Welcome to Week Three of 52 Weeks of C.H.a.O.S! This week we’re going to continue building our C.H.a.O.S. binders with the planning section.
If you’re new to C.H.a.O.S., make sure to read the introduction. The short version is that it stands for Complete Home Overhaul System. This is a program for the extremely right-brained. Like me! We’re going to whip our homes (and our lives) into shape over the next year. And we’re going to do it our way. Click the button above for an email notice of next week’s post and to get a free 23-page C.H.a.O.S. Binder Quick Start Guide.
Last week we talked about the calendar section of our C.H.a.O.S. binders and started to get into the planning section. This week we’re going to really dig into how our binders can help us with planning our day-to-day lives.
Planning is the first tabbed section of your binder. There are several printables that fill out this section. Here they are in the order that I keep them in my binder:
Master Shopping List
First is my Master Shopping List, because it’s the only page in this section that I might need to refer to during the day beyond making my to-do list.
I got this idea years ago from Deniece Schofield‘s great book Confessions of an Organized Homemaker. It’s just a running list of things I need or want to buy. When I buy something, it gets crossed off.
I look at the list on the day that I make my grocery shopping list for the week. Anything that I need to have in the upcoming week gets put on my weekly shopping list. Like those socks to get into the soccer game. I don’t put groceries on this list. We’ll cover that when we start the food section.
Daily Focus Pages
I have seven daily pages that help me to plan what I’m going to do during the week. I wrote about these last week. I’m going to talk a little more about them in a minute.
Birthdays and Anniversaries
This is a one-time print out of a perpetual annual calendar. You fill in the birthdays and anniversaries that you don’t want to forget throughout the year and consult it at the beginning of each month. Any gifts or cards get added to your Master Shopping List. I don’t go nuts with mine. Facebook does a good job of keeping track of the birthdays of just about everyone I’ve ever met, and some people I’m not even sure I know at all. I only write down the dates for people whose important dates are important enough to me that I’d be embarrassed if I missed the notice on Facebook or if I forgot to send a card or gift. That’s basically my kids and husband, my in-laws, my dad and my siblings, and my nieces and nephews, plus a very few close friends.
This is an annual calendar where I write down things like events we go to every year and any planned trips. Every year I attend three or four writers conferences and book festivals or fairs–those go on this list. I also write down community or local events that I don’t want to forget. These are important to me because my husband’s job is tied to them. For instance, he can never take any time off during Hot August Nights or when the bowlers come to town.
I look at my Big Plans page on the first of every month and make sure that everything there is on my calendar. Anything that needs to be bought gets added to my Master Shopping List.
Last, I have a list of Christmas gifts that I’ve already bought or made. On the front of mine, I labeled each column: Kevin, Adrienne, Nick, Ruby. On the back, I labeled the first column ‘Name’ and the next three ‘Gift.’ For Kevin and the kids, I list their gifts vertically under their names. For people I buy fewer gifts for than I do my children and my husband, I write their name in the ‘name’ column (duh!) and then list their gifts in the next three, working horizontally. I’ve made this printable so that it isn’t tied to a holiday.
I keep an idea list in the personal section of my binder and we’ll talk about that in a couple of weeks. I keep the gifts I’ve already bought in the planning section, because that’s where my shopping list is and it just works for me. You can keep it in the personal section if that’s better for you. Remember, the key to this whole binder is to keep tweaking ANYTHING that doesn’t feel natural and intuitive to you, until it does.
More About Daily Focus Pages
Daily Focus Pages are the heart and soul of the planning section of my binder.
There are seven (are you shocked?) That’s, of course, one for each day of the week. Last week we talked about assigning a focus to each day of the week. Mine looks like this:
Monday: Money Day
Tuesday: Shopping and Errands Day
Wednesday: Family Day and Catch-up Day
Thursday: Cleaning Day, plus 5-minutes-per-room Day
Friday: Paperwork Day
Saturday: Kids Day
Sunday: Fun Day
So, let’s expand on that a little.
