The particular step took me a couple of months to put together. It sounds like A LOT! But you take things one at a time. Just add one or two templates at a time and use them for a couple of weeks before adding another. Once the routines are established, you’ll be referring to the planner less and less. Remember, this is for people who have NO routines or organization. It takes work to get there.
Step #4: Putting together and using a planner
This step has taken a few trial and error practices to get to the halfway point where I now feel comfortable sharing what I’ve compiled. Basically, its a planner that has EVERYTHING I need all contained in a neat little binder. It stays in my room in a specific spot unless I’ve packed it in my backpack/purse to refer to while I’m out. I used a combination of the Flylady’s tips (she calls it a control journal) and a professional day-planner I found online that is specifically for people with ADHD but costs over $70 so there’s no way I’m going to get it. Here’s what you’ll need to start. What templates you use is up to you but I’ve shared the links of the ones I found and are using as well as uploaded the ones I made myself. Just click on the links!A binder (I’m using one of Xan’s unused 1 inch black ones) Page dividers. The amount varies to how many categories you want. Non-glare sheet protectors (Somewhere under 10) ABC dividers for the address book Dry Erase Marker and a pen Different templates to do your planning.
Then you assemble it all together and, most importantly, USE IT! Some of the pages you’ll want to put in a sheet protector so that you can wipe it clean each night. For example, some of the chore lists will be most effective if you can mark it off. It helps save paper so you don’t need a new page each week/month/or day if you put the day planner in one.
First category is my To-Do list. In the empty vertical slots, I write in phone calls, errands, e-mail correspondence, cleaning, tasks, misc. When I write an item for me to do, I put an x under which category it falls under. Grocery shopping is categorized into errands. Calling my mom back is in phone calls. This system helps me to group like activities together. ie, I find myself at the laundromat with nothing to do but wait for my clothes to dry. Since I have my phone on me and lots of time, I can go down the list of phone calls I’ve been meaning to make.
I also printed out a couple extra sheets I use specifically for project to-do’s. You know, those things that are extra, making a quilt or whatever. I keep these next to my goal limit sheet. I made this sheet to remind me not to juggle to much. I got this idea from a recent talk I gave in church based off of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf‘s recent conference talk, Of Things That Matter Most.
Next category is my daily planner and monthly planner. Quick side note. I have 2 huge whiteboard calendars in my room to let me see the current and next month. This is where I write my work schedule, appointments, trips, ect. I use this in place of having a week by week planner. My daily planner – which I only use on days I feel like I need it, otherwise I just stick with my routines, chores, and wall calendar – I found here from kristinsguide.com. The power of Google! You can find just about any kind of planner that your looking for. Don’t settle. Find one that works. Here is my Monthly Template and my Yearly Template that I’ve also found. I mostly use the monthly calendar in my binder to write stuff in when I’m out and about, then transfer it to the wall. Not really sure if I’m going to keep it yet.
The morning and bed routines I’ve listed in a way where I can track my progress over the course of a month. I specifically have done this because I’m TERRIBLE at sticking to routines and habits. I’m hoping through this method, I can identify patterns and improve. This sheet will eventually be in a sheet protector, but for now, since I’m tracking the progress, I’m keeping them on file over the course of a few months.
Here is the day by day assignment where it follows the pattern that our grandmothers did where each day of the week was assigned a household task: Monday was a wash day. Tuesday was ironing. And so forth. Only, with more modern applications. This method helps each day have a focus and ensures certain tasks get done when needed.
Then, to ensure there’s never a need for spring cleaning, we have our zone assignments. I have 5 sheets down at the bottom to mark the 5 different zones. Most months are spread out over 5 weeks. Zones 1 and 5 will often overlap and need to be done in the same week so I picked the 2 smallest zones. The first week of the month we do zone 1. Week 2 is zone 2 [...] week 5 is zone 5. The first 2-4 months I think are going to be the hardest because I have to start from a fairly messy start. It’s not too cluttered, just a lot of places that haven’t been cleaned for some time. But, if these zones are done consistently, they are quickly done and one can keep their house very clean with minimal work. That’s the theory… This will be my first week to try it since I just put together this page today. Since it is the 3rd week in December, I’ll start off with zone 3 which is bathroom, spare room, and office.
I’ll have a seasonal cleaning list in here for things like checking for expired food in fridge and pantry, rotating food storage, flipping guestroom mattress, putting up and down the A/C unit… ect.
The next few parts that I need to develop for the control journal are the emergency contact and plan page, family/friend address book, compile all my food storage lists with 72 hour kits and all that jazz so that I can actually GET the stuff to put it all together in some organized fashion, a birthday/anniversary calendar, and whatever else I want in the book. The Flylady says some people like to have a section with their favorite quotes, pictures, or happy memories. Maybe you’ll want a some type of money management, calorie tracker, Menu planner (I use a whiteboard in my kitchen), or some other category. This planner is for you so make it yours.
Keep a look out in the next few months for The Control Journal part 2
Also, if you’re interested, I noticed the Flylady has a holiday control journal you can check out here.
- Out With The Old, In With The New: Set Up a Truly Useful Calendar (thesimpledollar.com)
- Tools for Getting Things Done – Getting Things Done Wiki (gtd.jeffsandquist.com)
- Taking Control of Your Task List (workawesome.com)
- What’s Your Calendar Organization Style? (apartmenttherapy.com)
- How To Effectively Manage Your Priorities – Part II (productivitybits.com)