Plan Like a Pro ~ Part 2
This post is all about the tools I use to plan. In part 1 I shared how I use digital and paper forms of planning. This is hard for some, but for me it helps me keep a balance in this modern world we live in.
The first tool in my toolbox is the Cozi Family Organizer. I do pay $19.99/year for this planner, but it is well worth it! It is a shared calendar, shared to do lists, and shared shopping lists. It has helped us from double and triple booking plans, and it keeps me from having to do too many ‘I forgot this’ runs to the store. I have a shopping list entitled ‘Kids’, as they run out of things or think of something they want they add it to the shopping list. When I do my weekly planning, I already know what the kids need for the week.
The second tool in my toolbox is GoodNotes on my iPad. I bought a digital planner from Etsy that is undated and I use this for my monthly planning. One reason I do like this method is when I am getting our monthly schedule figured out, I do a to of editing. When I'm using paper this means that I re-write a lot of pages. I don't like a messy planning page. This I can keep erasing over and over, then wen I have my plan where I want it, I move it to my paper planner.
I also use GoodNotes for trips. When we are traveling, it helps me stay organized on the go. Quick lists, reservations, etc.
OK y'all, this is my favorite part! My paper planner. I have used a Franklin Planner since I was 14. It was a graduation gift (I graduated High School early) and I have perfected how I use it over the years. I used it just as a weekly & monthly planner for a long time. I had a separate 'household binder' and many, many other binders. I have narrowed down my needs over the years and now my Franklin Planner is a comprehensive compilation of all of those. Ready for a glimpse inside? First, here is a list of the main tabs:
- Daily To Do
- Week At A Glance
- Healthier Me
- Flex Tab (Right now I'm using this tab to plan my son's graduation party.)
- On My Mind
- Important Info
- Farm Life & Lace
- #'s Y'all
Before the first tab, I have a half folder and my yearly calendar. I also have my time blocked weekly schedule, if my schedule needs to change, it helps me rearrange my week without forgetting to do something important. I also have a list to help me refocus from time to time covering home, personal, school, and family. Let's take one tab at a time y'all!
Daily To Do
Shocker ~ I don't use this tab every day. I only use my daily to do tab when we are unusually busy. I try to not overwhelm myself too much on days that will be the same normal routine.
Week At A Glance
Sunday is the day I refresh this tab. I sit down no Sundays, check my yearly calendar, the cozy family calendar, and update my week. If any changes need to be made to my normal routine, this is where I make those notes. It also has a quick reference for suppers, a mini shopping list where I can add things I run out of or need, and an area for my thoughts.
I do track my food and fitness. Some people feel this is too much. For me, I am more aware of my food and health choices when I track it. I also have some things to watch, so I track how I feel mentally and physically, what I eat, my exercise, amount of water I drank, and my energy level. I can also look back and see where I went right (or wrong) for future reference.
I aso have a list for each family member for things that need to be addressed. Does someone need an eye appointment soon? What do we need to remember to tell our Dr or Naturopath?
In this tab I plan the 'next big thing'. Right now it is my son's High School Graduation. After that it will be his Graduation Trip tab! I know I have a travel tab, I will use the travel tab to organize the trip and packing lists. This will be my go-to tab for any surprises and plans during his trip. It's a big one so it's more than just trip plans. Whatever big thing in life that is happening, this is the tab.
I love planning our meals. I don't always plan the same, life is always changing and we don't have a routine that stays the same all the time. Here are a few different meal planning methods I use and when I use them.
- OAMC (Once A Month Cooking) ~ If we actually have a month we are home and our routine stays the same, I do one huge shopping trip and meal prep for the whole month. Then, the only time I go back to the store (or do my orders for pickup and delivery) are for when I need to restock on perishables. When I cook this way for the month, I meal plan a month ahead. I decide what days I will cook, use my Insta Pot or Crockpot, eat out, etc. I am not super rigid as the month goes along. I mark off each day as we go, so if I go off 'schedule' we still have meals for the whole month. When I do this, we usually have our schedule for supper, but we just make a list of everyone's favorite breakfast, lunch, snack, and drinks and I make sure I have what we need to make that throughout the month. I only plan out our breakfast and lunches in a schedule when we have something specific we are doing. For example : leaving on a trip. I will plan out our lunch driving out and coming home. I'll quit wearing you out now, there will be a whole different post on this subject.
