Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

The end of Christmas and the realization that the year is ending brings in a new season for Americans- the season of New Years Resolutions. There's just something about the tick of midnight on January 1st that gives people permission to start fresh.

Did you know that 38.9% of Americans (and 59% of Young Adults 18-34 & 54% of parents) make New Year’s Resolutions each year (Via Mick @ Insideout Mastery)? 

I get it- the desire to start anew. To let go of all the mistakes in the past and say “this time I'll do it right.”

But year after year, we make these huge, lofty plans and set expectations for ourselves that are impossible to reach, and then get frustrated when we continually fall short.

And in that frustration, we give up. By end of January, most resolutions are long forgotten.

In the same article I referenced above, Mick goes on to explain that 23% of people tend to quit their Resolutions after the first week, and then about 65% have abandoned them by the end of January. 

And how many people actually achieve the Resolution they set at the beginning of the year? 

Less than 9%. 

Out of all those dreams for personal improvement, less than 10% of resolutions are actually kept for more than a few months.

That’s crazy, right? 

But it’s honestly not at all surprising to me. 

And it's not because people are lazy or lack a desire to change. It's natural for people to want to seek improvement! It's a core belief of mine that the purpose of human existence is to grow, develop and progress.

So what stops us from going after the things we say we want, even when we have the best of intentions?

Honestly, it's just that the process of New Year's Resolutions doesn't work.

You see, I'm all about goal setting. I believe in the power that making and working toward worthy life goals can bring you in achieving the life you want. I really believe that's why we're here- to work toward something important.

So how come setting goals works but making New Year's Resolutions doesn't?

Over the years (and as I’ve studied and coached on Productivity, Time Management & Goal Achieving) I’ve come to find out that there are two big problems when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions. 

Problem #1: They're just too big.

New Year's Resolutions are based on making big, general hopes for the entire year. Honestly, most of the time they seem like “wishes” to me, because they lack the structure of an actual plan written out to achieve them. And without this plan, like a traveller setting out on a road trip without a map fixed on their desired destination, you’re literally setting yourself up for failure. You simply won’t get there. 

Think about it- the draw of “New Year’s Resolutions” comes from the excitement of new beginnings and gives us a chance at a fresh start, so we have great intentions and start out strong. But as time wears on, distractions set in, our motivation thins, and we find ourselves losing steam. Like the kid who takes three big pieces of pie but only eats half of one, our “eyes” are often bigger than our “stomachs”. We just bite off more than we can chew. We can't keep up with the big, rigorous and demanding resolutions we so ambitiously set while we're trying to work challenging jobs and facilitate everyday life.

What Is Goal-Setting Really Is

On the other hand, (productive) goal setting is precisely about laying out a specific set of steps to get you closer to achieving the things you want. You don't just make a general statement about “I'd like to…” and leave it at that, hoping for the best. You figure out what it'll take to get there, break it down into smaller pieces, and then prioritize your time and energy towards that thing over a specific period of time, re-evaluating along the way. Then, you set up habits and routines supporting that goal and find people and resources to help keep you accountable and motivated to continue, even through challenges and a temptation to quit.

How many Resolutions have you set that have that kind of structure in place? 

This is why goal setting works when New Year’s Resolutions don’t. Not because you “hope” something will come into your life, but because you continually work toward bringing it there (and regularly adjust that plan as needed).

Ok, so “goal setting good” “Resolutions bad”. Got that part down. 

Do you know the best way to set goals? It's definitely not looking ahead at the whole year at once. Anyone would get overwhelmed at that. I'm a completely different person now than I was last January, and this time last year I was a brand new parent, trying to keep a tiny human alive, not making goals on how to teach him fine motor skills or trying to get him to eat vegetables. 

Last year (with the exception of feeding a newborn and changing a million diapers), I really only had myself and my husband to think about (from a goal setting viewpoint anyway), and if I'd stuck with just my January vision of my life throughout the whole year… none of us would’ve seen much personal growth. Becoming a parent and watching him grow changed everything. Every single day I learned new things about who I was, what I was capable of, and what my role as his mother was all about. 

Throughout the year I’ve had to completely re-evaluate every single thing in my life. Over and over again. I constantly revisited my goals, tactics, routines, and even priorities. 

My path was forever altered when that sweet boy came into our lives, and altered again with every new stage of babyhood he reached. Whatever goals and plans I had made for my life before he arrived had to be weighed against the child I was now responsible for raising. I couldn't just stick with the personal goals I made for myself in January, and if I only made year-long goals, I'd be stuck, wasting most of the year until the NEXT “New Year” came along and I had “permission” to make new ones.

The system just doesn’t work. We simply cannot plan for an entire year ahead of time- not with any specifics anyway. 

