In a podcast episode here, I describe in detail about how to use your planner/calendar to get more done in the upcoming year. I thought I would also include some information here at the blog in print format to help you out.
Note that all of this is also available in our freebie Friday on January 1, 2016, to blog or newsletter subscribers (you will still have access to this link for the whole month of January if you subscribe now). That freebie is The Simplified Planner that I described in the wondering Wednesday podcast episode and I will refer to here as well. However, any planner that is broken down into monthly then week-at-a-glance pages—and has the space to add pages to it (The Monthly Memo page described here and the Daily Duties page described in an upcoming blog post) will work fine. The main thing about planners is getting something that you will really use every day—whether that is my freebie, one from the office supply store, these fancy/gorgeous ones available online, or an electronic device.
Most of us use some kind of monthly calendar. Many of us have several calendars scattered around the house and office. Others only use digital or electronic devices keep track of things. I guess you could say this information is for old-school folks – those of us who still use a two-page spread of a monthly calendar/planner (though the prioritizing in upcoming posts will help those with print planners or digital planners).
I like to use a large calendar, much like The Simplified Planner that is available as our Friday Freebie. Most 8.5 x 11 planner pages that you might get at an office supply store are set up in this way as well. I like the larger calendar planners because you can fit more on each square.
I use the top two thirds of each calendar square to put anything that is going on during that day activity-wise – kids’ activities, my tutoring students, appointments, etc. Because I like to keep track of our college and high school kids’ work schedules, the bottom third of each calendar square is reserved for the kids’ work schedules. This way I can see at a glance that Josiah is working 7 AM to 7 PM this Thursday, etc.
In addition to using the monthly calendar page, I follow that page up with a two-page spread I call Monthly Memos. I like to categorize everything in my planner, so I do the same on this Monthly Memos page. This Monthly Memos page has categories such as recipes to try, blog posts to research or write, family things, podcast episodes, personal goals, etc. I use this like a worksheet throughout the month to jot down ideas, things I don’t want to forget, goals, etc. (As a writer, I also have my project planner for big projects, but this two-page spread helps me focus on the upcoming month.) For younger parents, your Monthly Memos page will have completely different categories—maybe books to hold at the library, things to research for homeschooling, parenting goals, meal idea, etc.
I have these Monthly Memos pages inserted throughout my calendar following each month, so I can go up a few months and jot something down for that month if I don’t want to forget something or something is seasonal that I want to remember. Having a place where everything goes for that month is helpful – especially since it is located right before my week at a glance pages. Check out a future blog post for more information about the week-at-a-glance pages and how to really use those pages for weekly goal setting.
The key to getting more done really does lie in the planning; however, if we don’t have a planner or tool that we will readily open and use each day, that is also not helpful. Our planner usually begins with the month, but I prefer to focus on my days (The Daily Duties pages), so stay tuned for those upcoming posts! Your success lies in the completion of Daily Duties! 🙂
Check out our freebie, The Simplified Planner, by subscribing to our blog here.
Listen to detailed instructions on how to set up a simple planner/calendar at my Wondering Wednesday podcast here.