Powersheets: A Bit of a Review

There are so many goal-setting systems out there, and so many would-be self-help gurus happy to help you figure out your priorities and turn them into actionable goals. Some of those gurus and systems are worth your time, some are just retreads of the same old thing. A person who has felt adrift for most of their life might be easily roped in to a lot of these systems, hoping the next one will be “the one” that helps them get their shit together.

And by “a person,” I mean me.

I’d heard a lot about the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets, the pricey but extensive goal-setting system that’s sort of planner-y but can be easily combined with your existing systems and practices. I wasn’t willing to invest in a yearlong book but they had an undated six-month version, and that seemed more reasonable, particularly with a coupon code.

The six-month undated Powersheets is currently available for $28; the yearly version is sold out.

First off I should say, Powersheets are not a mere retread. A lot of the ideas are familiar, but they take an approach that isn’t overly woo-woo but also leaves room for whatever woo you do. (Note: The website offers a lot of Christian-focused additions to the system, but those are not part of the Powersheets unless you add them; the workbook itself is happily adaptable to your life outlook or path.)

The first part of the book is dedicated entirely to exploring what you want out of life, what fears are holding you back, and what’s most important for you to work on right now. It’s an in-depth workbook, and takes a while to go through. That part alone was pretty useful, as it helped me figure out what areas of my life I wanted to devote my attention to this year. It also helps you see areas where you’re actually doing all right and aren’t nearly as messed up as you thought. It’s easy to see your entire life as a shit-show and not recognize that there are parts that are, in fact, going okay.

After you’ve decided on your big goals (you can have up to I think ten), you head into the monthly sections, and break those goals down into monthly action items, weekly action items, and daily habits to help get you where you want to go. Each month you start by reviewing the last month, looking at what went right and what you’re going to cut yourself some slack for. Then you move on into the next month.

I added Tarot card draws and some other flavor of my own to help me get more clarity as I worked through the book.

Obviously a lot of people love this system and use it not just once but every year. The creator and company are clearly making a killing with it, so much so that they’ve got a conference they’re advertising where you spend a couple grand and get to go set goals with the creator herself. There are lots of accessories (stickers! washi! They know who their audience is for sure!) and supplemental materials.

I actually used the entire six month book, which is kind of rare for me. And I do really like the system. I like that it’s encouraging but realistic, and doesn’t try to be a “plan slayer” or “goal digger” or whatever the ladies-who-Instagram term is these days. I also like how it emphasizes breaking everything down, first into one-time things you can do that month (sign up for a writing course, let’s say), then every week (make a date to write with a friend every Thursday), then every day (write 500 words). The format definitely helps you consider things from a fresh perspective.

Was it actually helpful for me? Eh, not really, if I’m honest. Most months I didn’t accomplish 80% of what I had set out. I rarely stuck to my habits. And I don’t feel like I’ve made significant progress on most of my goals.

Color coding like a BOSS. Hahahaha.

However, I’ve also had a shit-tastic year. A move in May threw everything for April and May into absolute chaos. My depression has been sucking the life out of everything since then. June was utterly pointless–I didn’t even use my planner for most of it. My bullet journal trackers for June are totally blank. So I can’t really blame the Powersheets for my not getting much out of them!

Do I recommend Powersheets? If you have sixty dollars to spend and love workbooks, sure (the undated six-month is about half the price of the yearlong). It’s great to say “it’s an investment in your future,” but having that much to invest is a bit trickier for many people than the internet wants us to think. Am I going to buy it again? Not likely. I feel like now I can take what I’ve learned and adapt it to my own life without a new workbook. I doubt that’s the creator’s intention but I already have an expensive planner habit, especially now that I’m back in an Erin Condren Life Planner. (And a bullet journal. Lord, don’t get me started. I’ll talk more about that later.)

Note: This post was not sponsored by Cultivate What Matters; I bought the workbook myself.

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Check it Out, a Planner Friday! Favorite Themes of 2017

A bit late, true, but it took a bit of time to get all of the pics I’d taken of my planner last year and somewhat-organize them.  

I made SO MANY STICKERS last year!  I absolutely loved some of my themes – especially, it seems, the color-palette ones, which account for a large percentage of my favorites.  By the end of the year, however, I’d gotten pretty burnt out on sticker-making; I had been doing it almost every week for two years, after all.  I decided 2018 was time to try something different, which I’ll talk about in a later post; but it’s entirely likely I’ll end up back to my old habits in a few months, as those lovely colorful spreads are tough to beat.

It’s really interesting to me, going back through all my spreads for the year, seeing the evolution of what I tried, what worked, what didn’t, and what came back.  I tried out meal planning for a couple of months and various forms of mood tracking, but eventually what stayed was a sidebar tracker for daily habits and the “this week” sticker above it for items that needed doing but weren’t dependent on a particular day.  Also in September my work week shifted from the typical M-F to Sunday-Thurs, so I had to adjust how I looked at the week.

At any rate, here are my ten favorite weekly spreads of 2017, in chronological order, I think.   I’m putting a “read more” here in case all the images clog up your reader or browser.

Read more

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Planner Catchup Post (yet again) – July

Every time I think I’ve got a handle on this year’s mad pace, I turn around and it’s the end of the month!  You’d think that, spending as much time as I do playing with an actual paper calendar that has the date all over it, I’d have a better grasp on where I’m at in the year.  Apparently not.


Meanwhile, please enjoy my planner themes for the bulk of July.

July 10-16 – The Princess and the Frog

I felt the need to celebrate one of my favorite Disney animated films, and in my mind one that’s criminally underrated given the somewhat baffling obsession a lot of people have with Frozen.  (I loved Frozen too, but not nearly as much as, say, Tangled, or Moana.)  In addition to being the first African-American Disney Princess (a dubious honor but one long overdue) Tiana was the only one I can think of with an actual job and a work ethic.  

