After I had Beau in summer in 2013 and began staying at home, I wanted something to keep myself organized and on top of things since I was no longer using my professional organizational resources at work. Typically, I am not an overly organized person. As I’ve gotten older, I prefer my house, my desk, my room and my pantry less cluttered, but I wouldn’t call myself organized. As soon as I straighten and organize the tupperware cabinet, it’s a mess again in a few days and it takes me months and months to get back to organize it again.
But I knew that when it came to this new adventure of staying at home, I needed to at least attempt to stay organized and avoid posting a million sticky notes around the house with reminders and to-dos. I researched several yearly planners and ended up buying an 18-month Erin Condren calendar to get me through the rest of 2013 and all of 2014.
It took me a while to ramp up to using a paper and pen planner, but I’ve really come to love it. I still keep many appointments and engagements on my iPhone calendar, especially those that I share with James since we have a shared family calendar. But when it comes to my daily and weekly tasks, goals, meals, appointments, activities, etc., I put them in my daily planner.
Last week, I ordered my yearly planner for 2015–another Erin Condren life planner. I did my research once again, because I’ve seen so many bloggers rave about other planners the past few months: Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner, Whitney English’s Day Designer, Plum Paper Designs’ Planner, etc.
But I eventually came back to the Erin Condren planner because I’m not at a point in my life where I need hour-by-hour time slots for my days. As a mom to two little ones, soon to be three, the last thing I need is a reminder of how much I didn’t accomplish in a given day 🙂 And I’m not one of those people who makes lists for the sake of crossing things off, so I feel no need to dictate my hourly breakdown on paper. That makes much more sense for someone in the working world than a stay-at-home mom with kids not yet in school.
My favorite feature of the Erin Condren planner is the two-page weekly spread with daily breakdowns for morning, day and night. That is much more in line with my off-the-cuff approach and also lends itself to some schedule flexibility. Because any mom of young kids will understand when I say that we may not make it to the grocery store at 10 a.m., but we will make it sometime that morning.
If I’m on top of things, I’ll sit down on Sunday during the boys’ naptime and review obligations for the week ahead and start planning out when to squeeze in errands, which meals should be crockpots dinners, when I have time for chores, etc.
Some weeks are chock-full because I’m on top of things and had the foresight to adequately plan out the week. Other weeks, my scratchy handwritten notes are more sparse because I wing it and plan things on the fly. And I’m ok with that, because it’s life at this point.
Oftentimes, I’ll have a task I need to accomplish but no idea when I’m going to do it, so I simply write it in the Goals & Notes section so that I don’t forget about it and can work it in when I have time. I’ll jot down notes such as: make hair appointment, send thank you card, pick up shower gift, update Etsy shop, etc.
There are parts of the Erin Condren Planner that I don’t use often, if at all, such as the sections for notes and contacts. The planner features a two-page spread for the month at a glance, but I often skip over that and go straight to the weekly views to record obligations. There are a ton of cute stickers that you can add to your daily schedules, but life is more about practical than cutesy and I don’t have the time or creative energy to prettify my planner. I’ve seen some awesome examples of how you can color code your planner with inks, but Mama ain’t got time for that 🙂
In case any other mom is looking for a yearly planner recommendation, I am 100% sold on my Erin Condren Life Planner for this stage of life. From what I hear, they never go on sale, so if you want one to use at the first of the year, be sure to order it soon as it will take a few weeks to arrive.
I have in no way been compensated for my opinions about this product. It’s just something I really enjoy and highly recommend.