Thursday, February 14, 2013

An essential tool for an organized life

Well I mentioned that I was going to share one little step at a time how to get more organized and what works for me. I fear that this post might be considered a bit simplistic but I think it is an essential tool and so I didn't want to leave it out.
  Probably my top tool for staying organized at all has been my calendar. We have one main calendar (and I do think it is very important that you have one main family calendar - if you start writing things down on all sorts of different calendars/ planners you will either have a lot of work of transferring things or you will start to miss things) which hangs on the wall in between our kitchen and dining room - right above the (main) phone. 
 The calendar is a great place to keep track of many things. Here are some of the things that are written on our calendar:

  • Appointments. If Mara has an orthodontist appt. or anything of that nature it needs to go on this calendar (unless it is Ken's appt.- he keeps track of many of his things on his computer - though if it will change the schedule that he normally has at home it is still good to have it here!). If it doesn't get written down here it is very likely it will be forgotten unless it is already a routine.
  • Company coming! Whether it is just for lunch or if they are staying for a week I try to write it down so that I don't double schedule.
  • Things that I need to keep track of like when I started seeds (planted them inside) or when the cleanse I am on will be over, etc.
  • Any trips that we have planned.
  • Any weddings that I am doing flowers for - I need to know quickly when someone calls so that I don't do any double booking.
  • Any new music students that are just starting. I don't write their lessons down every week - just at first until it gets to be a routine. I do however mark down any time that they have told me they will not be at lessons. I also keep track of what date they are paid through (they pay in advance) on my calendar.
  • Important birthdays. (Though I will admit of late this hasn't always been kept up - I do have another place I have this information stored and I don't always feel like transferring it to the calendar every year.)
  • I also will sometimes use little symbols to keep track of things of interest to me. Currently we are trying to stay home more and drive less and so each time we do drive somewhere I draw a little tire on that day. I have also been keeping track (just for interest sake) how much milk we have been buying this year. Since we buy that at the gas station near our house (it is cheaper than the grocery store) we don't just buy it on our grocery shopping trips so it was easy to lost track.
  • In extra area I write down if I am teaching a kids class at church that month or if I am in charge of bringing the pastries before church.

What I don't use it for:
  • A place to write my menu. It would get way to crowded.
  • A place to keep a journal. Again there just isn't space.
 That is how I use our calendar and I find it rather indispensable. Do you have a way to keep track of the things going on in your life? How do you use your calendar?

Also after the year is over we recycle our calendar by making them into envelopes which are much more exciting than plain white envelopes. A good servant just keeps on serving!
If you want more ideas visit my post on 11 Uses for old calendars.


Greg and Donna said...

Its great how everyone can use the same item to help keep track of things & additionally have different uses for it. My calendar hangs on the side of the fridge. I keep track of visitors, our travel, Amys dance, church work/obligations/special services, etc. And occasionaly jot down little notes about the day. I keep my calendars from year to year as a "diary" of our days.

Becky said...

I agree that a calendar is important ~ we use a large Staples desk calendar as our family calendar because there's 8 of us. I like that it is regular heavy paper instead of the shiny paper on which many picture type calendars are printed. We use pencil on our calendar and it is much easier to erase and/or change things in pencil ~ the shiny paper always just smudged. I have heavy metal magnetic clips on the side of the fridge that we clip 2 or 3 months at a time in together.

We keep track of things going on at church, piano lessons, co-op dates, 4H meetings, other appointments, work schedules, etc.

I have a Word document that I use for our meal planning for the month and this hangs on the front freezer door of the fridge.

Organization is such an important part of running our homes in a way honoring to the Lord. One of the biggest things we've been doing around here to get organized is cleaning out, which includes giving away, throwing away and putting away. Sometimes organizing something can be as simple as making a home for it :)

pressingonjournal said...

Great advice! My husband and I just started doing this. How do you keep track when you're not at home? If you are going to the doctor or something like that, and will probably make a new appt while there. Do you take the calendar along? - Dawn

Abbi said...

Greg and Donna - that is so true about it being neat that each of us can use things differently however it works best for us. It was fun to hear how you use your calendar.

Becky - I loved to hear about your methods too! The big calendar could be very helpful at times and I can appreciate the being able to use pencil!

In our attempt to organize we have been going through a lot of things as well and getting rid of them in some way or another. It is fun to bless others, it is fun to sometimes make a little money and it is simply fun to have more space and less clutter!

Dawn - Thanks for stopping by. To answer your question about the calendar- I don't generally take it with me though that could be handy. Generally I just try to look at it before I go and kind of figure out what days we have open and basically I don't schedule anything on Mon, Tues or Wed as those are music lesson days (I teach out of my home) and Monday is also cleaning and I just don't have time for other appointments. We do also try to keep appointments of that nature very limited so I don't have to worry about it too much. Also if I forget to check before I go I will simply tell them that I need to call them when I get home and schedule it then. That is my method and it has been working pretty well for us.


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