Listen up, y’all: I’m about to share with you how you can get your life and your time organized using the Erin Condren Life Planner! I love using an old-school paper planner to write down and organize all the things going on in my life. I've been using a paper planner since 1989 and yes: I do keep all my old ones.
Want to see how to use the Erin Condren Life Planner to get organized? Read on, my friend!
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#1 Use your erin condren life planner to set-up your appointments
To make your life a little easier, I've created this free Back to School checklist.
Want to see how i CREATED MY FAMILY ROUTINE? kEEP READING...
Who's running the show at your house?
I bet you're on "survival mode" a lot, Right?
- My spouse works and he travels for work. His travel isn't on a regular basis, so sometimes he is home and can help out, other times it is just me running the show.
- I'm transistioning from being a WAHM to becoming a new small business owner. I'm self-employed, so I create my own schedule. But I now have all the resposnisiblities of being the WAHM, with the added bonus of trying to get a business off the ground. Festive, right?!?
- We have one shorty who goes to school, after-school sports practice, tutoring, and everything that goes along with being a middle schooler.
- Our whole famliy has a busy calendar of volunteering commitments, carpools, as well as a full social calendar.
- We are always on the run! And we only have ONE shorty: I know that those of you with 2,3,4, and 5 have an exponentialy difficult schedule.
This is how we were rolling
Something had to give
When I finally stopped blubbering, I knew I had to do something to fix this mess. If you know you need to change your life, you naturally consult Oprah, right? That was my first instinct, too! Unfortunatley, neither Oprah or Gayle were available to change my life for me, so I had to do the next best thing: I went to Pinterest.
After lots of reading up on how to manage my family's time and thinking about how I wanted our schedules to look, I decided to commit to A Weekly Family Routine. This means carving out 2 hours once a week (I do Sundays) to dedicate to planning out the whole week in advance.
Two hours? On a sunday? Good luck with that.
NO: it doesn't have to be on a Sunday. If you have a couple hours of downtime on Tuesday morning, do your Family Routine then. If you have time while the kids are at volleyball practice, do it then. Just figure out when you have the time and do it. Sunday works for me.
NO: it doesn't have to be 2 hours all at once. I mentally split the project time into two portions: Logistics and Meal Planning.
I often find that I have one hour free on Saturday (while waiting at sports practice), which is when I bang out the Meal and Grocery Plan. Then on Sunday morning/early afternoon, I knock out all of the logisitical stuff.
Remember: I am not the Boss of You. YOU DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!!
so you do...what exactly??
What are these supplies you speak of?
- Iphone. We keep our work schedules, appointments, etc. digitally, so I need my phone to see what's on the plate for the week.
- My paper planner. I'm old-school and still use a paper planner. If you can survive with just digital planning, I applaud you, but that's not my jam. I need to write it all down and see how it is going to play out.
- Paper Family calendar, if that is how you roll. I don't, but if you do, get it down off the wall and show it who is the Boss.
- Pencils, pretty colored gel pens, post-its and binder clips. That is just how I do. I keep a pencil case in my car with all these supplies so I can plan on the run, if needed. I just heard you say "Nerd Alert", by the way.
- The Grocery List pad. I have a custom one, which is gorgeous, but I also love the All Out Of grocery list from Knock Knock. OrganizeHer also makes a great product, and they are availble at Target. Doesn't matter what you use, just have something you can write on.
- Meal Planner Notepad. Again, I'm old school. I write out the Meal Plan on a piece of paper and it is posted in the kitchen for quick reference. I love the Knock Knock product. It can be on the prettiest paper or a sheet of notebook paper: who cares as long as you have a plan!
Supplies: check. Now what?
- Work and travel schedules for parents. If your shorty has an afterschool job, add in that too.
- Afterschool activities. Practices, tutors, whatever.
- Carpool. Want to change your life? Start using the free carpool-kids.com/Carpool Kids app. It's a free app that lets you and other parents set up who is driving which kids to what activity, all within the app. No more Sunday carpool text chains from Hell!
- Social plans for everyone, including babysitter needs.
- Cleaning the house. Whether it's scheduling your cleaning lady or figuring out who is going to scrub the toliets and when, make a plan to get your crib clean. Don't be nasty.
- Date or Famliy Night. Sometimes that just means frozen pizza and Netflix, but who cares.
- Errands, including our big ones...Target and Groceries. If you're a famliy of more than 3, I'll guess you have a Costco/Sams/BJ's run once a week or so, too.
- What's for Dinner every day. I rarely plan breakfasts, and lunch is usually leftovers. When planning dinners, I take into account practices, work schedules, etc.
- Grocery list
- Cookbooks, Magazines, and/or Pinterest Boards
- Grocery Store sales flyer (which I access digitally at our grocery store, Harris Teeter)
get your game face on: now you have to plan it all out
Here is how I build-out our week:
- Work schedule and appointments come first. Those are the non-negotiables (aka make or cost me money), so they get priority.
- All after-school activites get scheduled next. Those activities cost me money too, so I am making sure I take care of them.
- Carpool is next, closely followed by any babysitting needs. *Note: I usually try to book my sitter as soon as I put an event on the calendar, to ensure I don't forget until the last minute. The Sunday Rountine has saved me many times from forgetting to book a sitter.
- Errands and Cleaning. My biggest tip is to schedule errands during downtimes. For example, on the day I drive carpool to a 1.5 hour practice, I drop the kids, hit the post office, library, and Target (including Starbucks) and get back to practice in time. The other way to roll is to just bite the bullet and do it all in one day. Again, do what works for you.
- Groceries fall in last. That is flexible, depending on our Meal Plan. I personally shop at two grocery stores: one I go in and the other I place my order ahead of time and drive through. The drive through service at Harris Teeter is the BEST time saver in the world. I highly, highly recommend it. The $5 it costs will be the best $5 you spend all day.
COngrats: you now have a plan of attack for the week.
Now you gotta share the love!
- My Work calendar: these are tasks specific to my business. For example, I might schedule "Write blog post" on Tuesday from 2-4pm, but this isn't vital for my family to know. It's just to keep me on task.
- C+C calendar: (the C's are my spouse and my initals). These are schedule items that my husband needs to see and/or be aware of. So all household appointments, my off-site jobs (for safety), etc. I do also add any household projects, like "shop for helath insurance" or "car in for service", so my spouse knows what household projects are in progress .
- Family calendar: all three of us see this. This includes all afterschool activites, carpools, social calendar and babysitter, and school dates. My shorty's school sends out a newsletter with test dates, so I put those dates into the Family calendar.
Get your fam on board, toot sweet.
How's that all working for you, you ask?
Ok: not 100%. You're going to forget to schedule things. There will be push-back from the famliy about "the crazy schedule Mom made", and maybe more. But trust me when I say: it's way better than it was before, and it will only get better as you keep doing it. The key is to not give up. Listen, we all know the Moms usually run the show at home, so if you have the job, OWN THE DANG JOB.
I own that weekly family routine. you CAN own your family routine, too.
You can do this too! You already run the show...just make it easier on yourself!
Want help getting started with your weekly Family routine?
Have questions? Let's hear what you have!!
3 Ways to Organize Your Life + Time with the Erin Condren Life Planner
Back To Schoool
Before & After
Closet Organization Ideas + Hacks
Downsizing Your Home
Family Schedule Logistics
Garage DIY Organization
Later Life Planning
Organizing Aging Parents
Selling Your Stuff
Weekly Family Routine