need to vent or have a listening ear, any leader will tell you to complain UP and praise DOWN! Talk to your leadership/manager to see how they would like to help you work out your disappointments.

What spills out is a great tool for knowing yourself better.

But venting (in the break room, online forums, work emails, or the home) is not a good business practice. You are a boss babe, a killah queen, a warrior princess. We all are. And we are in this together. 💕

If you want to express your feelings critically, also follow up with a solution so that it is constructive versus destructive. Here are some examples:

“I feel like in meetings we go over the exact same things that was said in the email. There are huge benefits to gathering collaboratively, but if we don’t get a chance to voice our input and share our experiences, the email is sufficient.”

“I have asked in the past if you would help me by putting the laundry in the hamper instead of on the floor. When you don’t, I feel ignored. When you do, I feel like we’re a team. What can I do to help without nagging?”

I totally am not scolding you, even though it might seem like it. I’ve been a Negative Nancy and didn’t even know it. You really do reap what you sow! Ever hear of self-fulfilling prophecies? So I’m telling you as a converted Positive Polly that you will be AMAZED at the GOOD things that start coming your way as if by “luck” when you change what energy you send out into the universe.

Want some more info on what helped me change? I highly recommend the books, “The Energy Bus,” and the pair “Successful Women Think Differently” and “Successful Women Speak Differently” by Valorie Burton.

A good place to start is asking yourself, “This bothers me. What can I do to fix it?” And, “Is what I’m about to say leading me to a solution?” You might find yourself the million dollar answer!

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on THESE things.” -Phil. 4:8 (emphasis mine)

Until next time,