What Is Executive Function (and Why You Need It In Your Life)

What Is Executive Function (and Why You Need It In Your Life)

Are you struggling to stay organized and motivated throughout your day? You may need help strengthening your executive function skills. From goal setting to following through on asks, here's how executive function impacts your day and ideas to refine your skills. 

What Is Executive Function? 

Executive function is a set of mental skills you use to manage your daily routine, goals, and challenges. They include your working memory, how flexible you can think through issues and projects, and self-control. Everyone uses executive function in everyday life, but when you don't know how to make the most of those skills, you may feel challenged or frustrated. 

How Does Executive Function Impact Your Life?

Think of your executive functioning ability as the management system of your brain that helps you set goals, plan, and get things done. When you struggle with executive function, it's challenging to focus, get a handle on your emotions, self-direct your learning or work projects, and follow through with directions. 

Researchers talk a lot about executive function in children, but it's just as important in adults. It ultimately helps develop teamwork, leadership abilities, critical thinking, adaptability, and overall decision-making in life and work.

Here are a few ways executive function impacts your daily life:

  • Studying or reading and applying what's learned
  • Working with a group
  • Cleaning your office
  • Finishing a thesis project
  • Cooking
  • Packing and moving
  • Creating lesson plans
  • Traveling to a new destination

How Do You Learn Executive Function?

Some people may have stronger executive function skills than others, but you're not born with the ability. As we age, we learn how to socialize, manage our time, and take directions in school and work. 

Although we aren't necessarily born with executive functioning ability, there are ways to learn it. Creating a rock-solid routine with predictability and scheduled time for your projects is one place to start. Relying on reminders, using a calendar, and approaching your organization in simple, manageable tasks all help strengthen your skills in executive function.

What Tools Can I Use For Executive Function

Strengthening your executive function requires tools and processes for staying organized and moving through your day. Here are some of our favorite tools to help.

Daily Planner

Our daily planners are ideal for keeping track of your day, logging your top must-dos, planning out your meals, and reviewing your entire month in one place. We also include an interior front pocket to manage receipts and other papers you need to save for later.

Weekly Mousepad Calendar

A simple calendar is surprisingly powerful for tracking your day and seeing what's ahead. We created a weekly mousepad calendar, so all your most important information is accessible by the week. With high-quality paper, the ink won't bleed through and derail your organization efforts.

Task Pad 

A daily to-do list is essential to help manage challenges and tackle those large to small details. Grab our straightforward but effective Task Pad to keep track of your project or to-do for the day.

Signature "&" Sticky Notes 2-Pack

Sometimes you need a quick go-to to jot down reminders or organize your paperwork while on a call. These Signature "&" Sticky Notes stick to your desk, monitor, door, or anywhere you need a quick reminder to help complete a task at hand.

Get It Done Pad

Check all the boxes off your list with this convenient Get It Done Pad. It features 80# heavy card stock paper that's thick and ideal for tearing off as you go. 

Next Steps

Ready to get on top of decluttering and organization? Pick and choose your favorite ideas from our list and grab some of our organizational tools to get started. Choose from our planners, accessories, pens, and more from our favorite organization tools here.

getting organized -  daily planner - the paper & plan co

What Struggling to Stay Organized Means (and What to Do About It)

Struggling to stay organized isn't a matter of self-discipline. There can actually be root causes of issues like distraction and overwhelm. It's also a common problem. Surveys shows that 54% of Americans are overwhelmed by the amount of clutter they have, and 78% feel unsure or too complicated to deal with, so they let it build up over time. 

Ready to get organized? Get to the root of your disorganization and find tips and strategies to deal with the overwhelm.

You're Distracted

Distractions are a normal part of life, especially when working on something that doesn't interest you. Not everyone loves diving into organizational tools and processes, so it's normal for your mind to wander when cleaning up toys or your living room. As a result, distraction often leads to procrastination and lack of focus. 

Tip: Clarify your day before you tame the chaos to help breaking free from distraction. Use your daily planner to schedule a time to organize and set a timer when you get started. Make it your goal to beat a 30-minute timer and get as much done as possible on one area that needs organizing.

You're a Perfectionist

If you have unrealistic expectations for how things should go in your life, including how your home or workspace should look, you may suffer from perfectionism. Several factors feed into perfectionism, including fear of rejection from others or feeling inadequate in your work and home life. As a result, perfectionism can stop us in our tracks and keep us from truly doing the work to declutter and get organized.

Tip: Embrace the idea that "done is better than perfect" and do your best to stay in the moment. Challenge those perfectionistic tendencies with pep talks, "No one but me cares what this desk looks like, so let's get it functional!"

You're Overwhelmed

Overwhelm is a suffocating, all-encompassing feeling where you're not sure how to break free from the stuff in your life. Whether it's an over-committed work or school schedule, overwhelm leads to burnout and mental exhaustion.

You can tackle overwhelm with strategies like delegation, declining personal commitments, and letting go of control and worry. It's also important to say no to your own self-imposed deadlines. Don't decide to clean and organize your entire kitchen in one day. Instead, work on a cabinet or just the fridge and congratulate yourself on a well-done job.

