RAK Update

I’d like to talk a bit about my RAK program, the history, and what the future holds for those that continue to be a part of it.

A year ago, in August, the first Erin Condren Fan Club group started on Facebook.  This group is now secret, and many people don’t even know it exists.  While I was building that group, a desire of doing RAKs was born, and a loose network of ladies provided their addresses in a file, and randomly would send to one another.  Because MANY wanted to participate, but didn’t want to just post their address out in the open, I jumped in and said I’d organize a RAK list and give addresses when people requested them.  Thus was born “Make Your Mailbox Smile”, the first RAK group associated with the Erin Condren groups on Facebook.  This was so popular and kept me so busy that by December, I told everyone I needed a break, and we didn’t do RAKs in December 2013.  It was interesting to see that people were actually distraught and almost had withdrawals from not being able to send RAKs!

While I took my “break”, I designed my current RAK program and Facebook group, RAK 2014 “Wake Up Your Mailbox”.  It launched on January 1, 2014 (actually a couple of days before that), and grew to over 1300 people in the past 7 months.  It has been wildly active and many, many have sent and received RAKs with this program.  I’ve actually had several ask to have their name removed from my address list simply because they had too many RAKs and while they wanted to still send, they simply had enough fun little stickers, etc., and they didn’t need to receive any more.

During this time, other RAK groups have emerged, and there is now an endless supply of groups and RAK programs that people can join and be a part of.  Also during this time, I noticed that the same handful of people were the ones that continued to request names, and kept the list active.  This was fine when there were only a couple hundred people on the list.  But as the list grew, we began to go through it much more slowly, and those same people were doing most of the sending.  I began to be dissatisfied with my system and wanted to find a way that would reward those that were actually making the effort to send RAKs.

And so I began to make groups with those that requested names.  By doing it this way, those that were sending, were also the ones receiving, and this eliminated anyone that was simply on the receiving end and never sent anything out.  I received criticism as this wasn’t really following the basic concept of a Random Act of Kindness, but I had seen too many taking advantage of the kindness of others and joining simply to receive and never to give.  I didn’t feel that was right.

As we are moving through 2014, and I have revamped the way I handle my address list, I felt it was time to make a fresh start, and open a group that was not stamped with a date in the title.  So I have opened RAK Swap “Wake Up Your Mailbox”, a group that will replace RAK 2014 “Wake Up Your Mailbox”, and will launch on September 1, 2014.  I will be taking another break this August, partly because I”ll be gone on vacation and it’s always too difficult to maintain the RAK requests when I’m away from my computer, and so I can have time to update the guidelines and have a fresh start in September.

For now, we are still using the RAK 2014 group for posting RAK thank you photos.  For now, people are still joining RAK 2014 “Wake Up Your Mailbox”.  But the new guidelines, and the group that will become my official group will be RAK Swap “Wake Up Your Mailbox” starting in September.

If you are not in the new group, and you’d like to continue to be in my RAK program, please be sure to click on the link above to join it.  There are a few changes in how the addresses are handled, so be sure to read the pinned post to get all the details.

If you have any questions, please send them to myerincondren@gmail.com.  I”ll do my best to answer in a timely manner.

Thank you to everyone that has participated in my RAK mailbox program.  It has surpassed my wildest expectations, and I am honored to know it has brought joy into so many lives!

Krissyanne Designs

Let me take a minute to plug an Etsy seller that I highly recommend! Krissyanne Designs on Etsy has a ton of fun, customizable stickers for your Erin Condren Life Planner or Teacher Planner, as well as other items for sale in her Etsy shop.

I want to share my recent order with all of you because I’m super excited about it.

A few months ago I purchased a “used” notebook, which was basically new, but it has the 2014 calendar pages in it. When I learned that Krissyanne Designs does calendar dots, I asked if she could do a custom order for me. I wanted to turn my 2014 calendar into a 2015 calendar but I wanted to stay with the simple colors in the Keep It Simple notebook.


I asked for the numbers to be printed on white and when she asked me what color, I asked her to do it the same light gray as the current numbers on the calendar. I think it turned out perfectly!


You can barely even tell the little circles are there!


And, for the extra dots, I asked for tiny paw prints. How perfect is this? My order absolutely met my expectations and it was quick and packaged in a very professional manner.

I also ordered her standard dots for my teacher planner, and they are wonderful too!


I will definitely use this Etsy shop again and if anyone is looking for custom items for their planners, be sure to go take a look!


Weather Stickers

One of my favorite things in my planner are these weather stickers by Trend. I bought mine on Amazon, and they are generally considered a teacher supply item.


I place one each day just to the right of the date on my weekly spread.


It’s summertime so it’s been nice and sunny for several weeks!


Right now I’m using a lot of Sunshine stickers, but soon our weather will provide opportunities to use the raindrop, clouds, and snowflakes. I only use the rainbows if I see a rainbow, so I’m trying to think of other reasons to use it, since it’s such a cute sticker.


This is my weather “key”, which is back in the notes section of my planner.


I can’t wait to have an entire yearly record of the weather. It’s just a fun little extra tidbit I’ve added to my planner this year.

Decorated Note Pages

Suzanne Marie Scott from the My Erin Condren 2 group asked me how I used my pre-decorated note pages in my Life Planner.

