Making Time To Journal: Take control of your email

Take Control of Your Email

Getting bogged down with extra e-mails is fast becoming one of the greatest detriments of our society; but it’s not just spam. Your inbox can get full of items that may seem important, but they can sometimes be more fluff than substance.

In the 21st Century, e-mail is becoming more powerful than Soap Operas were in the 70’s and 80’s combined, with people not able to function without logging on and checking in. Getting control of your e-mail habits is an extremely important step to taking back more of your time.

If you were to add up the amount of hours you spend searching your e-mail archives, reading unwanted e-mail, or wasted time just getting lost in your email, how much time would you be spending? By putting a system in place, you prevent worry and anxiety and are more relaxed and at peace. You will also find you have more time in the day and you can use this time to journal!

How Do You Eat An Elephant?

Okay, I know you have heard that statement a thousand times but I couldn’t help myself. Email can feel like an elephant. So what will be our first bite? Probably the quickest and easiest step you can take is to turn off the notification sound and alert that you have a new e-mail message. Did you know that each time you stop focusing on a project to answer a phone call or look at a message, it takes you an average of 15 minutes to regain focus?! Just by simply turning off the notification will gain you an extra 15 minutes!

Here are three more options on taking control of your email:

  1. Set specific times where you check your email and limit the amount of time you spend when responding to email. For example, maybe you will say that you will check your email 3 times a day and each time your check your email, you will spend no more than an hour responding.
  2. Create folders for your emails and move messages in to these folders. Name your folders anything you want, and create as many as you want. They can even be for a short-term subject like, Christmas Party. After the party, you can delete the folder, messages and all, or move the messages or folder into an archive folder.
  3. Create filters for your email. Set certain rules in your email program for automatically organizing e-mail as you receive it.

If you have any other ways you control your email, please share them below.



Journaling: Basic Ingredient to Improving Your Sleep

Dream Journal

Guest Post By: Doug Stewart

Foreword from Angee: If you’re like me, like can get to you and you can wake up in the middle of the night with those panic thoughts and then it takes hours for you to go back to sleep. I’ve been there. Journaling is a great end to your day. Writing before bed can clear your mind, help you solve problems, process your feelings, and mentally regroup and prepare for the next day. Journaling before bed can help get you in a positive frame of mind and wipe your stress away. You can pick up your journal in the a.m. and pick up where you left off writing! Below are some tips for using your journal to keep track of your sleeping patterns.

Whenever you try and improve something (your sleep, for example), a very basic idea is to know where you are, and whether things are getting better. With insomnia, the best way to do this is with a simple journal.

I would encourage you to start keeping a sleep journal – even if it’s only a scrap of paper at your bedside. You can’t expect to remember how you slept a week ago last Tuesday – but if you have a journal you can find out. This is key to figuring out what works and what doesn’t for you as an individual. We’re all different, and different “solutions” will work for different people. Often, it’s a combination of behaviors that will affect our sleep – and you’ll never know what that combination is without keeping track somehow.

With the basic sleep journal, you’ll want to log a few simple variables:

  • Yesterday’s date (night-of).
  • What time you went to bed.
  • Guess the time you fell asleep at (don’t watch a clock!)
  • What time you woke up and got out of bed.
  • How you slept the night – maybe on a scale of 1-10.
  • Any other variable you’d like to track – like number of times awakened, whether you had a hot bath, loud noise from the street, whatever.

Do this for a couple of weeks, and if you notice a pattern of sleep (bad or good) that tells you something. Do more of what’s good, and less of what’s bad. Simple as that. Some “bad things” I’ve tried to reincorporate without success are watching TV within an hour of bed, and caffeine after about 3:30pm. They both caused me restless nights.

The journal is a window into your world at night – something that most of us take for granted – but if you have trouble sleeping, it can be a treasure trove of useful information.

If you’re anything like me – the data you gather by writing things down is a small subset of what you’d like to know. I have about twenty variables that I want to track, and it’s all but impossible to do with a pen and paper. And even if you did, seeing a trend would be very hard.

What I do is log everything in an on-line spreadsheet.

Whether you choose to use a spreadsheet of your own, or default to one provided for you, the data you have access to analyze is incredibly revealing.

One note about journaling – try to make only one change at a time. Give it a week or two, and see if it’s made a difference. If it hasn’t then add another change. The journal will help you discern what and when you changed … and what’s effective and what isn’t.

About the Author…

Up until a few years ago, Doug Stewart was a completely “normal” sleeper. Then he had a minor stroke in 2009, and hasn’t been able to sleep well since.

This started his journey to find out as much as he could about sleep:

  • what helps
  • what doesn’t
  • what works for most people
  • what’s a waste of time
  • how to measure it

In all, he’s learned more about sleep than he ever imagined. He’s also learned that he likes writing … so it seemed natural that he’d write about sleep, and his “insomniac journey” to making it better.

