September 19, 2014

Mom's daily planner

A few weeks ago a friend was telling me how organized and on top of everything I seem to be. And I burst out laughing. I certainly don’t feel organized and on top of things! In our hectic life, I usually feel like I am two steps behind and holding on for dear life, constantly running late and wondering what I am forgetting (or very well aware of what I haven’t had time to do.)
However, after struggling to learn the ropes as a mother, homemaker, homeschooler, and a part-time work-from-home-mom, there are a few tips I can share with my friends who want to know how we do things. I certainly don’t do it “all,” and I won’t even claim I do these things well… but I can tell you how we seek to manage certain aspects of life to maintain sanity and some semblance of order. :)
Women’s lives are exceptionally seasonal. Every day, week, year is so different. In these years with young children, they grow and change and just when we find something that works… it doesn’t anymore. For me, I have found the same to be true with homekeeping, as well – just when I find something that works… it doesn’t.
So honestly, rigid “do this on this day/at this time” systems just don’t work for me. I get off the schedule and then feel like I can’t catch back up and it feels stressful. Flexibility is king. But, I need enough structure so I actually get something done.
A while back I had seen a printable online for a one-page “daily docket” – I believe it was this one. I loved the idea of having everything I needed to do on one sheet, and I tried it out for a while. But using one sheet per day was more space than I needed – I didn’t want to waste that much paper, and it also is more helpful for me to have my whole week at a glance.
I simplified and customized my own planner page that combines what I love about the daily docket with those old academic week-at-a-glance assignment notebooks from my school years that always worked well for me. I have always liked to check things off a list. ;) I made several hundred copies of my daily planner sheets at the local office supply place and filled up one of these Hybrid NoteBinders.


I’ve used this system for over a year now and I can confidently say that it works really well for me.
Each day has a column –
Date
Dinner [I use this as my meal planner, too – helpful to have it all in one place!]
Work tasks for that day
To-Do List
General Time Plan
Box for Misc. Notes
On the far right side, I have a column for “notes” (often reminders and things I need to get done at some point… I also use this section as meal planning for the weekend) and a section for “next week”- sometimes I need to jot major things down so they don’t fall off my radar.
What works best with this system is when, at the beginning of the week, I cross check schedules with our paper calendar in the kitchen and the calendar on my phone, just to make sure I’m not forgetting anything major. I write fixed appointments down on my time-plan for the different days. Then in one glance, I can see all the major ministry tasks I need to do that week, the meal plan for each night, and I can add in major household tasks and homeschool projects/ blocks of time where they make sense with the rest of our schedule.
I don’t do this perfectly – but when I don’t use my planner I regret it!
If you think it would be helpful for you, feel free to print and use my template. But, like I found with the one-page daily docket, what works for you will probably be different from what works for me. Customize it to what you need to keep track of.
Happy planning. This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it – and redeem the time!