I have made no bones about the fact that my life is nothing but one event after another. Whether that event is a deadline or a practice or a party or a performance, there is always something on the calendar these days. One of the comments I hear all the time is, “I don’t know how you do it.” Truthfully, neither do I most days. What I do know is that without a detailed calendar and to-do list, I would never get anything done.
I have always been a planner girl. Back when my company paid for it, I was an advocate for Franklin Covey’s planners. I have always preferred the daily layout versus the weekly because I could write my daily to-do list right there next to my schedule. I used both the ring-bound and the wire-bound over the years, although I did end up using the ring-bound more often because of the adaptability and customization that it afforded.
Back when we moved from Ohio to Wisconsin, I made every effort to go paperless. I migrated everything into my Google calendar instituted a color-coding system so that it was easy to see at a glance who had what going on at what time. I tried multiple to-do list and productivity apps, but I never found one that clicked for me. I still found myself making daily to-do lists for work and for home. I was constantly checking my calendar on my phone for appointments. I was missing birthdays and events were sneaking up on me.
Last year, I splurged on a Day Designer planner and haven’t looked back. It was by far one of the best purchases I have ever made. I love everything about this planner. The categories, the daily breakout, the schedule. It makes me feel prepared and just a bit stylish carrying it around with me. I love decorating it and making it truly mine.
So, how do I use this fabulous planner to make sure I stay on top of things? Well, the first step is the Google calendar. Yep, everything still goes into that one very important bit of coding. It is my first point of staying organized because I can push out appointments to other family members and can set up audible reminders on my phone. I put in every single one of the kids’ appointments and practices, doctor’s appointments, due dates for bills, birthdays, pay days, holidays, Jim’s travel schedule, reminders, etc. I still keep things color-coded because I like the visual. Here is what my January month-at-a-glance looks like:
This is only the beginning. Next week, I will share how I use my Day Designer most effectively. (I was going to do it in this post, but I *may* have gotten a little wordy…)
What do you use to stay organized? Any helpful hints to share? How do you get shit done?
Will you look at that – you’ve got one whole day with nothing on the calendar!
Ha! I think that has since been filled in, but I haven’t gone back to change it.
I am in the same boat with the constant business. I like the way that you are getting organized. I have opted to not use a digital calendar this year and am trying out a desk calendar with space for the blog and life. I enjoy being able to get away from the computer and organize my life. Best of luck with getting all of that done!
I need the digital calendar because mine is the calendar on which the rest of my family relies. I need the audio reminders of appointments/practices and can set the same for the kids and my husband too. If I had everything written down on paper, my husband would never know who has what on what day and at what time. Well, he really doesn’t know now, but at least I can provide reminders to automatically pop up right to his phone!
I’m excited to see the rest of your system! Mine starts with Google Calendar too — so convenient, and easy to deal with on the go when I’m not near my notebooks or planner.
Yes, I could not function without the audible reminders of appointments or practices. It is sometimes the only thing that gets us out the door on time!
I don’t like the color themes that Google had so I use Sunrise which pulls my Google appts in and also, somehow adds my work appts from Outlook too. I don’t know how because I never set it up that way but I like it because it’s all in one place.
As you know, I tried the Simplified Planner this year. So far, I like it a lot but I do think it could be a little bigger which is funny because this year she made it smaller to be more portable. The smaller size is good for the daily pages but a little small for the monthly spread.
It was a lot of work to get all the dates in for the year between the monthly spread, the daily spread and Sunrise. I mean, I had such a headache! But now that I am just adding new stuff as it comes in, it’s not so bad. I like that I can include some happy memory for each day and I do like that my to-do list is daily and right in front of me.
I don’t decorate mine and in fact had issues with pen. Not that it was bleeding through but that dates kept changing so I switched to a lead pencil with a clip on it so I could stick it in the binder ring but the leads are smudging. That is making me crazy! Regular pencils don’t smudge but all the leads and weights I’ve tried do. Plus, they squeak when I write. I am a freak.
You are not a freak! I won’t use pencil for all those reasons! I would rather use white-out or some sort of corrective tape to fix scheduling changes (or my CANCELED/RESCHEDULED stickers).
I can see not decorating. This really is the first year I have done so, and I have definitely cut back in recent weeks. I like the pop of color without losing most of the functionality. I see some of those spreads of Erin Condren planners and wonder how the hell anyone can use them!
I think the set-up is the most daunting thing about using a planner. It does take time, but once you get everything set up, all appointments written down, maintaining it is easy.
I used to use a Franklin Covey planner, and then went digital. I only use my work calendar – but I love the idea of using Google instead! I love your planners and have been considering trying one out. I forget EVERYTHING. It would be nice not to have that issue. Lol.
I always make sure my Google calendar ties to my work calendar for appointments and such. The times I forget to sync them are the times I overbook myself or forget something. The same holds true for not writing down something. If I don’t write it down, it won’t be happening. Your brain can only take so much data. At least when you write it down, you can forget it – as long as you remember to keep your list by you at all times.
Love this new feature. I have The Hubster and I sharing a Google Calendar and that works perfectly for the things that both of us need to know. Color coding for the win. I have been all digital for To Do stuff but now that I’ve got my Traveler’s notebook set up I’m shifting to a mix of digital and analog. It’s a work in progress but I’m settling into a nice mix. It needs a few tweaks but eventually I’ll share it.
Yes, shared Google calendars are a godsend. Digital calendars are the best because I just hit “Invite” and the person gets the appointment on his or her own calendar. I hear you on the mix between analog and digital. I just could not get into a digital to-do list. I like using pens too much, I think. I cannot wait to see your Traveler’s notebook!
I don’t get shit done. That’s my secret. Ha ha :/ Really though, I’m forever looking for ways to keep myself organized but can rarely stick with anything longer than a week. I might be selling myself a bit short, I do have a few routines that work for me. 😀 I’ll be following this series!
Thanks, girl! I can’t say I am an expert because I feel like I don’t do much. Then again, I have my entire life so well-organized that maybe it doesn’t seem like a lot to me because it is so painless. Who knows?