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Free Download | The Essential Life Planner

I’ve been working so hard over the last few months to create something for YOU that would be beautiful, functional, and fun to use. What started as a one-page daily planner has evolved into a complete set of monthly, weekly, and daily planning pages to help you manage your to-do list, organize your life, and reach your goals. Best of all? It’s 100% FREE and it’s going to rock your world.

This planner is what I have used to manage my own schedule over the summer. I use it every single day and I really can’t live without it! All the details are below:

The Essential Life Planner Overview

♡ Printable PDF (8 Pages Total)

♡ Instant Download

♡ Printer Friendly + Binder Friendly

Featured Pages

♡ Monthly Planning

♡ Weekly Planning

♡ Daily Planning

♡ Monthly Budgeting

♡ Meal Planning

♡ Weekly Journaling

♡ Goals + Projects Planning

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Clean + Simple Design

I love simple, modern designs, and I know you do, too! Each page has just the essential elements you need to plan successfully. I want the Life Planner to take away from the stress and overwhelm in your life, not add to it! The minimalist black and white design means that it won’t use up all the ink in your printer. And there’s plenty of white space with room for your own notes and ideas.

How To Use Your Personal Life Planner

The entire Personal Life Planner set is 8 pages long. I’ve included a cover page for those of you who may want to put your pages in a binder, but it’s not necessary.

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Where to Start

I recommend looking over the whole Life Planner on your computer or phone before you print. Get an idea of what pages are included and where you want to start. If it’s the middle of the week, just fill out a Weekly Planning Page and schedule time later in the week to fill out the rest. Don’t worry about doing too much right away, just start where you are!

Displaying Your Life Planner

I find that I’m more successful in my goals and projects when I’m reminded of them regularly. I HIGHLY suggest putting your Life Planner somewhere that you’ll see it every day. I like to display the Monthly Planning page and Goals + Projects page on the fridge so I look at them every time I get something to eat. The other pages I keep in a notebook by my bed, so when I wake up, I can start planning right away.

Let’s Do It!

What are you waiting for? Fill out the form below to have the FREE Personal Life Planner sent directly to your email. Along with the Personal Life Planner, you’ll receive one email from me every month with relevant advice/inspiration to make your life beautiful (and I may include more freebies). I promise to add value to your email inbox, and if it’s ever too much, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Sign-up to Receive Your FREE Personal Life Planner

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What Does Your Favorite Color Say About You?
I love color theory and I love personality tests, so I decided to combine the two and make my own "Color-Cheat-Sheet." My favorite color is always pink, but sometimes I really wonder what it would be like to favor a different color.

What do you think of this analysis? Did I get it right?



Rebecca

8 Ways to Build a Strong Personal Brand
“Branding, to me, is the identity of a product or service. It’s the name, the logo, the design, or a combination of those that people use to identify, and differentiate, what they’re about to buy. A good brand should deliver a clear message, provide credibility, connect with customers emotionally, motivate the buyer, and create user loyalty.”
-Gini Dietrich




As a graphic designer, I care a lot about branding. I’ve been known to buy more (or less) expensive products at the grocery store because of the way the package is designed. I often look at billboards while driving and ask my husband, “Why do you think they used that font?” As I’ve focused on branding for companies and organizations, I’ve also focused on branding myself. I maintain a professional brand for my design work, Rebecca Peterson Studio. But I also have a personal brand. I want people to know who Rebecca Peterson is and what they can expect from me, both in-person and online.

Here are 8 crucial elements I’ve discovered for developing a strong personal brand.

1. Take High-Quality Headshots

Having a professional portrait will help you stand out online, especially on social media. I find it beneficial to use the same picture across all online profiles, so anyone who’s looking can see that all accounts belong to the same person.

2. Create Deliberate Desk Space

The way your office looks says a lot about you. Decorating your desk with baskets, pencil cups, and coffee table books that you love will help you stand out, even if you work at home.

