After years of trying to use my phone, a wall calendar, and an email calendar, I finally broke down and bought a planner. None of my previous calendars were in sync, and I felt like I was failing miserably at life. Have you been there?
I haven’t used a planner since college, and it was quickly becoming obvious that my organization skills were in dire need of an overhaul.
Previously, I used my planner to keep track of class assignments and my work schedule, but once I graduated I had a more rigid schedule and no longer felt the need to keep a planner.
Reality hit, though. I was trying to mesh my husband’s schedule, the kids’ schedules, and my own, in addition to handling everyday life.
I was ready to have a mental breakdown. Something had to change, and I decided a planner would be the simplest step. Clearly, technology wasn’t working for me, no matter how hard I tried to “get with the times” and plug dates into my phone.
I’ve been on a quest to becoming more organized for years, and I’ve probably tried every home organization plan that’s out there.
None of them were working.
I had an entire binder filled with printables on getting organized, and I even received several email “organization” reminders daily. On top of that, I was constantly writing checklists for everything from reminders to sweep the front porch to phone calls that I needed to make.
Nothing helped. Instead of making me more organized, these “reminders” were just adding to the mental and physical clutter of my day.
As I was searching for a planner, I wanted to find something that met my requirements:
- Small enough to carry with me but large enough to hold everything I wanted to add
After searching through tons of planner websites, I finally decided on a Day-Timer refillable planner. I liked the Day-Timer because it’s leather, so it’ll hold up well in my purse/catch-all (I’m constantly spilling water, the kids’ sippy cups, and everything else in my purse, so a paper planner just wouldn’t do).
I also like that, for about the same price as many yearly planners, I can continue using this planner long into the future. One online reviewer commented that she had been using this planner for ten years and it still looks great.
I tried using the monthly and weekly sheets that came with the planner, but I found that I was still needing to make daily lists to keep track of everything.
Day-Timer sells a daily planner refill kit, but I just created my own daily sheet and then began using that in my planner. I wanted to be able to create a daily checklist (including a reminder to exercise) without having to rewrite it every day. I also wanted to track things like the amount of water and fruits/vegetables that I consume in a day.
If you choose to make your own pages, I highly recommend this Franklin Covey hole punch. It only punches through seven sheets at a time, but the holes align perfectly with the Day-Timer rings. After buying (and returning) several others, the Franklin Covey was the only one that was reasonably priced and didn’t require me to keep readjusting the punch or paper.
If you don’t want to make your own planner pages, I love the Avery line of planner supplies on Amazon. For less than $3, you can buy new weekly and monthly inserts.
I also wanted a place to keep cleaning checklists, shopping lists, and notes all in one place (the cleaning checklist and shopping list/meal planner are available for subscribers in the resource library – they’re full-page, but I just fold them and keep them in the front pocket of the planner). I purchased some Avery filler paper so that I had a place to keep random notes, and viola, I have a place to keep everything organized my way!
What’s your biggest hangup with getting organized and staying on top of your daily activities? Do you use a paper planner, or am I the only archaic one who had to give up technology to succeed in this world?
In the end, there’s no right way to be organized. It’s a process, and no amount of “reminders” or mental clutter can streamline it!
Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories
Sunday 1st of May 2016
I keep thinking I have achieved planner peace and then a few months into the new system i get restless. I have a Plum Paper planner right now which has a ton of stuff in it but it's also very heavy so I can 't just carry it in my purse. I have tried Daytimers, Erin Condren, and bullet journaling too, even making my own and I'm still not at peace! I do love seeing what other people use for their planning systems though, I think mine will be a DIY custom one where I can pull my favorite ideas from different systems.
Stopping by from Mommy Monday Blog Hop, I hope you'll linkup with us at Small Victories Sunday Linkup if you haven't already!
Friday 13th of May 2016
Creating a DIY planner was the best thing I could've done!
Tuesday 4th of August 2015
I feel your pain! I need to be organized too or I get so stressed and overwhelmed. I work from home for a small start up and I'm basically "the company" at this point so I do everything from billing and month end to client website updates....keeping track of that is not easy! Let's not even start to discuss a trip to the grocery store with a "list", which of course I left at home....
I actually have 3 things I used together. I have a plain spiral bound notebook for work and one for learning (classes I take, online courses etc). I make sure they have bright covers, are inexpensive and I use sticky notes to mark or separate key topics (ie if I am taking more than 1 course at a time).
I have a very cute agenda (again spiral bound) which I use for the personal stuff, like tracking appointments and making "home" notes that I need to remember (working out etc). I even make quick notes each day on what I did, like "movie with bf".
The 3rd, and very important item that took me time to learn but has really paid off is Evernote. I have it on my computer since I spend 14 hours a day in front of it, and it syncs with my phone so no more forgotten grocery lists. Plus I put all recipes in there, warranty info, even fun stuff I see online that I want to refer back to "one day", It has enormous storage potential, I can take pics of things and turn it into a note (for product registration info, or refill details, like ink for a printer), that comes in real handy instead of writing all that stuff down and then searching for the note when you need to repurchase something.
I searched for a Daytimer that would work but I found them too bulky for what they gave me in return. The other advantage for me is that I can bring only the notebooks I need, instead of having everything in 1 place and having to lug it all around.
But, I am sure my "system" will need tweaking next year!
Wednesday 5th of August 2015
I love the DayTimer because I can shove everything into it, but yes, it is really bulky. My biggest problem is forgetting it (with my grocery list inside) on the kitchen counter. I'll have to try Evernote!