Sure, we can set an overall vision of what we’d generally like to focus on or would like our life to look like, but we can’t stop there and just “will” it to happen. We’ve got to take the extra steps to break it down and turn it into a series of actual goals. 

So what’s the solution? 

If Resolutions (or Year-Long goals) don't work, what does?

For me, it's all about Quarterly (Or “90 Day”) goals. I swear by them. It's the perfect length of time for me. It's long enough to be working on something somewhat long-term, but short enough that you can regularly stop and evaluate that you're on the right track. Thinking just three months ahead gives you enough time to try new things and see what's working, while giving you four times in a year to re-adjust whatever's needed.

It also gives you a few more “fresh starts” in a year, so the beauty of January 1st doesn't feel quite so rare.

And the best part? Because you're thinking of your life in 3 month (90 day) terms, it doesn't have to be solely tied to a calendar. You can jump in any time you like. Feeling ready to start something new on November 3rd or May 29th? Nobody's stopping you! You do what's right for you- this is your life!

Ready to dive in and start setting some 90 Day goals? Grab the free printable here and let me briefly walk you through it: 

Click to download your free Quarterly Planning sheets and start mapping out your 90 Day goals.
  1. Toss the idea of “New Year's Resolutions” out the door. Remember: it doesn’t work, so we're not going to do that. Instead, divide your year into four different “quarters”. Four three-month periods of time. Three months is long enough to allow for measurable growth and progress, while still being short enough to be manageable and inspiring. These four quarters will be our main measurement of time.
  2. On the sheet for 1st quarter, write down the goal you'd like to work on first. I recommend starting small- don't be too ambitious until you've successfully established some patterns. What's your “ideal” in this area? What would you like to see happen in your life?
  3. Think about your “why”. What is important about this goal? Why chose this one to work on over other possibilities? What impact will this have in your life, if you achieve it?
  4. What do you need to do each month to ensure you're on the right track? How can you track your progress?
  5. What routines do you need to instill into your day to be successful in this change? Is there something you need to do daily? Or will a few times a week suffice?

At the bottom of the printable I've included some self-reflection questions you can ask yourself if you need help thinking of goals to pursue. But remember:

Don't tie yourself down to goals that are too large. If it can't be done in three months or less, break it down until you can.

Reason #2 that New Year’s Resolutions don’t work: 

Even if they’re not too big, they’re usually far too vague. 

The most popular New Year’s resolution is to “lose weight” or “get healthier”. But with no plan in place, this sounds more like a lofty dream to me than an actual goal. 

If you’ve ever heard of SMART Goals, this one will sound familiar. 

Goals need to be specific to be achievable. They need to be something you can measure and say “yep! I’ve accomplished that!” 

“Be healthier” is not something you can quantify. How will you know if you’ve ever done it? 

I suppose “Be healthier” counts if you decide to pass on just one cookie, but it’s simply not motivating. Hooray, you’ve “achieved” that goal on January 1st and you’re “done” for the year. What’s next? 

It doesn’t push you to be better or to improve your life in the slightest. 

Knowing if Your Goal Will Work

Here are some questions you can ask yourself when considering if a goal is specific enough and sufficiently measurable: 

Specific: What exactly do you want to accomplish? Be as detailed as possible. Write it as if you were to share it with a stranger. Picture it in your mind and then write it out. Make it personal to you. What skills, knowledge and resources will you need to accomplish this goal? How will your life change when you reach this goal?

Measurable: How will you know if you are making progress? How will you know you're still on track? How will you know when you've reached your goal? Use numbers or values you can count and record.  

As soon as you've recorded your quarterly goals from the last step, look them over to make sure they are both properly specific and measurable. If they’re not, make adjustments as needed.

Stalling on writing out your 90 Day goals and still need help thinking them through? Check out my 90 Day Goal Planner. It's bright and fun, super detailed, and incredibly helpful in providing you with prompts and ways to think through where you currently are and where you want the next 90 days to take you. Plus, it's printable- so you can reuse it quarter after quarter. Win, win! 

A Word on Motivation: 

Even if your goals are manageable and your plan is solid, you might still find yourself losing focus and your motivation waning as time goes on. This is completely normal, but it’s something I can actually help with! 

I've wrestled with my own “motivation demons” plenty over the years. If you’re feeling like this, please know you're definitely not alone. This is exactly why I created the “Motivation Booster” printable- to help you gain clarity on why you’re dragging your feet, as well as determining the tools you already have access to that can help snap you out of your rut. Grab it for free here, and be sure to pull it out and use it if you're starting to feel your motivation waning.

Need Accountability & Support?

If you need more than resources to help you stay on track and think you could use an accountability buddy with regular check-ins and encouragement/support, check out my monthly membership: The Mindful Productivity Tribe for regular 1:1 support & coaching with me every week (plus additional workshops and resources to help you get more done and actually start accomplishing your goals) at a super affordable price. Check it out here for more information, or use the chat box at the bottom of the page if you have questions. 

