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I’m lazy. There. I said it. And I think because I’m lazy, I by default find the most efficient ways to accomplish my to do’s. Because the less hard I have to work at it, the more likely I am to accomplish it.
Planners are all the rage lately, and spending $50+ on a planner each year, not including accessories, has quickly become the trend. The time invested in to bullet journals and the like is so cool if that’s your thing. But this lazy, frugal mama just doesn’t have the time to dedicate to that much planner prep. Nor do I want to invest that type of money in something I only use during my productive phases through out the year (hello lazy February, I’m looking at you!).
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So here are my lazy girl hacks to planner purchase and prep, along with how I keep my family organized with minimal time investment.
Utilize Google Calendar
For all things important, time sensitive, needing reminders, can’t be missed: I use Google Calendar. I’ve synced my husband’s and my gmail accounts together, so our calendars show on each other’s devices. He works flex schedule, and I’m managing three (soon to be four) kids’ schedules, plus my own. That’s a lot of stuff. And a lot of potential for screw ups and missed appointments. So I set up a calendar under my account for each family member (color coded for easier viewing). Any appointment, project due date, school schedules, etc. get’s plugged into the respective family member’s calendar. So hubs and I both know where everyone needs to be, every day.
Invest (or actually DON’T invest) in a Simple, Clean Planner
I prefer to use planners that run with the Academic Calendar. Something about starting a fresh planner right before the school season starts gives me a reboot during that mid year slump. I found this awesome moleskin knockoff on Amazon that has everything I need, leaves out everything I DON’T need, and comes in around $12. Perfect for any budget, requiring minimal investment. Which makes my frugal heart sing. It’s also really pretty!
Develop Your System
My planner is solely for my growth, goals and accountability. How I use it throughout the year evolves as my goals flex. And that is perfect for me! I love this year’s planner because it has the open space I need to ebb and flow as my productivity and focus changes.
Here’s how I utilize the weekly spread.
Goals For This Week. As I head into the week, I’ll jot down one or two larger projects I’d like to accomplish at the top, so as my week unfolds I can plan time accordingly to accomplish the larger tasks. I love putting my workout count here too, so I can track my fitness goals and hold myself accountable!
Notes. The perfect blank space to fill with any phone calls I need to make (and notes from those convo’s), research I need to do, reminders for things to discuss with my husband, etc.
Meal Planning. My planned dinners get jotted in the top right corner of each day. I plan out dinners one month at a time (in the monthly spreads in the front section of my planner). Crazy I know, but it only takes about 10 minutes to plan 30 meals because I just pull my master list of dinners from the back pocket of the planner! For more on this method, and your own free printable worksheet for monthly meal planning, head to my post here.
Daily To Do’s. Each morning, I brain dump all my to do’s on the left side of the daily box. Getting it all on paper and out of my head leaves me less overwhelmed, and feeling more accomplished as I x off each task I complete. If I don’t get a task done, I carry it over to the next day’s list.
I’ve built a really simple cleaning upkeep into my daily to do’s. It flexes as my days evolve and if I don’t stick to it each week, that’s okay! But it’s just enough to keep the house clean for any short notice guests, which often happens for us!
- Mop It Monday – Mop the floors.
- Toilet Tuesday – Bathrooms, ’nuff said.
- Wipe It Wednesday – Quick dusting, add in cabinet/windows as needed.
- Purge Day Thursday – Tackle any area approaching chaos.
- Fold It Friday – Linens. (I do one load of clothing daily)
Thankfuls. I’m all about using my planner as a quick and simple gratitude journal. Especially when I’m in a rut of negative attitude overload, remembering to write a few thankful’s down each day keeps me grounded in the blessings I have. I dedicate the bottom right side of each daily box to reminding myself all that I have to be thankful for. If you aren’t reflecting on this each day, I highly recommend you give it a try. Such a perspective changer!
Faith. I love to throw a new, simple verse in the blank space of my planner’s border. I always try to select a verse to support whatever reminder I feel like I’ve been needing that week. Having that bit of faith space in my planner keeps me humbled when I need it most.
Family Day. Find one day a week where everyone can clear some time to just be. My husband’s work schedule flexes, so his day’s off are unpredictable. Whenever he has a day off, we call it Family Day. We leave one of these days open each week and plan nothing but open space to just be home together. The day unfolds naturally, which is a really beautiful and amazing gift to give our families in today’s busy normal.
Next Week. Sunday is naturally a blank space in my planner. I choose to use this space as a Next Week brain dump. Any cleaning, tasks, projects or upcoming deadlines will get jotted here to carry into next week’s spread.
Remember, this is my lazy mama system I’ve evolved into. If an accountability planner is something new for you, start SIMPLE. Complete a few weeks of just brain dumping and tracking your to do list. Once that feels comfortable, add in weekly goals and thankfuls. After a month of growing comfortable with your planner, give a month of meal planning a try! Build up and into your planner so you avoid the overwhelm of too much too fast.
I’d love nothing more than to hear from you! How do you organize your planner? Keep it simple or go all out? Any questions, fire them away at me in the comments, I’d love to help!
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Planner: 2019-2020 Academic Planner