Sunday, February 3, 2008

Keeping My Act Together

My planner is a tool I used for many years with much success. I stopped using my planner a few years ago as I was experimenting with making my information more accessible through the computer. I did have access to information at home and work. I did use the same common calendar, to do lists, and had routines accessible for both work and home. The problem was that I would have to make copies of to do lists or be tied to the computer. The information was not portable, as I didn’t have computer access most of the time while traveling, or while out on errands. The other parts of my computer-based system seemed to work, but then it became a burden to keep it up. I had to actually be in front of the computer to do it. Everything was not in the same place or located in the same program. I did not find that this was a success, and so this year I have purchased a new planner with half sheet pages. I have never been one for an electronic planner either, as there is something about that process that appeared to be tedious and somewhat limiting. I know that many have found success with using them, but I want my paper.

In my current planner I have included my calendar, goals, routines, basic weekly plan, on my mind lists, budget, bills and checkbook, meal plans, grocery and shopping lists, contact phone and address book, meeting notes, health and fitness tracker, information for each vehicle’s servicing, website tracker and my tickler file. I am happy to now have it all in one place, and portable so that I can work on paying bills, or adding items to my shopping list from anywhere. If someone calls me looking for some important information, I most often have it with me.

The calendar I use is for everything I need to remember. I use it for personal, family and work events and special days. I have a month at a glance and a weekly detailed page that has a section for each day to list appointments, my current area of focus at work and at home, and my to dos that are priority and not a part of my routines. I have a personal and work section in my planner too, each including a separate set of goals, routines, basic weekly plans, and to do lists. In a pocket in the front of my planner I keep a thin stack of home routines on index cards that can come out of my planner as I work through the items on the lists. I don’t think I will ever completely give up my cards.

Meal planning is done on a page of my planner and I have it with me when I shop. On the back of that page is my shopping list. Everything we need to buy is added to this list and I try to keep shopping and errands down to once a week. If something can’t wait, usually Joe will pick it up before coming home from work. I have also started a price book so I can keep track of where to get better deals on products we use.

My contact list includes addresses, phone numbers, cell numbers, e-mail addresses, websites, birthdays, anniversaries, and anything else that would be helpful to remember. My memory gets less sharp at time goes by.

I also have a section for pages used to journal. These don’t usually stay in my planner once they have been filled, but if you haven’t noticed yet, I really love to write. I usually have several different topics going at once. I am so eclectic. Some may say scattered. My planner helps me keep it all together.

Finally I have a pencil, eraser, a couple favorite pens, stamps, a few blank index cards and a small pack of post-it notes. I think with this I am ready to take on whatever the world has to dish up for my day.

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