Cultivate What Matters began in 2009 with a blog post titled “How to Make Things Happen.” Lara Casey had been getting a flood of questions about how she managed to “do it all” in her life, and Lara wanted to address them head-on. This blog post got the attention and admiration of hundreds of people, encouraging Lara to create a multi-city two-day intensive program/conference called Make It Happen! Making Things Happen has some early support from well-loved names like Emily Ley, and by 2013 transforms into a structure of two two-day conferences per year in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (where Lara is based.)
Lara took the principles and ideas from Making Things Happen and created the first Tending List, a core component of the Power Sheets. Spurred by the desire to share this tool with others, Lara started the Lara Casey Shop in 2013 and launched her pivotal Power Sheets, a goal setting system to help women dig deep and unearth what matters to them. In 2016, Lara rebranded and her product and website became the Cultivate What Matters Shop. Along the way, Lara wrote two books: Make it Happen and Cultivate.
Power Sheets started for the 2014 year and were hole-punched to fit inside a binder until 2016, when they transitioned to a spiral-bound book. Lara has a wonderful post about the roots of the Power Sheets and their transitions throughout the years here. The goal of the Power Sheets, however, has never changed. As the website says:
We believe our time can be spent intentionally, and that our to-dos lists can be simplified once we learn how to uncover meaningful goals, and take action on them little by little. In doing this, we learn to celebrate progress, not perfection.
So what exactly are Power Sheets? Fabulous question! The team at Cultivate What Matters describe Power Sheets as an intentional goal planner. It is not a regular planner, but rather a workbook that helps you figure out and tend to important goals that you can then put into your planner. Power Sheets have also been described as “you planner’s best friend” or “a planner for your planner.” Lara Casey pairs her Power Sheets with an Emily Ley Simplified Planner.
There are two types of Power Sheets: one-year dated planners and 6-month undated. This review features the one-year dated Power Sheets. The one-year Power Sheets are $55 plus shipping, and the 6-month undated Power Sheets are $40 plus shipping.
Power Sheets are broken into three main sections: prep-work, goals, and the tabbed monthly sections. Lara had specific themes in mind when creating this tool, seasons and gardening. Power Sheets use a lot of gardening lingo, like “tending, growing, blooming, cultivating, dirt,” & etc. Don’t worry–none of her terminologies will go over the non-gardener’s head.
So the first few pages of the Power Sheets welcome you to this intentional goal planner and encourage you to immediately write your name in it. Often there is an unnamed reticence to put your name in a new planner–you love how pristine it is and worry that you won’t write it prettily enough or that you’ll mess it up or that once you write in it you have to commit to using it. Lara wants you to face and conquer that fear immediately. First thing. Write your name, claim your space.
Then begin the 35 pages of prep work. There is a lot of content here, and I honestly can’t go through all of it in this blog post. I am going to show you some of the main pages and the process that Lara takes you through, but I won’t show every single page because it’s really more rewarding to work through the Power Sheets prep on your own.
The Power Sheets lead you through examining yourself, ideas for the year, a life evaluation, letting go of the negative stuff, meeting your fears, and more.
One of the boldest pages asks you to write down what matters most to you. It’s a page that’s easy to find again and reflect on.
You fill out pages that ask you to reflect on the good things in the past year, your challenges, what to say no or yes to, the big picture, and to consider what fires you up and makes you feel passionate.
Then you choose a word for the year to bring you back to what matters most, and make a pledge to yourself.
This is a lot of content and takes a while to work through. Lara and her team and beginning the prep work for their 2018 Power Sheets on December 4th, and I recommend tuning in to join them in the process, either to see if the Power Sheets are right for you or to have a support system as you work through your own set.
Then you move on to the Goals section, where you brainstorm your goals for the year and then write them down in a more concrete ways. The Power Sheets really hold your hand throughout this process, and the prep work you did will set you up for filling out this section in a meaningful and productive way.
Then it’s time to turn your goals into action! Lara gives you 10 action plan worksheets and leads you through exactly how to fill them out. Each goal gets broken down into actionable steps, making it easier to achieve. The Action Plan also prompts you to think about why this goal is important to you and what achieving it will do to improve your life and help you cultivate what matters most to you.
Then it’s time for your monthly tabs! You’ve done all this prep work and thought long and hard about meaningful goals for the year. Now it’s time to break them down by month! You effectively do about 25% of the Power Sheets before the year even begins, but this prepares you for a successful year of conquering your fears and cultivating your goals.
There is a tab for each month with a motivational saying or quote to get you into the goal crushing mood. Monthly pages include a Prepare Well plage where you write in what’s on your calendar, important tasks, and what you’re excited for that month. Then you do a mental/emotional check-in and try to let go of negative thoughts and feelings. Lara provides tips, too, and blank pages with a link where you can go and download one of 13 Wild Card pages to help the Power Sheets work for whatever you need. Then you brainstorm!
The most core part of the Power Sheets (other than the prep work, which is really what helps make this page work) is the Tending List. The Tending List is your monthly check-in page. You write down monthly, weekly, and daily goals and then tend to them. You track your progress–one of Lara Casey’s favorite sayings is “Progress not perfection.” Choose encouraging words to help you through each month, and stay on top of your Tending List.
Every Tuesday one of the Cultivate What Matters team members, Jess, does an Instagram Live to check in with you and your tending list. This is called “Tending List Tuesday,” and is a great way to help you feel inspired to work on your goals. Jess also answers your questions and is super sweet.