- Weekly Planned ~ I do my schedule Monday start. I know that isn't the most common, but it works for me since I sit down on Sundays to get my schedule and meal planning done. So my meal plan matches. It is a Monday start schedule. I use this when I need to plan all the meals. When do I need to do this?
- When we have someone coming for a visit. I like to take their likes into concern and make sure I plan meals I think the majority of everyone will like. I also make side notes for any dislikes and make sure there are backup options. This seems a little overboard, I know, but there is nothing worse that being somewhere and having to change you eating routine. Note: I don't expect anyone to do this for me, this is just how I was raised with southern hospitality.
- When leaving on a vacation. We usually camp or get an airbnb which includes mostly cooking, which we like. We love to cook and we generally eat a pretty healthy plant based diet. I'll schedule out in more detail so I can decide what prep I'd like to do before we leave. This generally includes cookies and beef jerky, NGL! (I promise we are generally super healthy eaters lol)
- When going to a special event. We have 1 day assemblies and 3 day conventions we go to where we pack lunches. I try to prepare well as we leave early those days and enjoy lunch while eating with our friends when we are there. Sometimes we eat out, but on days we have assignments that keep us late, I Like to have something in the crockpot or something ready to be thrown on the grill.
- Weekly Unplanned ~ This is used when we have a week or 2 completely planned meals, then I use this planner. I just has sections for breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides, snacks, and drinks/desserts. I list out 7 meals for the week and each day I choose on off the list. This helps declutter my mind when I already have a specific list I'm sticking to. Why use this? When we don't have specific plans, we like to eat what we feel like as we go. We work and do volunteer work in the heat, cold, rain, etc. so that dictates what we feel like eating. For example, a couple years ago, I planned to grill out one day, but a cold front came through in early October (weird because we live in the South). It went from being 85 degrees to ice and snow on the ground in the matter of a day. Instead of standing outside grilling, chili sounded much better.
- Shopping Lists ~ You really need a tab for shopping lists? Yes I do, because it is a type of meal planning for me. Since we do own our business and do volunteer work, sometimes life gets hectic. There are times I didn't get to plan anything on Sunday, so we spitball a few ideas for the day or a few days, I make a quick list, and we wing it. Crazy right, I go from super organized to winging it. I told y'all our life gets busy and it's not always the same.
I use this section if we are out of town and I need to know the lesson plan on the go. I also have sections for passwords, important websites, field trip ideas and plans, etc.
Sometimes I have days where I can't think straight. I have a cleaning flow chart I made for myself on days that I can't seem to focus. I also have al my checklists for the kids so I can pull it out of the binder and they're good to go.
On My Mind
I have random thoughts that pop up throughout the day, I use this to get it all off my mind so I can revisit it when I have time to think. Sometimes it is a random thought that doesn't matter, something I need to remember, and sometimes it's bits and pieces of plans we have in the works, or something we need to add to the family calendar. Every day when I make my to do list and every Sunday when I prepare for the week I visit these notes and see if anything needs attention. It keeps me from feeling overwhelmed trying to remember something. I can just get it off my mind at the moment and focus oil the gas at hand for that day.
I keep a list of anniversaries, thank you cards to write, and gifts to buy. I also keep notes on login information etc. that everyone always asks mama for.
I keep my notes, plans, reservations, etc all in this tab. If I need to handle anything on the go, I always have my notes with me. It also makes for good memories, some of the pages I tear out memories and add them to our annual memory book.
Farm Life and Lace
In this tab, I keep notes for blog post & YouTube video ideas, a calendar for my social media release dates, chicken scratch notes for future products/plans, and notes for things I need to do. Pretty much anything having to do with the business that I need to remember goes into this tab.
This is the actual tab name, any notes I need to keep track of when it comes to our finances comes into this section.