I love the idea of a planner.
In real life, I’m a bit inconsistent and pretty shaky with a cup of coffee and after many times in my life of splurging on pretty planners, using them religiously for a few weeks and then forgetting about them… sometime while in college I vowed to stick to iCal.
iCal has been perfect for us. Our jobs have calendars that we can subscribe to, we have personal calendars each, I have a “friends and family” calendar that keeps track of due dates and travels (so I don’t have to ask: ‘so when are you due/going to ____/turning 30 again?’ one million times), we keep meals in there so there’s no question about what’s for dinner (and it’s easy peasy to move around once you inevitably deviate from ‘the plan’) and it all syncs pretty seamlessly most days across devices. Occasionally something weird will happen and an event will be missing from either my desktop calendar or my phone, but for many years iCal has kept us together and where we need to be most times. Sidenote: the new address thing for events that tells you when you should leave for some place based on traffic is absolutely brilliant. That has been saving me lately.
When I started working from home I was overwhelmed with the need to write everything down. I was keeping track of baby feedings and naps, kept a running to-do list for work, kept another running list for chores and things to do around the house, and I was also keeping a food journal and track of my eczema symptoms. iCal and reminders wasn’t cutting it. So, I started looking at planners. I needed a place to keep all the things.
The Simplified Planner by Emily Ley is absolutely beautiful, but I wasn’t sure it was what I needed and I did not want to spend that much money without holding it in my hands first. So I looked at her free printable library, of which there are SO MANY! And they are pretty and colorful, too!
The first one I tried was this weekly template, and I divided the rows: work, house, fun. I kept a separate one for Lincoln and kept track of feedings, naps and miscellaneous. Eventually my work list was too long for a box, but for several months this worked really well. I loved being able to map things out and view the “big picture” for the week. View and print here
This monthly planning page was super helpful, also. I used it to keep track of work deadlines (progress reports, beginning/end to units, meetings, etc.) and mom things like doctor appointments, grocery trips and other tasks. View and print here
After a while I wanted a more detailed page where I could mark nap times/feedings and what things I would do for work/chores during nap time. So, I tried the daily planning page. I loved the running to do list on the side and the hour by hour plan on the left, space for random notes and dinner. View and print here
And then, I saw the Day Designer
at Target one day and went to Whitney English’s website and printed out her daily planning page, which I loved SO much I had my husband make a billion copies of it (Ross style:) front and back!
I holepunched those bad boys, bought a pretty binder at my local Target and made my own little planner. View and print here
. I *loved* this, because in this particular season I was struggling with the adjustment of full time at home life, and all the days blurred together and I could not remember anything
. The “due”, “dinner”, “dollars”, “Don’t Forget” and “Top 3” at the top helped me remember the biggest highlights for the day, and not get lost in all the little tasks. The Top 3, especially, helped me feel productive even on days where my mom duties kept me from work. Check out the rest of her printables, some free, some not, here
. We super love the meal planner
and grocery list
Here’s my cute little binder planner in action on Instagram. I eventually added tabbed dividers and some other sections with a party-planning sheet
, brain dump sheets
, this amazing “Borrowed Items”
page (because borrowing and lending of early motherhood is the best way to lose things). It has become quite a “home base” for me and all the things that come with juggling work, baby and home. Yay for free and pretty things.
Happy free printable-ing!