Call me old school, but YES I have an actual planner that I write in using a pen. I didn’t start out this way. I have tried so many different calendars. My IPhone calendar, Google calendar, even some fancy calendar apps. I even put a huge wall calendar up at home and a wall calendar at my office. Once I tried printing calendars for my husband and I once a week. Seriously, how many calendars does it take?!
At last I have found a solution that works for every event type in my life. My new Day Timer. I know these have been around a while, and now I can see why. They are so useful!
First, I love that I can personalize what pages I include in my calendar. You can leave the pages it comes with, or buy extra sheets that you may need. There are expense tracking sheets, to do list sheets, even yearly planning and goal setting sheets. This way you have everything in one place.
Second, since it is a binder, I can organize my sheets how ever I want. For each weekly page set I also added some “to do” list pages to make sure I keep on track with my different weekly tasks. Being a busy mom, I have five schedules to keep up with. Since I can add more sheets, I can include everything such as blogging, shopping, dinner, sports, etc. Sometimes just having the week squares to write in isn’t enough.
Finally, I love that it has extra pouches for all kinds of things. You can add business cards, pens, mail, letters, reminder cards. Anything! Everything in ONE place is exactly what I need.
A few planning tips I find useful:
*When organizing or planning your week it is important to plan ahead on a micro level. When you write down an activity, don’t just think of that activity and be done with it. Think about what goes into that activity and plan for that too. For example, if you have a birthday party coming up next week, make sure you write down to buy the gift the week before. If you have a social event, plan time in your calendar to shop for outfits or get that pedicure. The more you write down the better!
*When scheduling for more than one person, or more than one category, try using different color pens. I know it can be a hassle, but color coding really helps you visualize your plans. Especially when planning for multiple people such as your kids. I plan each week for three kids, family events, dinner, personal appointments, blogging work, school volunteer work, my real job work, and supplies for the home and office. Using different colors is a must.
*Write everything down! If I don’t write something down the moment I think of it, it’s lost forever. When using my Day Timer, I have a notepad in the front I can use to jot down quick reminders or appointment times. That way I can go back later and add them to the right calendar week. Remember, you don’t always have to bust out your colored pens when you are making an appointment. Set time in your day to spend with your planner so you can be thorough. You’ll be happy you did when everything is done.
*When scheduling always reference your calendar first. This is my biggest problem with not using a digital calendar. I can’t always whip out my Day Timer and “check my schedule.” Even though it is a hassle, I try to always double check my calendar before actually committing to new plans. Most of the time I am glad I waited because it is so easy to forget a practice or school function.
*Lastly, everyone loves to check things off when they are completed. I use a highlighter to highlight activities when they are finished. That way I can easily see what I have left to do. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I have everything done on my checklist. You will too!
What calendar and planning techniques do you use? I would LOVE some suggestions. In this digital world there are so many options, but for me, I find the more I write down the more I get done.
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