Monday mornings feel really overwhelming when I haven’t taken the time to plan the week out. I end up in the kitchen getting breakfast ready, my head spinning with everything I need to remember for the week ahead.
I notice that when I take some time on Saturday or Sunday to sit down and write out our family’s week, I feel really calm and even excited when Monday morning comes around. For this reason, I make planning ahead a priority.
If you are looking to feel more organized and productive, and less overwhelmed and stressed, you can start with the task of planning ahead.
I’m going to share with you my system for planning out my week, as well as the fun calendars and planners I love to make this task more enjoyable.
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Two Things You Need for Organized Planning
A Family Calendar
Every December, I search for a calendar that has large enough space to list all of the families events/appointments/reminders.
This calendar hangs in our kitchen so it’s easily accessible.
You Can Include the Following on Your Calendar:
- Doctor/ Vet/ Dentist/Haircut appointments
- Sports practice/games
- Special theme days at school
- School pictures
- Car inspections
- Half-days of school/days off
- Work schedule
- Commitments with friends and family
- Important due dates
- House projects (my husband now includes these so I don’t fill up the calendar leaving him with no time to work on his projects)
- Re-occurring tasks that may be forgotten (ie – the dog needs to be groomed every six weeks. I add this to the calendar before even making an appointment so it’s not forgotten.)
As soon as I am made aware of any of the above, I write it on the calendar. I fill out re-occurring tasks ahead of time.
Your planner is important because this is what you use to plan out your actual days. Make sure you find a planner that works for you.
I have tried numerous planners. Some don’t flow as well as I would like them to. I prefer planners that have a spread with vertical weekdays. The planner below (Happy Planner) is what I am currently using and I LOVE it.
It’s important that I have room to jot down other stuff, like a grocery list or to-do list, in my planner without disrupting the days. The Happy Planner makes this easy because I can insert their blank pages.
You Can Include the Following on Your Planner:
- Everything from your family calendar
- Workout schedule
- Dinner for the day
- Projects/work you need to work on
- Errands you need to run
- Cleaning schedule for the week
- Carpool duties
- Drop-off/pick-up kids
Plan Your Week Ahead
Once you have your calendar and planner, you can create your plan for the week ahead.
I tend to spend my time planning on Sunday. Below is my actual planning routine.
Simple Planning Routine:
- Clear off your kitchen table, or desk. It’s best to have room to spread out, plus you don’t want any distractions in front of you.
- Grab your family calendar, planner, and whatever writing utensils you want to use. I like to use fun pens, but I talk more about that later.
- Block out your time. I like to use block scheduling so I know when I will get certain things done. If you want to learn more about block scheduling, watch this. If you don’t use block scheduling, no worries, keep going.
- Copy the family calendar. Using your family calendar, transfer whatever you have going on in the upcoming week into your planner.
- Include personal tasks. Now you can go through and add in those personal to-do’s that don’t need to be on the family calendar. Here are some of my personal things I add to my planner: outings with kids, daily cleaning chores, dinner plans, grocery shopping, personal projects, workout, errands, library, phone calls, etc.
- Highlight items that are super important. If there is something in your planner that you really don’t want to forget, highlight it. I find that just the act of actually highlighting helps me remember more.
- Keep planner close by. Keep your planner where you can easily reference it, especially in the mornings. My planner stays in the kitchen.
- Sit back and relax. After all that work, I honestly can say that I don’t look at my planner multiple times a day. Because I have taken the time to move everything from my brain onto my planner, I feel organized and productive. I let my planner carry the burden of the schedule. I look at it once in the morning, and then I’m usually good for the day.
Planning Made Fun
You may think that this sounds like a lot of work. But you can make it as simple or complex as you want.
Maybe you don’t even want to use a planner but instead would rather just type down your day in your Notes app? Go for it! Whatever leaves you feeling calm and prepared to start your day.
However, if you really enjoy this planning stuff and would like to make it more fun, I’m right there with you.
After going down the black hole of planning videos on YouTube, I was inspired by all of the creativity out there.
I decided to start using stickers and fun pens and stuff like that with my planner. As you probably know, stickers aren’t just for kids anymore.
Some “Extra’s” for Your Planner
Below are the seasonal stickers I use to decorate my planner. I love the fall and all the holidays that follow. These stickers just help add to that excitement.
There are sticker books for just about anything. Below are a few you might like:
I’ve also had good luck finding these types of stickers at Walmart in their scrapbooking section, and in the dollar value section at Target.
Dividers are a fun little add-on for your planner. These dividers allow for you to include your meal plan and budget so you have everything in one spot.
I tend to use sticky notes in my planner when I need a short to-do list on a certain day, or if there is something really special I don’t want to forget.
Of course you can use post-it notes too, they serve the same purpose!
I use the pens below because they are so colorful, and they don’t bleed through the page or smudge. I color-code my block scheduling using these.
This Planning Routine Will Change Your Life
If you make the time for this planning routine, I promise you it will change your life for the better. You will start your days knowing what your expectations of the day are. You will feel more organized and productive, and less stressed and overwhelmed.
What is your favorite way to plan? I love hearing about others planning routines so let me know in the comments below.