On Mondays, I sit down with Kevin and have our Monday Day pow wow. I’m going to write a whole post about that pretty soon here. I make sure I have a fresh PocketMod for keeping track of what I spend in the upcoming week (Kevin keeps one, too.) Any banking that needs to be done happens today. We make sure our account balances. We add money to our Lifeboat. We pay any bills that need to be paid for the week. I do my meal planning and grocery shopping list on Monday, as well, since Tuesday is shopping day.
On Tuesdays I go to the grocery store, or Kevin does, or we both do. Any other errands are run on Tuesday as well. Library books are returned, packages are mailed, bills that are paid in person are paid. You get the idea. I usually make a trip to CVS or Walgreens, or both if the sales are really good, on Tuesday as well.
Since Kevin never, ever gets the weekends off, we have our family day on Wednesday. That always means a nice dinner–often a barbecue. It also means an hour of everyone working together to get some housework done. The kids pick up their rooms on Wednesdays. We catch up on laundry if it’s behind. I check my binder to make sure I’m not falling behind in anything else. We also wash the cars and fill them up with gas on Wednesdays. I also clean out the inside of the car and my purse on Wednesday (in theory, anyway!)
Thursday is my cleaning day. I’m not going to lie. I suck at cleaning day. That’s why we’re doing the whole 52 Weeks of C.H.a.O.S. thing, right? I make sure to get my 25 things out of the house, anyway. I set a timer and clean for five minutes in each room of my house. (That one is so new that I’m still figuring out the day. I think Thursday is going to stick.)
I make sure my desk is clean on Fridays. I do any filing that needs to be done. Any paperwork outside of bills that needs to be taken care of happens on Friday.
I try to always plan something fun to do with the kids on Saturday. A community event, a movie, a museum–something. Eventually part of Saturday will be another cleaning day, but I’m not there yet.
And Sunday is my fun day. Okay, so I like to have fun all weekend! I organize myself for the next week on Sunday, making sure I have the right binder pages ready and taking out last week’s so they can be filed away. I plan my writing week and check my calendar so that I don’t forget about anything I have coming up. Sometimes I go to a movie or out to lunch with a friend on Sundays. Every once in a while Kevin’s off on Sunday and we do something fun together.
That’s my week. Yours will almost certainly be different.
In addition to the things I just talked about, I list my work schedule (I have one, even though I work from home), my gym schedule, Ruby’s soccer schedule, and any other regularly weekly or monthly appointments on my Daily Focus Pages.
Like we talked about last week, I check my Daily Focus Page every morning as I’m making my list in my Ta-da book. I don’t have to try to write the same thing over and over again in little planner squares. It’s easy to redo the pages if my schedule changes significantly. And having my regular schedule separate from my irregular schedule (which I keep on my month-at-a-glance calendar) keeps things nice and neat and simple.
Here are the Daily Focus Pages for you to print. I have a set that don’t include a blog focus line as well.
(CLICK HERE for a printable action plan)
Make sure the Calender section of your blog is up and running, if you haven’t already. Calendar and planning are like peas and carrots–better together.
Print out your Master Shopping List and start to fill it in with any ‘to buys’ you’ve been holding on to in your head.
Print out your Birthdays and Anniversaries list and fill it out.
Print out your Big Plans list and fill it out.
Sit down and really think about what you need to get done in a week. Spread your tasks out over the course of a week. I’ve found the easiest way is to have days that are devoted to a certain group of tasks. (Errands day, money day, cleaning day, catch up day, family day, kids day, and fun day.)
Print out your seven Daily Focus Pages and fill them out. Use a pencil and feel free to move things around if they just aren’t working for you.
When you sit down in the morning to make your to-do list in your ta-da book, look at your Daily Focus Page for that day as a guide.
Don’t forget to CLICK HERE to receive a 23-page C.H.a.O.S. Binder Quick Start Guide!
We’re going to build the Money Section of our binders. See you there!
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