As a girl who lives by her lists, it helps me to have a place to keep them together so I don't wind up with post-it notes all over the house. I talked about keeping a sewing calendar in Sew Organized for the Busy Girl, which has been really helpful to me in my creative work. Nowadays I keep a lot of that information in a monthly calendar on my phone, but I also like have something on paper where I can write down the daily steps that get me to those weekly goals. I spent the last week of 2019 looking for the perfect planner to carry me into the new year, but after several hours spent combing through what was available both online and in stores, I came up empty. So this year I decided to try something new: I made my own planner pages from scratch on Adobe Illustrator.
I had originally planned to bring the file to the local office store and have it printed and spiral bound, but my mom encouraged me to live with the pages in a binder for a few weeks first so that I could make adjustments as needed. It was good advice. I've found a few ways to streamline the page as I go along.
While I often have special appointments in my schedule, most of the items on my to-do list fall under a recurring set of categories: cleaning, cooking, homeschooling, writing, and sewing. There are some things that I need to do every single day, but can easily forget to do (feed the dogs) or forget whether or not I've done them (take my allergy medicine) if they're not on a list in front of me. I love having these daily chores already built into the page so that all I have to do is check them off. There's also room to write down extra tasks that come up as well as a spot at the top for special activities or important things that need my attention right away.
In my drive to work through a checklist, it's easy for me to forget about the small everyday things that are going on in my life, so I added room at the bottom of the page to keep track of those too. There's a place to list what I'm reading, listening to, and watching every other day. I like that this will not only help me stay faithful in keeping my annual list of what books I've read, but it will also let me see what's influencing my thinking throughout the year.
My favorite feature, though, is the small section in the lower right corner for moments that I want to remember -- little victories, quirky happenings, funny things that the girls say. Just looking back over the pages I have already, I can't help but smile at the memories I'm recording, things that could have so easily been forgotten otherwise. The time we were watching White Christmas for a family movie night, and James declared that the pale yellow socks that Danny Kaye was wearing were the height of fashion...so of course I had to track down a pair for him online (he loves them!). The day that Bunny scored a 98% on both her history AND science semester finals. The night when Bear lost a tooth not five minutes after the girls were talking about how much they wanted ice cream (we celebrate every lost tooth with ice cream in our family; it's a tradition). The morning that Mouse came to me excited because she had actually enjoyed a math lesson for the first time ever. "Because," she added (I kid you not), "multiplication and division are the death of all good things." I ran right over to my planner to write that one down before I could forget it, let me tell you...
I love hearing what other people are doing when it comes to planners and organization. What do you use to stay on top of your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule? Do you like using a planner or not? Have any of you tried making your own? What are the most helpful tricks you've found when it comes to getting your to-do list done each day? Please share!