You can read his writings on his blog,

How do I get started journaling?

4 Tips to Start Journaling

A few years ago I did a survey of women regarding journaling. One of the questions on my survey was, “If you do not journal, what prevents you?” The number one reason selected was lack of time at a whopping 85%!

I certainly understand we live in a busy world with constant demands pulling at us. Journaling seems like such a luxury of time. I know some people feel like they have to devote an entire day alone to just journal but that simply isn’t the case. I mean it is great if you can create a mini-retreat for yourself but don’t wait for that type of opportunity to get started.

Below are some quick tips to get you in the habit of journaling. Before I share the tips, the first thing you want to do is find a journal notebook that inspires you or is something so yummy to touch and feel that you will want to pick it up everyday.

And remember, it takes on average 21 days to form a new habit so if you keep practicing, you will make journaling a normal part of your day.

Tips for Getting In the Journaling Habit:

  1. Decide if you want to start your day writing about what is to come or end your day documenting the events that have taken place.
  2. Find what part of the day is the most quite for you and not as stressful. Is it in the morning before the family starts to stir around the house or is it in the evening after the kids have gone to bed?
  3. Once you have gathered the information above, take our your calendar. Schedule in your calendar for the next 21 days at least 15 minutes to journal. It doesn’t have to be any longer than that just at least leave 15 minutes.
  4. Every day at the appointed time, take out your journal and start to write. It doesn’t have to be much and it can be whatever is on your mind. It can even be your to-do list! The idea is to just start to write so you can capture moments and enjoy the extra benefit of beginning to clear your head.

Steller Stories – A new app for telling your story


If you knew how much stuff I come across on the web everyday, it would make your head explode. Since I’m on the computer every single day doing work for clients as well as myself, I come across things and I have no idea how I found them. I just love looking for one thing and then you are off on a tangent following a trail to another thing. This app I’m about to share with you was one of those such moments. I believe it was a post on Instagram from this person that led me to it.

I haven’t been shy at all that I am totally in love with Instagram! It is so much more visually appealing to me than Facebook and the people I’m finding on there are so sincere. Facebook to me is getting to salesy and noisy.  Not to say that I don’t still use it but I just get so distracted by all the sidebars and it annoys me now. Instagram is single column and visual. It is clean and simple and there are no distractions. Okay I’ll get off my Instagram soap box now.  Of course I could never get on board with Twitter because I like to make connections and I just feel like I can’t keep up with the pace on Twitter. One second I see something interesting and then it is gone. It is great for celebrities but for me I just can’t do it.

Since I love Instagram so much, when I discovered Steller Stories, it just pushed me over the edge of happiness. Steller Stories is like Instagram on steroids. It is simple and visual but you get to share a series of images and/or videos bundles in to one as if you were looking at a book.


Of course don’t let the word “book” scare you because it isn’t a 100 page book you have to read it is short images and text that are so beautifully put together. I can see so many uses for this for personal and business. I’m working on creating my first story. It seems pretty easy. Rather than go on and on about it, here is a great simple video to demonstrate.

It is a free app so check it out and if you start to or have been creating your own stories, let me know below so I can follow you.

Am I a fraud?


I debated whether to use that title for this blog as I’m not sure what kind of reaction that might generate. I have a confession to make. I sell journals but I haven’t journaled in quite a while. It makes me feel like a fraud sometimes or I guess a better word would be a hypocrite. I share with you all the benefits and fun journaling can be and yet I’m not doing it myself. Whew! There it is. I’ve laid down the gauntlet now. It isn’t that I don’t want to journal it is more that I’m bored with my journaling. I want something on the page to jump out at me other than just ink on a page. I need a break from just writing down my worries, thoughts, feelings, etc. I want something fun, inspiring and just plain creative. I haven’t been searching for any alternatives but recently I stumbled upon something I had forgotten.

The other day I was on Instagram, my favorite social media platform. I did a search for the hashtag “journaling”. I was blown away by all the amazing images that popped up. It was so inspiring. One in particular that was inspiring was pocketfulofvintage. I then found out she had a YouTube channel and she has these videos called Journal Flips. It is where she flips through her journal and shows you the things she’s collected through the week but she does it in such a beautiful way. It was so inspiring to me. The thing I loved the most about her videos are how she made it so tangible and that I could do it no matter how creative I am. Check out one of her videos below.

Of course I found some other great resources as well. Here are a couple of Facebook groups you can join that have a lot of art journalers:

Art Journal Junkies (**** If you wish to JOIN our group, please private message a friend who is already in the group and ask them to add you. **** You can private message me, Angee Wiser Robertson, and I’ll be happy to add you)


I also wrote a blog post several years ago with some book recommendations if you are interested in art journaling. You can check it out here.

