Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Peak At My Planner: The Inner Workings

I'm trying to get my feet under me, as we're home now from our vacation and back to the real world. The garden is a jungle of weeds, there's no fresh food in the house, and I've got laundry up the wazoo. I'm doing a lot of planning today. Seems like Sundays are best for this, as I head into a fresh, new week. I wrote this piece a year and a half ago on my other private blog and I thought you'd like to see some of the tools that help "keep me on task". Tomorrow, I get to work!

Having a planner or some other type of organizational tool such as this is so helpful to me. I find that I can't function or think clearly without it. It's easy to get overwhelmed with everything just hanging around in your head. I've used lots of variations throughout the years~I've tried Franklin Covey, Daytimer, have just used a calender on the fridge and have relied on all kinds of lists. As the manager of our home and family, these have all helped to organize my life and keep things running smoothly.

I have found that for me personally, nothing commercially available has been able to meet all my needs. I've had to make up my own personal system that works for me. Along with my planner, I also love to use blank books. Used as a sort of journal, I like to have one constantly around me, whether at home or tucked in a bag wherever I go, to jot down thoughts or ideas I find in my reading, things I'm thinking about, recipes, poems, lists, you name it. I save these and love to go back to refer to, or even just to have as a reminder and record of that year of my life.

As far as planners go, I find that I like the 8x10 size the best of all. It is a little bulky, but most of the papers that come my way are that size. When I used smaller planners, I just didn't have a way to keep these important papers or documents visible and workable. My dad taught me that. He is a huge user and believer of planners.

I guess you might call my planner a "Homemaking Binder". Since managing my home is my primary job, I have adapted my system to suite this role. I have it divided into sections, with homemade divider tabs to access things at a glance. First, I have a lined piece of paper right in the front, where I record sisters in the ward I visit and call during that month. I like this handy to jot down so I don't forget. I give a copy to the Bishop every month during our interview together.~ let me explain. When I wrote this a year and a half ago, I was the president of our "ward" (local neighborhood branch of church members) women's organization, the Relief Society. (Over 100 women.) I held this office for two and a half years. It took a huge amount of my time and energy. A real need to be organized here.

Now, my daily plan page. This is my work horse. I take time at the beginning of the week to map things out. I made this up to suite me and it has been so effective. As things change, this might look different. On the left hand column you'll see a place for breakfast and dinner menus for the day. Recently, I've added treat/salads/side dish possiblities at the bottom of the page. Then, the big space in the center for the major to-do's or events of the day. Then on the right are spaces for people to call or visit or just to jot down random notes or things I need to do or get. I've now deleted the visit section and made a bigger column for to call/write, to do/get.

this is blurry, I know. sorry.
  I have a clear pocket protector that comes next to place papers that need attention, checks needing to be cashed, etc.

Then comes the monthly 2 page calender spread. Love to refer to this. I sometimes list on the left side column things I need to remember about the month or goals I have.

Next, is a my directory section. Also in clear plastic sheet covers are a pages of important frequently called phone numbers (family members, friends, doctors, schools, poison control, etc.), ward directories and maps (also last former ward), kid's school directory, and my Christmas card list and addresses.

Meal Planning, Master Shopping List, and Home Storage Inventory sheets follow. I have a list of possible and well liked breakfast, lunch, quick meals, snacks, and dinner ideas to refer to when I'm planning the week. Then, the page below is generally what I use to take with me when I go shopping. Things are grouped together, which make it nice. The home storage inventory (long term food storage basics) is my newest tool that will be so useful, as well.

 Homeschool section is next. (Below) I do keep many huge binders I've made for each subject that I keep in our library.(Specific lesson plans, unit studies, ideas, books, activities) This just has my general daily lesson plan for quick referral. Also, a place to list book idea, videos, and Practical Life activities I can use for Isaac.

The rest of my planner is as followed:
Children's Activities: schedules for extra-curricular stuff like sports, lessons, school calendars, etc. I toss stuff regularly that I don't need to refer to anymore. I also have our vacation plan here.
Outside Obligations: everything (besides Relief Society~ I have another binder just for that!) else I'm involved with, like when I taught cooking classes at Macey's. Just a home for these papers.
Home Matters: instructions I want close by, repairs, projects, stuff I need for the kids or home, etc. If I was in charge of paying bills, this is where it would go.
Medical and Health: health treatment and care referrals for me to glance at when I'm treating sickness or injury in the family, herbs, essential oil info., immunization records.
Coupons: another clear pocket to place coupons I clip. I don't use a lot of coupons, so this isn't filled very much.

*I hope you've liked taking a peek of the "inner workings" of my life, home, and world. It's so important, for sanity's sake and also for the order of our lives, to have a way to make everything we want and need to accomplish doable. I hope you can find a method to your madness like I have. The important thing to remember is that we can change and adapt these organizational methods when our lives change or circumstances dictate. Since I've implemented planning into my life and have found a way to store paperwork, I've found more peace and things are really getting done more than ever before. Especially, as I've learned to incorporate routine and rhythm in every aspect of my life.

If you have a great method of organizing your life, I'd love you to share it with me!*


  1. Thank you for your posts of your amazing trip and for the great ideas about planners. I have been struggling to find the perfect system but I think you nailed it...I need a big one! THANKS!! Welcome home :)

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