Now get out there and start making some small, manageable (but still motivating) goals for the New Year! 

You can totally do this, but if you need support, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Want to share? Comment below and let me know what you're working on! What goal(s) are important to you right now in this phase of your life? How can I (and the Vibrance & Bliss community) help?

Don’t forget your freebies mentioned in this post! You can grab them here: 

  1. Quarterly planning sheets to help you sketch out your goals for the next 90 days & then determine a plan to make them happen.
  2. “Motivation Booster” printable, aimed to help you think through your mental blocks & create a plan to get back on track when you “just don’t feel like it”. 

Productivity & Planner Deals for Amazon Prime Day

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of my links, I get a small compensation at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Vibrance & Bliss.

I’ve seen a ton of Prime Day deals in various categories like Electronics and Household goods, but none for Productivity or Planners! So here’s my round-up of great deals I’ve found happening today during Amazon Prime Deal! Don’t forget to grab anything you love before the end of the day today! 

Don’t forget to use the coupon if it lists one for you!

Productivity & Time Management

Cube Timer – $13 for the set. (78% Prime Day Savings!) 

The Pomodoro Technique is something I believe strongly in- it's about setting a timer and working on a task for a set time, and then taking a short break before repeating the process. It's great for when you're having a hard time focusing on completing tasks. This timer is great because it lets you set a quick timer for your work without requiring you to load up and use your phone, which is a common distraction for most people. You can check out a preview of what the cube does here


TickTime Pomodoro Timer – $29 (22% Prime Day Savings) 

A slightly more high-tech version of the above timer, it has more options for pre-set times and the ability to set a custom timer yourself. Plus it just looks super cool, am I right?? 


Personal Enrichment

Self Journal Goal Planner by BestSelf – $22 (30% Prime Day Savings)

This is so much more than a planner- it’s a whole goal setting system. One I’m definitely interested in checking out. If you need help figuring out a system to help you plan, track, and evaluate your goals, this is a great place to look! Note: The listing says it’s 2021-2022, but the description does mention it’s undated, so it shouldn’t be a problem for you. 


Make Up My Mind & Worry Less Notepads- $7 – (40% Prime Day Savings) 

Having a hard time thinking through a decision? Stressing yourself out over minimal things? These creative little pads can help you list out all the pros and cons of the decisions you’re considering and think through the worries that are surrounding you. Sure, you can do this on any separate piece of paper, but this helps walk you through all phases of the process to finding internal peace. Plus- let yourself have some fun with it! 🙂  

Planners & Planner Supplies

Undated Weekly Planner – $6 (40% Prime Day Savings) 


Daily To Do List Planner Notebook – ~$7 (~30% Prime Day Savings)

I love this planner because it’s so incredibly simple. With just one page per day, it’s easy to keep your most important and critical tasks at the forefront of your mind. 


Weekly Magnetic Refrigerator Calendar – $13 for Weekly, $12 for Monthly

Need to track tasks and appointments for the whole family? Keep it all together with these magnetic calendars where everyone can see. 


Daily To-Dos Planner – $10 (33% Prime Day Savings)

Comes in various patterns including the ones in a separate listing here


Smart Daily Planner – $20-24 (20-33% Prime Day Savings!

I love the layout of this planner. It’s hardbound which is different than I normally use, but it’ll definitely hold up better than my traditional spiral planners- if you need something more durable, this could be your thing. 


Bullet Journaling Stencils – $18 (49% Prime Day Savings)  

I’m not a Bullet Journaler myself, but if you are, these stencils can really help save you some time from having to draw each element on your page separately every time. 


Other Gorgeous Planners with Awesome Layouts at great prices:

 (Most under $10!) (Click each image for details/link.)


The Happy Planner

The Happy Planner by Me & My Big Ideas has been my favorite planner line for a long time- They’re always great quality, gorgeous designs, and more recently they’ve been releasing their planners in various different sizes & layouts to fit different needs and lifestyles. Though I don’t typically use them anymore (I mainly use my own created planner pages & DIY my own planner), I’m always still drawn to them. If you’re looking for an already-done-for-you system that’s on sale right now, check out these various patterns and designs that are just gorgeous! 

18 Month Planner – July ‘22 – Dec ‘23 – Dashboard Layout – $24 (30% Prime Day Savings) 


Teacher Planner 2022-2023 Academic Year – $24 (20% Prime Day Savings)


Vertical Layout (In various designs, some pictured below:) 


Horizontal Layout – (In various designs, some pictured below:) 

Calendar Pads 

Daily To Do List Notepad – $8 (30% Prime Day Savings)


Weekly Desk Calendar Pad – $9 (31% Prime Day Discount) 


Other To-Do List/Daily Productivity Pads: 

(Click each image.)