I’ll let you know how it goes with the art journaling. I will try to share some of what I create.

If you art journal, I’d love to know any tips or resources. Be sure to leave a comment below.



5 Tips to Enhance Your Next Vacation


You’ve probably never thought of using your journal while on vacation. One of the benefits of capturing your vacation is it gives you a chance to sort of have a second vacation because you can relive your trip by rereading your journal. Better yet, you can go on vacation at any time just by picking up your journal.

Here are some tips to help you enhance your travel journal during your next vacation:

  1. Plan ahead. Select a journal and pen just for this vacation. When you are selecting a journal, make sure you pick one that will work with your trip. If you are going to be hiking or doing lots of rugged activity, you will need something more compact and durable to take with you.  If you are going to be at the beach, you might want something a little more water proof like a leather or vinyl cover. Also pick a journal that inspires you to write.
  2. Set an intention for your writing frequency. Because you will not be in your normal environment, it is helpful to establish some type of ritual for “when” you will journal. You could start the day with writing a brief plan for the day. Then, throughout the day jot notes about a special meal, write while en route to a mini-destination, or draw a quick sketch of a special person. In the evening you can expand on the details of the day.
  3. Pick a subject or topic. You are going to be experiencing so many things that you might have sensory overload and won’t know where to begin. Choosing a topic will help you to focus on one thing and capture all your thoughts.
  4. Make it visual. Sometimes a picture or drawing is worth a thousand words. Be sure to leave blank spaces in your journal as you write so you can add photographs, menus, postcards, brochures, maps etc. Draw sketches of places you want to remember.
  5. Sum it all up. Be sure at the end of your trip to give yourself time to write down your overall experience of the trip. Record your favorite memories, your biggest challenges and anything else you don’t want to forget.

I hope these tips were helpful. If you have any great tips to share regarding a travel journal, feel free to leave a comment below.

Do you over-apologize?


The other day I was on a team meeting call with one of my clients and I was asked by the team a question and as I was going to my computer to pull up the answer, it was taking a few minutes to pull up the information. I stated, “sorry my computer is taking a minute.” My client sweetly answered that there was no need for me to apologize and then she shared with me this video…

So what did you think? Do you find yourself over-apologizing? I know I certainly did. I think it is a combination of being raised in the south and also the fact that when I apologize I’m coming from a place of acknowledging the person and wanting to make them seen and heard. I want to be courteous of them and their space. It did get me to thinking though. Does that mean I need to shrink and hide when in the presence of others? I certainly don’t hear them apologizing back most of the time. I’m going to try and consciously stop apologizing and see what the outcome will be. Want to join me? Leave a comment below and we’ll check back in to see how it is going.

Journal Conversations – Listen in to the world of journaling


About a month ago on Facebook, I asked the following question, “If I were to interview avid journalers, what questions would you want me to ask? What would help inspire you to either journal or do more journaling?” There were some great responses and I’m excited to announce that we are doing our first interview.

I hope these interviews inspire you to explore the world of journaling if you aren’t already journaling or if you already journal you will find some new tips, techniques or inspirations.

For our first interview, I will be speaking with Kathy Butryn. Kathy participated in a contest I ran a few months ago where she won one of our Sheic Journals. She wrote me the most amazing note thanking me and sharing how she was using her journal, which you can read all about it here. We formed a fast friendship and I learned what an avid journaler she is. I wanted to know more so when it came time to do the interviews, she was the first person I called upon.

The call has taken place but you can sign up for the recording below. Complete the registration form below and you will be sent the link to the recording.


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Learn more about our guest:

kathy-butryn-2As a speaker, trainer, writer and life coach professional, and drawing from her years of experience creating and delivering leadership learning experiences in Canada and the USA for a global corporation, Kathy assesses the needs of ministry leaders and teams, then creates and facilitates customized and practical training experiences in areas such as leadership, soul care, building an intentional life, personal spiritual growth, time management, communication, change management and building a team.

When she isn’t traveling and speaking, you will find Kathy at home where she loves to nest (aka rearrange furniture!) read, write, journal, or share a cup of tea with a friend.

Kathy and her husband Alan live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where together they enjoy their grown kids coming home for their traditional Monday Night Family Night dinner, spending time with their grandkids, and serving together at Bridletowne Park Church where Alan is the Senior Pastor.


The Ultimate Pick of Inspiring Magazines


When I was in junior high school (now called “middle school”), I took a course called career wheel. Each semester we would rotate to a different class and learn about a career or topics regarding career. One of my semesters I spent working in the library. Sounds boring to many but for an awkward, shy girl like myself, it was one of the most memorable moments during that time of my life. It is where I first read the book, Diary of Anne Frank, and discovered that Little House on the Prairie wasn’t just a TV show but was actually a series of books written by the real life Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Okay now that I’ve massively dated myself, I’ll continue. Something else I feel in love with was the periodicals section. I loved looking at all the magazines and especially magazines I had never heard of before. Not only did I get to see all the teen magazines as they came out but I also got to engross myself in the adult magazines. I’ve always had a fascination with the magazine industry and I even toyed with my own magazine at one point.