Tip: Your brain needs decluttering and organization, just like your stuff. Schedule small, realistic time blocks to tidy up. But you should also make time to do nothing and let your brain decompress from the daily business. 

You Feel Too Attached to Your Stuff

If you're struggling with one area of organization, ask yourself if you feel emotionally attached. Getting rid of old letters, furniture, and clothing triggers memories and a sentimental attachment to stuff. Instead of organizing, we avoid the project or continue to hold onto things that no longer serve us.

Tip: Take a moment to consider whether these items are useful and whether or not they bring you happiness. Taking a photo of yourself with the object or giving it to someone who would love it can help you let go and focus on organizing your space.

You Struggle with Memory

Forgetfulness makes it challenging to get organized and stay that way. Instead of thinking through a system or process, you move things around and never actually organize anything. 

Memory struggles could point to cognitive issues but also have other causes. Lack of sleep, medications, an under-active thyroid, too much stress, drinking too much, and depression can all lead to forgetfulness. Getting on top of your rest, anxiety, and lifestyle could all help improve your memory and your ability to organize.

Tip: Memory struggles can also be managed by writing things down. Make sure you have the right planners, notebooks, and accessories to write out detailed information and make a plan for when you'll organize, what you have already sorted, and what to do next. 

You're Indecisive

Are you struggling to decide what to organize and how to handle your things? People are indecisive for reasons ranging from overwhelm to perfectionism, fear of failure, and lack of confidence. In some cases, indecisiveness could be a sign of conditions like ADHD.

Tip: Time management techniques and personal deadlines can help get on top of indecisiveness. Setting a timer and reminding yourself of what you'll accomplish, for example, "When I'm done, nothing will be on my desk," are ways to guide you towards good decision-making. You also need to be vested in the outcome, like a clean office or stress-free work experience.

You're Experiencing Anxiety or Depression

Depression and anxiety often make you feel detached and disconnected, leading to issues like disorganization and lack of motivation. Sometimes anxiety and depression are triggered by stressful life events, and you can help with stress management and organizational techniques. Make sure to schedule in time for self-care and to slow down to address your mental health.

Tip: No one should diagnose mental health conditions for you except a doctor or trained expert. Talk to a professional if you suspect you're suffering from anxiety and depression or feel like something isn't right with your mental health. 

Ready to get on top of decluttering and organization? Pick and choose your favorite ideas from this list and grab some of our organizational tools to get started. Choose from our planners, accessories, writing tools, and more from our favorite collections here.

BoostYourMood - Paper Pen Co

Ways to Quickly Boost Your Mood

If you're struggling with a bad mood and feel like you picked it up out of nowhere, you might be right. Studies show that bad moods really do spread faster than good ones and can be tough to shake. The good news is you can take control of your mood and give it a boost. Try one of these ideas and feel your frustration and stressors fade away.

Declutter One Area at a Time

When dealing with clutter, you inevitably feel stressed and frustrated with your environment. Getting rid of all the excess stuff could improve your mood and help you feel more in control.

Make sure you take things one step at a time. There's no need to try to declutter your entire home in one day. Instead, tackle your desk or kitchen and move on to different areas each week.

Start Organizing 

Just like decluttering, organizing can boost your mood and improve your outlook. But there's more to do than organize your drawers and clutter. You can also get more control over your life with the help of our daily planners.

Pick up one of our daily planners with a dedicated area to jot down notes, top must-do's, a notes section, and an interior front pocket. There's also a place to focus on your health with fitness goals and meal planning.

Daily planners and organization

Listen to Upbeat Music

Research shows that music affects our emotions. Happy, upbeat music triggers dopamine and serotonin, which promotes feelings of joy and happiness. So if you love melancholy music, you may need to change up your tunes to give your mood a boost. If you're feeling overwhelmed and stressed, try changing your mindset with calm, relaxing music. 

Take a Walk

When you take a walk or enjoy some exercise, it increases blood flow and circulation throughout your body and your brain. You're likely to enjoy less stress and happier feelings than just a few minutes before. A walk outdoors is the perfect break nearly any time of day and doesn't require changing into gym clothes or doing anything but putting on your shoes.

If you can't squeeze in a walk, stand up and do some jumping jacks or indulge in some stretches. Even if you're slammed with work, there are always a few minutes in the day for a stretch.

Journal Your Gratitude

There's power in expressing gratitude through a conversation or journal. Research shows gratitude reduces stress, depression, and anxiety while boosting your mood.

Of course, there are always times we feel we have nothing to feel gratitude over. You can start small and jot down that you're grateful for the sunshine outdoors or the friend you texted that morning. If you're new to journaling or struggle with staying motivated, make it fun and reach for a pack of Royalty Pens the next time you grab your gratitude journal.

Get Out Your Favorite Scents

The power of scent significantly impacts your mood and can produce immediate results. Lavender is popular as a stress reducer or to relax before bedtime. Jasmine's sweet smell is known to soothe and create more optimism, and citrus inspires feelings of the outdoors and sunshine. 

