How I Stay Organized!

Today I am joining up with Shay & Erica for another Let's Look At... Your Calendar (or in my case Calendars!).  I know so many moms and especially working moms use planners.  Even homeschooling moms have all sorts of wonderful free planners for their homeschooling years that cover every subject, lesson, and student... but I have never found a planner that works for me.

I am, however, a list girl and I love to be organized.


I tried for our first 4 years or so of homeschooling to plan out our homeschooling year but within a few weeks my planner was forgotten (and was a mess!).

Last year we tried a great on-line program for homeschool tracking and I did pretty well on keeping up with it since it worked roughly the way I do loosely plan our year but … I sort of forgot to track each day what we did manage to cover so that too fell by the wayside.

Here IS what works for me (and I say me because I am the only one in the family who keeps track of any sort of schedule for everyone!):

Personal/Family:

We have one very large wall calendar we keep on our pantry door.  I buy a brand new calendar each year and the first thing I do is go through and add in every single family member's birthday, anniversary, etc. so I am not surprised when a birthday or occasion comes up.  Then we add in appointments-- dentist, dr., hair cuts, etc.  I'll write in homeschooling activities (usually along with time, address, and even a guesstimate of the driving time).

EVERYTHING we are doing gets written and planned on that calendar...




I have a somewhat photographic memory so when I am out and about making plans I have a good sense of what days and times work as far as setting up new appointments.

By the end of the year my calendar is a mess with crossed out field trips that fell through at the last minute or plans that changed but it works for us-- pretty or not.

Business/blogging:

Just this past year I began buying a second wall calendar and I use that plan out my blogging schedule.  I always start out using erasable pens and keep everything so neat but at some point in the year whatever writing implement I have on hand becomes good enough and my calendar starts to look a bit messy.

It was great to be able to go in and write all the blog prompts (like this one!), and while my calendar looks like a mess by the end of the month I love that I can see which posts are already finished since they have a giant black x on them and which posts I'm still working on.  I know what I need to prepare for and how many post ideas I still have to come up with.  I will definitely be doing this again for next year!




Homeschooling:

While I can't seem to find a planner that works for me I don't like to just work blindly through our schooling year as I'm likely to omit an entire subject completely (yep, that actually happened when my boys were younger!).

I draw up a very simple plan for what subjects will fit well into which days.  I divide each boys' books into piles and then we decide which subjects we'll work on every school day and which ones we just want to work on once or twice a week.  The boys can work on each subject in any order they want but know what needs to be done each day.



We used this "calendar" last year and while it worked good I still wanted something a bit more.

So my husband worked with me to create this homeschooling check list.  We put in each subject on each day and in the morning I just cross off those we won't be working on and can add in "extras" on the lines below-- things like hiking, baking, science experiments, appointments, and even errands.  Best of all I get to cross things out as we accomplish them so I can see at a glance how our day is going.


Meal Planning: 

A couple of years ago I discovered these free printable menu planning calendars from Simply Stacie (here is a link to this year's).  We keep the current month on our fridge with a magnet and one day each week-- usually one full day before we head out grocery shopping we all plan out the week's dinner items.


From our dinner menu I go around checking supplies and writing up my grocery list.  The boys are on their own for breakfast and lunch and often go around that very night seeing what they might need for the week and adding it to my grocery list; which we keep on the fridge right next to the menu calendar.

My husband put together a spreadsheet with the items we most frequently buy and I helped organize the list by where it is found in the store so the boys just have to put a checkmark near the item we need (though we keep blank lines under each aisle's list so they can write in items that we don't normally buy too).


How do you stay organized?

Join us:


Comments

  1. My friend does the monthly calendar with everything on it like you do. It seems to work! I have been wanting to add a meal plan calendar to my system!

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    Replies
    1. It took us at least a year to get used to using the meal planning calendar but I just love it now.

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  2. I am uber organized but your organization for the grocery is INSANE! In a good way! I need to steal that idea.

    I use an old fashioned calendar and love it. I love technology but when it comes to organizing our schedules, there is nothing like paper. :)

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I really need to see it on paper! The grocery list has helped the boys mark when they use up something too.

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  3. I have a calendar and planner that I use everyday, and yes paper is the way to go for me! I am all about lists!
    www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

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  4. These tips are fantastic! My family really needs a single planing calendar! I have never found a planner that I liked until I got the one from the Old schoolhouse this year and its fantastic! But normally, I just use the cheap ones :) Love seeing your lists!

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  5. Putting everything down on paper and especially having it out in front of you is so helpful I think.

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    1. I definitely need to see it down on paper; for some reason seeing it on a screen just doesn't stick with me nearly as well.

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  6. You are so organized and I love these tips! I have a huge calendar that I keep in our kitchen for appointments, get togethers, birthdays, work schedules, etc. I need to get better about meal planning and really like your system!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I have always been pretty (ultra!) organized.

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  7. I really like that you have a separate calendar for blogging and I am definitely looking into that meal planning calendar. Such a great idea! And then I can hang it on the fridge and actually remember what is for dinner ;)

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    1. Yes, hanging it right on the fridge helps me remember what I'm supposed to be cooking!

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  8. I find writing it down helps me as well. If I stick it on my phone I just forget. Great ideas!

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  9. Oh I remember the days when the kids were still home trying to stay on top of things. My calendar looked very much like this.

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    1. From what I've heard from other moms ours could be so much worse! At least my kids don't play sport so I don't have all those practices and games to keep track of and since we homeschool I don't have to keep track of the school calendar either.

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  10. Wow, you are super organized! I love the idea of a master grocery list- I need to try that! And thank you for sharing the meal plan sheet. I don't use wall calendars because I need to have my calendar with me, so I use a planner. I usually put all the events, appointments, birthdays, etc. on the monthly view, meal plan on the first line of each day in the weekly view, and blog ideas/plans on the last line of that same day in weekly view. I think finding what works best for you is one of the hardest parts of staying organized!

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    1. I do think finding what works best can be one of the hardest parts of getting and staying organized. I tried planners for years and was awful about actually checking/ looking at them so they did me no good.

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