3. Establish a Meaningful Mantra

Most companies have a tagline or a motto that summarizes what they do or what they believe. Try the same thing for yourself. It can be a bible verse, a favorite quote, or even just a saying that you relate to. My mantra is “A Well-Designed Life."

4. Use Consistent Colors

You may have a few favorite colors. Or you may have certain color schemes that you prefer more than others (warm/cool, saturated/unsaturated). These are your brand colors. Wear them, decorate with them, and find other creative ways to bring these colors into your life.

5. Make a Working Wardrobe

For anyone who sees you regularly, what you wear is one of the biggest parts of your personal brand. You don’t have to put on heels if that’s not your style, but taking some time to evaluate what you wear and why will help you dress for each day with confidence.

6. Develop a Signature Style

Your personal brand should have your personal touch. Evaluate your handwriting and your signature and make sure they represent the kind of person you want to be. Bonus points if you have a favorite pen or writing tool.

7. Find Mindful Mentors

If there’s someone who embodies the kind of personal brand you’d like to have, connect with them. Observe how they behave online and in-person and adopt those strategies yourself.

8. Start Seeking to Share

How will anybody know who you are if you don’t tell them? When you see something online or in real life that embodies your brand, share it with your friends and followers. They will appreciate the insight, and they may even start sharing similar things with you!

I love these pictures because they feel like "me!"
Creating a strong personal brand is all about one thing--you! As you embrace your unique talents, desires, and aesthetic preferences, you’ll be able to develop a distinctive, authentic brand. And trust me, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing other people recognize “you,” too.



Rebecca

My (Obsessively Simple) Makeup Routine
I have a problem. I love makeup. I spend at least ~$30~ a month on makeup, which I’m not proud of, but I can’t help myself! I’m always looking for the best products/best coverage/best value. I’m definitely not a beauty blogger, but I thought I would share my makeup routine so other people could see how I get my “look.”

I think it’s important to note that it’s very important for me to have a makeup look that is:
  • Professional (classy and age-appropriate) 
  • Simple (minimal layers on my face) 
  • Affordable (shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg) 
  • Easy (sometimes I do my makeup in the car) 

Step 1: Moisturize

I always start with a clean face. I use “Dermasil Daily Retinol Lotion” as a moisturizer and it’s only $1 from the Dollar Tree! I’m telling you, this stuff is MAGIC. It tightens your pores and leaves your skin feeling soft without any shine or grease.

Step 2: Foundation

I use L’Oreal True Match Lumi foundation in the shade Cool C3. I have tried literally almost every foundation in the world and right now this one is my favorite. To me, it’s more important to have a foundation that matches my skin and has a natural, smooth finish, than to have a foundation that covers ALL my blemishes and lasts all day. I also have pretty clear skin right now so that makes a big difference in what I want to use. I apply my foundation with a Real Techniques Expert Face brush.

Step 3: Powder

I set my foundation with Coty Airspun Loose Powder using the Real Techniques setting brush. I only set it underneath my eyes and around my t-zone, otherwise my makeup starts looking cakey.

Step 4: Blush

I switch off using the Pixi blush from Target and the Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso. I apply it using a Real Techniques blending brush and I start from the edge of my cheekbones and blend in. The Pixi blush is a little more pink and the Milani blush is a little more coral and pigmented. I try to keep my blush really minimal because some days I feel like I go to work looking like a clown, and nobody likes that!

Step 5: Eyebrows

I use the Maybelline “Brow Precise” pencil in soft brown for my eyebrows. I just fill in the spots that are a little sparse and then brush through it. I don’t like really harsh or dramatic brows, I just try to fill in the brows that I already have.


STEP 6: MASCARA

I wear the L’Oreal Million Lashes mascara in black. I put on pretty thick mascara on my top lashes and a very very thin layer on my bottom lashes. When I need to look good all day, I’ll wear the waterproof version and it stays on all day. (It actually would stay on forever if I didn’t take it off, that stuff is super long-lasting).