There's no rule about how to use scents. Choose the ones that naturally make you feel good and put you in the mindset you're looking for. 

Pay It Forward

Have you ever done something nice for someone, like flash a smile or compliment their bag for no reason? You already know it feels good to make someone else happy. Make a commitment to do something nice for someone, like buy the person behind you at the coffee shop a cup and wish them a good day.

Wake Up Earlier

Getting enough sleep is crucial to a good, sustainable mood. But once your rest is under control, waking up a bit earlier can go a long way in improving your mood. 

Set your alarm to 15 to 30 minutes before you usually rise and get organized for the day. Knock out those dreaded chores while your brain is warming up, like getting the laundry or taking out the trash. When your time is up, sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy a few minutes to yourself. You'll start the day feeling refreshed and ready to go. 

Plan Something Fun

You may not be able to do anything about your busy work schedule or family issue, but you can give yourself something to look forward to. Plan something fun for yourself, whether an overnight getaway or an indulgent lunch with a friend.

The key is to commit and give yourself permission to have fun. Put it in your daily planner and block time for whatever you choose. Think of it as a gift to yourself, and practice self-care and love while you're at it. 

Ready to tackle your day and give your mood a boost? Pick and choose your favorite ideas from this list and grab some of our organizational tools to get started. Choose from our planners, accessories, writing tools, and more from our favorite collections here.

 

How Clutter Impacts Your Mental Health (and What to Do About It)

How Clutter Impacts Your Mental Health (and What to Do About It)

Imagine a messy room. Maybe there are dishes stacked in the sink or laundry sitting in the hamper on the bed, waiting to be folded? Or maybe it’s the living room where pillows and blankets are thrown askew. Either way, whatever you’re picturing, it’s probably making you cringe and maybe causing some anxiety. And according to recent data, that’s normal! Clutter not only impacts your physical space but also your mental health. Here’s why and how you can counteract it. 

What Is Clutter?

Clutter impedes your space physically and mentally. It stops you from moving in your body and your mind. Clutter doesn’t mean someone’s home looks like an episode of Hoarders. Clutter also means accumulating more possessions than there is space. And with less space, means the clutter is more noticeable and more damaging to your mental health. 

You can identify clutter in your home by asking yourself a few questions:

  1. Do you own anything that you don’t use or need?
  2. Do you have a “junk drawer/space/area” thinking you think you need, but don’t use?
  3. Do you buy new items to replace the ones you’ve lost in your home?
  4. Are you physically restricted by the clutter (you can’t open a door or park in the garage)?
  5. Are you afraid to have guests over because of the state of your home?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you have some form of clutter in your home.

And clutter doesn’t just extend to physical objects. Clutter can be digital, too. Think about all the downloads and documents on your computer, your email, and the photos on your phone you keep meaning to go through.

Some reasons we keep clutter in our home (and often without realizing it):

  1. It’s overwhelming to sort through it all so people would rather keep it the same.
  2. Some objects are used to inspire motivation. It’s the reason many people keep clothes that don’t fit anymore. Instead of buying new clothes that do fit, they’d rather keep the old ones with the hope of fitting into them again.
  3. Some items have sentimental meaning. Common examples are keeping souvenirs from trips, clothes or items that have been passed down through the family, or items from childhood that bring up fond memories.
  4. It can be scary to throw things away. When it comes to throwing items away, it’s common to worry about that item being needed in the future, so you should keep it, right?
  5. Clutter can offer comfort. Having a home filled with objects can bring a sense of safety and security. It’s hard to part with items that provide those feelings. 

Why Does Clutter Negatively Impact Your Mental Health?

One study found that clutter may start off harmless as people may want to decorate and personalize their space, but it can quickly turn into clutter. They found that when it’s in excess, “it can threaten to physically and psychologically entrap a person” and it leads to personal distress and feelings of displacement and alienation. 

Psychology Today listed five reasons why clutter negatively impacts your life:

  1. Low subjective well-being 
  2. Unhealthier eating
  3. Poorer mental health
  4. Less efficient visual processing
  5. Less efficient thinking

When you have clutter in your home, you’re more stressed in your home. Your home is supposed to be your sanctuary, but instead, it’s turned into a cortisol-producing space. One study of women found a correlation between the amount of clutter in their home to high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. 

Clutter takes up physical space that can restrict your movements and also distract you. Clutter on your desk or in your work area is causing your brain to focus on multiple things at once. This causes you to work harder to think more clearly and stay productive. 

Overall, clutter in your home, physically or digitally, is lowering your quality of life. You’re more stressed and experiencing poorer mental health. It’s also a frustrating use of your time if you’re constantly on the search for items lost in the clutter. 

How To Remove Clutter 

We mentioned earlier that it can be overwhelming and scary to throw things away. It’s why it’s important to declutter at your own pace since this process can be an emotional one. For some it’s as simple as throwing away old papers and trash, for others, it’s sorting through sentimental items that can bring up a lot of emotions. It’s important to remember you didn’t acquire all the clutter in one day, so it will take more than one day to remove it all. 

If you’re ready to remove some clutter from your life, here are a few tips.

