March 3, 2021

Where do you even start when you’ve found yourself in a ‘survival mode’ season?

You start right where you are.​

  • You embrace the realities of your context.
  • You set (and KEEP!) a daily strategy and reflection meeting with yourself.
  • You purge unrealistic expectations.
  • You get serious about facing the deeper problems.
  • You carve out time for adequate sleep and rest (you can’t solve problems or show up well for your relationships if you don’t get enough sleep!)
  • You develop rhythms for your basic responsibilities.
  • You clear focus time for the important things that keep being pushed to the back burner.
  • You adopt a growth mindset.

This is the exact path Shelby has taken over and over again to get herself out of survival mode and into a thriving, sustainable lifestyle. ​

If you’ve found yourself in survival mode (again!), don’t lose heart. Big transitions, recalled grief, health challenges, or even just riding the roller coaster of a global pandemic can knock even the most proactive of us into survival mode.

The good news is that you don’t have to stay there any longer than you want to.

You can start making space to thrive, today. It starts by getting still, getting real, getting focused, and getting the essentials organized.


Our subscription box is currently open to new subscribers! We ship our sub boxes four times a year and they contain 3 Monthly booklets along with curated planning accessories. The Monthly is the muscle of our planning system. It’s a five-week undated day planner featuring week spreads, habit trackers, timeblocked day pages, and plenty of bullet grid flex space to make the planner completely yours.

In seasons of thriving, reviving and surviving, this is the tool that has helped us live each day for the things that matter most to us. We can’t wait to see what you do with the right tools in hand!

February 10, 2021

How to Get Back on Track with Quarterly Goals

No matter how skilled we may be at developing solid rhythms, we all know what it’s like for life to get a little bit “off track.”

Whatever has thrown us off, we could all benefit from one key tip: set three focus goals for the rest of the quarter.

How exactly do quarterly goals help to get us back on track?

Imagine writing down your three main goals first thing in the morning, and then connecting with your motivating “why” for each one. You’ve just set up an accountability mechanism for yourself. You’ll start to become acutely aware of when you’re spending your time on non-essential things.

Then you’ll have a choice. Will you waste your discretionary time on every little distraction that comes your way? Or will you invest your time? In those quiet moments while the kids are still eating lunch, you could be making imperfect progress towards the completion of your essential focus goals. In that afternoon slump, you could be resting and recharging for your goals through meditation, prayer, journaling, playing, or exercise.

Studies show that we’re on average spending 8+ years of our lives just watching TV, and 6+ years of our lives on social media. But you don’t have to let 6-14 of the most productive, amazing years of your life slip away while you’re binging screens.

That’s a pretty motivating thought, isn’t it?

Here are three things to keep in mind when it comes to setting quarterly goals:

  • Make your 3 focus goals realistic. What are three things you can realistically do in the rest of this quarter? What do we mean by realistically? Well, if you had the goal to start your 5am habit when you’re just 6 weeks postpartum, you probably should reconsider and bench that during a season that needs rest. Chart out goals that are contextualized for the season you are in.
  • Make your 3 focus goals exciting. What things will REALLY move the needle forward in your life? What goals will really feel like they were worth the effort to craft an intentional lifestyle around making them happen? They don’t have to be exciting to anyone else but you. For instance, two of Shelby’s seasonal goals have to do with major home organization projects. Someone else might feel their eyes cross in boredom at the very thought of that. But Shelby has visualized what her life would be like if she mastered those areas of home organization. Her “why” for getting her digital and physical information organized is to replace the hours of time and frustration she spends every week hunting for files with writing peacefully with a cup of coffee in hand. Her “why” for getting her healthy kitchen streamlined is to cultivate an atmosphere of feasting and plenty at the family table.
  • Make your 3 focus goals easy to remember. The aim here is that these three overarching goals for the rest of your quarter will pop into your mind the moment you sit down to waste time on the mindless scroll. So you’ve got to make them super memorable. If your goal is to save $336.67 for a trip to the beach, round that puppy up to $340. Then when the thought, “save $340 by the end of the quarter” pops into your mind, you can take a few minutes to do some budgeting instead of spacing out and scrolling Facebook. If you have a benchmark for your business, make it really concrete so you know how you’re doing (i.e. instead of, “replace 3 days worth of income per week,”—bc, honestly, who can do financial math like that on the fly?!—say, “enroll 20 new students”). Then when you pull up Instagram, you can spend the next 20 minutes engaging with your ideal customer instead of stalking the cousin of that friend from high school.

