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a new planner, the Get To Work Book review…

get to work book review

I have a new planner, the Get To Work Book. It’s kinda awesome.

Irony: Buying a new planner and a few days later getting an email from your previous planner company asking “Why did you leave us?“. True story.

I’ve been using my new planner for a little over two months now, so we’ve had time to get comfortable with each other (i.e. I’m not unfairly comparing my new planner to my old planner). 😉  Before we go too far, here’s a little disclaimer: I am RIDICULOUSLY picky about my planners. I’ve gone through more planners over the years than I can count, and rarely repeated any. Looking for my perfect fit is a process.

My goodness, how the planner game has changed!

This year’s planner search started several months ago. My preference is for the academic planner (July-June) rather than the standard January-December. I like the way it sort of forces me to have a mid-year review of the progress toward my goals. Plus, I’m already familiar with my planner for when the New Year planning time rolls around.

get to work book reviewPretty early on in my planner quest, I came across the Get to Work Book, created by Elise Blaha Cripe,  but immediately dismissed it due to two factors. First its size (7×9). I’ve learned over the years that anything smaller than an 8.5×11 leads to frustration for me. It would be great if a smaller planner worked for me, but experience has proven otherwise. Second, at $55, the Get to Work Book was the most expensive (non-leather) planner I looked at. But after two months of looking, I found myself comparing every planner to the lovely, clean layout of the GTWB. With only two weeks remaining in my current planner, I caved and placed my order.

get to work book review

In true Beth style, after stalking my planner shipment online, once it arrived I didn’t open it. Just looked at the package…put it in the closet for a few days… Don’t question it. I’m an enigma to myself.

The shipping was super fast, even with my order being placed on a weekend. Kudos on that one. The planner was beautifully and thoughtfully packaged, and arrived in perfect condition even though the post office was hard on the box.

get to work book review

Once I finally got around to opening it (thanks for the kick Sara), the very first thing I noticed was a bit of a disappointment; the back cover was flimsy. In the video introducing the Get To Work Book, the creator specifically talks about the front cover being nice and thick (and it was), but the back cover, which has a little half pocket for storage, was half the weight of the front. It won’t last long the way I use a planner. Overall, if you are someone who takes their planner with them, I feel the covers are a bit “soft”. So for a measure of added protection, I took the clear plastic covers off my old planner (a 8.5×11), and cut them down to use with this planner.

The next frustration I experienced was with the 0-ring binder. Normally I love ring bound planners (and am changing my photography workshop planners to ring binding for 2016!), but this one just gives me headaches. It was so loose, I was able to just slip the clear covers in. That also means the pages slip out. I’ve “tightened” them by squeezing them a bit closer, but those rings bend almost every time I put it in my bag, no matter how careful I am.

Another binder related note, the planner is so thick, and the columns placed so close to the rings, I have to prop one side of the planner up on a book to “level” the sides out enough to use them. That’s kind of a pain, especially when I don’t have a book handy.

get to work book review

  • Note: Apparently I was not the only person to be frustrated with the issue of the back cover.  A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Elise (creator of the GTWB) offering a replacement back cover.  FOR FREE!  Yes, the woman stepped up and did the right thing. I am so impressed with this bit of customer service, I went to her site looking to see if there was anything else I could buy from her.

get to work book review

After (finally) cracking open my beautiful new planner, you know the first thing I did …? Take out all the inspirational quotes on the heavy card-stock.

Sentimental, aren’t I?

get to work book review

I felt a bit guilty doing it. I’m sure a lot of thought went into them, but twelve of them (one for each month) make the planner about 1/4″ thicker, and when you carry your planner with you, the size matters.

The layout is clean without distracting colors or graphics. It also maximizes use of the available space. Love me some efficient design!

I know there are those who want a “pretty” planner, with lots of colors so that they feel motivated to use the planner. My motivation to use a planner is needing to get $#!^ done. Maybe I’m a bit of a planner purist since I value function over flair. If you like to personalize your planner, the clean layout leaves plenty of blank canvas for you to washi tape, color and doodle.

get to work book review

get to work book review

There is plenty of space to make the planner your own, without unnecessary distraction. There is also plenty of room to stash my collection of sticky notes that are a mainstay in my planners. I use them for all those things that aren’t “set in stone”, and might need to be moved to another day.

The paper is a nice weight, and there was no bleed-through using my favorite Sharpie pens. The paper color is also a perfect off-white, which is easy on the eyes.

The next hiccup I experienced with this planner are the monthly tabs. They stick out well past the edge of the cover. My planner gets carried with me e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. and that means these will get banged up. I’d love to see the next generation of this planner have the cover extend far enough to provide protection for the month tabs.

