As a lover of organization, planning has always played a big role in how I’ve stayed organized through the years. I wanted to share with you personally how The Organized Planner keeps me organized and productive.
Writing it down I’ve found works the best for me. I’ve tried the app thing but there were too many times where I’d forget something or my battery was dying or I didn’t have service, there was always something.
Designing a planner wasn’t in “My Plan” but after trying a new planner every year and not finding one that could best suite my needs as a working mom, I decided to lay out what I’ve always wanted. I sketched out the vision of how I wanted it to look, then then chose a program to design it.
I use this planner for everything. Work, personal, kids, blog, notes, it’s all written down here. I’m able to organize my thoughts on paper. I carry two phones, one is for work and one is personal. I use the planner to have one calendar, I tried having two and it was too much to manage.
The 2016 edition had an hourly schedule but after some feedback from others, they preferred making their own schedule. I agreed with it because there was quite a bit of white space that was being wasted. I found myself writing notes on the hourly calendar so I knew something had to change and that’s why the hourly schedule was eliminated. The white space for the scheduling has so much more flexibility and I’m loving it. I’ve been able to write my top 3 must do’s for everyday which really has giving me a greater focus on achieving my goals for the week, which is actually my favorite part of the planner. I’m also not restricted to my writing size or style. I write big and I don’t have to worry about running out of space because of it. I can also write additional notes for each day.
The goals of the week really keeps me organized because it keeps me focused. I tend to get distracted easily, when I would start to wonder off into territory that wasn’t aligned with my goals, I was able to steer back to the right direction because my goals would be in front of me. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
A personal goal that I used pretty frequently was to hit 10,000 steps everyday (weekday). Monday and Tuesday I was able to hit that goal and Wednesday would come and I would be close about 8,000 steps. After a long day of work, I just wanted to stay home and hang out with my kids but I knew I was close so we would head to the park instead. Staying home was easy but I made a commitment to myself and looking at that goal kept me on track.
Writing the goals for the week also helped plan out my week because it allowed me to have my schedule reflect the goals that were made for the week. For example, my full-time job is in Corporate America and I would set goals for the work week and would be sure the appointments or meetings that were scheduled for that week would align with my goals. If you’re meeting to meet, it’s wasting time.
I use the customized checklists to keep my personal and work lists organized. This allows me to effectively work the list I need at the desired time. Have work to do’s on the same list as my personal to do’s was interfering with my productivity because my mindset would constantly be shifting when I would be working down the list, “Oh this is personal, I’ll get to it later”. Then I would start daydreaming of my personal to do list and knew something had to change, that’s when I decided to keep them separate.
The weekend section was designed to be smaller than the week because that’s the time to recharge. Many planners have hourly schedules on the weekends and I didn’t like it because it was wasted space and also gave me anxiety for not having each hour planned out. The weekends typically have less structure than the week. Work hard during the week and recharge on the weekend.
Here’s how I use the planner to plan:
- Pen: I use a black pen for everything. I use the same one, I don’t like having different color black pens because the ink it’s always the same. This sounds a bit neurotic and might be to some but it keeps me organized better because it’s all the same color.
- Meal Plan: Sunday is the day I plan. I typically start with meal planning for the week. It’s my least favorite thing to do so I do it first to get it out of the way. We have a meal planner clipboard that hangs on our door for the meals for the week but I also write dinner down in my planner because I’m not always home and can’t remember what’s for dinner that night. After having two kids, I forget everything, seriously everything!
- Appointments: After meal planning is complete, I look at the monthly calendar to see the upcoming appointments for that week and then I schedule then in the weekly section.
- Goals: Once the appointments are done, I write out my goals for the week. I use the monthly calendar to see what goals I have set for the month and make sure the weekly are somewhat aligned with getting me to achieve the monthly goals.
- Highlighter: After the week is planned out, I grab three different color highlighters. Green is used for personal, Blue is used for Work, and Pink is anything that doesn’t fall within those two categories. I highlight my week accordingly and it gives me that organized, productive feeling we all love.
- Labels- I use Avery Write on Labels
This planner really acts as a roadmap for my week. It’s not overly structured where I feel like a failure for not filling out every part of it but also productive at the same time because I’m in control of my week.
That is how I use The Organized Planner 🙂