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Are you a Planner Junkie, too?

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So, a new year begins and naturally (possibly, instinctively) I find myself itching to make a new planner. To be fair, I first make myself take stock of my current planning "system." Is it still relevant? Is it convenient? Does it make me happy?

I'm rather fond of making planners, I'll be the first to admit, and I've certainly made plenty through the years (as long-time readers can attest). Maybe I'm too picky (there's probably no maybe about it, lol), but nothing has worked just right.

(That said - the one aspect of my planning that has always worked well, is my file crate system. I've used that for years and will always work it into whatever "new" system I'm concocting.)

So finding my current planner lacking (no big surprise there) I gave myself permission to "scratch that proverbial itch" and make myself a brand new planner for 2011. I wanted to make it pretty, and practical - something I'll use primarily at home because, well, that's where I primarily am! :)

So I combined the materials I need to manage my family, our home, our faith and the seasons of the year - all in a 1-inch binder. Most materials anyway - some items, like travel brochures, store coupons and bills and statements (etc.) are stored separately from the binder. (I'll get into all that in a later post.)

Now, before I go any further I want to be clear ~ this is very much a work in progress! Goodness knows I'm not a professional or any kind of expert, and I don't mean to post this in an attempt to woo you all into making a planner just like mine. This is just me showing you all what I'm working on, because that's just what I do - I show you all whatever I'm working on! If something here strikes a note with you, that's fantastic! I know as a self-confessed planner junkie I just LOVE seeing other people's planning paraphernalia - so I'm showing you mine. Yet again. ;D 

So, as I said, I'll still be using my file crate, as well as my "to-do" clipboard, but for now, let me show you what I've done with this new binder ...

I like to see my months "at a glance," with generous squares for writing down all kinds of things, from birthdays to feast days to full moons to doctor appointments to auto-pay dates ... etc.! And I like to plan our learning & living, a week at a time. I further decided I wanted the weekly pages to reflect the liturgical seasons, so I assembled a mass of papers in shades of white, green, purple and (a wee bit of) red.

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The cover was a lot of fun to make. I started with a plain white, "view front," 1" binder. (It holds up to 200 pages.) Then I found a patterned paper I liked very much:

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Conveniently, it matches the liturgical papers. ;)

I covered the patterned paper with another sheet of white lace paper which diffused the bright floral a bit. Then I added a couple of stickers that just made me happy.

I began working on the inside by creating a master outline of every little thing I could think of that needed to be organized, planned and referenced with regular attention. (It's amazing sometimes to consider all we mums have to juggle!)

Now I was ready to begin assembling the planner ...

Cover Page

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This page is still under construction. I chose another piece of scrapbook paper (a soft green paisley), hole-punched it to fit in the binder, and adhered a craft tag to serve as a label. (I'll write my pertinent personal information here - name, address, phone #s, etc.) The crocheted flowers were just so lovely I had to see if I could work them into the design somehow. At "press time" I was still playing around with them. ;)

Seasonal Brainstorm Page

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This looks rather messy - and it is - but it's how I plan for an upcoming season. I basically just jot down everything I connect with a season (roughly a two month period in time). These notes are for January-February (or "Deep Winter" as I call this time of year). I didn't type up these notes - there's something about using a pen and hand-writing these thoughts that works best for me.

 Ideas for Specific Events this Season

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These are ideas for celebrating events - feast days, holidays, club meetings, gatherings, etc. - that fall within a specific season. Crafts, foods, activities, etc. I might have simply written "candles" down on my brainstorming page, but here I would write, "Make walnut boat candles" next to "Candlemas."

Planning Notes for the Upcoming Liturgical Season

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Not much written down here yet, lol! This a place where I can jot down ideas for how we'll honor Lent this year. When I file the March-April (Early Spring) season up front, I'll have notes for Easter in this section.

Themes & Plans Posts

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I printed these out from my blog archives. Some of the dates are out of sync (since these were originally written in 2008) but I still find these outlines useful.

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Ok, so that whole first section of my binder is all about the Season at hand - now comes, calendar planning:

2011 Month @ a Glance Calendars

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These are made by Daytimer (I buy them at Staples). I love the wide open format and the lined daily boxes. This is February's calendar and as you can see I haven't entered much yet. (I actually erased a few things for the purposes of this public post. *wink*)

Weekly Planning Section

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(NOTE this is the heart of the planner - I keep this section open on my counter for working on throughout the week.)

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In this section I have a (colored) planning page for the week (we're in Ordinary Time, so this week's page is green). Here I list:

1. "Of Note" (events/holidays/outings)

2. To Do/Get Done 

3. Dinners

4. Faith@Home This Week

5. Earlybird's Learning & Nature Notes

(Currently I keep these lists on separate post-it notes - that's because I'm slightly anal-retentive and can't commit to writing on the page itself yet.)

I also keep my 4x6 daily planning cards here, slipped inside pocketed sheet protectors. NOW ... this is totally an experiment. I've been using a spiral bound (pocketbook sized) daily planner for my everyday notes. In an attempt to keep more planning inside rather than outside the binder, I'm trying out my index card system here instead. I like it for the most part - but it's a bit tetchy having to pull the cards out of the pockets when I think of something I need to do ("pick up a prescription on Thursday," "email someone on Friday," "mail the light bill on Saturday").  

Here's the basket I'm using for storing  the cards in bulk:

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IF I find this part of the planner working out, I will get monthly tabbed dividers for the basket and pre-date all the cards for the rest of the year. Only a week's set of cards will reside in the planner at one time - the rest will be stored here in this basket. (In this way, when I think of something pertinent to a specific day - say, I need to return something to someone I'll see at a specific event - I can quickly pull the card and write down the note.

We'll see how this works out. I'm going to try *very* hard to adapt to this system because it seems to make sense. (And it would mean one less "item" in the overall planning system.)

Home Learning 2011

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Here I store all the information I sent to the school system, and the things they sent back to me. The ed. plans for each of my boys are here, as well as a note page for listing field trips, projects and any unique learning experiences. Finally, I also have EB's learning/life goals and seasonal curriculum notes in this section.

Household Information

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This section will include general household information such as utilities, services, accounts, emergency information, contact numbers, family medical notes, etc.

I'll keep you all updated on how this new (latest) planner is working for me. So far so good. Of course, the shine hasn't worn off yet - I'm still oohing and aahing over the pretty colors and cool pockets. ;)

Well, I'm not surprised this became an awfully long post - you know how I get when I'm talking about planning! If you're also into planners and planning (fellow junkies like me), then I hope you found this post interesting (if not amusing, lol). And if you're not, well you know I'll be onto something else in another post or two ... 

Have a great night, my friends. As always, thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read what I have to say. I appreciate your visit and I wish you all a very nice night.

See you again very soon! 

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