Planning & Organizing for the Year

Every few years, my organizational method...the to-do list...the daily calendar...what ever you call it...needs a little shake up in my life. Last year, I felt as though I was either sewing for the shop non-stop, or I was putting the shop completely aside to do homemaking and life. What I needed to find this year was some balance. Maybe a new planner was just the thing? Inspired by photos posted on the Instagram of my dear cyber-friend, Nancy's, planner and how beautiful it was (find her on Instagram @nancymeansgrace), and by the organizational methods detailed by Anna at Pleasant View Schoohouse (read postings here and here), I set my mind to what would work for me and went shopping for a new planner.

Ideally, one would do this before the start of the new year. But the second week of January found me searching for one at Home Goods, where they still had quite a good selection in the "home office" portion of the store. After looking through about 40 (I kid you not!) different ones, I chose this one...a LifePlanner by Erin Condren. (Although I could not find the exact same one on her website, you can by very similar ones, or you can order one fully customized!)

The cover is way too flashy for me, but it didn't matter because it lies open on my desk. I bought it because it fit the bill in every other way: hardbound, lies flat, visually appealing (pretty pages, nice colors, etc.), had pages for goal planning, had a space to write goals for every week, had space on each day for the dinner menu, and so much more.

I started out in the back of the planner, where there are some blank, doted, and lined pages. There I listed out all my goals for the year, divided into the following categories:

(Bible reading, devotions, etc.)

(fitness goals, weight loss goal, etc.)

(the list of the books I want to read this year)

(birthdays, weddings, showers, parties, and more)

(cleaning goals, organizing goals, DIY projects, new purchases)

(outdoor projects to tackle as a family, seasonal clean-up and plantings)

(financial aims for the year, new product plans, promotion goals)

(brainstorming, frequency goals, style, etc.)

(church, community)

Then I moved to the front of the planner where there is a box for each month. I took the yearly goals and plans that I just listed in the back and assigned them each to a month. Most things fall easily into that format, for instance bulb planting happens in October, hubby's birthday is in April, etc. I assigned books to a month. I spread cleaning tasks out over the year. You get the idea. And I decided to be kind to myself and write these goals in pencil, because life! Sometimes you just have to flex and give yourself a bit of grace, so you don't feel defeated if things have to be rearranged. And even though the page where everything for the year was listed out seemed overwhelming, it seemed quite manageable once it was broken down into months. One bite at a time.

Then I move onto the two-page calendar spread provided for each month (not pictured). There I write down everything that is happening in the day squares. And in the sidebar, I transfer all the goals (as seen above) for that month. Each month is a different color!

Then I move on to the week. Sunday evenings, I sit down with the planner and transfer everything from the month spread to that week. I use the sidebar for breaking down the monthly goals into weekly goals. And each day (running vertically) is divided into four sections. I use the top section for tasks happening before noon. The second section for noon until five o'clock. The third section for evening. And the few lines at the very bottom for noting the dinner menu for the day. Again, I like it that the color changes with the month (as you can see this green is even changing over from one shade to another with the change of the month).

A glimpse at this week's goals in the sidebar.

The days beginning to fill in...

I'm hoping this help me find more balance this year. Additionally, I think it will be motivating to look back and see what has really been accomplished. 

How about you? What method do you use for keeping track of your life?

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