Create a To-Do List

Creating a to-do list will not only bring satisfaction after completing each task, but it will also help guide you along the way. To-do lists also help to counteract the overwhelming feelings that clutter commonly brings. 

With our planners, you can create a daily, weekly, or monthly list to help keep you motivated. The rule of thumb is to do the hard things first when you have the motivation. Or if you’re needing motivation, do the small easier tasks first so you can cross them off the list. Check out our Notepads & Notebooks!

Schedule in the Time

In order to make a dent in the clutter, you need dedicated time to work on it. This is when your planner comes in handy! Instead of trying to declutter your whole house (again overwhelming!), try scheduling time to work on one room or section at a time. Maybe that’s an hour every day or a deep clean once a week in certain rooms. This can even be fun if you set daily, weekly, or monthly goals of when you want to accomplish it. It can be extra fun if you invite a friend or two to help! 

This is also an important step in maintaining a clutter-free home. Something as easy as 10 minutes a day can make such a difference! Whether that’s scheduling that out daily in your planner or once a week, we have the planners to help make decluttering fun! 

Reduce Your Items

Using your planner you can create lists to reduce the number of items you have. You should have 4 lists:

  1. Items you keep
  2. Items you sell or donate
  3. Items you throw away
  4. Items you’re unsure about and will come back to

Lists can help keep you on track and organized. And with the lined sections we have in our planners, we can help keep you on track! 

Organize the Items

Once you’ve reduced the number of things you have, it’s time to organize them! The items you use consistently on a daily basis should be kept close at hand. And for everything else, there should be a specific place for it so surfaces are clutter-free. You can organize by using boxes or containers to keep like items in the same space. 

If you need help keeping your space and life clutter-free, utilize one of our planners to help schedule the time you need and notebook and notepads to create to-do lists! 

How to Organize Your Side Hustle and Succeed

How to Organize Your Side Hustle and Succeed

If you’re like most people, you have something you’re passionate about. And if you’re motivated by it to make a living from it, you might start small with a side hustle. But running a side hustle is no easy feat, especially if you’re choosing to keep your day job for a reliable income. In this blog, we’ll share some tips about how you can keep your side hustle organized so you can succeed!

What Is a Side Hustle? 

A side hustle is another job people do to make money outside of their day job. This might be a passion people pursue but continue to want the safety their day job provides. Or maybe someone needs extra cash or saving for a rainy day. Side hustles can range from making a couple of extra hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars a month. The 10 most popular side hustles are: 

  1. Selling products online
  2. Starting a wholesale business
  3. Freelancing
  4. Being an affiliate marketer
  5. Print on demand to sell custom artwork
  6. Run a blog
  7. Sell information products
  8. Be an Instagram Influencer
  9. Work as a virtual assistant
  10. Become a photographer

Whether you choose one of those side hustles or another, we have a few tips for how to keep your side hustler organized. 

Think Long-Term and Prepare for the Long Haul

Your side hustle won’t be successful if you don’t prepare for the long haul by planning long-term. Having a successful side hustle requires determination, persistence, and consistency. A side hustle is an investment not just in your wallet, but also in your time. Side hustles require hours that could be spent with friends and family, so it’s important to stay focused. 

This is where a planner can come in handy. With your planner, you can schedule out time for your side hustle every day, week, and month. The calendar feature will help you think long-term and prepare for the long haul. A yearly planner helps you plan long in advance, which is exactly what you need for a successful side hustle. Scheduling in advance requires less effort and instead reinforced positive triggers and routines to help you stay disciplined. It’s recommended to keep the same schedule so you know when to prepare to work on your side hustle. This can be in the morning before work (which makes it easier to be productive) or in the evening after work. Find what time works best for you and schedule it in your calendar!

Schedule your time for the rest of 2022 and for 2023 with our 2023 planners!

Define Your Goals

When planning out your side hustle, you need to have clearly defined goals. Goals will not only inspire you, but they’re also good metrics. Good clear goals help you measure your progress and success with your side hustle. But to go big, you need to start small. Having small, practical goals that you reach quickly will increase your motivation. Remember SMART goals from school? If not, we’ll remind you!

S - Specific

M - Measurable

A - Achievable

R - Relevant

T - Time-bound

Your handy dandy planner can help you track and keep your goals. With the calendar feature, you can set goals for the whole year. You can even set daily goals to boost your motivation. Some examples of daily goals include:

  • Send X many emails 
  • Write X amount of words
  • Talk to X amount of people 

Buy our Executive Bundle for a Weekly Mousepad, The Perfect Pouch, Make it Happen Notepad, Pen 3-Pack, Page Flags, Post It Notes, and Task Pad! 

Set Milestones To Force You to Succeed

If you’re someone who needs pressure in order to get things done, then this tip is for you! A good side hustle needs a plan, but the planning shouldn’t take all the time. You need to have a plan that will force you to launch. You don’t want to waste time and money by continuing to keep tweaking your plan to prevent you from launching. 

