Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Organizing Life - Your Brain On Paper

Years ago, I often felt like I had a million and one things to keep track of – grocery lists, upcoming birthdays, baseball schedules, piano lessons, to do lists for me, to do lists for Tim, budget, shoe sizes, etc. etc.  You get the picture!   I love the accomplishment of completing a list of chores, so I used lists – lots of lists!

I had calendars for this, papers for that, and mental notes for everything in between.  In all the mess, I often forgot about something in the process!  That bugged me!  I appreciate dependability in a person and wanted my family (and others) to know they could rely on me! Still, the more I had running around in my head, the more frustrated I became.

Then I learned about using a notebook.  The book I read is called Treasure of Careful Planning by Donna Kauffman.  I highly recommend this little book.  It is in an easy read and full of great ideas.   

Today, you will seldom find me without my notebook.  It holds my brain in paper form – trust me, it’s ENORMOUS!!  (JK!)   I bought mine at Office Depot a long time ago and can’t imagine life without it. Here’s a little about how I organize our lives with the use of my notebook.

First, there’s the front pocket where I tuck birthday party invitations, doctor forms, immunization cards, gift certificates and other information I’ll need throughout the week.  Near the back is a clear envelope with restaurant coupons, deposit slips and pictures of my kids.  A yellow pad of paper inside the back cover is where I jot down my grocery list throughout the week.   And then the STUFF in between…

When I first bought my notebook, I tore out the pre-printed daily/weekly schedules and replaced it with lined notebook paper (8 ½’ by 5’).  I then divided it off into an ever-changing (depends on our current needs) plethora of sections – with little sticky tabs identifying each specific segment.

Section Ideas (I’ll talk about each section a little more later.):
·         Daily To-Do list
·         Running To-Do list
·         House Project list
·         Notes
·         Budget
·         Shoe Sizes
·         Work Info
·         Calendar
·         Meal Planning
·         Grocery List
·         Gift Idea list
·         Goals
·         Outreach Ideas

The sections are pretty self-explanatory, and I’d love to hear other ideas of how you would or do use your notebook.   Later, we'll delve into the notebook sections, but this week we’ll just talk a little more about the Daily To-do list.

When I was battling depression years ago, I hit on the idea of having one “big” chore per day.  This gave me something to focus on accomplishing each day.  This idea also works when feeling very overwhelmed!  Your work load is scattered throughout the week, and relieves some of the pressure as a wife and mother.

My Weekly Daily Chore Goals are:
·         Monday – Laundry
·         Tuesday – Pay bills, budget, etc
·         Wednesday – Bake, make freezer meals (or take the day off!)
·         Thursday – Laundry
·         Friday – Clean the house

This is only a goal, and not earth shattering if it doesn’t get done like planned.    So here is how I do my Daily To-Do list with Monday as an example:

·         Devotions
·         Laundry
·         Straighten House
·         Make grocery list
·         Ty – baseball practice from 3:30-5:00

Supper – Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes

On the side, I keep track of how much water I drank, and if I took my vitamins.

So, is that information overload yet?  I feel like my thoughts are all over the place, so I’m gonna leave it at this and we’ll talk more next Wednesday!  Remember, be flexible though!  My goals for today did NOT get accomplished.  I, instead, got to spend the day with Tim trudging through a disked field picking up tree roots.  Now, I’m sitting in my dirty house on a chair that is sticky from the tea Corey spilled last night, looking at the laundry I didn’t put away from yesterday (I took Monday off) and telling myself it’s time to go pick up the kids.  Still, I am okay with it because I know it won’t take long to get “things” whipped back into shape and there will be more tea spills, changed schedules and other signs of life!  :)

Be blessed and have a great day!

P.S. Don’t forget to read Eve’s Story Part 2 – and pray for “Eve” if you think about her.  Sharing a story like this is emotionally draining, and I admire her courage and willingness to help other women learn through her story.


Sharla said...

I've heard you talk about this before and have looked for one similar to what you've described, because i so need to do this! I like what you said about liking dependable people and wanting to be reliable yourself... One question.. You listed 'calendar' in your sections of notebook paper.. do you draw out the whole month? maybe i'm getting a little bit ahead of you.. sorry! Anyways.. hopefully i can find one, and get organized!! : )

Lynette Carpenter said...

Good question, Sharla! The calendar is actually one thing I do use of the pre-printed stuff. Walmart carries them.

Also, forgot to mention, make sure your notebook is a three-ring only binder and not one with 6 or 9 rings.

Anonymous said...

i know how to do this... now to get off my lazy unmotivated butt and do it!!! thanks for giving me a push, now where do i start...joanna g