​Writing down your quarterly goals with bite-sized action steps below them on a weekly basis is a game-changer. (The flex space on our week spread is an amazing place to do this.) And our day spread has a research-based section for writing down your seasonal goals every single morning, and then connecting them to your “why.”

World Class leaders and influencers constantly trace their abilities to successfully execute high-level intentions to their daily ritual of revisiting their goals. This is pro-level stuff, guys.​

A key to change is knowing what you want to do with those 6-14 amazing years you have hiding in the nooks and crannies of your day.

Envision your potential. Keep top of mind three quarterly goals that align with your core calling. Adopt a progress-over-perfection mindset about it all.

…then pull out that planner and make space to thrive.


Are you on Instagram? Don’t miss our lovely Galentines Giveaway happening this weekend on Instagram! We will be giving away the full Evergreen Planner system to one lucky winner! That includes one of our genuine leather Covers and a Getting Started Kit. You won’t want to miss this!

January 6, 2021

How R.O.O.T.E.D. Goals Can Help You Thrive in 2021

I (Shelby) recently asked a very creative, capable, hard-working woman how traditional goal-setting methods had failed her in the past.

She answered and said that traditional goal setting methods failed to help her make a bridge between the accomplishment of her most important goals and the life she was actually living in the present.

I could completely relate to those feelings.

Last week we told the story of how I plowed through stacks of time-management books, articles, and podcasts a few years ago when I found myself absolutely overwhelmed with the demands of working full-time hours from home, first-time motherhood, and chronic illness.

I learned so much from the top gurus in the time-management, goal-setting and personal growth habits space. But one thing I started to notice was that many of the tips and strategies assumed something that I couldn’t relate to—they assumed that I’d be able get away to a kid-free office for eight hours per day and take twenty minutes before or after work to think, strategize, and walk through my goal-setting rituals. I began to realize something important. If I had any hope of truly taking action on anything I was learning, I would have to transpose all of these amazing CEO strategies into my real life context—toddler-crowded, macaroni-stained, cartoon-clanging kitchen “office” and all.

I also learned something extremely important after doing one particularly invigorating goal-setting exercise that fell flat in about three weeks. As good as I was at dreaming big and reverse-engineering my goals from A-to-Z, I couldn’t set arbitrary goals and hope to have the stamina to meet them. Unless I found a way to integrate my long-term goals with my family’s daily good, my goals were shot. I just couldn’t stand to poke my head up from my goal-executing-scramble and see my little family starving for my time and attention.

The verdict was in. If it was going to be a contest between my paper goals, and my real, living, breathing heart goals (which were represented by my closest relationships, the atmosphere in my home, and the unexpected needs of others in my local community)—the paper goals were going to lose every time.

But I knew that I was called to more than just reacting and responding to the urgent expectations, requests, and whims of the people in my life. I was called to be proactive, to initiate, to solve big problems, and to make space for the important things. I could envision ways to cultivate abundance in the gaps of life where no one else could. I was put here for a purpose, and I wanted to keep growing into that God-given potential.

I knew that goal-setting could help me level-up from the realm of wishful thinking and begin to make the changes (big and small) that would empower me and my family to truly thrive. But I also knew from experience that S.M.A.R.T. goals weren’t going to cut it.

The deepest currents of our lives that needed my proactive and steady nurture in order to be routed into something that gave us life (instead of drowning us in the overwhelm of it all) propelled me far past the bare mechanics of goal execution. I needed to cut back the layers of excuses and get to the heart of my “why” for living intentionally and setting significant goals for personal and familial progress. The bridge I built between my future goals and my current life context needed to be suspended by the things that were actually essential to a life well-lived.

This deep dive into my core values resulted in the development of a completely new approach to goal-setting. Instead of inadvertently introducing a contest between my goals and the “obstacles” of my life, I crafted the lifestyle that I and my family craved THROUGH the goals I set and accomplished. In turn, our new lifestyle made so much space for personal growth and productivity that it’s actually begun to fuel some of the most challenging and life-giving goals that I’ve ever dared to imagine. 