To avoid getting stuck in a constant editing cycle, set goals and milestones to guide you from start to finish. Sticking to your milestones will help your side hustle succeed while keeping your motivation high. Other ways to help you launch your side hustle is to tell friends and family to help keep you accountable. Your planner can also work in coordination to help keep you accountable. Like the calendar feature we’ve mentioned so many times, it’s great for tracking your goals and holding you accountable. 

2022-23 Paper Planner

Our 2022-2023 Paper Planes Planner Bundle will keep you accountable for the rest of the year and through 2023! The planner starts on July 1st, 2022 and goes until June 30th, 2023. The bundle also includes 3pack of pens, white jolts and jolts notebook, and balck magnetic bookmark. 

Delegate Work Not in Your Skillset

In order to truly succeed in any aspect of life, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing your strengths means you can specialize in them and monetize them. Meanwhile, your weaknesses or things you don’t have time for like administrative work, should be outsourced. It will save you time and money since you’re not doing everything yourself. Outsourcing will let you use your time to focus on what you are good at, and get better at it. 

Utilizing your planner will help you keep in touch with your outsourcing partners. Your planner has a notes section that you can dedicate to keeping track of your contacts. Buy your planner today!

Don’t Lose Your Day Job

A side hustle is a side hustle because you still have your safe and reliable day job from 9 am to 5 pm. Until you have success with your side hustle and a consistent stream of customers, don’t leave your day job yet. Working on your side hustle is exciting and might take some hours away from your day job. But it’s important to maintain your integrity while still working your day job. This means not using company time to work on your side hustle or using company resources. Also don’t compromise your quality of work at your day job, causing you to get fired. 

Your planner can help you keep track of your day job and side hustle. From to-do lists to scheduling time in the day and setting goals for each job. If you’re the ultimate planner, it could be beneficial to have two planners: one for your day job and one for your side hustle. This way you can keep both jobs separate and it can be easier to manage. 

At Paper & Plan Co.,  we value personal accountability, having fun and thinking big, and promoting a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. We pride ourselves in creating products to help our customers live out those goals too. Buy your planner today to start your side hustle! 

8 Unique Ways to Use Your Planner

8 Unique Ways to Use Your Planner

A planner is more than just for housing and organizing your events, activities, and to-do lists. It can also be used in fun creative ways to add more value and organization to your life! Check out our favorite unique ways to utilize your Paper & Plan Co. planner!

The Science Behind Why Writing Things Down Makes You More Successful

The Science Behind Why Writing Things Down Makes You More Successful

Writing things down is so beneficial, not just to your productivity but also to your brain. Getting everything down on paper and out of your head feels so good and can lead to success, but why is that? We’re about to tell you why! 

Writing Things Down Clears Your Mind

We have so many thoughts per day, over 6,000 thoughts actually, so it makes sense that we feel overwhelmed or stressed throughout the day. How many times have you had a thought and promised you were going to remember it later or write it down, and then didn’t? And we guess it made you frustrated not being able to recall one of your 6,000+ thoughts. 

Imagine a different world where you take pen to paper and write everything down from to-do lists to the sporadic middle of the night thoughts to a daily reflection. The relief you get from releasing everything you’re containing in your head is like a weight lifting off your shoulders. That’s only one of many benefits of writing things down. 

Writing Things Down Makes You More Focused

In our society, we’re constantly bombarded with information that prompts more thoughts in your head. Counteract the information overload by writing things down! When you write things down, you’re forced to focus on one idea at a time. And when you’re able to dedicate the time each thought requires, you’re able to really flesh it out and get every thought related to it out of your system and your head. Your brain is meant for creating ideas, not storing them

Writing Things Down Helps Clarify

One huge benefit to writing things down is the ability to clarify. Clarity is what helps people become successful because they’re able to clarify their goals, priorities, and intentions. It’s one thing to have goals, hopes, and dreams, but it’s another to have them written down. If they’re written down, then they’re real and require your attention if you want to make them true. Plus, once they’re written down, you can expand on them and make them more specific so they can become a reality. 

Writing Things Down Makes You More Motivated

Just like keeping a food diary can help people lose weight, the same idea applies to writing things down. When things are written down you are able to clearly see if there’s progress. Especially if it’s related to those goals, priorities, and intentions we mentioned in the previous paragraph. Because even if you have the strongest goal, you need to document where you started, the journey along the way, and the ending. Writing down the journey can help you reflect on what’s working, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how you spend your time and energy. Documenting the whole process will help you maintain your motivation and see progress.

Writing Things Down Promotes Self-Reflection

A fun writing challenge we’ve seen some of our customers try is setting a timer for X-amount of time and writing continuously until the timer stops. Another challenge is setting a goal of writing 2 pages (or whatever number is attainable for you) and writing until you reach that goal. Whether it’s a writing challenge or just writing daily, taking the time to write down your thoughts, feelings, memories, and more helps promote self-reflection. When you take the time to write all of the things that make you human (thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc), you’re able to reflect on what you’re writing about and go deeper. 

