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Planning

How are you so organized?

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!

Planner and Paper

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