Thursday, December 03, 2009

on how I plan my life

Amanda from Michigan, USA writes I love all your posts but I especially enjoy the ones about your planners/notebooks and how you organize them.

I'm secretly very glad Amanda wanted to know about the planning aspect since it is one thing that really works very well in my life.

First and most importantly, I do weekly planning - of our household, my business, socially, etc.

I firmly believe that doing only daily planning will drive you nuts - it certainly did for me - because you really feel the pressure of the to-do list every. single. day.

I do my business planning on Fridays because that's when my accountability partner and I chat. Household planning usually gets done before the grocery shop - these days that's a Thursday - but when I go back to work (I'm still on maternity leave), it'll also move to Fridays. And then, the social and personal stuff gets done on a Sunday late afternoon.

My tools

I use both a paper and an electronic (Outlook) planner. Outlook is mainly to remind me to pay bills and not miss appointments especially when I've had busy days where I haven't even opened my paper diary.

We also have a ginormous calendar in our kitchen where we mark off any socials but also things like when we need to phone in the electricity meter reading, when the gardener is due (we only get him in twice a month), when I start a new bottle of vitamins for the babies, etc, etc.

I get an immense sense of satisfaction when I can use up stuff in the freezer and pantry so I first have a look there before I do my menu plan for the week.

Usually after I see which basic items I have, I add to my grocery list. E.g. if I have chicken in the freezer and I want to make Apricot Chicken, I may have to add a can of apricots or a sachet of brown onion soup to the grocery list.

Then I do a quick check through the house to see if we have things like breakfast and lunch goodies, cleaning stuff, baby items like formula and nappies and personal items for D and me.


Quickly, in a nutshell, because I've written a whole system on organising your business, I review goals and set some action steps every week.

Personal and social

On Sunday nights I check all the calendars and see what's etched in stone (doctors' visits, supper with friends, etc.) and what still has to be done but can be moved around (gym!) depending on how busy we are. Also we don't like to be too busy in any one week, more so than ever now with the babies because sleep is our number 1 priority.

I then plan when I will work on which business tasks because I don't like feeling stressed out with too much to do. You see, I've realised my limitations :)

I usually coach clients on Mondays so I'll do a freezer meal (almost no kitchen time). Tuesdays I write my weekly newsletter so I won't make any social plans. And so on.

My other notebook

I also carry around a notebook to jot down basically anything that strikes my fancy:

  • things to blog
  • talk to nanny about ________
  • things to buy
  • website changes
  • birthday cards to write out
  • etc
If there's anything that needs to be transferred to the planner, I do so on a Sunday evening so that there's actual allocated time to attend to it.
Next year's planner

I've already seen the planner I want to get for next year - the only problem is it comes in two gorgeous colours - deep purple and deep red. Both delicious, yummy colours. Both are absolutely lovely to the touch (I'm a tactile person) and so, because I can't choose, I haven't bought mine yet.

Which colour do you think I should go for?

Have you bought your 2010 planner yet?

If you're undecided, here's a series of 5 posts I did to help you out (with pics)

Choose the perfect planner

post signature

P.S. I will write about the babies in another post - it takes military precision to organise those two :)


se7en said...

Someone this organized deserves those wonderful twins!!! Just to create a little chaos for you... Lots of love!

Marcia Francois said...

I know! Everyone got a big kick out of me having twins and my life disrupted. Well, it’s not disrupted but enriched.

Slightly more cluttered but still organised :) and we keep tweaking as we go.

Tonya said...

Thank you for this post! I'm amazed at all your energy :)

I too love your posts about how you plan and planners! Last year I found the perfect planner after your reading your series on choosing a planner. I have used it for an entire year (which is a feat for me) and bought the same one in a different color for 2010.

cluttercontotrol said...

Go for the red one! :)
These are great tips Marcia - thanks!

Karen L. said...

I haven't found a red one (my favorite color), so using a white with purple polka-dots planner, with 2 pgs per day (compact size). If you like red and can find one, get it!!

Marcia Francois said...

Tonya, I think having the plan gives me the energy – otherwise I just feel overwhelmed and shut down…

So glad your planner worked for you so well this year – I’m VERY pleased about that!

Rachel said...

Kendra voted for the Purple one. I told her to stop drooling and clean up her mess (just kidding).

Tim bought me a large size daily monthly one last night - cheapest one we could find at Walmart and work for me.