It’s also a form of release. Imagine you have a fight with a spouse or a friend. Instead of constantly thinking about how it upsets you, what you could’ve said instead, or why the fight happened in the first place, you can let it all go with one journal entry. You can take the time to release the emotions and thoughts the fight brings up and you’re able to see the situation more clearly. This applies to any negative experience or emotion

 

When you have a clear mind and are able to focus, stay motivated, and self-reflect, you can conquer the world!  Ready to tame your thoughts and be successful with simple tools like journals, planners, and writing utensils? Shop our Paper & Plan collection to turn the art of writing into your favorite part of the day.

Time Management Tips to Organize Your Life

Time Management Tips to Organize Your Life

If you can't stay on top of your day and are neglecting your schedule, you may feel like you need more hours in the day. In reality, time management tools and strategies can pack in. more productivity and free up more time than ever before. Here are a few ways to get started. 

Track Your Time

The first step in prioritizing your time is tracking where you're spending it. Jot down what you're doing during the day, for how long, and what times of the day. The practice may seem tedious at first, but it reveals a wealth of information about where you can refine your time management. 

Once you've got a handle on what you're doing with your time, you create a schedule that better aligns with your lifestyle. You may decide to stack your busy work in the morning when you're the most alert. Or, if you're a night owl, you may want to save creative tasks for when the sun goes down.

Create a Schedule

Creating a schedule is essential for bringing time management to life. Grab a daily planner or To-Do list and create a schedule for your day. It may be helpful to plan out your days the night before, weekly, or monthly. Use a system that works for you and is easy to follow.

Batch Your Time

Time batching is a helpful way to get on top of your time management. Group like-minded tasks together and complete them over a specific period of time.

The more you can batch things together, the easier it is to approach a large volume of work. For example, get all your bills done from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and update your financials. Or return your emails in the morning and set aside time to do it again in the afternoon. The goal is to avoid repeating tasks all day and losing control of your time.

Avoid Multitasking

Studies show that multitasking is distracting and could negatively impact productivity and time management. Instead, focus on one thing or like-minded tasks in a specific period of time. The more you focus, the more you get done. You'll probably find you can finish your work faster than before.

Use a Timer

Using a timer to complete your work helps keep you focused and stay on top of your time management. Try setting a timer for 30-minutes to update a report or make business calls. Known as the Pomodoro technique, the goal is to get a high concentration of work done quickly and then give yourself a brain break. 

Adjust Your To-Do List

Some people thrive when scheduling the most time-consuming and stressful tasks off their list right away. Others will get into a state of brain lock where they can't seem to move forward. Consider adding a few quick wins to the top of your To-Do list to get some of those tasks knocked off your list right away. Once the momentum picks up, you'll find it easier to tackle more complicated tasks. 

Schedule Down Time

You deserve to relax and find some quiet in your day. It's just as important to schedule some downtime as your daily responsibilities. Schedule time to take a walk, surf the Internet, or start a text chain with friends. When the time is up, get back to work feeling refreshed. 

Leave Some Flexibility

Despite how crucial keeping a schedule and practicing time management is, you still need room for flexibility. Don't pack your schedule so tightly that you can't handle an occasional emergency or unexpected request. Otherwise, the stress of always being productive could lead to burnout.

Ready to put time management best practices into place? Get inspired by browsing our collection of planners, notepads, and other resources to help you stay organized and tame clutter before it spirals. Browse our entire selection here

How Doodling Keeps Your Brain Focused

How Doodling Keeps Your Brain Focused

If you love to doodle and sketch while you think, you may have been told over the years to stop reaching for your pencils and pay attention. In reality, science shows that doodling can help you focus more than leaving your hands and mind idle. Here are some ways doodling can help sharpen your mind and focus.

Clarify Your Memories

Far from zoning out and not paying attention, research shows that doodling sparks action in the brain. Harvard Health Publishing found that doodling could help you find lost puzzle pieces to memories, bring them to the present, and understand the whole picture on a deeper level. That feeling of understanding could also help you unwind and feel the burden lifted from something you've been struggling to process.

Relieve Stress

Chronic doodlers will share that sketching and drawing helps them relieve stress and retain better focus. You're likely to disrupt maladaptive thoughts that keep circulating in the loop and causing distress. Doodling keeps your focus on something calming and breaks up those racing thoughts. Your nervous energy also finds an outlet with the physical act of doodling and further relieves stress and distractions.

Rediscover Some Enjoyment

Creative hobbies like doodling can help enhance your problem-solving skills and make you more productive at the same time. Make the most of your creative outlet by investing in a few fun supplies. 

Our sketchy journals are perfect for doodling, sketching, and journaling. Turn it into a scrapbook, or enjoy adding color and flair. They're also made from hand-stitched handmade paper notebooks.

woman sketching in sketch book - doodling and focus - Paper Plan & Co

Retain More Information

Do you have a hard time processing everything in a short period of time and forgetting the details? Doodling could be the answer if you're having difficulty remembering valuable information in meetings. Doodling seems to help people concentrate and work through info, no matter how dry it may be. Studies show that people who doodled while listening to a long, dull voice mail reclaimed 29% more information than those who simply listened! 

Avoid Zoning Out

Wandering minds may be normal but can cause issues when you're responsible for retaining and applying information at work. Zoning out on long calls and meetings is inevitable for most of us. Instead of obsessing over what you're drawing, doodling helps you pay attention to what's happening around you, like a meeting or lecture. 

