Light, Love & Flowers for All Souls Day
A Few Friday Thoughts ...

Talking Shop*

*i.e. file folder and calendar questions. :)


Good Thursday morning, my friends!

I'd like to catch up on some more blog comments, so if "shop talk" is not your cup of tea - feel free to skip this rather lengthy, detail-oriented post. I'm very sorry I've fallen so far behind on addressing reader questions - this is one area of organization I obviously need to work on! ;)

This first one's from Michelle ...

Thank you for the filing posts! I am feeling much better about mine now, because you showed pictures of where you keep your papers. My countertop looks a lot like yours. I like the idea of keeping folders in the basket as well. Do the big paper clips hold the bills to be paid? Also, do you keep your daily calendar open on the countertop? That seems to be my big dilema... going back and forth from the papers in the calendar to the papers in the files. I do love the feeling of being organized!

Michelle, thank you so much for commenting! I love the feeling of being organized too, which is why I'm constantly tweaking my "systems" to make them work as well as they can. I know I can never be on top of it all, but feeling some sense of control really makes my days flow more smoothly. And then "mama" feels happier ... so then everyone feels happier! ;)

Now, to answer your questions ... 

Yes, one of the binder clips holds our bills to be paid and there's another one holding business cards (from various health professionals, our hairdresser, the vet, etc.). I LOVE binder clips - I use them constantly, and keep an assortment of sizes on hand at all times!

As for my calendar ~ I do keep it out on the countertop, with the file folder just beside or beneath it. I generally keep my calendar open to the week at hand - so I can quickly see the day's agenda (aka, where we have to go) and specific daily to-do's (i.e. clean out the freezer, bag up the recycling, mail check, etc.). 


And this topic leads me to a question asked some time ago by a reader, Briar (such a pretty name!), about how often I repeat information ...

My other issue is that my calendar and to-do lists are online. This *mostly* works for me, but I find that it makes dealing with the paper aspects of my life difficult, because they aren't in sync. Which leads me to a question: how often do you repeat information? What things get written in the your calendar versus what gets written on the planning sheet? If, say, you have a book group meeting, does that go in your calendar, or just the planning sheet, or both? Do you also write that down in the lesson planner? I love the idea of the FCS, so I'm really hoping I can figure out a way to make it work for me this year.

This is something I struggle with, Briar. I love putting pen (or as the case may be, pencil) to paper, so it's very easy for me to get carried away. Graphophilia aside, and in the interest of time and efficiency, I do try to limit myself and keep things as streamlined as possible. And yet, I often find myself writing some information more than once. 

For instance, as you mention above, when I write down our Book Group event, I first write it down in my month-at-a-glance calendar:

"Book Group, 12:45"

> This information is helpful when I'm scheduling appointments, get-togethers and other activities. <

> I'll do this ahead, once I know when Book Group will be. <

Later, as I prepare for a new week ahead, I first consult that month-at-a-glance calendar. In my week-at-a-glance calendar (another section in my MomAgenda) I write the event/time in the Friday column, and if there's something I need to remember for that day - something I need to bring or do on the ride over or back, I jot it down here, too.

"Book Group, 12:45-2:00 - atm/gas" 

> This information is helpful when I'm planning out my day. <

> I'll do this several days ahead. <

Next I prepare the weekly planning sheet (the one that attaches to the front of my file folder), and here I write (under "Of Note") the event, along with a little more information:

"Book Group - Bridge to Terabithia"

> This is helpful when going back and writing end-of-year reports. <

> I do this on the Thursday before. <

So I do repeat the information, but I use it in different ways in each instance. The month @ a glance helps me schedule ahead, the week @ a glance helps me manage my day, and the weekly (file folder) planning sheet helps me give shape and feel to our week. It also helps me reflect on our week when I go back at year's end - I write yearly academic reports for the school system.

Now, all that said ...

I think it would be much more efficient and convenient to combine the second two actions - the week @ a glance calendar and the weekly planning sheet - thereby keeping all "weekly focus" in one place. I have yet to make that happen, but I'm working on it! It would have to be something of my own design - something that would work within the framework of the weekly file folder.

Because ultimately it would be great to have a (portable) month @ a glance calendar and a weekly file folder with all the planning space I need for the week, in general, and the days of the week, specifically. Then I'd just be writing down information twice - once on the monthly calendar and once on the weekly file folder. But until I get that all straightened out (envisioned/created*) I will go with what's working well for me now.

(*I'm thinking the inside file folder cover would be a great place for that week @ a glance calendar ...)

Now, if I haven't bored you all yet, lol, I'd like to also quickly address a relevant question left by by Trish a while back, about why I choose paper planning over computerized ...

Hi Dawn ... I have a question for you. I notice you have a MacBook (I do too) and was curious why you don't use iCal for your planning purposes? I go back and forth between paper planners and iCal and can't seem to figure out which I like best! I love the physical act of writing (I was an art major in college long ago and understand the joy of writing on nice paper!) but I also enjoy the wonderful portability and ease of the MacBook/iPhone combination... especially at the grocery store and out running errands. Any thoughts?

Tirsh, while I find digital planning intriguing - especially in the case of grocery shopping as you mention above - I can't seem to give up my paper paraphernalia!

First, there's my aforementioned paper passion - but there's also my overall comfort level. I just find it easier to check in with my planner stuff as it is spread out on my counter - than it is to hop on my computer.

Then there's the whole trust issue - plainly put, I don't fully trust my computerized tools! Recently my MacBook crashed (due to a crimped wire inside the hard drive) and I could have lost all kinds of things. (Thankfully, I didn't!) Sure it's pretty easy to misplace a list or a folder, but in the end, I'm just more comfortable using my low-tech systems.

For example, I have this handy little shopping notebook - it's small enough to fit in my purse, but big enough for a good amount of notes. In it, I write out a weekly grocery shopping list which includes other errands like the pharmacy/library/etc. 

Now, I know I could keep this list on my iPhone, but I really just like using that notebook! I clip timely coupons to it - I jot things in it through the week as I think of them. I keep it in my hand - or propped up in the child seat of my carriage - as I walk around the store. All these actions just seem easier to me in notebook, rather than phone, form.

Now, I don't mean to disparage digital planning as a whole - I think it works fantastically for some people! (In fact, here's an article on digital planning at And it probably is more efficient overall - and it's certainly less environmentally taxing. I won't rule out that someday I might be converted - but for now my paper junkie nature still rules, lol!


 Ok, that's all I have time for right now - I do have more reader comments and questions "on file" and will be getting to them just as soon as I can.

In the meantime, I hope you all have a lovely day ~ stay safe and be well!

I'll be back again very soon ...