I try not to post similar topics back to back, but I’m still on my planner high. I’m finding more and more uses for my planner, and I really want to share!
Now, of course I use my planner for appointments (IF we ever had any…), meal planning, social events, etc. But more than anything else, I’ll be using my planner as a record keeper. As I said in my last post, I’ve always made lists or used notebooks to organize and keep track of things. I now keep all of my “records” in one planner, and I’m already absolutely ecstatic after less than a week’s use.
Here are some things I include in my planner that aren’t actually plans.
We already stick to a precise budget, so this is basically the support system to go along with it. I store receipts in the nifty pocket folders I added, and I jot down what was purchased, from where, and the amount spent into that day’s slot. I know when bills were paid, how much money remains for each budget category, and so on. It’s like having an up-to-date bank statement with you at all times. (Old receipts get added to the compost bin!)
Energy Usage & Efficiency
This one may sound a little over the top, but it’s made so much of a difference in my personal happiness and in our finances. I jot down every load of laundry I do, every run of the dishwasher, and how often we use the A/C and heat. When I first started taking note of my laundering habits a few months ago, I was blown away by how much laundry I did. (six to ten loads a week. TEN LOADS A WEEK!? Insane.) I also saw that we used our A/C on days that were perfectly comfortable. All it takes is one degree to turn on your A/C. Keeping a record of things like this has made me so much more aware of how much we waste. It’s easy to dismiss your waste when you don’t even see it. I’ve been able to adjust my household chores to a much more efficient level.
My homeschooler doesn’t do well with elaborately planned lessons. We go to the library, close our eyes, and grab ALL THE BOOKS. We do “class” riding in the car, at the grocery store, or while I’m cooking dinner. It’s much easier to write down our accomplishments after the fact rather than plan to do XYZ and then feel like poo for not being able to check it off as completed. I’m pretty certain my oldest child is the anti-lister. Spontaneity is her game.
Our pastors are known for using a bajillion verses during each service, and I absolutely love it. Taking notes is mandatory for me. That sermon isn’t just good for that one Sunday. It’s good on Monday when the blues hit you hard. It’s good six months from now too. And like a good movie, you always find something new each time you experience it. I also teach Sunday School (as does my wonderful husband), and I like to record who is present, the topics or verses discussed, and games played.
Planners are an excellent way to preserve memories. A simple “Baby met great-grandma today” can make your heart do that funny, about-to-explode-with-happy thing as you flip through your pages. Maybe you’re looking back a few months to find the ingredients for that delicious orzo salad, and you come across “I spent the day cuddled up with my babies watching movies.” You’ll never regret hoarding sweet memories.
Maybe this is just me, but I’ve always felt more energized and productive when I can check off tasks or look at a page full of accomplishments. I need confidence builders. I need a positive outlook. I need momentum. My note taking has always provided that for me. I can open my planner and see that YES, I am needed for important things. I can see that YES, I AM making progress in so many aspects of life. I can see that YES, I. Can. Adult!
I also broke down today and bought a sticker pack. After much indecisiveness (so many awesome options!), I brought home the Faith Value Stickers. I ultimately chose this pack because it has so many uplifting words. So much encouragement! Sometimes all you need is a “YOU CAN DO THE THING!” sticker.
And to all of you that bought the 18 month planner six months late like me, take heart! I’m going to share some uses for all those extra pages in an upcoming post! Don’t toss them just yet 🙂