Access Subconscious Thought

Are you having trouble figuring out what's bothering you and can't focus because of it? Some medical professionals use doodling as a way to unlock subconscious thought and access your mental state, personality, attention span, and learning abilities. Taking the time to doodle and relax could conjure up sketches of your anxiety or serve to relieve your stress altogether. 

Turn Doodling Into Something Productive

Because doodling helps you relax and focus, it can also help keep you productive. However, there are other ways to turn doodling into a more meaningful experience. If you enjoy the act of drawing, hone your skills and use them as a way to better communicate your projects and ideas to colleagues, family, and friends.

Exercise Respectful Doodling

Although doodling can help you focus, de-stress, and get clarity, not everyone is aware of its benefits. It's worth telling your colleagues or family that it enables you to listen and zero in so they don't think you're growing bored with their conversation.

Ready to get on top of de-clutter and dive into spring cleaning? Get inspired by browsing our collection of planners, notepads, and other resources to help you stay organized and tame clutter before it spirals. Browse our entire selection here

7 Spring Cleaning & De-Clutter Tips

7 Spring Cleaning & De-Clutter Tips

Spring cleaning has a way of making you feel like your clutter has suddenly bloomed along with the season. Suddenly you're faced with taming the paper. Instead of dreading the time to clean de-clutter, embrace it as an opportunity to reorganize your home and de-stress your daily routine. Here's how to get started. 

1) Categorize Your Clutter

Paper clutter quickly spirals as bills, receipts, notes, and reminders flood your desk and the nooks and crannies of your home. Before trying to de-clutter, you need a method to tame the paper trail. Start by organizing paper into different categories, including "Toss," "Keep," or "Upload Online." Now you can clearly see where your priorities are and what you can keep, store, or toss.

de-cluttering tips

2) Create a Paper Filing System

Once you've figured out your categories, ruthlessly purge your paper clutter and find a place to store the rest. You will likely need to work on your filing system several times a year and see what you can throw away. You can also use a similar approach to de-clutter everything else in your home, from electronics to clothing. Instead of 'upload online,' you can donate or recycle tangible items.

3) Take It Online

One of the benefits of taming paper clutter is the ability to take it online. Before you spend the time scanning and uploading, figure out if it already exists online. Your financial statements are likely stored somewhere already. Check to see if your smartphone and computer automatically back up or store your files with a service like Mozy or Dropbox. 

You can also take personal items you're having difficulty parting with and put them online. Take a photo with the item and a few for prosperity purposes. Next, create digital folders including household, keepsakes, family, friends, and anything else that helps you stay digitally organized. 

4) Designate a Place for Everything

Preventative de-clutter management is far easier than tackling a mountain of it each spring. Designate a place for everything that comes into your home, from mail to receipts. Not only will you reduce clutter, but you'll also spend less time looking for paperwork and other items. 

5) Avoid Investing in Bins and Organizers

We love organization and organizers, but there's no need to invest in a new set every time you need to do some spring cleaning. You're likely to fill up bins with paperwork and keepsakes to tuck them out of sight. The only issue is you still don't know where anything is and have just put your clutter into organizers instead of sorting through it.

Instead, look for bins, organizers, and drawers you already use in your home. Look through them to see what can be cleaned out and what can be kept. Next, repurpose them for your de-clutter control system. 

6) Schedule Time to Maintain Your Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning can extend beyond the season and become a year-round mentality. However, you need to make time for organization to prioritize it as part of your yearly routine. Set aside a few hours a month, or 30-minutes a week, devoted to clutter control and cleaning. As you get accustomed to the new habit, you'll find your clutter practically becomes non-existent. 

de-cluttering tips daily planner

7) Make It Fun

There's no rule that says de-clutter and cleaning need to be a tedious snooze chore. Instead, make it fun by investing in a daily planner to keep tabs on your scheduled cleaning time. Make a cleaning playlist with all your favorites, and think about rewarding your hard work. Dinner out, a bottle of wine, or a hike at your favorite out-of-the-way trail are all ways to look forward to spring cleaning and clutter control. 

Ready to get on top of de-clutter and dive into spring cleaning? Get inspired by browsing our collection of planners, notepads, and other resources to help you stay organized and tame clutter before it spirals. Browse our entire selection here

How Personal Accountability Creates the Best Version of Yourself

How Personal Accountability Creates the Best Version of Yourself

When you're struggling with time management, accomplishing goals, and building a reliable reputation, the answer point back to more personal accountability in your life. Embracing personal responsibility is the idea that you are responsible for your own actions and the consequences. There's good news and bad news when it comes to personal accountability. Although it means you're directly responsible for finding your own happiness and path in life, no matter what's going on around you, it also means you have control over building the kind of life you want. 

If you're unsure how to create more personal accountability in your life and turn into the best version of yourself, learn why it's so important and how to get started on your journey.

You Have a Strong Sense of Your Values

You probably know many of your core values, like fairness and honesty. However, refining your idea of core values and which ones are the most important to you helps with personal accountability. Write down the most important things to you, like making more time for loved ones or continuing learning and growing.