Step 7: Lips

I have A LOT of lip products that I love. I feel like sometimes my lips look really product-heavy, so I’m trying to simplify in that area. Most days, I wear Maybelline Baby Lips in “Pink Glow.” This is a lip balm that changes color depending on the Ph balance in your lips, so it always matches your skin perfectly. I love it!



Rebecca
My Top 3 Organization Tips
My sister-in-law (Hey Marianne!) asked me what my top 3 organization tips are this summer and I’ve been thinking a lot about it. There are a lot of “productivity gurus” out there in the world, and some of them have better advice than others, but because I spend so much time reading and contemplating this kind of stuff, I thought I might have something valuable to share. I thought about labelling this as “Top 3 Life Organization Tips” or “Top 3 Home Organization Tips” but I decided to challenge myself and choose the absolute best tips overall.

Here's a random picture of some cute "organizational tools"

1. The 2-Minute Rule

If you’ve ever asked me for organizational help, I’ve probably told you about the 2-minute rule. This is a principle from David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, which is kind of like the bible of organization/productivity. Allen says that if a task will take you 2 minutes or less, you should do it RIGHT NOW, because the time it takes you to create a reminder for the task and then actually remember to do it is probably more than 2 minutes. I’ve expanded this rule to 5 minutes and it is a life-saver. Have a 5 minute phone call you need to make? Do it now. Need to send an email? Do it now. Don’t bother putting it on your to-do list, JUST DO IT. 

2. Inbox-ing

This is another David Allen idea that I have fallen in love with. This trick is based on the idea of an email inbox. “Stuff” comes into your inbox. Some stuff is tasks, some is events, some is random ideas, and some is just junk. Your email collects this “stuff’, and you go through your email and decide what action needs to be taken. Once an email is dealt with, it no longer lives in your inbox. I know not everyone organizes their email this way--even though you should!--but the principle is this: An inbox just collects stuff temporarily, and you go through it regularly and clean it out. I have 2 inboxes. I’ll tell you how I use them and how they help me stay organized. 

physical inbox
One is a physical box (it’s actually a basket) on my dresser that says, “Reb’s Inbox.” Think of it as a pile of “Things to Go Through.” Stuff that I don’t immediately know what to do with goes in that basket. I try to go through the basket every week, although sometimes I get lazy and only look at it once a month. David Allen recommends clearing out your inbox every day. Here’s how I do it: I pick up the first thing in the inbox, decide what to do with it, and I don’t put it down until it has a home or I decide to throw it away. Then I move on to the next thing. If it’s a quote from church that I want to save, I put it in my filing cabinet. If it’s a receipt, I usually toss it in the trash. Sometimes I write ideas on blank pieces of paper and toss them in my inbox, because I want to deal with them at some point, but they’re not urgent. Then when I go through my inbox, I look at the piece of paper and decide what to do with that idea. If it’s something I want to do immediately, I put it on my to-do list. If it’s something I want to do in the future but not right now, I put it on a Google Doc. You get the idea. When you don’t have an inbox, your brain is always busy remembering things instead of being free to think creatively or problem solve. You’ll be surprised how much headspace you have when you know that all those miscellaneous tasks/ideas are captured somewhere, AND when you know that they’ll be dealt with in a timely manner. It also helps with clutter at home.

notebook inbox
The other inbox I have is in my notebook. Every day, I turn to a new page and title it “Inbox.” This is the list version of the basket I keep at home. Ideas, thoughts, notes, and other random tasks get listed here. Anything that’s on my mind, big or small, gets on this page. I can then transfer necessary things to my daily to-do list, put events on my calendar, and sometimes I even rip out this page and put it in my basket at home, to be dealt with like other physical items. The principle for both inboxes is the same, I just don’t want to bring a big basket around with me all day to put my things in.