Planner Stickers & Accessories

Daily Planner Sticker Pack – $13 – (20% Prime Day Savings)


Sticky Notes Divider Set – $7 – (25% Prime Day Savings)  


Ultimate Productivity Stickers Set – $8 (49% Prime Day Savings)


Habit Tracker Planner Stickers – $8 (50% Prime Day Savings)

These are great to place anywhere on or around your planner for 


More Planner Accessory Deals!

Organization

Project File Folders – $17 (~30% Prime Day Savings)


Desk & Paper Organizer w/Drawer – $25 (22% Prime Day Savings) 

I love these vertical stacking paper organizers for keeping my desk clean. I usually leave the top shelf for my “inbox”, the second shelf for my to-dos and the next shelves for various projects or life categories. Since it stacks vertically, it doesn’t really take much more space on your desk than a single file folder- Win Win! 


Rose Gold Desk Organizer Set – $18 – Lightning Deal ending 7:30pm EST


Other Prime Day Deals: 

Not finding things to catch your eye? Check out all the other deals in the various categories below! 

10 Fabulous Planning Supplies for Under $10

On the hunt for some great accessories and products to use with your planner, but frustrated because everything seems so expensive? Here are some of my favorite planning supplies under $10 for when you’re on a budget:
 

On the hunt for some great accessories and products to use with your planner, but frustrated because everything seems so expensive? Here are some of my favorite planning supplies under $10 for when you’re on a budget:

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of my links, I get a small compensation at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Vibrance & Bliss.

Washi Tape

Washi is great for quickly dressing up a plain page with color and personality. It’s really taken off in the past year, and you can find this stuff literally everywhere. I’ve found some great rolls at the Dollar Tree, Target $1 Spot and Michaels especially, but if you keep your eyes peeled I bet you’d find some in other places as well. The beauty is that it comes in all different colors and patterns so you’re bound to find something you love!

I also love this set of skinny washi that can fit almost anywhere on a page. It's a great way to add a splash of color to a page that doesn't have a lot of whitespace built-in.

Papermate Inkjoy Gel Pens 0.7

These are by far my favorite pen. I hardly write with anything else anymore! They come in bright, beautiful, vibrant colors, write super smoothly, come in medium or fine point, last a long time (I've been using the same set almost every day for several months and they are still going strong!), dry fast, are comfortable to hold, and have a clicker (no caps to lose!)

They also come in sets of basic colors like blue or black if you're looking for something simpler or more professional.

At under $10 for the set, you have to give these a try!

Frixion Erasable Pens

These pens are amazing. They write smooth and clear, they don’t bleed through paper, they come in gorgeous colors, they’re refillable, and best of all, they’re ERASABLE!! You got that right. And these aren’t those cheap pens you kept throwing away back in the ‘90s. I’ve got a couple of these Frixion pens in every room in my house. Erasable colored gel pens? Yes, please! I really couldn’t sing their praises high enough.

This is the basic set at less than $6 if you want to try them out, but they also come in many other colors & sets, like this one. Though just a tad over $10, it’s my favorite set. You get more pens, more colors (including pink, purple, turquoise & green), and I personally like the clickers better than the standard.

Frixion has also come out with erasable markers, and highlighters, as well as larger erasers.

Paperclip Bookmarks

I use these all the time to keep my “daily” page in my planner. You can find these everywhere, but my favorite places are on Etsy for just a couple dollars each. I also love these MAMBI ones in black & gold. There’s a ton of DIY tutorials online if you’re interested in making your own! I haven’t gone that route myself because I’ve got a collection I just love, but if you ever lose your place in your planner, these are great for sticking up at the top and keeping you on track! (Just make sure the ones you pick out leave enough of the clip exposed so it sticks into the page.)

There are a ton of different styles you can pick from. Here are some of my favorites:

(There are many different designs you could find for all of these- I've just linked an example of each to demonstrate.)

Designed or Patterned File Folders

I love finding cute file folders at Dollar Tree or Target Dollar Spot. They can be used for many things in your planner, but my favorite thing to do is to cut them up and use washi tape to make pocket folders! The whole project takes less than fifteen minutes. I’d definitely skip the plan manilla folders though- there’s so many out there in different designs and patterns- this is a great way to add some color into your planner!

Post-it Tabs

I love these because they’re so versatile! You can practically make any page or dashboard a divider! These also work great if you’ve used file folders as pockets (see above). There are many different kinds here, but these are my favorites. They’re sturdy, you can write (and re-write) on them, cute colors and removable!