Once you know your values, you can shape how you spend your time and what you focus on. Take the time to jot down your core values in your Daily Planner and make sure your activities align with your values as much as possible. 

personal accountability

Your Dreams Turn Into Reality

Personality accountability empowers your dreams and turns them into reality. When you accept responsibility for your goals, you also identify activities and tasks that put you closer to accomplishing them. There is a caveat. You will likely burn out if you load up your To-Do lists with nothing but goal-oriented tasks. Remember your list of values and make sure you're still making time for loved ones, time outdoors, or exploring a topic that's important to you. 

Your Confidence Soars

It makes sense that if personal accountability helps you reach your goals and dreams, it also breeds confidence and success. When you have a proven track record for success, your self-confidence skyrockets. You know you have the power to achieve whatever you want, provided you keep taking steps to get there, even during setbacks.

Studies show that an increase in self-esteem is also shown to improve your health and social life and could protect against mental disorders. The results are cyclical. When you accomplish your goals and feel optimistic about your life, you're more likely to have good self-esteem. In turn, that self-confidence keeps the momentum going when striving to achieve new goals.

Your Time Matters

Saying "yes" to everything is a recipe for burn-out and diminishes your sense of self. Practicing personal accountability means your time matters and requires a strategic approach to optimize the available hours in your day. You need time to reflect, take action with your goals, nurture relationships, and do what's important to you. A daily planner can help structure your time, but saying "no" is essential.

You Build Trust With Yourself and Others

Building trust with yourself and others can improve your career, lead to more promotions, and enhance personal relationships. Being personally accountable for your words and doing what you say you'll do is an attractive trait. You suddenly become the person people trust, admire, and want to spend more time with. You'll build deeper relationships with friends and family while earning more trust and responsibility at work.

Perhaps more importantly, you build more trust with yourself when you give gravity to your words and take responsibility for your actions. You know you can rely on yourself instead of looking outward to solve your problems or reach your goals. 

Ready to embrace more personal accountability in your life and become the best version of yourself? Take time to reflect on the most important things in your life and structure your time and mindset accordingly. Our selection of planners, notepads, and other resources can help keep you focused and the momentum going. Browse our entire selection here

Valentine's Day Gifts for Type A Organizers

Valentine's Day Gifts for Type A Organizers

If you have a Type A organizer in your life, you'll know they're pros at goal-setting, execution, and getting things done. Show them how much you admire and care about them with Valentine's Day gifts designed with them in mind.

Daily Planners

A daily planner shows your loved ones you care about their time and passion for all things organization. Our Honeycomb Planner helps them structure their day to customize and maximize their goals and dreams to make the magic happen year-round. There's room for top must-do's, notes, fitness goals, meal planning, and more.

Valentine's Day Gifts for Organizers - Planners - Paper Plan & Co

Get It Done Pad

The Get It Done Pad is the perfect to-do for everyone on your Valentine's gift list. The #80 heavy card stock paper is thick enough to separate from your other documents but still easy enough to tear off and ensure each box is checked off your list. It's simple, easy, and a high-quality find.

The Perfect Pouch

The Perfect Pouch lives up to its name! It fits neatly in a purse or briefcase and is ready to go whenever it's needed. It's the perfect place for your loved ones to tuck away pens, earbuds, notepads, or a phone charger.

Thank You Keeper Notepad

Keeping tabs on all the thank you notes you need to send gets tangled quickly. Gift this innovative Thank You Keeper Notepad so your loved ones can keep track of it all—and send you a thank you for this Valentine's Day gift for Type organizers.

Priorities, Needs and Wants Pad

Our staple Priorities, Needs & Wants Pad helps you stay on task and pairs perfectly with one of our daily planners. Chart out your priorities, needs, and wants each week and reach your goals by visiting organized. This Valentine's Day gift is the perfect item to give to yourself.

Page Flags

These fun Page Flags help everyone in your life tame their paper trails to keep their desks extra tidy. They're Post-It branded and feature black, gray, silver, and white tabs to help your loved ones stay on top of their workweek and their goals in sight.

Weekly Mousepad

Weekly Mousepad is a unique way to keep notes, ideas, and sketches close by to track your latest brainstorms. It's sleek and functional and created on 70# white stock. Its high-quality paper won't let the ink bleed through. Pick up our Royalty Pens to pair with your new mousepad organizer.

You're Sketchy Notepad

Help your favorite Type-A organizer de-stress while still keeping their mind engaged. The You're Sketchy Notepad journal features white hand-stitched binding and a set of 10 colored pencils. A standard pencil sharpener and classic pencil eraser is also included. It's packaged neatly in a clear-top stationery gift box with ribbon and tag to complete this look.

The Paper & Plan Co. Gift Card

If your favorite organizer already has one of everything, give them the Paper & Pan Co. gift card. They can pick out exactly what they want or save it for a rainy day for a Valentine's Day gift that keeps on giving.

Make Valentine's Day an occasion to show all your loved ones you care with these inspiring organizational products. Browse Paper Plan & Co. entire selection here.