It’s that time again… The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. No, I’m not talking about Christmas, silly. School starts on Monday, and I can hardly wait.
Don’t get my wrong. I love my kids. I LOVE my kids. But, with four of them running around my small house, plus an oversized fifth one (AKA my husband), plus a large St. Bernard, well… Let’s just say that the sum of these can be greater than the parts. Add in the fact that I am a small business (co)owner and work from home juggling the business, design time, working occasionally at my family’s business, and also selling custom family trees. It’s enough to give anyone a headache!
In all seriousness, back to school means that I am able to get back on a schedule. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I’ve become my mother. I work best on a routine schedule, with lists and check marks and accountability, and my productivity and creativity go way up when I’m organized.
A year ago I debuted the original The Everything Planner, and the new version (The Everything Planner : 2012-2013 Printables) has a few updates and changes, based on my experiences over the past year. Let’s take a look:
First of all, I’ve included three different cover design options (front and back), and each comes in both a vertical (for binder use) or horizontal (for binding) orientation. There’s also a 2″ spine for binders, which can be trimmed down with scissors for a smaller binder.
Last year I used a binder, but this year I decided to have it bound, instead. I had the covers laminated, which makes it very durable, even though I don’t really carry it around ( it pretty much just stays on my desk). The binder is just a bit bulky for me, but it does give you the option of moving your pages around as the year progresses. I’ve locked in the order of my pages based on what I found last year, so it’s not an issue for me.
The first page in mine is this one:
(Obviously, mine is filled out, but I’m not showing pictures of a few of these for privacy purposes.) In the other section I have a few random phone numbers: my and my husband’s cell phone numbers, my esthetician, my husband’s car pool partner, etc. When we have a babysitter, I open the planner to this page because it has everything in one place.
Next up are my month-at-a-glance pages:
I have all of these at the beginning, instead of mixed in with the week-at-a-glance pages like I did last year. It’s easier for me to find them than having to flip through the entire binder.
This page has just my basic notes. The left side has projects I have going on during the month (and when they need to be completed) and on the right I jot upcoming events. Following a Pinterest tip, I will use washi tape to highlight events that span more than one day, so I can see those at a glance. I’ve got a scrapbook expo coming up and a site sponsorship, so those are both marked off. I will also use this to keep track of my husband’s business trips, as well as any travel plans for my family.
Next up are the week-at-a-glance pages:
These is where I write down the specifics of each day. In the boxes, I write down specific events: appointments, their times, and who they apply to. In the left-hand column I write projects and goals for the week in general, and underneath each day I add ones that apply to that day. For example, I have notes on the days that I need to remember to send out newsletters, or want to blog, etc.
Last year, I started things out by doing each member of my family in different colors of ink, but this year I’m just going with one. Honestly, it was a pain to have to keep switching pens, and somehow, the pens kept migrating… I’d find them in backpacks, drawers, the garage, in between couch cushions, and even one in the crisper of my fridge. (I have no idea.)
Next up is the friend/school info:
I don’t have to access this page nearly as often, so it’s back here. I’ve got it filled out as you’d expect, with a few extra lines of information since my youngest daughter is starting a dual-immersion program this year, and therefore has two teachers.
The next one for me is the 3 year/bill pay checklist:
This is especially handy if I am looking at something long term, and I can quickly see what days/dates things might fall on. In addition, since my husband and I both pay our bills (and not necessarily together), we can see at a glance when they are due, and if they have been paid already.
The last few sheets are the “fun” ones:
A perpetual calendar to keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
A party planner, which comes in very handy not just for birthday parties for my kids, but even when hosting informal family get-togethers with my family (7 siblings!) or my husband’s family (5 siblings!) to keep track of food assignments, etc. I printed multiples, because I like to keep them, but you could just print one, laminate it, and then use a dry-erase marker.
The last page(s) in my planner are the gift giving records:
These come in SO handy when doing birthday and holiday shopping! All year long, I make notes if I come across something that I think would make a good gift for someone. I can also keep track of websites/stores, sizes, and whether I’ve bought, wrapped, and shipped/delivered. Things are especially crazy for me right around Christmas, because my two youngests’ birthdays are Dec 29th and Jan 7th, so we’re usually shopping for all three events at the same time. It’s a lifesaver! Again, I printed multiple: I use one for each of my children (birthday and Christmas), one for my husband (anniversary, birthday, and Christmas), two for Christmas (everyone else), and two for birthdays (everyone else).
So, that’s my version of The Everything Planner. But, WAIT! Did you notice a few things missing? That’s right, the chore charts (the catalyst for the entire planner!) and the menu planner! So, where are they?
I printed the menu planner out double-sided, and then laminated it and hung it on the side of my fridge:
This way, I can plan out my menu for two weeks at a time, and my husband and oldest daughter (who share meal prep with me) can see exactly what I have planned, make additions to the grocery list, etc. The left-hand side has projects/chores that apply to my entire family, as well as the day I would like them to be done.
The chore charts are also laminated:
The top one also comes in an editable pdf file, but I left them blank this year so that the chores could be changed as our needs change. I’m not sure yet if that will be better than having them printed on there, and I may go back. That’s the beauty of the planner: you can pick and choose which you want to use, and how you want to use them. It’s super flexible, and can be tailored to your needs so easily. It’s available as a complete planner, or broken down into individual components.
And, for those who previously purchased last year’s version, The Everything Planner : 2013 Refill Printables (Note: Refill pack is month-at-a-glance and week-at-a-glance only. It does not include the chore charts or covers that are new, and included with the 2012-2013 version.)
So, that’s it. That’s my secret. I do have also keep a composition book (for jotting down design ideas) and a binder (with all of my business information) on my desk as well, but this is my jumping off point. It’s what keeps the rest of me going.
Well, that and Mtn Dew.