Now that we’re in the digital age, there are some amazing magazines that have come out. Don’t get me wrong I also love my print magazines. I thought I would share three of my favorites with you. I picked these magazines because they didn’t go down the same beaten path of fashion, food or male problems. These magazines are inspiring and chock full of positive information I can apply to myself and I find that I read each of them cover to cover.  Without further adieu, let me introduce you.

Where Women Create Business

I was at Hobby Lobby one day and came across the sister magazine Where Women Create. I purchased it and devoured it. The magazine was chock full of inspiring stories of other creatives. I couldn’t put it down and was sad to find out that they only publish four issues a year. Jump ahead a few years and they decided to add this sister publication, Where Women Create Business. Of course I pre-ordered the first issue and was in love! I couldn’t believe how much better this magazine was than Where Women Create. It is most likely because it focuses more on business but it still has some great stories of other creatives making their mark. It has great business advice and it comes from a different angle than most. I can’t recommend it enough. It cost more than your average magazine but it is so worth it and it is something you will want to collect because it is so beautifully laid out. I use my past issues as coffee table decor.


This is a digital magazine I stumbled across when I had finished reading Matchbook Magazine and there was a suggested reading list of other magazines. One of the reasons I love this magazine is that it combines motherhood, entrepreneurship and everyday living all in one. Now usually the motherhood topic alone would turn me off not that I have an aversion to it, I’m just not into making everything about babies. This magazine does it tastefully and I find myself reading their articles or looking at the products even though I don’t have children, at least not here with me. I’m still new to this magazine but so far I really love it.

Matchbook Magazine

I’m not sure how I came across this magazine but it is one of my all time favorites. I look forward to it each month and am so sad when I finish the last page but this one is published monthly so I don’t have to wait too long. They do an amazing job of featuring stories of other creatives and they cover some great finds and trends. I also had the pleasure of hearing one of the co-founders, Katie Armour, speak at The Southern C Summit this year. She is so much fun and just a spit fire. This magazine is free so you have nothing to lose picking up your copy.

How I changed my marriage with this one simple action I put in to place that also saves me time & money

Weekly Meal Planning

A few weeks ago my family and I decided to do a meal plan. I don’t know about you but the “what’s for dinner” question has stirred many arguments in my marriage more than money or s.e.x. Actually we don’t ever fight about those common topics but dinner has caused some heated discussions over the years. We decided it was time to do something about this.

We looked at a couple of different meal plans to use and we finally settled on The Fresh 20. We choose this plan because it takes 20 ingredients and provides 5 meals for the week. The best part is all the ingredients are fresh so we are shopping only the outer isles of the grocery store, which means less processed foods in the house! It was just a win/win for us. Another thing I like is that you will cook one meal and you save certain portions of the meal you prepared to use in another recipe later in the week. Such a great thing.

We have found ourselves falling off the plan and of course getting back in to arguments. My hubby has been doing all the cooking for several years now so I think it is hard for him to let go of control. We did this same thing when we did the Dave Ramsey debt snowball. I was diligent in following ever step Dave laid out but my hubby would go off the plan and I would have to reel him back in. Again, he does all the managing of our money so giving up some control is hard.

We’ve made a total of 6 meals so far and out of all those meals only one has been a flop. Each time I make a meal, we note what we like and what needs to be tweaked and then I write it down on the recipe for the next time we make it. I will also say, I am a very picky eater. For me it is all about texture and of course taste. For example, in the past my husband has tried to get me to eat brown rice. I hated it mainly for the texture. With the Fresh20 meal plan, they use a lot of brown rice, which didn’t thrill me but I kept an open mind. Because of the way they have you prepare it and what we are serving it with, I actually like it! I have eaten things I never thought I would eat and I actually have an open palate now.

One of the other benefits of doing a meal plan is it saves you time and money. It saves you time because you are only going to the grocery store once a week. My hubby did all the grocery shopping in our family and he would go to the store 2 to 3 times a week. He would come home with food but never planned meals so we had all these meats but no direction on how we were going to cook them. Thus the cycle of arguments began because I couldn’t understand why he just went to the grocery store but we have nothing to eat for dinner. We also save money because now we are buying ingredients for meals rather than just buying food because it is on sale or to stock the freezer.

Overall, this has been a great move for our family especially our marriage and believe me I’m not exaggerating there! If you follow me on Instagram, you can see photos of meals I prepared. I’d also love to hear from you if you do meal planning in your home and if so, how is it working for you? Be sure to leave a comment below.