How I Use My Planner to Stay Sane as a Mother

planner

Balancing your life can seem impossible, but it’s not. I promise. How is it not impossible, you ask? Well, through scheduling. I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again, but it’s true. Scheduling is the way to balance even the craziest life.

I am like you. I have a toddler. I have a clean house. I work a full time job (at home). I’m starting up my very first thank-you card business (say what?!). I do direct sales (oils). I have a blog (two, actually). I workout. I occasionally take bubble baths and watch television (GASP!). I make time for my other half (when I can).

But how do I keep it all together? How do I manage to find time for everything and not go to bed crying every night?

Scheduling.

Don’t get me wrong. I go to bed crying some nights. We all do. Sometimes, no matter what you do, life gets out of control. But scheduling has been my savior most days.

Here’s what my planner looks like on a day-to-day basis. Messy. Full. Complete. And, including every aspect of my life.

schedule

What do I include in my planner? Well, everything. But let’s break it down.

Phone Time- I didn’t write it in this entry, but I often schedule in phone time. If I don’t have set 10 minute bursts of time throughout the day, I find myself spending a half-hour scrolling pointlessly through Facebook and other social media apps. During this scheduled time, I check e-mails, texts, social media alerts, etc.

Work- This is an important one because I work at home. It’s easy to put it off and say, “Oh. I’ll just do it later!”. Later never comes for me, so I have to have exact times I work. This is usually before my daughter wakes up, when she naps, and after she goes to bed.

Exercise- I often hear the excuse “I don’t have time to work out!”. Usually it isn’t true. Schedule it in and you’ll be surprised at what you can get done. I do it when my daughter first wakes up. We do dance video exercising and if you haven’t checked out that post, you need to! And really, if you have time to watch Netflix, you have time to exercise. Choose your priorities and schedule them in.

Chores/Housework- Housework is another one of those things I put off if I don’t have it scheduled. Each day, I write in my task list what I want to clean, then I pick a time when I’m going to do it. My daughter enjoys this task (read about how I got her to– here!) so I often do it when she’s awake, depending on the task.

Play Time- It’s so important to spend quality time with your children. I find that if I don’t have it scheduled, the time I spend with my daughter is mustered with other activities. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t schedule my daughter in like she’s a task. I do it so I know I have set times specifically for her. No chores, no work, no phone, no distractions. Just me and her.

Running Errands- I schedule ahead of time when I’m going to the grocery store or where ever else I need to go throughout the week so I know when it’s going to happen. There’s no guessing game as to when I might get eggs again.

Wake-Up/Bedtime- This one is more for my toddler. I put it in so I remember when I need to have things done by.

Other To-Do Things- Work stuff, contact stuff, etc.

Dinner- Holy hell. Planning dinner ahead of time makes life a million times easier. There’s nothing worse than going to the fridge wondering what the heck you’re going to eat. Weekly, I write out a meal plan so that I know what to buy when I go grocery shopping and can plan ahead of time for cooking.

Birthdays/Special Dates/Holidays- These are all important things I would totally forget without my schedule. Writing in birthdays and special dates ensures that I won’t forget them. It’s always awkward forgetting your brother’s birthday. I also write in holidays because those suck to forget too– I work seven days a week at my main job, including holidays so it’s not uncommon for me to forget it’s a holiday without my schedule.

Activities/Work Due Dates/Bills- Non-daily activities get scheduled too. Birthday parties, dinners, etc. Writing in work project due dates is a life saver for me too. I like to write when they’re a month, a week, a day, and an hour away from being due so that I have fair warning and don’t have to rush to get those I forget done in time. The same goes with bills. I would go crazy if I didn’t have my bill due dates written down, and so would my checkbook.

Me Time- This includes things like bubble baths, television watching, etc. It’s important to schedule “me” time, even if it’s only once a week/month.

Gratitude- Daily, I write one or two things I’m grateful for. It makes me appreciate life a little more, plus it’s a great reminder on bad days that my life isn’t that bad.

I’m sure I’m missing something. There’s so many things you can put in your planner. Make it you!

It’s important to remember that a schedule will almost never go perfectly, especially if you have a child. A schedule is sort of an outline and you won’t always be able to follow it as closely as you’d like. That’s OK. Really. It is. Just having a basis to go off of is a life-changer.

I currently use the Day Designer Mini by Whitney English. It’s one where I personally hand-write in the dates. Some people don’t like that idea, but she has other planners that include the dates for those of you who prefer that. I recommend her planner over any other because of the variety of features it has, such as a schedule section, a hardy cover and binder-like rings, a to-do list, meal planning, gratitude sections, notes, a top three list, etc.

Seriously, anything you could want in a planner, she’s got it packed in there. They’re a little pricey, but worth every penny. Trust me, I’ve tried just about every planner out there.

Some people like to make their planners super fancy. For me, as long as I have a pop of color, I’m good. But really, the possibilities are endless. You can use stickers, sticky notes, a color system, you name it. Just make it you. That’s all you need to do.

Oh, and are you wondering what kind of pen that lovely pink beauty is you see in the pictures? It’s a Paper Mate Flair . They come in all sorts of colors. I have the variety pack because, like I said, I love a good pop of color. For me, they make planning fun! I change up my shade daily.

For those of you who haven’t ever used a planner before, try it out for a week. You can even just do it on lined paper. Once you’ve tried it, come back and tell me what you think! Has it changed your life like it’s changed mine?

 

 

 

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