Post-its

What is life without post-its? Ok maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but my entire family knows my addiction to post-its. I use them everywhere, and for everything. If you haven’t been using post-its in your planner, you’re missing out.

Don’t forget to check them out in different sizes and/or shapes!

Filler Paper

Now this one will depend completely on the size planner you have, but I find that having extra paper in my planner allows me to make lists and notes as I need. If you have a punch for your planner you can always print your own pages, but if you’re on a budget and can’t afford a punch, getting some pre-punched filler paper might be your best option to start out with.

Here’s some that fit the following planner systems:

Quote Cards

Though maybe not completely functional, I love adding a few of these cards into my planner in places I find myself looking a lot. I love the daily inspiration they can bring, as well as how colorful and adorable they look in my planner. These ones here actually have some space on the back to write down a memory or a thought.

You can also use Project Life cards if you have them available. Or these which come pre-punched for the Happy Planner.

Planner Stickers!!

Next to Washi, this is the second biggest planner craze right now. It seems like everyone wants to put stickers in their planner. I prefer to stick to functional planning, but I do love adding color and my own personal style to my pages when I can. Stickers is a great way to do this. You can find stickers all over the place: at the Dollar Tree, Target $1 Spot, Etsy, and Craft stores like Michaels & Hobby Lobby. You can also find a slew of free planner sticker printables online and print them at home using sticker paper (this particular item is just a tad over $10, but is a way better deal in terms of value than the alternatives!).

Honorable Mention:

Planner Discs

Though they're absolutely essential to my personal planning system, I included them in “honorable mention” for two reasons: 1) If you don't already have a planner punch, buying just the rings won't do you any good. 2) I definitely prefer the metallic metal rings to the normal plastic ones, and they run a few dollars over the $10 promised in this post. I have much more to say about planner rings & the disc-bound system, but it's something that has really transformed my life.

Want to learn more about planners & planning? Sign up for my upcoming DIY Planner course where I'll help you set up the perfect planning system for you!

Hopefully, this helped you find a couple new additions for your planner to make it both a functional place to track your goals a plan your time, as well as an uplifting & inspirational record of your life. All these things also make great gifts for your planning/stationary-loving friends!

Your favorite planner inexpensive supply not listed? Tell me below in the comments!

Know Your Productivity Type

Knowing your productivity type can help you prioritize your work so you can achieve the greatest success each day.

Are you the type of task-driven person who cannot stand seeing unchecked boxes on your “to do” list? Or are you driven by deadlines and can’t seem to get started until a hard deadline is looming on your projects? Knowing your productivity type can help you prioritize your work so you can achieve the greatest success each day.

The Four Productivity Styles

In my study, I’ve seen three strong productivity styles that manifest when trying to get things finished. A major personality-test addict myself, I’ve found that knowing the tendencies produced by your personality can often help you understand your own strengths and weaknesses, which can, in turn, help you understand how best you work.

Below are the three Productivity styles I’ve seen, as well as some ideas on how to leverage your personality to achieve the greatest success.

One thing to note: you may find that you don’t fit into a single “type”, and that’s ok. I see a little of each within myself, but I do have a dominant style. One that I relate most to and that most of the characteristics ring true for me. If there are two or more that seem to fit you, pick the one that resonates the strongest, or use tips from both styles.

The Detailer

Detailers are the kings & queens of the to-do list. They have strong goals and know how to achieve the results they’re looking for. They’ll work tirelessly to develop a clear plan of action. They’re the tourist with the 7-page itinerary and walk with a map in their hand- if they haven’t memorized it first.

Strengths:

Detailers thrive on organization, lists and order. They are well aware of upcoming deadlines and will usually have a notebook within arm’s reach, because everything is always written down.

They’re natural “planners” and are spectacular at organizing all the small details that go into a plan. Detailers are goal-driven and always have their life priorities in mind when planning their time.

When a project needs to be planned or organized, the detailer is usually the one to figure it out. Detailers are great at figuring out how to do something, because they understand each individual and separate step.

Weaknesses:

Detailers tend to have a hard time looking at the “big picture” because they get so caught up in the small details. Sometimes perfection-oriented, they’ll tend to waste (er- spend) a lot of time ensuring everything “fits just right”.

They are not very spontaneous, and may struggle with creative thinking or working outside the box. They often have difficulty with flexibility and don’t take change well.

Detailers often prefer to work alone and may find it difficult to contribute in groups because they can struggle with making decisions without adequate time to process the details. They are critical thinkers who analyze each piece before making important decisions, and have a hard time skipping that process.

They can also be hyper-critical of their own thoughts and ideas, analyzing the validity and practicality before fully exploring the possibility.

Tips:

If you’re a detailer, if you stick to your to-do list, you’ll regularly see fantastic results. Dedicate the time necessary to writing out your tasks, goals, and priorities, and the output will be far greater than the time spent. You receive clarity in the process and this will be time well spent.

