Hello my friends, and Happy Monday! I hope your week is off to a great start! :)
Recently, Rebecca left a thoughtful question and I'd like to address it here in this post ...
How much time do you think you spend on your planner (not journaling) per week? It looks like a lovely planner, but I wonder how much time it takes up?
So I will try my best to be concise in this post, but you know how I get when I'm talking about planning! What I decided to do was to take pictures as I go through my week-ahead planning routine. I didn't actually time myself, but I hope this gives you an idea of just what is involved when I plan out a coming week.
I first look at my current month-at-a-glance calendar and see what next week will bring ...
What activities and events are coming up? What is our seasonal theme for next week?
I then begin planning out the weekend ahead ...
Because a great week starts with a good (productive) weekend! Monday through Friday we're quite busy with work and the kids, so the weekends are where we "catch up" and hopefully, catch our breath. I use the small notebooks shown above to organize our Saturday and Sunday. Where are we going? How busy will we be? Where can we squeeze in tasks and to-dos? What ARE those tasks and to-dos? What errands need to be run and which purchases need to be made?
So the smaller notebook is for listing errands and groceries and the slightly larger one underneath is for weekend planning. We call this duo our "POW" (plan of the weekend) because ... well, we're silly like that. ;)
Next I add tiny post-it notes to the top of a notebook page (one page per weekend). (There are three notes here rather than two here because Bill has a long weekend.) I jot down the agenda for each day like so ...
Pretty simple stuff, but it works!
And then beneath the notes I write down our weekend to-do list. I had only just started this list in the picture above, but what I also do is add little circled initials to indicate if a task is for Bill or myself (or one of the boys).
Now, to formulate this list I look at last week's POW page for any tasks that didn't get done or moved to the current week's to do list. I then look at the current week's to-do list on my planning sheet (shown below).
By mid-week I can usually identify a few tasks that are best moved to the weekend.
(This notebook gets left open on the kitchen counter all weekend so any and all can look and see what's what. We also have "pow" meetings on Friday evening and Saturday/Sunday morning - to give everyone a chance to add their own goals and set expectations.)
On the little errands pad I start writing down places I know I need to go and the things I need to pick up ...
On the lefthand side I write groceries (my last stop is always the supermarket) and on the righthand side I note other shopping errands. These would be things like a library pick up, a post office visit, or stops at local shops like the craft store or clothing store. These lists will reflect ordinary goods as well as particular items we need for projects and events.
Now, if I'm really firing on all cylinders, then I also plan out next week's menus so I can be as efficient as possible in my grocery shopping.
I do this on my weekly planning sheet. I list what is "of note" for that week - for example: holidays, a day when Bill is working at home (meaning I could schedule something he cooks), and any busy evenings which would require an easy, quick supper. Sometimes I can't decide what I want to serve each night but still jot down meal ideas on a sticky note and leave it here on this page.
I use my menu plan to jot down ingredients we need in my errands notebook - for example: ground beef, russet potatoes, fresh mint, heavy cream and dark chocolate.
Next I pull out the coming week's file folder ...
... and look over the papers I've filed (if any). I highlight pertinent information with a highlighter pen ...
In this week's folder I found:
A bluebird treat recipe.
A library record for the next audiobook to request.
An info. sheet for Crackerjack's service project with deadlines and due dates.
A recipe for National Mint Chocolate Day (Feb. 19th).
Letters from Earlybird's neurologist that need responses.
Using these highlighted notes I add to-dos and reminders to my POW notebooks and next week's planning sheet (shown below).
So for example ...
Ingredients for the bluebird treat and mint-chocolate mousse are written down in my errands notebook.
Project due dates/deadlines get noted in my calendar.
Action items go on their appropriate lists:
"Request Snow Queen" goes on my POW list - I want to do that over the weekend.
"Reschedule June appt." and "Call Dr. F to discuss R's med" both go on my to-do list for next week.
Now I gather any books we'll be using in our homeschool next week ...
I store our books and other home learning resources in various ways - on display in the learning room, in tote bags and in themed baskets. Some things we keep out all year and other items get cycled in and out according to learning topics and season.
And bring books that need photocopying to the printer station ...
I place photocopies for the week ahead on a clipboard ...
The copies are a combination of work pages for the kids and things for me to read and hi-light and refer to throughout the week.
Photocopies on my clipboard this week:
"Snow Queen" coloring pages
A Valentine verse for circle time (cut and glued to an index card)
A "Winter Walk" nature study (from Golden Books: Nature Hikes)
This week's Earth Psalms activity page
"Making Friends with the Birds" (from Round the Year with Enid Blyton)
Unit 62 "What Shall We Eat and Drink?" (from Natural Science through the Seasons)
"State Birds and Flowers" coloring pages (midwest states)
Now, these are all steps I try to get done, ideally, before the weekend. This allows me to use the weekend hours most efficiently and really get a head start on the new week. Sometimes though, I get distracted or busy or - let's face it - lazy, and find myself scrambling early Saturday morning to make thoughtful lists.
As I said, I didn't time myself but if I had, I'd say all of these steps might have taken about an hour. In my next post I will describe the rest of my planning routine which I do over the weekend and into Monday morning.
Well friends, I hope I was not too rambly, but please let me know if you have any questions or would like me to clarify any points. Remember, this is what I TRY to do, but not every week is as cooperative as I'd like!
So as ever, I thank you all for stopping by and wish you all a pleasant evening ... morning, day, what have you! Hope to see you here again very soon!