I’ve often wondered why we seem to have so dang many planners. You know, there are planners for executives, planners for housewives, planners for moms, planners, stickers, and more. It seems to me that many times you spend more time planning, then you actually do doing. When it comes to crafting and organization, I have to say I’m not so sure which is the right planner and I’ve tried many types.
But what about my day to day planning? Or blog planning? If you work outside the home or you work inside the home, you still have to keep up with regular work appointments or in the mom’s case, kid appointments, doctor appointments, activity appointments, school appointments, and so forth. No matter what is going on, you still have to have some sort of calendar.
How Many Calendars?
So then the question becomes, how many calendars does a planner girl need? Let’s say for example that you actually need three or four different types of calendars for your events. What are you going to do? Put it all in one? Do you separate it out or do you carry three planners with you or three different sets of planner pages? Hmmm. Perhaps a hybrid solution. Let’s take a look.
See, I have tried many ways. I purchased me & my big ideas planner (several of them). Tried to use them individually, then grouped together. I LOVE the fact that you can add many planners to the same rings. You will need the extension rings if you want to do this, however. I have tried this method and OMG they are HEAVY! I do not recommend this method at all if you have 3 planners or more. At one time I had 4 planners I carried with me and personally used. One was even a “fun calendar”. Why? Because if I don’t pencil in fun somewhere I won’t have any. Fun can be reading or watching TV or taking a trip, or whatever.
Doesn’t it sound silly to pencil in the fun? Absolutely. But let me tell you, when you have so much going on, you must schedule in downtime. You don’t have to label it fun time if you don’t want. Label it “my time”, “downtime”, “whatever time”. Sometimes, during that downtime, I schedule dinner with friends or go see my grandson or have dinner with my husband. If you don’t schedule in blocks of time for that you won’t get it done.
So one way is to put the big calendar on the wall in the kitchen. Here you put all of your doctor appointments, school appointments, house appointments, or any kind of appointment that has to do with your home and family. The downside to doing this is you don’t have it with you all the time.
For me, I’m just as likely to schedule a business trip or an appointment when I’m supposed to be going to the doctor. So do you duplicate that in your personal planner? Do you keep a separate planner for everything else? Then, there are work appointments. Or for the stay-at-home mom’s, other appointments like school appointments, field trips, and so forth. So, do you keep that on the big planner in the kitchen? Obviously, any business appointments have to go in some sort of a calendar. So then you would have to have a planner for that right?
Then, of course, there is the crafting/hobby calendar. If you’re crafting just for fun, you still want to pencil in some time for crafting. For if you don’t, you’ll never find time to get it done. So what do you do? You don’t need an extensive calendar for hobbies, but if you look at goal setting, then you’ll find that you may have to schedule in fun time. Especially if you’re a busy person. So what if your hobby is part of your blog or your business? You definitely need a calendar for that.
For example, Casey is a craft blogger. Not only does she need to have a calendar to decide what projects she is going to do and how long they take she also needs to schedule in writing her blog post, Pinterest pins, Facebook posts, Instagram, and other things. She also needs to schedule in time to update her website, install new plug-ins, security updates, and so forth. Now, she could hire out some of these tasks, but she is still ultimately responsible for these.
Home and Family Calendar
For my home and family. I use a calendar that is posted as you walk into the kitchen. On this calendar are any house appointments where someone needs to go home, as well as Dr. appointments. Now, this is not all. Also on this calendar, I put my business trips and highlight the length of time I’m gone. It will say I will be gone TO <Location> from this XX day, and I come back XX day. Sometimes, I even put flights you know landing taking off things like that not details necessarily but basically what time do I need to go to the airport and what time do I need to be picked up.
That’s not all though. Although that’s perfect for my family…that’s all they need. However, that doesn’t work for me because that same information needs to go in the calendar I carry as well. So that’s a double entry for me and that’s okay.
I also feel like at a minimum you need a monthly calendar that is written out. That way anyone in your household or you can see what absolutely has to be done for the entire month. All my travel plans also go on this planner. It makes it easy for everyone in the household to know what’s happening.