The Team Player

Team players, also very commonly spectacular leaders, are people that thrive in social situations. They’re outgoing and lively, ambitious and people-oriented. If they were a traveler, they’d much sooner ask every stranger they saw for directions and “secret locations” than read a guidebook or map.

Strengths:

Team Players love working in groups, managing people, and “persuading” others. They work best when surrounded by other people and a fair amount of noise or input.

They are commonly thoughtful and encouraging to others and excel in groups or partnerships. They often make fantastic leaders with their ability to delegate tasks and organize other people and information.

Team Players will quickly take control of a group situation and act as the team cheerleader by encouraging other team members and having a positive attitude about the project at hand.

Weaknesses:

Team Players will cringe at the idea of working alone- they need the personal interaction and thrive in a group setting.

Because of their high social awareness, Team Players can easily get distracted by conversations and can struggle to stay focused on individual tasks.

When not surrounded by people, Team Players will very often find themselves relying on social media for their personal interaction. In small doses this is fine, but if left unchecked, it can very often become a large distraction.

Tips

Listening to a good music playlist can help a Team Player stay focused. It provides the vocal input that they vividly need, while not providing an avenue for conversation or response. It can keep the Team Player engaged in the task in front of them instead of pulling them into all the different directions they’d so love to go.

Social interaction can energize a Team Player. They’ll draw inspiration and motivation from meeting with and talking to others. If you are a Team Player, consider spending some of your working time in a public place such as Starbucks or a Local Park in order to get the most done during the day.

Another great tactic to see positive results is to get others involved. Grab a team (kids, spouse, friends, church group) and as much as you can, delegate every task you don’t need to do yourself. Working alongside others turns the most menial task into a group activity, which is incredibly empowering for a Team Player.

The Visionary

The visionary is a creative soul. They’re motivated by creating, developing their ideas and finding new ways to approach a situation. They are spontaneous and impulsive. When traveling, a visionary will set off for a with no set plan and the attitude of “I’ll figure it out when I’ll get there.”

Strengths & Weaknesses:

A visionary will often be juggling multiple projects at any given time. They will commonly have a hard time keeping interest on only one task at a time, preferring to let their creative mind jump between several things to keep a fresh look on each project.

Visualizers are creative thinkers who welcome change. They are flexible and have no problem adjusting when problems arise.

Visualizers are great at seeing the big picture, and tend to focus on the end result as opposed to the smaller tasks which lead to that end result. If they can work collaboratively with a Detailer, these two can be an unstoppable team, but doing so can prove challenging as they have very different approaches to organizing and task management.

Their workspace (and mind) are seen as cluttered and unorganized, and to someone like a Detailer this can be seen as a major weakness. To the Visionary, it’s a sign of a creative space- a place where “the magic happens”, so to speak. They know what is in each of their “piles” on their desk, and can still find anything they need.

While working with others, Visionaries can let their imaginations run away with them when trying to plan out a project. They’ll have many ideas that the Team Player and Detailers can help formulating into a plan.

Weaknesses:

Though visionaries have a great amount of energy and their creative minds are constantly coming up with new ideas, their fluid nature tends to leave them with a difficulty completing the tasks and projects they start.  

Tips

For Visionaries working alone, batching tasks (doing all repeated tasks at the same time each week) can help balance between keeping a fresh eye and true productivity. Each occurrence will be different enough to still be interesting to the Visionary, but also similar and help establish an efficient workflow.

Next Steps:

The better you understand your productivity type, the more tools you can utilize to maximize your potential and find success in your goals and life desires.

Once you figure out how – and when – you work best, you will be an unstoppable force. You’ll know exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to approach it. You’ll fly through your task list and feel accomplished and empowered!

So what’s your Productivity Style? Download the printable below to take the assessment, then comment below: Is it accurate? Does it give you any ideas on how to leverage your style to get the most done?

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DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLE!

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How To: Add a Background to a PDF or Printable

Downloaded that perfect printable but think it’s just a tad boring? Did you know you can add a background to any PDF using Adobe Acrobat in less than 5 minutes? Watch below for a step-by-step tutorial.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of my links, I get a small compensation at no additional cost to you. See my full Disclosures page for more details. Thank you for supporting Vibrance & Bliss.

Can’t view the video? Here’s each step as discussed in the video.

STEP 1: FIND YOUR PRINTABLE

Make sure you have the rights to modify the printable you’ve selected. If you aren’t sure, always err on the side of caution! Contact the owner of the printable if you don’t know. Most printables you’ve purchased will allow you to make this small adjustment for personal use only, but I’d always contact the seller to be sure. Note: All free B/W printables from my site allow for basic modification for personal use only. If you’d like to try out this tutorial on your own, you can find this printable and many others in the free resource library, which you can access after signing up for the email list.