 

get to work book review

There is an “extra page” of graph paper at the month tab before the month calendar layout – for me, this is super frustrating.  When I grab the month tab, my expectation is for it to open to the monthly calendar. I ended up taping the pages together so that the monthly tab opened to the month. I miss having the extra pages for notes, but this was the workaround.

get to work book review - monthly view

It would also be nice if the major holidays were noted on the monthly calendar. I realize this planner ships all over the world, but it would be a great addition.

get to work book review - week view

The weekly layout is wonderful.  Near perfect. And I’m in love with the Monday-Sunday week! I hate having my weekend divided, so this is my preferred way of viewing the week. One of the major reasons I chose this planner was because of this weekly layout.  The MAIN reason – VERTICAL COLUMNS for the weekdays! Oh my goodness! L.O.V.E. I’m a list maker, and my brain works better seeing things listed in columns rather than rows. This is so awesome I would hug Elise just for this one feature, and y’all know, I’m not a hugger!

get to work book review - daily action items

The weekly layout has other inspired touches as well.  There are three spots at the top of each weekday, and they are a dream for noting those things which are the important/do not forget/must do items of each day. They are also perfect for keeping my workouts front and center, and meal planning.  Kinda crushing on them. <3

If I could change one thing with the weekly layout, it would be to change the weekend columns (Saturday and Sunday) to share one column (so two half-columns stacked). The weekday columns feel just a bit cramped, and that would free up a little more room in the weekday columns for writing.

get to work book review - weekly action items

I also love the three big Action Items for each week.  this is perfect for ongoing projects (ie. a to-do from the Project Page, see below), or things that will take more than a day to work on.

While this planner is smaller than I usually like, the layout is so efficient (no wasted space) it works like a larger planner. That said, I would still love to see this in an 8.5×11 size. Again, just a little bit more room to write would be divine.

get to work book review - goal worksheet

The planner also includes Project Pages at the end of each month, and they are pretty neat. For those goals or projects that you need a convenient way to break down, these pages have a lovely layout. And there is another sheet of graph paper opposite for more specifics for your goals, notes, or what ever you need.

get to work book review - monthly review

After the goal page there is a page for review. Just a little personal “check-in” about how the month went. This is a nice touch.

get to work book review - month tabs

 

Another tiny annoyance. No page bookmark/divider. Nearly all planners come with a bookmark. To me, that’s a necessary part of the planner. Again I created a workaround by first using a paperclip to keep my page marked.  Later I cut down an album bookmark from one of my Project Life kits to use as a bookmark.

  • Note: a bookmark has been created since I purchased my planner, but does not come with the planner. It is an additional cost/purchase.

On a closing note, I love that this planner is designed and made entirely in the USA.  I’ll pay a little more for that. The customer service is impeccable, and Elise has been very responsive to her customers, and more than willing to help make sure you are happy with your purchase.

That’s my rundown of the Get To Work Book!  Hope it helps you in your search for the perfect planner for you 😉

The 2016 planner is shipping now.

play hard, and have fun,

~Beth

This post is about my planner addiction search, and my thoughts about the Get to Work Book planner.  This planner was my purchase, and I’m not affiliated in any way with the Get To Work Book.  These are just my first impressions of my new planner.

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stop sorting the socks…

mesh bags for socks

Moms, if you have kids, this post is for you. 🙂

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine on Facebook posted about how it was really the washing machine that eats socks, not the dryer. Long story short, I added a little comment about how I avoid not only losing socks, but having to sort them. The response was immediate, and, for lack of a better word, awed. So, I’m going to share with you one of my time-saving laundry tips.

mesh bags for socks

Bags…  Big.  Mesh.  Bags.

Each of my children have their own bag. When it’s time for laundry, they put all of their socks (this works for underwear, too!) into their bag. The bag goes into the washing machine, then over to the dryer. When the dryer finishes, I dump the contents onto their beds and let them match up their own socks! For any of you out there that have children near the same age, size, etc. you know how much time it can take to try and figure out what belongs with which child. Over the years, I’ve tried various ways of identifying individual belongings: making little marks on the soles or tags, only buying certain styles or colors, etc. This method has been by far the easiest, and quickest! 🙂

mesh bags for socks

The details. My washing machine is a front-loader. I don’t know if this would work with a top load machine (the bag might wrap around the agitator?). These bags are approximately 18″ x 24″, made by Tide, and are some that I picked up on my regular trip to Target. There are many bags out there, choose one you like. Let me know if this works for you, and pass it along to your friends who could use it!

~Beth

season of giving…

season of giving - make a donation

Hey all. I’m back after enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday.  I hope you all had a wonderful time doing something meaningful to you.

This week I want to share with you a tradition that I started when my children were just babies, and hopefully it will inspire you to try something similar in your own family.  The Christmas Trip.  I know that sounds all grandiose, but the destination is our local D.I. or Goodwill donation center.  It just so happens that my children have birthdays that fall in the autumn season.  This means that shortly before Christmas, there is an influx of stuff, so we set aside one day to go through all their stuff.  We go through toys, clothes, games, everything.  This serves a two-fold purpose.   It makes room for the things that will arrive Christmas morning.  It also gets items into our community at a time when they are very much needed.

My kids always choose to keep a few things that they have definitely outgrown, but have a sentimental attachment to.  They also always surprise me with how unselfish they are.  I believe children have a beautiful, giving, spirit.  And if we just give them the opportunity to do something that benefits others, it is a blessing to everyone involved.

We parents participate as well.  There always seem to be a couple of things in the closet that are never worn, or have (ah, hem) shrunk. 🙂