I wrote a series of organization posts last year when I was having a baby, writing twice a month for the paper, gardening, writing a book, and homeschooling. It was a complicated plan.
But this year, life is less complicated. So the plan is less complicated.
First: Think about your year
Do you garden, homeschool, travel, host Thanksgiving? Figure out the departments of your life and where they fit into a year for you. Sketch out a general plan, if you like. I didn’t make one this year, but here’s mine from last year.
Second: Make a Tentative Detailed Yearly Plan
THIS IS THE CORE. Make a spreadsheet of the year, broken into seasons and weeks (one page per season, see below), or adapt mine.
- Put all the things you listed in the previous step on it.
- Put everyone’s birthdays, holidays, and vacations.
- Anything that will require preparation.
- Go ahead and add all the Dr appts you already know about.
- Put the car service appointment the week before a long trip.
- Mark when you want to start shopping for xmas, making a particular birthday gift.
- If you garden, find your frost date and list the weeks in either direction in that column.
- If you homeschool, or have kids in school, line out the breaks and grading periods in that column.
- If you have deadlines, put that in another column and work backwards setting reasonable goals for the previous weeks.
- And in big block letters across the top of each season, write your appointment preference, if you have one, so you avoid double booking baseball season or to help you take advantage of regular times when the kids are occupied. My year round rule is “Kid-free on T, W, F after 3.”
Third: Print out a season or two and PUT IT IN YOUR PURSE
This ONE PAGE goes with me everywhere! No planning playdates, dr appts, or anything without looking at this sheet. This sheet is so important, I periodically scan the marked up current season (from my purse) into my computer with all my crazy notes, just in case I lose it.
At this point, your life is now reasonably under control, but let’s take it a step further…
Fourth: Assemble Your Detail Lists
What can’t be scribbled in the margins of your TDYP? What do you NOT have a computer program doing automatically for you? Like I have www.MINT.com for tracking our finances (free). I have auto-pay set up through our bank (free) for all our monthly bills. I have www.HOMESCHOOLTRACKER.COM (not free) for planning lessons. I have a scrubby lady (not free) for twice a month shower, ceiling, fan, baseboard dusting-type-stuff. And, I have a crawling baby (not free), so house cleaning is more frequent and need-based than it used to be. Floors can’t wait an extra day if there are baby hands getting grubby. So, I don’t need real elaborate sections for all that. If you want to make elaborate sections for that stuff see www.flylady.net or these forms.
But I definitely need detailed sheets* or whole separate notebook sections for:
- Shopping lists, recipes, master lists of what we generally have around for breakfast, lunch, and snacks
- Homeschool plans, frequently recited material, curriculum progress and reading checklists
- Gift planning
- Contacts (though most are in my phone, it’s good to have a backup)
- Garden Plans
*Apart from the Garden plan, I no longer spend ages making my own sheets, when I can get them for beans from this talented lady: Journal, homeschool. For all my old FREE detail sheets, see the old notebook posts.
Fourth: Sit down on Sunday and line out your week
I don’t write down things in multiple places if I can avoid it. So, all my appointments are on my TDYP. All my detailed plans are in my notebook. On Sunday, I sit down and put it all together on a weekly sheet and stick it in the front of my notebook. That’s the only time I rewrite. (Again, I bought forms, so for my old free ones, see the link above.) All the little revolving pieces come together on Sunday. That’s when I gather school supplies and set up centers and print out worksheets. That’s when I figure out all the child arrangements for appointments. That’s when I make the shopping lists and survey the laundry situation.
Five: Tape in a daily routine schedule if you tend to forget, like me.
I do great on a routine, until something messes it up. Like illness. Or surprise visit. Then I forget how I do all this. I get complete amnesia over the Christmas holidays, so I have a daily routine schedule stuck to the inside cover of my notebook. It’s not SUPER detailed, just my reminders.
- Baby up in time to go to sleep by 10 AM
- I drink coffee and read prayers with Tanya
- Kids say hi to Jesus, teeth, shower, clothes, room, bed, laundry, grace/eat
- Baby down, we school.
- Religion: tiny prayer and saints reading
- Recitation: poems, catechism, latin, states, dates, phonograms, counting, K info
- 3 R’s for all
- Read Aloud and the Rest: other subjects and notebooking
- 2PM Wild Kratts
- 3PM Grammy or 4PM neighbor friends
- 6:30 Grace/dinner, dishes, Easy readers
- 7:30 Prayers, teeth, meds, beds
So, here’s the final round-up…
- TDYP in purse.
- Detailed sections of whatnot in binder
- Weekly plan in front of binder
- Daily routine pasted in front
I hope you enjoy it!