STEP 2: SELECT YOUR BACKGROUND

Find your desired background image. There are many free & paid places to find digital paper and backgrounds. Spend some time finding a few patterns you really like. If you’re wondering where to find some great resources, I’ve got a whole list here.

STEP 3: PLACE BACKGROUND ONTO PDF PRINTABLE

Open up Adobe Acrobat Pro (not Reader. For this method, you must have a subscription to Adobe CC or have purchased Adobe Acrobat Pro separately) and click Edit PDF.

Click on the white background to delete.

Click “Add Image” on the ribbon on the top and find your desired background image.

STEP 4: ADJUST BACKGROUND

Click somewhere near the top left corner to place your background

Click on the bottom right corner to adjust the size of the background image. Drag to one side and stretch down, or drag until the background reaches the bottom of the page.

You can click and drag the image anywhere to adjust where it’s placed in comparison to the printable content. For example, if the pattern isn’t showing exactly what you want, you can adjust its placement to see different parts of the background.

STEP 5: REORDER LAYERS

Click off of the image to deselect all elements.

Right-click on the background layer, hover over “Arrange” and click “Send to Back.”

That’s it! You might want to repeat step 4 if the background isn’t placed exactly how you want to. If the colors I like aren’t showing up under the printable the way I like to, I’ll fiddle with it for just a second to get it the way I like it. Feel free play with it until it’s how you want it.

Want to save the instructions for later?

Download the printable version of the instructions here!

GET THE PATTERNS!

Love the patterns in this set? They can be purchased HERE.

DOWNLOAD THE PRINTABLE!

Don’t forget to download the free printable to try this out on your own! You’ll find it in the free resource library after signing up!

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PRINTABLE LIBRARY!

When you simply don't have time for everything on your list, decide which tasks hold the most value, and focus on just a few each day.

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DIY Planner for Under $5

DIY your own planner for less than $5 with a combination of things you probably already have, free printables, and a quick trip to a discount store.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of my links, I get a small compensation at no additional cost to you. See my full Disclosures page for more details. Thank you for supporting Vibrance & Bliss.

Trying to get organized but limited on funds? Have a million random pieces of paper and sticky notes flying everywhere and no system to process them? Did you know you can DIY your own planner for less than $5 with a combination of things you probably already have, free printables, and a quick trip to a discount store? Create your first simple planner in 3 easy steps:

1. COLLECT YOUR ITEMS:

Gather what you already have and make a list of the essentials you need to get started. Don’t go crazy at first! Your primary goal is to create a basic system to keep your notes, responsibilities, and tasks organized to increase your productivity and efficiency. The Dollar Tree is a great place to shop for starter planner supplies. Until you know what kind of system will work for you, I don’t recommend putting a lot of money toward different planners. Here’s my pick of absolute essentials when setting up a planner system for the first time.

BINDER


First, you’ll need something to hold everything together. My recommendation for starting out is a simple 3-ring binder. You probably already have one of these laying around. It doesn’t have to be fancy- a simple one will do! I’d start with about 1-inch if you have one. Pocket folders on the inside covers would nice, but it's not critical. I do always prefer hardcover since I like the option to use it as a writing surface if necessary. If you don’t have a binder, you can most likely find a super cheap one at the Dollar Tree or another discount store (Walmart/Target for instance.)

PAGE-SIZE

Page-size is a hot topic in the planner world, but I’d recommend starting with standard letter (8 1/2 x 11 inch) until you get more comfortable and know what you want. If you’re looking for a more portable/smaller size, half-letter (5.5 x 8.5 inch) is still pretty uncomplicated, but the starting supplies (binder, paper, pockets/tabs etc…) are non-standard and will be slightly more expensive to start you out. This is a great starting set in half-letter size (AKA “Mini Binder”) for only $10 and includes a binder (though not hard-back, unfortunately), a pocket, divider tabs with pockets and lined paper.

POCKET FOLDER

Especially if you don’t have pockets on the inside of your binder, I find this item to be basically essential. There’s nothing worse than having loose papers fly everywhere whenever you open your planner. I hold a myriad of random notes/scraps of paper that I want to keep with my planner until I can process or file them. Finding a cute pattern or color is also a great way to add some personality to your planner if you are using a plain binder or don’t have a view pocket on the front (or even if you do!)

Your pocket folder will also serve as your “dashboard,” which is a fancy planner-term that just means a place to store stickies or other random notes for later processing.

TABS

Tab Dividers are great for separating & locating separate sections in your planner that you want to use for different purposes. I usually have sections for daily, weekly, and monthly schedules, personal, household, business, tasks, and general notes. You can purchase a cheap set of tabs for $1, but there are obviously many other variations that could cost a bit more.

