Ever feel like there is an endless amount of things to get done – laundry, washing dishes, planning meals, Zoom meetings, distance learning for your kiddos, buying diapers, going to pediatrician check ups, spending family time, getting bath time, having play time, and not knowing how to really make sure none of it falls by the wayside?
Ever since I could remember, I’ve loved TO DO lists and I mean, I love them. I love how accomplished one can feel just by checking something off. It might be just making that call to get a doctor’s visit for your little, or finally folding the laundry that has been sitting on the couch, or worse, your bed.
A Planner By Nature
You see, I am a planner by nature and funnily enough a large part of my professional career was about planning and helping people plan their lives. I facilitated families in care to help them navigate the social welfare system. I worked with a variety of people from different backgrounds and beliefs to be able to come up with a consensus on how to help a family succeed. The constant thread in the success was to really have a plan; a plan that was specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based – a SMART plan. I’ve used this technique in both my professional life, but also my personal goals and planning.
I am the type of person that can get overwhelmed by having too much in my head, so putting it down on paper is very helpful, my brain thinks of so many things at the same time, that’s why it’s super important for me to stay focused and hydrated, (but that’s another post on hydration.) Once I became a mother, my head was full of ideas, and things to get done went on overload, so I knew I had to turn to something that would keep the ideas at bay, but I would still get things done in an efficient way.
The Search For The Perfect Mom Planner
In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, I tried creating online files where I could keep things organized and that my husband could also access as well, but that just became too cumbersome. Then, I tried having a large yearly planner, but that was just too much to carry. Being a mom, I knew I had to carry something smaller that could fit in my purse or diaper bag. That is when I went into the rabbit hole of the Internet and started looking for planning options, that had three main things:
- Compact-it needed to fit comfortable in a purse, backpack or diaper bag.
- Personalized-it needed to have options to change things about the planner itself.
- Cute-this one might seem silly, but if you are going to be looking at a planner often, might as well make it nice to look at.
I found several planners that were wirebound, binder style, undated, but none of those had all three criteria, it was not until I found Erin Condren’s Petite Planner Folio system. I had been following an Instagramer; @chingonaplans where she talks about her planning techniques and how she uses them to organize both her personal and professional lives, she’s a mom of two and a professor, so she’s busy and pretty cool. She has some great tips and ideas on how to personalize your planner. Not every system works for everyone and it is important to try different styles until you know what works for you.
I especially like seeing my entire month first so I can plan ahead and know what to expect and prepare for in that month. I also love daily planning so that I can break down each day into manageable goals and tasks. Being held accountable to myself has been a goal this year and keeping a planner has been super helpful.
As you can see initially the planner looks bulky, but that’s because it’s really several planners compiled together in the folio system.
I have 4 notebooks in the folio.
- Dated 3-month planner. At the beginning of each month it shows the entire month so that I can organize doctor’s appointments, developmental milestones that my littles make and the like. I can quickly jot down birthdays, events and deadlines.
- Lined notebook. Since I became a mom, I wrote down everything, especially in preparing for pediatrician visits. I would have questions and made sure they made it into the book so that I could reference them later.
- Goal Setting Journal. In an effort to be more mindful and focused, having a goal journal has helped me see how to feel empowered to reach for my goals in smaller parts so that they are more achievable and attainable.
- Budgeting Planner. Part of being mindful and focused this year, was also to save and budget better. This breaks it down my month and lays out expenses, money goals and how much savings one has or is working toward.
The folio itself is very nice and feels luxe. I was able to personalize it with my initials and add pockets and zipper pouches to have more room as well as a slot for a pen. Having everything centralized in one spot has been extremely helpful and allowed me to concentrate on more important things like actually being with my babies instead of thinking of the next several things that I need to get done.
If you are interested in more organizational tips and meet others that love organizing and planning there is a new Erin Condren Flagship store at the Irvine Spectrum that just opened in February, ( be sure to check if they are currently open, due to COVID-19) where you can look at different planning systems and see which ones work for you. There will also be a national conference for planners, called GO WILD that has been rescheduled to June 10-13, 2021 in Anaheim, or Plananaheim as they call it. It was rescheduled because of COVID-19. I know there are lots of people saying “2020 is cancelled,” but life still goes on and you will have to plan for things, little or small, so I think having a plan would be extremely helpful.
Obviously everyone has a something different that works for them, but I thought of gifting the opportunity to plan and organize one lucky reader. Head on over to our IG @coronamomsblog for a chance to win an Erin Condren Petite Planner, Happy Planner Notebook and Happy Planner Sticker Pad and try out some organizational tips. Check the post with this picture.
How have you tried to stay organized? Here are some other ways to stay organized! Let us know in the comments below.