You wouldn’t recognize the person I used to be. Two years ago I was a chaotic mother to two young, boisterous boys. I was my sister’s guardian (still am) and she was in the depths of both adolescence, and daily migraines that were so hard to figure out she had constant appointments, quite a few MRI’s and even a couple spine taps. I had been a stay at home mom for two years by this point, but truthfully, I hadn’t found my rhythm in it. Any rhythm for that matter. I just couldn’t get any of it together. We constantly missed appointments (even the important migraine ones) everyone always ran out of medication, the house was a disaster at best, and I was just trying to survive the day. I would wake up each day wondering what would actually land on my plate and be completed, knowing that 90% of the things wouldn’t even touch the plate while I sat there every day, not even knowing where to start, but feeling like I was working all day long. It was exhausting!
I had tried a few day planners by this point in my life, but as a stay at home mom I didn’t see the point in even keeping one. What would I write in them? I told myself that the only thing I had going on in my life that could go in a planner was the two appointments we had that month and then I would throw the thing in my purse to drown among sippy cups, diapers and granola bar wrappers. Only to come to mind when I would get the inevitable phone call to reschedule the appointment I managed to miss… again.
This especially hit hard one fall day in 2016, after months of my sister talking about how much worse her headaches were getting, and I kept telling her we would talk to the doctor about them when her appointment came. Even the day before the appointment, we had this discussion and while we were both looking forward to the next day, it managed to come and go with out either of us thinking about it until after dinner that night. Why do I keep screwing this up?!
I knew a change was needed and finally got on the band wagon to using planners. I started out with the bullet journal, and today I use my happy planner daily for every facet of my life. But any method that resonates with you will be life altering! Today I want to take you step by step to how I use my monthly view of my Happy Planner and how the heck I keep my life in order!
How to Plan Your Life:
Plan ahead. I see a lot of people in all of the Facebook planner pages that I belong to these days (seriously, 2016 me would be astonished to hear this) asking about planning ahead or as I like to say ‘future planning’ (My husband asks, isn’t all planning future planning?! Things that make you go “hmm”.) For the Happy Planner, I like to use post it notes -actual post it notes, as they have the best stick-ability(?)- and I write in the birthday, event, bill or whatever and stick it to that date in that month, then, when I’m decorating and setting up that month I have everything already planned out for me. I can just make it pretty from there. You can also use pencil to write in the dates, and, if you’re not into decorating and you feel confident in this date not changing, use pen. Plus, white out is totally still a thing!
Check the Holidays. What holiday’s happen this month? Who’s birthday is coming up? Do you have any to do lists for these holidays that you need to start thinking about? Take 2 minutes to get them started. This helps you outline what you are doing all month long, and helps you plan fun things in advance for your family.
What bills are on auto pay, and when do they hit your account? I can’t tell you how many times we would manage to over draw our account when we managed to forget that our auto insurance was set up to take out in the middle of the week, this helps remind you that maybe not all of the money in that account is actually there for you to spend. It also helps you see what things maybe don’t need to be kept in your budget any more. Are you really using all of the streaming services you pay for? When was the last time you even went to the gym? Keep yourself accountable for your budget.
Make a “what costs money” list every month. I keep this separate from the bills because its stuff that you want to spend money on, or things that only happen occasionally. Winter Taxes due, Tasha’s birthday, and Valentine’s Day, are among mine for February. It helps me remember where I want or promised our money to go that month outside of the regular occurrences.
Decorate, if you’re so inclined. Like to draw? Here’s a good chance! Practicing calligraphy? That’s totally a normal thing to do when you start getting into planners, and the bullet journal method in particular. You probably just scoffed at that though. That’s okay, you’ll see! The Happy Planner comes with a plethora of stickers, it can become an obsession. Budget for it, use coupons and never buy at full price, or never buy at all- it’s all up to you. But here’s where you can make it look prettier, and that does help you remember to come back to it.
Be sure to check on this monthly view at least once a week. I look back each Sunday when I’m setting up my weeklies, and I have not forgotten a single appointment, bill or event in the last couple years. That doesn’t mean I actually go to everything still (introverts unite!) But the important stuff doesn’t slip through my fingers as long as I take a minute to check now and then!
Want to up your productivity game even more? Add a monthly home maintenance list to the side bar of your monthly view. Break it up by adding a few here and there to each weekly to give you bite sized chunks. Your home will thank you! Even if you rent, this is a good place to help you remember to dust off the tops of the cabinets, or actually clean under the couch. Add in some monthly goals you want to achieve too, for your personal growth. For more on that read how I keep up with my goals here.
So, after hearing about the hot mess I was a while back, are you wondering how perfect I am today? I’m not perfect at all! Still a hot mess, well, maybe more of a lukewarm mess. A mess that doesn’t often forget about the important things and feels much more in control of her life! I’m able to use my time more wisely now! I clearly see my priorities each and every day!
You don’t have to use a Happy Planner, there are many options! Walk down the planner isle at a store and see what jumps out at you, grab a notebook and learn the bullet journal method (which is where I started), and even your phones have calendars, just make sure you set up the right reminders and that they will actually work! No matter what you use, dedicate at least five minutes to it each and every day. You need to write in what’s going on, you need to see what things need to be done each and every day and five minutes is less time than what you spend scrolling Facebook or Instagram each day, I guarantee! You may find that you want to spend more than five minutes most days, and that’s awesome! But at the very least you can dedicate five minutes to it.
Having a planner has helped me so much every day since I decided to make a change. I went from a mom who didn’t know how she could get the dishes done each day, to a mom who works on two businesses from home on top of homeschooling, on top of keeping the house tidy, I even get a couple minutes to myself most days! So, what are you waiting for? Take the leap and decide to start making a small change in your life by keeping a planner and take back your time!
Until next time friends!