The font is Stalemate (available free), and all the images were found on Pinterest and Google.

July 17-23  –  Blue Blue Butterfly

Feeling a bit of Theme Fatigue, I used a single “sheet” of digital paper and chopped it up into the shapes I needed.  

The paper came from Paula Kim Studios on Etsy, specifically the lovely and happy-feeling “woodland floral” pack.  

The font for this one is Fieldfare by MediaLab.co, downloaded from Creative Market.

July 24-30 – Darling Elephant

For once, I decided to start with a premade kit – gasp!  I happened on this one on Etsy and thought it was absolutely, well, darling.  

It was an Erin Condren vertical planner design, but little known fact:  to print an ECLP vertical kit that will fit a Plum Paper easily, all you have to do is print it out at 96.667% size.  I did things the hard way – I took the individual stickers I wanted to use and sized them down to 1.45″ and made a sheet on my Silhouette Cameo design software, which is how I usually do things.  I made the banners myself, though the kit comes with its own – nobody ever has the exact headers I use, and it takes a couple of minutes each to make my own using the same colors.  

La Vie Prints has quite a few really adorable kits, so check them out if you need new ink in your planner!

I used two fonts this week, one for the daily headers (Conchoid) and another for the Weekend, Dailies, and This Week stickers (Waterlily).  

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Planner Friday – Write On

(Yeah, I know, bad pun, sorry)

This week is a funny story, and it illustrates the fact that no, my planners aren’t always pretty or cool, and the process of making them that way can be face-clawingly frustrating.

I had a theme all made up for this week – I mean, it was done.  I had printed it, cut it out, and was laying it out over the empty pages to see how it looked as a whole.

Turns out I HATED it.  Hated it, as I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee!  The colors hadn’t printed true, the designs were just boring, I didn’t like the font…it was just shit from bottom to top.  

(I was using a digital paper pack, like I did on the Peacock Watercolor theme, but I’m not going to tell you where I got it, because the paper is quite pretty and I may try again with it later, with considerable color adjustments.)

I had put time and effort into it, though, and I had an actual internal argument over whether I could just chuck all that work.

But you know what? To use a mantra I’ve adopted for myself of late, I’m a grown ass lady and I do what I want!  I threw that mess away and started over.

Turns out it was a great decision – I happened to see a quote about writing on Pinterest, and it gave me an idea.  Next thing I knew I’d made a theme about writing that I absolutely love, and I’ve enjoyed looking at it all week.  I’m so glad I went with my gut and didn’t force myself to stare at something I hated for seven days!  

I especially like the combination of the parchment-paper background and the blue-grey accents – I just nabbed a color from one of the photographs and used it for headers, and I love the way it looks with the “paper.”  The whole thing just makes me feel good when I look at it, and really, who could ask for more from a planner?

The font for this week’s theme is Special Elite.

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Planner Roundup – May Through Mid-June

May 1-7 – Just Say Om Theme

For more info on this week’s theme check out the original post – it has links to the artwork, the font, and more about why I created the theme.

Random note:  I usually get pics of my planner on Mondays, at work, where the lighting is terrible but before I’ve had a chance to scribble all over the week.  Some of these were taken later in the week after I’d already started actual planning and listing and so forth.  I’m kind of tired of having such shitty pics for you, though, so I’m going to try and start getting better shots in better light.  

May 8-14 – Deer Theme

Original post.

May 15-21 –  Waterhouse Theme

Original post.

May 22-28 – Peacock Watercolor Theme

Original post.

And now we move into June, which I haven’t already posted, so a bit more detail about those.

May 29-June 4 – Fluorite Color Scheme

There wasn’t really much to this one – I just wanted to do a week with my favorite color scheme, the colors of rainbow fluorite.  I also managed to forget to write down the font name, so, I have no idea what to point you toward if you like it.  Sorry!

June 5 – June 11 –  Sunflowers Theme 

If you know me at all you probably know I hate summer.  Loathe it.  I’m sure people who live in areas where the sun doesn’t try to murder them half the year think I’m a madwoman, but after years of prescription-induced photosensitivity, I’ve gotten to where being out in the heat and especially direct glaring sunlight like we have here literally makes me sick.  

Summer in Texas is endless, brutal, and awful.  And since I don’t like the beach, don’t like swimming or water-related funtimes, and am too vegan to really enjoy 90% of barbecues, most summertime activities are kind of wasted on me.  I want Autumn, Winter, and even Spring – Texas does boast a lovely, if brief, Spring.  But I hate every minute between Memorial Day and pretty much Mabon – it doesn’t even really start cooling off until the end of September if we’re lucky and sometimes not even till Halloween.  So you probably won’t see lots of brightly colored beach-themed and camping-related themes from me from now until Fall – if anything the opposite as I try to distract myself from the season.

However, there are a couple of things that early summer in particular offers around here that I do like:  Sunflowers and storms.  Oh, summer storms!  Violent and wild and electric!  I adore them.  And even though yellow isn’t remotely my color, something about the brazen happiness of sunflowers always makes me smile.  There are stalwart stands of them all along my commute, and they cheer me up amid the relentless heat.  Thus, I wanted to capture them in my planner to remind me that not everything about Summer is awful…although ask me again in late July and I’ll probably say even sunflowers can jolly well fuck off.

Font:  Serenity  (free download)

June 12 – 18 – Wonder Woman Theme

Shockingly (not), I loved Wonder Woman, and I absolutely had to do a theme for the movie.  I had to be sure and include Robin Wright’s magnificent Antiope – can we have her in all action movies from now on?  

Font:  Lilith (all caps)  (free download)

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