I've actually have had some sort of Home Management Binder for about 3 years now. I've previously done a series describing my 3-ring binder sized HMB here, here and here. I had varying success with this binder, and used it and other planners off and on the last few years. It is so easy for me to plan- it's the execution of the plan that is so much harder. I felt that every-other-day I needed to tweak or change my system. When you have growing babies- and I do mean babies- life constantly changes. Carrying a large binder was not at all practical for me. I tried spiral bound planners, and apps on my phone and tablets. None of them stuck. And then... I discovered Filofax and the plannerds that love them! I do not (as yet, wink wink) have an actual Filofax, but what I discovered was the world of half-sized planners.
Tab #1: Day on Two Pages
Seeing the entire month in one glance helps a lot with planning. You can see which weeks have a lot of activity, or where a vacation is upcoming. I make notes in the margin for tasks that are more open-ended or have less of a deadline. This is where I track:
I mentioned that I'm the Children's Ministry Director at our church. This tab keeps me on top of my teacher and helper rotation. I'll also note if we need more snacks, play dough, or if someone needs to switch their week. I need to add here, a curriculum log to track which books the teachers are using- but that's for another day.
This tab has very little organization at the moment, but as I hope to continue blogging this year I keep this place for notes. I'm sure this section will evolve as I get my bearings. Until then I have room for...notes...and that's what I use it for. Genius, I know (by the way, I misspelled "genius" and had to look it up. Then I misspelled, "misspelled". I need more coffee).
My first tab is my most used and important- it's my Day on Two Pages. Filofaxes and Day Runners come with current year planner pages featuring one week spread over two pages- most spiral bound planners do so as well. I went with this for the last few months and it was useful. As a stay-at-home mom I don't have many outside appointments so I always had plenty of room. But I did not like having a separate To Do list and Chore List under different tabs in my planner. I would rather see absolutely everything that corresponds to my day all on one page. So I ordered these gorgeous planner pages! I chose pretty pages because I found out from experience that I am not decorative (another reason to follow me on Instagram is to see my lame attempts at "decorating" my pages). So much of the Filofax cult following includes washi tape, stickers, doodles, and scrapbooking each week to make your planner pretty and useful. After my failed attempts, I thought I'd let the manufacturer make my pages pretty and I'll just focus on actually putting them to use.
Some things you'll see on this page:
- our hourly schedule, humble as it is.
- the tasks I want to accomplish
- my daily, weekly, and monthly chores for the day
- important notes or deadlines
- dinner notes
- half-marathon training schedule and recorded times*
- the memory verse reference I'm currently working on
The second page on my Day on Two Pages has two functions for me. The purple sticky note has my detailed Morning Routine and the blue sticky has my Evening Routine. These two routines helps me prepare for the next day, and start my days well. I carry these sticky's over each day instead of handwriting these on my schedule.
I also use that second page as a sort of journal (you can see my entry under the sticky notes. Also, note my manicure. I rarely get one so it's nice to have it documented). A goal I have this year is to keep track of little moments throughout the day. Neither of my kids have a baby book or photo album. Apart from photos on my phone, I have no records of their years. I don't mind this, but I do want to start jotting down cute things they do or say, milestones, and even my own personal thoughts and feelings from each day. I look forward to making notes on these pages.
By the way, having two pages for every day is a lot of paper (one of the reasons I opted to purchase rather than print off my own pages). Currently I can fit 2 months at a time in my planner. I have one tab divided separating January and February. I'm storing the rest until I need them.
*One short month ago I made an easy Exercise Tracker printable to use this year. All I wanted was a place to cross off the days I made it to the gym so I could see at a glance how often I was working out. This was before my sister-in-law invited me to run a half-marathon with her... and I accepted. So for the next 4 months I have to follow a specific training schedule to prepare for this. Thus, my own printable is useless for me right now, haha. I still offer if FREE to all of you who wish to use it. Enjoy!
Tab #2 Month on Two Pages
- reoccurring appointments or events
- birthdays and anniversaries
- sports and extracurriculars
- important events
- pay day
- small groups or Bible studies
I'm the Children's Ministry Director at church so I need to keep track of which week we have children's church (since we only do it twice a month). I mark those weeks with a dark blue "CC" in the corner of the correct Sunday. I also have an entire section for Children's Ministry which I'll get to in a moment.
Tip: Use a color coding system. I have colored pens for different categories. Some people use washi tape and then write over it, some use small colored dot stickers, and others use highlighters to mark there categories. I say pick a method that works for you and enjoy it!
Tab #3 Menu
Last month I posted how I organize my meal plans- the easy way! I shared several FREE printables, which are still free and available to you. I continue to use this tab the same way and I have really found this to be the easiest way to plan, shop, and prep all of my family's meals.
Tab #4 Children's Ministry
Tab #5 Blog
Tip: After my blog tab you can just see the notepad tucked in the back of my planner. This is handy because in order for a planner to work you need to write down everything the moment you think/hear/plan it! I keep a mechanical pencil in the pen loop now so I can jot everything down. If I suddenly think of a household chore, or appointment, or To Do that needs to be done, I jot it on the notepad (to be transferred to the correct tab in the proper color later). I carry my planner with me everywhere and make a note about a possible play date the minute the other mom and I even suggest it. I make a note immediately when someone at church tells me they will be on vacation the day they are scheduled in the nursery- because I won't remember this by the time I get home. Consult your planner for everything! It's like, a brain.
And that is how I utilize my personal planner! I adore peeking into other people's planners, so please, if you have one share a link or picture so I can drool over your personal style.