​And here’s the key: Sustainable, Game-Changing, Life-Giving Goals are…​

December 30, 2020

The Heart Behind #makespacetothrive & How It Can Change Your Life

If you’ve been following us on Instagram long, you are familiar with our favorite hashtag: #makespacetothrive. In a world full of hashtags, this may seem like nothing more than a snippet of motivation, a pithy phrase, or something fun to add on on top of photos. But for us, #makespacetothrive is a reminder of a key practice that moves us from overwhelm, to intentional living.

The story behind the hashtag…

Back in 2016, Shelby was living in a non-stop, head-down, shoulder-to-the-grindstone hustle. She and her husband supported their tiny family with a home business and were always behind on deadlines. Every moment taken to just sit down and breathe—even just to eat dinner together without multitasking work—invited a crushing air of guilt into the atmosphere.

But there seemed no way to simply hustle more. After brain-dumping a giant todo list that took up seven sheets of paper, Shelby realized she was going to have to upgrade her productivity strategy, or she and her husband would never get ahead of the train.

In her typical style, Shelby turned to Google to help her figure it out. Her husband gave her a couple of books he thought were relevant. They scheduled a meeting with a business mentor. Something, anything had to give. But every tip and tool she found seemed to yield a mere 1% improvement to their current situation. It just wasn’t enough to move the needle.

But then she found it. The missing piece. While there are no magic bullets in life, Shelby will tell you this is the closest thing she’s ever found to one. This is the element that has proved over and over again to be THE #1 strategy to consistent achievement and success that so many people completely miss.

And what was this missing ingredient? MARGIN. 

SPACE to thrive.

Margin is planned white-space for your day, your week, your home, your brain—space to breathe in #allthethings.

How creating margin can change your life…

Planning in margin (i.e. “making space to thrive”) shows up as a lot of things in our lives:

  • daily space to sit down, breathe deep, drink a hot cup of coffee, and have a strategy meeting with ourselves using the prompts in our planner
  • leaving for an appointment (or church or event or party) 15 minutes earlier than needed so that when we hit traffic or forget something or have a driveway adventure with a toddler, we’re not freaking out
  • taking time to re-write your goals in your best handwriting, allowing you to fully emotionally process them and then display them so they stay top-of-mind
  • asking: “what can I say ‘no’ to, cull, or renegotiate about this week to make it easier and calmer?”
  • getting up before the children (whether in the morning, or before naptime is over) and doing essential things so they don’t get missed
  • taking time to exercise instead of putting off health goals until your workload lightens or the kids hit a magical age
  • keeping our homes clean, decluttered, and well-managed so that spontaneity feels fun instead of chaotic
  • saying “no” to a stretch goal in the business so we can make a nicer dinner than usual for our family just because we want to
  • turning off all of the notifications on our phones (except for calls from our husbands and mama, of course) and limiting social media so that new information isn’t constantly taking a toll on our emotions
  • using our time-blocker to add 15 minutes of padding to the transitions in the day (meals, commutes, meetings, etc.), so we don’t have to feel like insane people to get anything done on time

Margin transforms your schedule from a never-ending endurance race to a strategic agenda filled with life-giving rest periods. Margin helps you focus on what’s essential, and then protects your intention, so that you can truly show up in the things that matter most. Margin allows you time to process stuff instead of letting it build up and eat away at your mental bandwidth. With a lightened schedule, opportunities to be flexible, and a decluttered mind, margin exponentially reduces your stress—which in turn empowers you to be more creative, make more thoughtful decisions, and tackle complex problems with confidence and energy.

Figuring out how to build life-giving margin into her life changed everything for Shelby. She started to set deadlines that were actually reasonable—and then hit them. She started to be on time more often than not. She began thinking clearly enough to show up in relationships, make her home a place of serenity, and actually produce work she thought was good. It helped her to find the space in her life to start this dream business with McCauley. She figured out which things were actually going to be worth all the effort in the long-run, prioritization and boundaries became intuitive, and she discovered what it was like to breathe.

So now you know the story of why our motto is “make space to thrive”. It’s so much more than a hashtag to us. It’s become our mantra for crafting life-giving lifestyles.

Are you ready to make space to thrive in your life? We created our Planner System to fuel this exact purpose.

To celebrate the New Year, we are offering 40% off our genuine leather Covers to any new quarterly subscriber who also purchase the Annual. Simply add the Annual, Monthlies subscription box and Cover to your cart and use the code “Hello2021“. This coupon is good through January 8th, 2021. We can’t wait to see the life you will build after giving yourself the tools needed to thrive in the new year!