3. Don’t Put To-Do’s on Your Calendar

First things first: You HAVE to have a calendar. You can’t rely on random sticky notes, text messages, or other people to tell you where you need to be and when. Take 100% responsibility for your life and get a calendar. I enjoyed using a paper calendar/planner for many years, but I switched to Google calendar to better manage my schedule with my husband’s schedule, and it has worked really well for me. You can use whatever is easier for you. Once you have a calendar that you like, it’s VITAL that you use it as a hard landscape for your time. You need to know when you’re available and when you’re not. It’s all about trusting the system. If you have To-Dos on your calendar instead of just events, you won’t be able to tell when you’re really free. Listing negotiable items like “do laundry” on your calendar instead of a To-Do list means that sometimes the things on your calendar aren’t really happening and that makes it easy to ignore other appointments. Then the whole system breaks down. You need to know that when you look at your calendar, the time that’s blocked off is really blocked off. This principle has honestly changed my life because I can schedule appointments with total confidence. I never worry that I’m double booking myself or that I’m going to forget something, because I know that all my necessary appointments/meetings/events/etc are captured on my calendar.

I think it’s appropriate to put “Reminders” on your calendar, but I think that only really works if you use something like Google calendar where you can turn off the reminders when you’re looking at your schedule. 

I hope this is helpful! Here’s a cutesy graphic I made with shortened versions of all these tips.



Rebecca
Pregnancy Highs and Lows
I debated whether I wanted to share something so personal on this public blog, but I really enjoy reading personal bits of other bloggers’ lives, so I thought I’d give it a go. Pregnancy has been both easier and harder than I thought. It’s been easier physically (for the most part) but much harder emotionally. Even though I know everyone’s experience is different, I wanted to share my top 10 best and worst things about pregnancy.

BEST 

1. good skin
I know not everyone gets the glowing skin when they’re pregnant, but I’ve definitely had it and I LOVE it. I’ve always had kind of dull, oily skin, but right now my skin is smooth and supple. I will probably get pregnant again just to experience this great skin!

2. loungewear 
When you’re pregnant, you can get away with wearing literally whatever you want. I wear leggings every single day and nobody even bats an eye.

3. baby kicks
This should probably be higher on my list, but I LOVE feeling the baby kick. Sometimes it’s a little freaky, but usually it just feels good. I like having a reminder that there’s a real human growing inside of me. I feel very connected to the baby when he kicks.

4. baby clothes
Buying baby clothes has been a great source of therapy for me. Whenever something happens (good or bad), I go to Gap and buy the cutest thing I can find. I don’t want to be one of those moms who only buys clothes for her kids, though, so I make sure to buy myself something, too.

5. thick hair 
Similar to #1, I’ve had great hair since I’ve been pregnant. My eyelashes and eyebrows have been so much thicker and longer. I know a lot of women lose a lot of their hair after having the baby, so I’m living it up while I can!

6. compliments 
People make a lot of stupid comments about pregnant women, but they also say a lot of nice things. No matter what I wear or how I do my makeup, people always tell me how cute and skinny I am. And right now, I’ll take what I can get!

7. baby daddy 
Watching my husband get excited about having a baby has been very special to me. Even though he’s not somebody who just LOVES kids, he is already very thoughtful and loving when it comes to OUR baby, and it’s honestly been so fun seeing that part of him.

8. (lack of) stretch marks
I know this is a stretch (get it…?) but I’m really grateful that I haven’t gotten any stretch marks with pregnancy. As far as I know, stretch marks are genetic, so I really just lucked out in that area, but I’m definitely not complaining about it!

9. better curves 
I don’t always feel this way, but on a good day, I look at my body and I honestly feel pretty sexy. I haven’t gained an excessive amount of weight so my arms and legs are still pretty skinny and my boobs are definitely bigger haha. The body stuff has actually been pretty hard on me emotionally, so I’m trying to be grateful for the things I do like!