They end up being overflow, as I don’t pre-designate them for anything specific like I do my lined note pages.

So far this year, I have used one page for blog ideas.


I’m somewhat non-committal as I have the ideas jotted down on sticky notes and not just straight onto the page!

But last year, my decorated note pages were definitely used. Here is what they contained!


Some fun ideas that I didn’t want to lose.


Detailed info about the Apple Pie fund-raiser that I was in charge of. This coming year, it will be easy peasy to pull this off because now I know exactly how much we need for the number of pies we want to make.


Blank page.


More blank pages!


List of people we sent graduation invites to. Now when my daughter graduates, I can quickly refer to this list and edit as necessary!


The birth of the RAK exchange.


The birth of the Washi Exchange.


And finally, some general info about RAKs either sent and/or received.

I guess I kept those decorated note pages pretty busy. Some of the info is worth keeping, some could be trash, but it’s all a record of my life, and I like that the Life Planner is not just a planner, but a record of life!

My Box Checker Guide

Are you a compulsive box checker?

I AM!!

There is nothing more satisfying than being able to put a little check mark in the box, indicating the completion of a task or goal. It always makes me feel “successful”!!

My Box Check Guide:

CHECK MARK = Chore/Goal completed
“X” = Task deleted, no longer important
DOT = In progress, delegated
ARROW = Move forward to another day

This is how I manage the items on my list.  These symbols have become habit for me due to using a Franklin Covey planner for years! Every day, something must go in the box!!

Here are my lists from this week. The colors are not significant till the last photo. As my system becomes more and more refined, little changes take place along the way. I finally realized that chores should be written with purple. FLYLADY…duh (Flylady is a popular cleaning system and Flylady’s favorite color is purple)!! So on Sunday, my chores are all in purple and one in blue (because I want my son to do that one and his color is blue).

So here is how my week progressed…


According to my “Key” above, several items were completed, laundry was in process, and 3 items were moved forward to another day.  When something is moved forward to another day, it doesn’t always have to be the very next day.  Something might be designated for a week later, or a few days later.  It doesn’t matter exactly when it is rescheduled for, just that it does get rescheduled.



This is the next day.  Laundry, drawers, and bedding did not get done at all, and since July 4th was the next day and the weekend was next, they were just deleted off my list for now.  I started working on RAK/Washi Swap addresses, but didn’t finish, but I know that I did get started by my little “dot” in the box.  Two items, nursery and watering were actually completed on this day.



This is the morning of July 4th.  I had a bunch of stuff to do to get ready for friends coming over in the evening.  I did great with my list and only had to reschedule cleaning out my fridge, something I moved to Sunday morning, and as of this moment (3:10pm on Sunday afternoon when I’m writing this), I have not done it yet!



And this is today.  I’ve done a few things, but there are a bunch more on my list to do!  The dots indicate chores that have been delegated to my son.  I have a few items on my list that have been completed (watering, planting, and food for hubby).  On this day, the list is also color coded, with dark purple being chores in general, and dark blue, a chore for my son because dark blue is his color!

Before the day is over, every box will have something in it.  By dealing with every single box, you can be certain nothing slips through the cracks.  I’m afraid “clean fridge” will have another little arrow as I really don’t want to do that chore, but by writing it down, and ultimately dealing with every box, even if something keeps getting moved forward due to procrastination, or even deleted just because I don’t want to do it, there is accountability by making a record of it.  When something finally does get a check mark, it is a little celebration, especially if that item has a history of arrows day after day!

Drawing little boxes in front of my chores/tasks/goals makes my heart sing.  I don’t know why, it just does.  I think it’s because it makes me feel organized, in control, and accomplished each time something is in the box…

…so I guess I better go clean out that fridge…!!! 🙂

My Perpetual Calendar

In last year’s planner I tried repurposing the perpetual calendar in several ways. First, it was for all things money. I found it to be too narrow to record every single transaction.

Then I used it for a Gratitude Journal. That worked well, but I still wasn’t settled, so I tried using it for an exercise log. That was a miserable failure.

I then decided I would use it for a Bible reading log. That was another miserable failure. At that point, I decided to come full circle and use it for money again, but not so much cash flow, but a calendar for bills that were due.

That worked!

I am using the perpetual calendar in my new planner for the same thing.


I’ve written down all the known bills on the days they are due (July is reflecting some credit card bills that we are finally paying off, so such high payments are actually not normal). Then as the month progresses, I add new bills or spending so I can really see where the money is going. I’m just getting started for July, so it’s rather empty now. But as the month unfolds, the lines will fill up and I will have a nice record of where our money went as well as a guideline for when the bills are due.

I used my new coil clips to attach the perpetual calendar to the front of my planner (thank you Amanda Schick for the idea)!!


This is the perfect place for it as it blends right in with the cover page and it’s barely even noticeable!

I’m really happy that the perpetual calendar is separate and I have the option to own more than one each year. I have one for our business cash flow and another for birthdays, etc.

I read that one lady will use hers for appointments to stash in her purse since she doesn’t carry her planner around with her everywhere. I loved that idea as well!

Tell me how you plan to use your perpetual calendar! Leave a comment and I’ll enter you into a drawing for 2 free coil clips, so you can attach yours inside your planner as well!!

(Giveaway ends Tuesday, July 8th at 6pm)