I am a people-pleaser by nature & find it very hard to say no to people & opportunities. I find myself involved in many different organizations, in addition to finding time for family & friends. It can be hard to keep all of the balls in the air! It’s easy to become overwhelmed & anxious if I don’t have a good system in place for organizing my schedule & to-do lists. Today I thought that I would share how I organize & plan my week. It’s taken time to discover & fine tune what works for me. My method may not work for everyone, but hopefully you’ll find something to incorporate into your own routine to make keeping yourself on schedule a little easier.
I use a combination of a paper planner & Google calendar. My paper planner is heavy, so it doesn’t go everywhere with me. Every appointment goes on both calendars, so I have access to my schedule regardless of whether I have my paper planner or my phone. I typically take 5 minutes at the end of every day to be sure that all appointments are reflected on both calendars.
I schedule a planning session every Sunday. I used to go through several paper planners every year, searching for the perfect fit. Then I found the Day Designer & I am hooked! I especially love the yearly goal setting section & the online community of support, but more on that in another post!
I begin my planning session by syncing Google calendar and the monthly calendar in my Day Designer. I use a color-coding system for all appointments, so I can easily tell if a category (work, personal, volunteer) is out of balance. I use the “monthly to-do” section to list what my book club is reading for the month & any other notes/reminders for the month. Erin Condren’s customizable event stickers fit perfectly, so I use them for important birthdays & holidays. It’s important to keep your long-term goals in mind when planning for the week, so I love the “goals for the month” section as a daily reminder of my top 3 monthly goals.
Next, I move on to the daily pages. I transfer any appointments to the daily pages. The highlighted time is my workday. I’ve found that highlighting the numbers, rather than blocking out time allows me to add in meetings or appointments. I don’t use all of the boxes in the upper right of each page – I cover “dollars” with a hydrate sticker to track my water intake & I use “don’t forget” for any upcoming activities/events that I need to keep in mind. I try to use “dinner” to meal plan for the week, but I’ve been pretty lax on that recently. Maybe that will be one of my top 3 goals for August. I often use the “download” section to jot down notes, thoughts, etc. each day. There’s also a space for writing down your “gratitude” each day, thought I’ve been falling behind on that too. Another August goal?
I keep a running to-do list in Evernote, so I can jot down tasks whenever I think of them, even if I don’t have my paper planner handy. During my weekly planning session, I transfer the big to-do’s to my paper planner. These are typically tasks that must be accomplished, or completed, on a certain date . I try to spread the big tasks out evenly over the week. Again, I use my color-coding system as an easy way to determine if any category is occupying the majority of my time. It’s all about maintaining balance!
Each morning, I take 5-10 minutes to plan my day. I review my schedule for the day & the previous day’s to-do list to see what tasks were not completed. I prioritize my top 3 to-do’s for each day. These are usually tasks that have a hard deadline, though they sometimes get bumped to the next day if I don’t quite finish. Then, I look to my running to-do list & fill in the other tasks that I hope to accomplish. It’s so satisfying to see a completed checked-off to-do list, so I try to be reasonable about what can be accomplished in a given day. If a task remains unfinished at the end of the day, I simply move it to the next day’s list. I take a few minutes at the end of each day to review what I accomplished & note what I’m grateful for.
And that’s a brief overview of how I keep myself organizing & on schedule! I’m constantly tinkering with the system as I learn more about what works, & what doesn’t. Now, on to the fun part! I don’t decorate my planner as much as some people, I prefer a clean layout, but I do like to add a little pizazz with stickers. Here are some of the fabulous stickers that I use to decorate & make certain to-do’s or appointments stand out. Faye Creates has become one of my most-visited Etsy shops. She has so many adorable options & is constantly coming up with new ones! The hydrate, plan, and dot bar stickers are also from Faye Creates.
**Thanks to Blog Society for the gorgeous title image!**