Not so Structured?
Now, let’s say for example you’re a different kind of planner. You like to keep things loose. No problem. Instead of every minute of every day, schedule blocks of time or days of time. For example, on Sunday, do these things, on Mondays, do these things. If you want to schedule even more loosely, look at the entire week and say “Inside this week I want to accomplish these things”. Perfectly fine. Do what works for you. The loose schedule does not work for me. It has to be a little more laid out. Now, I can move things around. For example, if I want to create a card today instead of a box, that’s doable. I just have to make sure that I make the box another day. That’s why I pencil it.
Putting it All Together
So you have several options where you can create one big calendar that has everything, and I do mean everything, which you probably will not have enough space for. If you choose this method, watch out for your shoulders. It could be extremely heavy. An alternative is to separate out a couple of things. The problem with doing this is I tend to forget that I’ve separated it out, and so it goes unseen unread and updated. For me, again, one big kitchen calendar and one planner calendar works. Here’s what I did.
On the monthly pages, things like doctor appointments, household appointments, travel dates, things of that nature. Basically, I’ve duplicated my kitchen calendar on my monthly pages. When it comes to doing my weekly planning, I sit down every week, on Sunday, and plan my week. Start by looking at the monthly calendar and see if there’s anything that has to be done that week for the household travel etc. I copy that information over to the weekly calendar. On the daily calendar, I put specific appointments that must be done.
For example, I have a meeting at 9 o’clock with Yoda (I wish). It’s a VTC telecon and I write in the number that I will call. Other than those specific appointments, I mainly use my weekly calendar. In addition, I also have a page for projects. On my projects page, I keep a list of all the projects that need to be done that day or are ongoing. Plus, I have separate blocks for each type of project. Here’s an example of my project page for Tuesday, March 5, 2019:
There is a section it’s called blog post, there is a section that is called social media, a section that is called websites, and a section that is called project details. These are just large square blocks that are open underneath each of the section headers that allows writing things that need to be done for that day.
I may not do a blog post every day so that section could very well be empty I may not do a blog post every day but you can just about guarantee that I’m going to do social media and website maintenance every single day.
I also have a page that lists projects and another page that lists brain dumps. These are simply pages with ideas. So I might have a crazy idea to write a blog post about planners. I will write down on one line. Then I give myself a little brief overview of what I was thinking. For projects, I might write down a luminary box. I might give some details as well.
These are just ideas. When I have finished that project or that blog post I cross it out and move on to the next. Eventually, you throw that page away and move on right? So that’s a lot of planning, right? Right.
To pay your bills, you’ll need some sort of calendar that shows when they are due to be paid. Do you put them on the big kitchen calendar? For some of you, that works. For me, no that would make my husband crazy. He would worry about that bill until the day it was paid, even if it was set up to autopay. Just that kind of guy. You might put paydays on the calendar, such as when everybody gets paid in the household. But generally speaking, I keep my bills separately.
A spreadsheet is one of the best ways to keep track of your bills electronically. You can get my basic budget worksheet by signing up here. However, for budget planning, go back to the monthly planning and write in all your bills when they’re due and how much they are. Write in the paydays so you have a month at a glance to see what’s going on. It is easy to go from one month to the next. Then, write down which ones are auto pay and which ones you have to manually pay. I use a little letter “a” for auto pay, and “m” for manual. Simple, right? The dates and amounts should come from your spreadsheet budget worksheet.
As you can see, we’re building a whole framework of planning. This all sounds like a whole lot, I know. However, once you get used to this, it will go much faster. For example, it takes me no longer than one hour on Friday evening to do all of my planning. Once a month on the first day or at the end of the last month, whichever falls closer to that Friday evening for me, I do the monthly calendar. I also write up the monthly budget calendar at that time and update the monthly and weekly calendar as the week progresses. Once a month, an hour to do planning. Every week I’d say 15-30 minutes.
