This is a question I’ve been asked numerous times. To be honest, I’m not always as well organized as I seem, but I will say, using my calendar – whether it be Outlook/iCal or a planner, I HAVE to know what’s going on in my life. I have 2 kids, who keep us on on our toes 90% of the time and most of our comings and goings revolve around them.
Since they the kids were both little I have used some kind of calendar system. Before planners were really popular, I used Outlook to sync my calendar to my Blackberry. I know.. old school! I still carried a small pocket calendar to keep doctor appointments, school dates etc. in my purse, but most of our important dates were kept in Outlook. I was so cool, I even color coded EVERYTHING. I’m a visual person, I can’t help it, I need color codes for everything. I’m pretty sure my husband LOVES it (insert sarcasm here)! I really wish I had a picture or screen shot of this, because my Outlook calendar was
amazing epic. I have since moved on to iCal as I’m now an iPhone user, which is AMAZING. My husband and our daughter both have iPhone’s and I absolutely LOVE the functionality of the calendar app. We all use the “Family Calendar” on our phones and like magic we are all notified that a new appointment, event etc. has been added to the calendar.
While I always have a digital copy of our calendar on my phone I have since come around, it took me a while, and I purchased a planner. I did all sorts of research (this means I spent numerous hours on Pinterest and Instagram) and looked at numerous ways people utilize a planner to figure out what worked best for me. I chose to use the Arc System from Staples, which I love. It’s flexibility to move things in and out of my planner was a perk. I would only carry 6 months of calendar with me at a time. I liked being able to move the pages in and out to write on them. I liked the half letter size, it fit perfectly in my purse and I would take it with me everywhere with ease. Then I was given an Erin Condren gift certificate for my birthday last year and I took the leap into all things Erin Condren.
Now, I can’t even say that my planner is as stunning as ANY of those I’ve seen on Pinterest or Instagram, but it’s definitely functional! I have tried to add stickers here and there, but I’m still very much a newbie when it comes to where/when to use a sticker in my planner. “But you’re designing planner stickers?” I hear you thinking it! I use colored dots in my monthly spread for things that are a constant, repeating appointment. I babysit my Nephew during the week and so I know those days and times are consistent, but I like an overview look when I look at my monthly for when I’m planning/adding events to our calendar. It’s that visual thing again. I don’t need to write it all out, as I know what the dot means. I do however write it out when I transfer everything to the weekly spread.
I have designed stickers that I will use. I need stickers to keep track of practices, both for baseball and for band; I created dots for the monthly spread and then the other cute, functional (the to-do, boxes, page flags etc.) stickers to fit the weekly spread.
I have found that the horizontal format is what works best for me. I have used a vertical layout before, in an older planner (Do It All Mom Planner) back when I was in college, which worked; but we just have too much going on these days to fit it all into a small vertical box. Maybe I’m wrong, or my writing is just huge, but horizontal is what works for me. I then use the blank box on the right as the space where I write our meal plan for each day. This way it’s all in one place.
So, the point of telling you all of this? I am only as organized as my planner/calendar. I really do not function well without a plan. I don’t schedule myself down to the very last second of my day, but I like to make sure we know what’s going on and when. With there being times that my husband goes in one direction while I go in the opposite, I have to stay on top of who has what going on and when. This is also how I plan our meals. Not so much breakfast and lunch, but dinners, for sure. If we have a baseball game on a weeknight, that is not the night I plan to cook a roast dinner or tackle a new recipe. I will be starting a blog series on meal planning and how I tackle that task.
So, let me know, how do you keep yourself organized? What planner/planning system – you could still be using a Blackberry and Outlook – have you found that works for you?
If you’re interested in purchasing an Erin Condren Planner yourself, you can use my referral link and receive $10 off of your first purchase!
I’d love to see how you use your planner, your stickers or lack there of and what type of planner you use. Link me below!