Saturday, January 12, 2013

Make A Plan(ner)

I recently read a quote that states: "Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution."  Time is short & sweet to me...and very hard to come by with all of our family's activities.  Anytime I can catch a few extra minutes, I relish & delight in it!

I sat down this New Year's Day to make a plan.  It began with a plan for just the first week of January, then turned into a plan for the month, then I realized that we needed a plan for the year.  Don't get me wrong!  We fly by the seat of our pants often around here.  My goal is to have a plan that will help me keep all the many lists that are floating around in my head straight.  Once I can categorize the lists into something I can visually see, then I can physically check each one off when it is completed.

This is a series of posts I plan to blog today & tomorrow.  Check back for the other half & "back" (so to speak) of the planner.  I hope by sharing this with you, you can "Pin It" to refer to or print it to use when you need it!


 The cover was actually the easiest part.  A Year of Many Firsts offers a free chevron design download (here) in PowerPoint (or Keynote) format to add your monogram and any text box your heart desires.  Print that on heavy duty card stock first.  You can leave the back blank or start right away with the planner pages like I did.

 Some favorite ideas I've found by bloggers are Infarrantly Creative's printable blog calendar (here) and Wild Olive's blog planner (here).  I love the box designs (that's kind of how my mind works, too) and knew that I wanted to incorporate them in the design.  Now you know where credit is due, let's get to the planner pages!

I need an overview of the month first before getting to the week-by-week plans.  Each month has a page spread that includes the following.

"Zones to Organize": There's always that list of things to put away, things to clean out, or things to get rid of.  This is the spot I'll list each month that I want to tackle.

"Capture your 365": I'm always up for a fun challenge.  A few years ago, I took a photo-of-the-day and posted it for friends and family to see on Facebook.  Now, it is a neat memento of our year and I have many photos I wouldn't have normally snapped.  Capture Your 365 offers a daily list of photo themes each month, which you can photo using instagram & post with the hashtag #cy365 (click here for all the info).  Just after a few days of taking the challenge, I'm stumped on ones like "Peaceful" and "Real Life".

"Birthdays" & "Things to Make Time for This Month": I never want to forget the special days and events each month.  This is a spot I can refer to for birthday cards and/or gifts.  I also want to be more intentional about planning special days and moments with dinners and events with our family.

Monthly Calendar: I saved a pdf of our full, (very full!) monthly calendar from iCal, then dropped the image in the document I was creating.  This calendar is constantly changing, so I'll pencil in things to add and cross through things to forget.  With the entire year now printed and bound in this planner, I might reprint the calendar at the first of the month and just glue or paperclip it over the one printed in the planner.

"Organizational Goals": I need a little help staying on top of things, so I found Creative Organizing's Year of Organizing Checklists (found here).  I cut and paste the list in this box for each month.

Turning the page, the planner switches to a weekly view.  Beginning with the first week of January, I can see all the little and big things that need to be done.  I sit down on Sunday afternoon, take a look at the coming week and make a plan to fit all of our activities, meals, Bible study, etc. into the 7 days that week.  Here are the items included each week:

Weekly Calendar & "Etsy Orders to Fill"
I use the weekly calendar to pencil in our afternoon & evening activities.  It could also be used for dinner planning or listing errands to run on particular days.
I have a little Etsy business (shameless plug that takes just a little time each week.  I found I was printing Etsy invoices & stacking them nearby, only to find them missing or crumpled on the floor after another "someone" used the computer.  I like how I can see a list of all orders and especially like the little circles I can check off when each order is moved through the process to deliver!

"To Do", "Etsy Store Up-Keep", & "New Product Ideas":
The "to do" list is quick to fill up, but I wanted to prioritize and Sunday's planning on it: Look at weekly activities & plan, make weekly menu plan & grocery list, and clip coupons.  The rest of the list is blank.
I've always checked my Etsy shop stats, but now I have a more intentional plan to check it weekly, see what words are trending and what items have been viewed the most.  This will help me see what items to discontinue and what areas I might create a new product in.
"Pinterest Project Ideas To Do This Week": I love Pinterest (click here to follow me, The Mad Padder), but feel like I'm always pinning and never "doing" anything.  If I have time, I can try a pinned idea and look in this spot to see the one or two I'd like to try soon.

"Phone Calls To Make" & "Emails To Send":
 This is the spot I can write & prioritize people that I need to contact.  Enough said.

"Bible Verse For The Week", "Prayer Requests", & "Bible Study":
My goal is to memorize a Bible verse each week using 52 Weeks-52 Verses' plan here.  Each Wednesday, the "new" verse is posted and I place that one on the following week's box.
I don't want to just flippantly say to someone "I'll pray about that for you" and not do it.  There's a spot for me to write the name and request so that I'll remember.  It's also a wonderful thing to look back upon & see how God answered the prayer!
I'm a part of a wonderful Bible Study called BSF (more info here).  Each Monday, I attend Leaders Meeting and on Wednesday I lead a small discussion group.  This is the spot for me to jot down key verses & Biblical principles and list specific needs of our large class or small discussion group.

 "Blog Posts" & "Days of Gratitude"
Last year's new year's resolution was to blog...I failed.  I started off the year with a bang, but lost momentum after just one month.  Not this year!  I hope to post once a week, but hope to grow to twice or three times a week.  With a box to write my plan, I'll be better prepared when sitting at a blank blog screen.
A few years ago, I kept a Gratitude Journal and listed 5 things I was thankful for each day.  In the "Days of Gratitude", I'm writing just one thing that made my heart happy that day.

Would you like your own copy?  You can download the links and pdf files by clicking on the caption below the images.

 Cover: A Year of First's Chevron Cover Post & Free Download

Page 1: January Monthly Photos & More

Page 2: January Calendar & Organizational Goals (has page 3 that leads into Weekly Calendar)

Page 1 & 2: January Photos List, Calendar, & Organizational Goals: Blank (has page 3 that leads into Weekly Calendar)

Page 3 (Repeat for the odd pages, 51 more times to make 52 weeks): Weekly Calendar Page 1 (Left Side): Blank

Page 4 (Repeat for the even pages, 51 more times to make 52 weeks): Weekly Calendar Page 2 (Right Side): Blank

Pages 3 & 4: Weekly Calendar Pages 1 & 2 (Left & Right Side): Personalized with Etsy Orders, Shop Up-Keep, Bible Study, & Blog Brainstorming

If you have any suggestions, let me know.  I only made it in pink, so there might be some requests for different colors...maybe when I get this crick out of my neck from sitting at the computer this long!  Check back tomorrow as I wrap it all up with the rest of the plan!

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