10. the motherhood club
When I got pregnant, I felt like I joined this elite group of women who wanted to raise good families and set/reach good goals and just generally make the world a better place. Seriously. Mothers are amazing. I have loved receiving advice and comfort from other moms, because it makes me feel included and excited about this chapter of my life. Being a part of the motherhood club has been such a privilege for me.

WORST 


1. morning sickness 
I had all-day sickness for the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy. Even though it was pretty mild, it was really hard to continue living my normal life during that time, especially because nobody knew I was pregnant. I haven’t been nauseous since hitting that half-way mark, but I will never forget how crummy it was.

2. body issues
I know I said I feel good most of the time, but seeing my body change has been really, really hard for me. A large part of my identity (and probably everyone’s identity) is the way my body looks, and seeing that change so drastically in such a short amount of time has thrown me for a loop. I started using positive affirmations such as “I am PROUD of the changes my body is experiencing with pregnancy” and I feel like that helped a lot.

3. comments/insults 
I could write an entire book of the weird things people have said to me since being pregnant, but I’m really trying to focus on the positive here. I’ll just say this: If you’re not telling me how skinny and beautiful I look, just shut up. Even comments like “Wow, you look so pregnant!” are hurtful and should be kept to yourself.

4. comparison 
It’s been really hard for me not to feel like my pregnancy is a competition with other women's’ pregnancies. I know I’m not the first person to have a baby, but to me it’s so special and sometimes other people treat it like it’s no big deal! Even when someone else announces that they’re pregnant, I feel bad haha.

5. hormones
My hormones haven’t felt out of whack until recently, but now they’re out of control. I get sad/mad/upset really easily and it’s frustrating to feel like I’m just not myself. My mother-in-law says that hormones are a blessing because they magnify our feelings, but sometimes I wish they would just go away!

6. food 
I have had a really weird relationship with food during pregnancy. I honestly haven’t had a great appetite and I haven’t had any crazy cravings. Most days I just really don’t feel like eating anything other than McDonalds (which is the same thing I like to eat when I’m not pregnant) and it’s exhausting to explain to people why I’m not taking a lunch.

7. pelvic pain 
In case you didn’t know, being in the late stages of pregnancy (28+ weeks) feels like you’ve been hit in the crotch with a wrecking ball. IT HURTS. ALL THE TIME. Nobody told me about this symptom, so I called my doctor and asked if it was normal for my uterus to fall out of my body and she said, “Oh, yes. That feeling will probably get worse as you get farther along.” Great. I don’t want to whine about this forever, but my private area literally hurts no matter what I do. It hurts to sit, it hurts to stand, it hurts to walk, it even hurts when I’m lying down. The ONLY time it doesn’t hurt is when I’m in the bathtub, which is why I take so many baths these days.

8. “how are you feeling?”
This question will be the death of me. Like I mentioned above, my crotch hurts all the time. I really want to be a positive person, but some days I just can’t do it. Sometimes I actually feel insulted when someone asks me that, because the truth is, until I’m not pregnant, I’m not going to feel good, so please stop asking me.

9. heartburn 
I actually *kind of* see heartburn as a positive thing. It’s an old wives tale that heartburn during pregnancy means the baby will have lots of hair, and because I want a baby with lots of hair, I take on the heartburn with pride. But also, sometimes I feel like I’m having a stroke, and that’s no fun.

10. preparation
I know this is vague, but the logistical preparations for having a baby have been really stressful. I’m 6-7 weeks away from delivery and I just feel so overwhelmed by everything I have to do to get ready. My mom is taking me shopping today (which is mostly for fun, but I think it will help me to feel a little more on top of things). The truth is, it doesn’t matter how many blogs you read or how many people you talk to, I think you just never feel prepared for something like this.

Pregnancy has been a miraculous experience and I’m SO GRATEFUL for the opportunity I have to be pregnant, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard. I’m just glad that when this pregnancy is over, I’ll have a beautiful new baby to show for it!

Rebecca
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