After March, you get a tabbed section for Spring. This includes a Clear the Clutter Checklist, and a couple pages for Refreshing your goals.
Summer and Fall tabs are also dispersed throughout the Power Sheets and include the same section prompting you to refresh your goals, as well as an additional page unique to the season. Lara is very into seasons.
Then you reach the end, where you celebrate the year you’ve spent with your Power Sheets cultivating what matters and pursuing your goals!
So, as you saw, there is a lot going on in these pages. Let’s break down some of the aesthetic choices.
Cultivate What Matters Power Sheets are 9 x 10 inches, with pages that measure 7 x 10 inches. The paper feels good and is matte with enough thickness to easily accommodate a PaperMate Flair pen. Because there aren’t notes pages or any pages that are extra, so to speak, I did not do a pen test for the Power Sheets. But I felt comfortable with the results from using a PaperMate Flair, a Pilot G-2, and a Staedtler triplus fineliner. Hopefully, that helps!
The cover is thin but made out of a water-resistant material and is extremely flexible. It does scratch easily, but you can only notice the scratches from some angles. It hasn’t really bothered me. The spiral is a thick plastic material designed to be kid proof, coffee proof, and life-proof. Because the Power Sheets are so flexible, they can take a lot of love and tossing about. Your kids can step on them without bending them out of shape, and while the plastic coil might at first seem a little underwhelming, it can actually take a lot of damage without getting bent out of shape.
At the end of the Power Sheets are two sticker pages. You can use these throughout the Power Sheets, as they keep with the color theme of the book and use some of the garden terminology Lara is so fond of. They’re cute stickers. If you are a veritable Countess of Stickers the Cultivate shop also has a reasonably priced sticker book for $12 that you can pick up here.
The Power Sheets stick to the dual themes of seasonality and gardening, and this is evident in the colors Lara and her Art Director Nicole chose for the design.
You can see in the Goals section the statement, “For everything there is a season.” The seasonality theme is revisited via the tabbed sections for Spring, Summer, and Fall, as well as in the cover pattern of the power sheets where the petals are themed to represent Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.
There are 27 full-color pages throughout the Power Sheets’ 188 pages (not including tabbed pages), and some additional pages with gold foiling. There is also gold foiling on the back of the Power Sheets with Lara’s favorite mantra:
You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do?
You should go DO THEM.
Overall color scheme sticks to a lighter palette of white, green, coral, yellow, and orange. These colors pair well with the gold foiling throughout the book. A lovely aesthetic decision includes Lara’s handwriting as text. She writes affirmations, notes to you, examples of how to use the Power Sheets, and more. She has a wonderfully scriptive handwriting style that adds a personal flair to the pages.
The Power Sheets really are for anyone.
For example, Lara’s faith is a huge part of her identity, drive, and creative process. She is very devout. However, this does not show up in the Power Sheets, because faith is part of her process and she does not assume that it will be part of everyone else’s. While she talks about her faith in other facets of her company, Instagram stories, posts, & etc., she does not force her faith upon others, choosing instead to create a tool that anyone can use. It is this type of mindfulness–Lara’s willingness to crop out something so foundational to her own identity–that makes the Power Sheets such a productive and loving gift.
That being said, the Power Sheets will work for anyone who has trouble figuring out what their goals actually are. I’ve been there! Especially after graduate school when my only goal seemed to be a cavernous hole of “find a job” and I wasn’t really considering other aspects of my life. But goals don’t work when you are only focusing on the negative. Or at least, they aren’t productive and fulfilling. I found the prep work to be insightful and productive and came out of it knowing myself a little better.
I truly think that this could work for you, as well. As long as you are willing to do the prep work and stick to the system of using Power Sheets. Once you do the prep work and set your goals, the attention you need to devote to filling out your Power Sheets is fairly minimal. You have done most of the work already, and just need to switch into maintenance mode.
So, are you a new parent trying to figure out how to balance caring for your bundle of joy and self-care? Power Sheets will help. Are you a student trying to plan to the next steps after college, or how to get the most out of your education? Power Sheets will help. Are you a professional trying to move forward in your career? Power Sheets can help with that too. The information you need is already inside you, Power Sheets just help you pull them out.
I love the amount of content included in the Power Sheets and that they can accommodate so many different types of planners and people. It really does force you to dig in deep about your fears, your worries, and emerge from that with a fresher outlook on what you can do to let go of negativity and just move on with your life. I also love the aesthetic and soft colorful design! #goldfoil4ever I also really love the engagement from Lara and her team. They don’t just deliver these Power Sheets and then disengage–they do consistent Instagram lives and posts, share their Power Sheets and Tending List progress with you, and if you sign up for their newsletter you even get occasional positivity messages from Lara. There is a culture of positivity, encouragement, and support from Lara and her team, and this is obvious from the way they talk about their products and share from their lives.
I wish the cover was a little sturdier. I understand that it’s sturdy in its own way by being water-resistant and flexible, but I wish it was a little more solid or that there was the option for a more solid cover. The flexibility of the Power Sheets makes it a little too easy for the tabs to get bent.
There you have it! My review of the 2018 Cultivate What Matters Power Sheets. I hope you found this helpful–I know that Power Sheets are a little different from my regular reviews and thus the format I use might not have fit Power Sheets perfectly. Please feel free to comment with any questions. ❤ Thank you for taking the time to read through my review!