I had a friend ask me about how I use my planner because she was kind of struggling with always having hers accessible when she needed it vs. when she could really take the time at home to write in it. That’s kind of how this blog idea came to mind. Because I hadn’t really thought about WHY I used the system I do until we were exchanging tips and stories. Surprisingly, the answers kind of lie in the layout of our homes!
My friend likes to take her planner with her everywhere she goes, that way she can write in appointments and schedule accordingly while she’s out and about. But she said that the only time she can really write in it at home is after she puts her kids to bed and she’s already upstairs for the night. This doesn’t work because her planner is in her bag which she leaves downstairs. Certainly, we can’t be the only two people who 1. Don’t want to make extra trips up and down stairs, and 2. Have a routine with where things “land” when you walk in the house! Right?! Also, life after your thirties (and/or kids) is all about convenience and efficiency!
In my last blog I talked about my 3 fave products that we make, and today I will tell you how I use two of them! Together!!! Our planner and our schedule/list notepads are, hands down, my favorite and most used organizational tools. When planners were just a dream in the distance, we created the schedule/list notepad. We thought it was a great way to write down what you need to get done and assign your to dos throughout the week as your schedule allows. I have used it and loved it since that first notepad was printed! But here are my how’s and why’s on using this notepad AND my planner together….
The way our house is set up, our entry room is in the basement, and directly next to the entry room is my office. Upstairs is our main living area, kitchen, living room, and bedrooms. This is where we spend most of our time. While we are upstairs, I often think of things that need to be done and schedule fun things to do with my daughter throughout the week as they come up. Upstairs is the perfect place for the schedule/list notepad. I put a magnet on mine and keep it on my fridge so I can easily access it and reference it. (My hope is that my husband also occasionally glances at it!) I think this is a great notepad for an area like this because once the week has passed, you just throw out that page and move on to the next, but the layout allows you to keep your schedule and your to do list all in one place.
During my daughter’s nap time I head downstairs to the office and pay bills, work on Lemon Tree stuff, get organized, etc. This is where I keep my planner because I really do my long-term/intentional planning and my “big picture” to do lists during this time and in that space. Lindsay and I also meet once a week for the business and my planner always goes with me. By leaving it in the office, I have easy access to it whenever I am running out the door!
What I like about having something on each floor of the house is that I never have to run up or down the stairs to check and see if that appointment I have today is at 10 or 10:30, and didn’t I have someone I was supposed to call today? I can see how this can appear to be double the work, or could cause you some confusion and/or missed appointments. But I have come up with a routine that makes this VERY easy for me to use. About twice a month I pay bills and go through all the mail I haven’t sorted through yet. (Side note: I have a mail organizer in my entry room that allows important stuff and not so important stuff to be sorted, thus my bimonthly bill pay and mail sorting!) During these times, I bring my schedule/list notepad with me and go through the next month to make sure that I have everything that is up and coming in BOTH places. That way I am (usually) not missing a play date here or dentist appointment there. After I am all caught up with my organizing and planning, I leave my planner in the office, and take my notepad back upstairs and put it back on the fridge! Voila!
My friend also asked me how I remember to put appointments in the planner because that’s part of the reason she likes to take her planner with her. I have two different routines here: 1. If it’s a doctor’s appointment kind of thing where they give you an appointment card, I have a special spot that I put these things in my bag, and I check that spot each time I pay bills and do scheduling. 2. If it’s a to do I need to remember or something else I will forget if I don’t write it down, I text it to myself. I also check this text thread any time I’m scheduling. Why a text and not a notes app? The text bubbles move up and I move on and don’t have to think about it! There’s no need to erase or add anything after it has been written down- easy peasy!
It is such a personal preference on how each person plans and organizes, and what works for them vs. what works for other people. My routine might sound like chaos to the next person, but I can’t imagine only using the calendar on my phone for planning when some people swear by it! What I really liked about my friend’s question is that it made me reflect on what I was doing and why, and I also really liked that we realized that our homes were a big part of what we were doing!