This is what led to my current method of planning... one I have used for a few years now and I discussed in some detail last week. I had been using The Well Planned Day pretty consistently. It was one of my most looked forward to purchases at the start of each school year. One year, however, I had to weigh out the price against the need. Our budget was limited and, as I assessed the "need" I realized more empty spaces were piling up in my planner then used ones. With skill an knowledge in Microsoft Word and Publisher I knew I could easily design a planner page more functional for my personal needs in this apparent evolving new season of my life. The result has had various adjustments over the last few years, this is the latest model:
|(Click on Image for FREE download)|
Last week I shared WHY having a well planned day/week is so important. I included pictures of my weekly overview list and bulleted out the "pros" of having life in order. I also promised I would share more how-to this week... so here we go! Oh, and since it is also "Menu Monday", consider this a recipe for planning!!
#1 - Binder (or whatever you use for scheduling)
I mentioned last week how I was trying my schedule on a clipboard for the week because I also use a binder for our homeschool records and having TWO binders on the table amidst our school books and supplies was becoming cumbersome....
|Left is Homeschool, Right is Homemaking|
The clipboard worked great. I am still using my binder though. It holds subsequent week's sheets, miscellaneous info and so on. (I'll detail this in a minute)
|left is front, right is back|
#2 - Set-up
You may already have a pre-printed planner - that's great. Use this set-up for ideas on how you can make your current planner work most efficiently for you. I have taped in pockets to back covers and re-labeled tabs on some of my old pre-printed planners.
As for arranging a Planning binder, it really depends on your family's needs. As you can see above, I like pocket dividers for holding important info pertaining to sections... in the case of my front pocket, I have items pertaining to overall homemaking (return address labels, letters I need to reply to, etc.)
Subsequent tabs are labeled for extra chore lists, blog tidbits, and household misc. The final tab marks a birthday and gift list area. When my youngest played basketball last year I used one of the tabs to keep track of volunteer hours and team schedules.
In total I may spend 5-10 minutes planning and it brings sooooo much peace and organization for the rest of the week!
This is probably the MOST IMPORTANT step of all. Once upon a time I might have been one of those women who planned EVERY MINUTE of the day... even my resting time was situated to be productive! And in that once upon a time I may have gotten a bit overwhelmed! I may have had a husband who said something like "Sometimes you need to be OK with NOT having a plan" and I might have gotten upset with him for just not getting it. Once upon a time, I might have realized he was right!
Margins are vital because without them, you have no room to really live. Schedules are important, plans have a purpose (as discussed last week) but these can become an idol if we are not careful. All of life isn't meant to be fit into neat little boxes.
You will notice, other then the schoolwork plans, my list above is pretty bare. Some weeks I have more written in. Right now, however, with everyone getting over being sick I am nervous to plan too much just yet. But even on busier weeks, I try to leave blanks in spaces and be completely willing to move things around so I don't freak out over an impromptu stroll through the park or a last minute call from a friend on her way to visit. LIFE happens in those margins and I don't want to be so busy freaking out about misuse of time or things not getting done or going the way I planned, that I miss it.
We should never be too busy to fellowship or too busy to minister. The fellowship of the body of Christ and reaching out to neighbors and lost ones should take high priority whenever possible (I know, it isn't always possible).
How do you schedule margins? Be brutally honest with yourself on what is truly vital within each day and within each week. This honesty will reveal your anchor point.
- Laundry - yeah, we all need clean clothes
- Dishes washed each day - naturally
- Working with your kiddos - if you homeschool or public school, your kiddos need you
Then there are...
- Scrubbing the Floor....
- Washing the Curtains....
- Cleaning the oven...
Yes, some plans have to be duck-taped on our daily schedules and CAN NOT move. We should be able to say "NO" to people wanting us to sign up for, or go DO, more than we feel we can... but we should also say "NO" to ourselves sometimes and instead opt for margins; for slow walks in the bright sunshine, for butterfly kisses and long deep gazes, for cocoa and a bonfire on a chilly night, for movies and cuddles at the end of a long day. Leave Margins and remember to take time each day to live there for a little while!
Food from last week...
Menu for this week...BREAKFAST....
- cereal and blueberries
- fresh bread with butter and jam
- left over biscuits
hubby: sausage and rice
me and kids: leftovers, grilled sandwiches, grilled tuna sandwiches, mac-n-cheese
Hot Dogs (kids), Salad (hubby and me)
Chicken Stir Fry
Beef Roast and Veggies
I have a crazy easy, melt-in-your-,mouth, beef roast recipe:
Peal and halve carrots, clean and quarter potatoes, throw in the bottom of slow cooker
Peel and slice half an onion, throw that in too
Sear Beef roast on all sides, lay that on top of veggies
Pour one whole packet of Onion soup mix over the top of the roast, gently patting into top
Fill crock with water until about halfway up the side of the roast (top of roast should NOT be submerged)
Shake into water about 1-2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Cover and cook all day
You can use the broth to make gravy just before serving.
Chicken with Parmesan Sauce over Roasted Squash with a Green Salad
Sort of like Fettuccine with a twist
Open-top Burgers with Veggie Straws
Possibly Chili... definitely something with beans
What are you doing and cooking this week?
**Next week I will be sharing about cloth napkins as per a promise I made in comments over at Making A House A Home. Be sure to check back!