If you don’t want to purchase a set of tabs, you place a sticky note on any page to make your own tabs. I like these sticky tabs in 1-inch or 2-inch, but any sticky will do. (I love to make my own covers with a pretty art print or just colored paper/cardstock and place it in a clear page protector. You can then put your sticky tab on that if you wanted.)

PAPER & PUNCH

I always keep some blank paper in my planner for quick notes, lists, and ideas etc… I like to keep some lined sheets and some blank, and I know many people like grid paper as well (which I personally don’t do). I found a cute set of designed paper in a pack of 40-sheets at the Dollar Tree. (See photos below.)

Odds are, you probably already have either a 3-hole punch somewhere, or at least a single hand-punch. If not, I know they sell a “single” punch at the Dollar Tree. Either way, I would definitely recommend having a hole puncher of some sort, as this is the easiest way to set up a practically-free planner (by using free printables).

The beauty of using a standard binder is that if you’re really starting out and don’t have a punch, you can purchase a pre-punched pack of basic lined paper for $1, so there’s really no excuse to not have paper in your planner. If I haven’t said it enough, paper is essential for planning!

PENS/PENCILS

I could speak volumes on the different types, variations, colors, and brands of pens you can use for planning, but honestly just start with anything you already have. Of course I have my favorites, but if finding the “perfect” pen is stopping you from getting started, anything will work. When push comes to shove, a pen is really just a pen. (Though I will be the first to admit: not all pens are created equal. But that, my friends, is a topic for another day.)

2. PUT IT TOGETHER:

Now that you have all your materials ready, here's comes the fun part!

Place your folder & tabs inside the rings in the order you’ll find most useful. I like to have my folder in front, but do what works for you.

Decide on the sections you want and label them. Some great starting sections are: daily, weekly, and monthly schedules, personal, household, business, tasks, and general notes. If you want, you could even get more specific: Meal planning, budget, cleaning schedule, kid’s schedules, personal study, goal planning and/or inspiration. Really the options are limitless here- just decide what you most want to keep track of and create a section. You can always adjust this later! Note: I’ll sometimes just use a sticky on the divider’s front if I’m unsure of how I want to categorize something.

Punch & insert your paper. I recommend having a “notes” tab, but many planners just stick their blank paper in the front or the back and find that quite useful. It’s really up to you.

3. INSERT YOUR FREEBIES:

You could literally spend hours on Google or Pinterest searching for the perfect free printables to start out your planner, but if you want to keep it simple while starting out (which I definitely recommend you doing), I have a whole collection of freebies you can download and print right now.

The pages/layouts I would recommend starting with are: (note: all these pages are available in my free printables library).

YEAR AT A GLANCE

DIY your own planner for less than $5 with a combination of things you probably already have, free printables, and a quick trip to a discount store.

MONTHLY

DIY your own planner for less than $5 with a combination of things you probably already have, free printables, and a quick trip to a discount store.

WEEKLY

DIY your own planner for less than $5 with a combination of things you probably already have, free printables, and a quick trip to a discount store.

DAILY

DIY your own planner for less than $5 with a combination of things you probably already have, free printables, and a quick trip to a discount store.

BRAIN-DUMP

DIY your own planner for less than $5 with a combination of things you probably already have, free printables, and a quick trip to a discount store.

NOTES – LINED & UNLINED

DIY your own planner for less than $5 with a combination of things you probably already have, free printables, and a quick trip to a discount store.

Don't forget to Download the Printables

Decide on the printables you want and then print, punch & insert.

Voila! You now have the perfect basic planner that fills all the requirements of a standard organizational system. The really amazing thing is that now, as your needs grow or change, you can update your planner until it’s working exactly the way you like. Remember – it’s easy to get caught up in the “fun” aspects of planning, but always make sure to keep functionality in mind. Anything will work as long as it helps you get & stay productive, organized, and using your time as efficiently as possible. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

A NOTE ON PRODUCT LINKS

*Note: the links to products on this page are to Amazon where I purchase most of my supplies from, and most of the items I link to are above $5. I stand with my belief that you can create a planner for under $5, but these products are going to be much higher quality than items you’ll find at the Dollar Tree, and as planners tend to receive a lot of “abuse” (read: “loving use”), I recommend investing in some quality supplies once you know what your needs are. Until then, while you're still experimenting and building your “system”,  Dollar Tree supplies work just fine and will help you get started.

Though I link to Amazon products to give you an idea of what to look for, you do not need to purchase the item from Amazon, as you can find almost all these things (or a version of them) at any Dollar Tree or discount store for a $1 or less. 

NEXT STEPS:

  1. Download the Freebies!
  2. Join the Discussion: What are your absolute planner necessities? Leave a comment below!
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