Every day I look at my calendar and determine what has to be done that day. That’s where I find that fun time or downtime. For my downtime or fun time, I see what it looks like with all these things above, and take a look. I make sure in my daily planner that I have any meetings or appointments for the day. For example, it looks like I only have a meeting today at 9:00 and a meeting at 2:00, so I could block off 10:00 to 2:00 to update a project at work or to work on something for work if I work full time. If not there’s some downtime or some unplanned time.
Since I usually start my day around 6:00 o’clock, I think, “I have to do a blog post on Mondays and Thursdays”. So it’s Monday, so I need to block out an hour to do a blog post. I need to do some type of document on Wednesday’s, so on Wednesday, I block out from 6:00 to 7:00 to do document stuff. If there is more time, I block it out longer.
Framework is Circular
So as you can see this is circular. if you look at my diagram it shows you how I do everything. I realize it looks like a lot but I promise you it isn’t as difficult or is tedious as you might think to do it this way. It will allow you to find blocks of time easier. Those blocks maybe before work, they may be at lunchtime, they may be after work, they may be at 10 o’clock. Late at night is when I could always do other things.
In any case, it allows you to see what is available. Keep in mind, I’m a planner. That may just absolutely go against your sensibilities and that’s okay. Then you should look at blocks of time or weekly time. In any way you go, planner or not, you have to schedule some things, even if it’s loosely scheduled. If you don’t, you probably will miss opportunities or have issues getting anything done. I suspect if you’re reading this post, you’re some type of planner that needs organization. Pick and choose what might work for you.
Try them all. Go ahead. Buy several cheap planners. See how that works for you. You can get them fairly cheap at the Dollar Tree, just to see how it works for you. Who knows, it may turn out to be perfect. You could leave one planner at work, one planner at home in the common area, one planner on your desk at home, one planner in your purse or your wallet or your back pocket. I LOVE using the Living Well Planner for an overall planner.
So let’s look at my flowchart once again and see how this process works.
- Monthly – Bills, household items, Dr. appointment
- Weekly – Anything from the monthly calendar for that week any downtime that I can see such as Saturday and Sunday that things can be done. Pencil in your weekly blogs so if you blog on Mondays and Thursdays put blog posts Monday blog post on Thursday etc.
- Daily. Things from the week that I need to do today.
In addition any meetings, teleconference, or things of that nature that is going to take my time.
- Projects a list of projects I’d like to do it simply a list. And the list grows and gets crossed out as items are made or taken off for whatever reason.
- Blog post ideas. Simply a list of ideas for any blog posts that I may want to write. Those ideas fly around in my head constantly and if I don’t write them down, I will forget them.
Lastly for those of you that for electronic planners, good for you. You can do all of the same concepts in your electronic calendar. I also use an electronic calendar, except mostly for business, that’s where I get my daily appointments from. For some reason that works best for me however when I get home at night, I don’t necessarily pay attention to my phone. I find it is better to sit and write it out.
In conclusion, plan how you want, plan what you want. Don’t forget the washi tape! Here’s the fun part. Dress it up with stickers. Put pretty washi tape all over it, or whatever makes you happy. I have found, as silly as it may sound, that using planner stickers and washi tape that is, what’s the word for it, “happy” or “inspirational” is very motivational. Using both are helpful especially on a day or week that is going to be very stressful. For some reason, they make me smile. Just seeing something inspirational or even silly can lighten my mood drastically. Especially when I’m very busy.
Now, I’m not one to decorate every single block or page. Not my style. However, I do like a couple of stickers here and there and maybe a pretty strip of washi tape for my travel. They are just cute. I can even make my own stickers AND washi tape with my Cricut. o, go with what works for you but always, always, plan. For fun, plan with planners, stickers, and washi tape.
Until next time, (sprinkling fairy dust) Happy Planning!
P.S. Make sure to check out Annie’s Fav’s. You’ll find some awesome stuff there. Also don’t forget to sign up for the Resource Library below!