I had every intention of organizing my life digitally, to fit all the details of my appointments, play dates, to-dos and tasks within the confines of my Iphone when I first got it at the beginning of the year. 2010 was going to be the year of the “digitally organized me.” The plan was to sync it all up to my laptop, which I’m on more hours a day than I care to admit. It should have been the perfect solution. I should be organized by now. I shouldn’t be forgetting prenatal appointments. I shouldn’t be bobbling around the 50 trillion things that I need to do but keep forgetting because they are living in my head or an app that is hard to coordinate with my daily calendar.
Oh, I have tried the apps. I have about 10 calendar/to-do/list making apps on my phone right now, but there’s always a glitch. They either don’t sync to my computer properly, they are too specific, they are too general, or they just plain suck. Okay, let me not place all the blame on the apps themselves. Most of the problem lies with me. When I think of something I need to do, my first instinct is to reach for a pen and paper and write it down, not grab my phone, find an app and type it out. I keep thinking I can re-train my brain, and I keep failing. So I don’t end up writing it down because I’m supposed to be “digital” now, but I don’t immediately put it into my phone because it seems like too much work. It all ends up floating around in my over-crowded, hormone drenched, sleep-deprived head.
And sure, I could use websites directly from my laptop. So many tout the awesomeness of Google Calendar or iCal. I’ve tried out websites like SpringPad and Evernote. But nothing seems to just… gel. Nothing is as effortless as pencil to paper. There are no passwords involved, no technical loopholes to jump through, no compatibility issues. You just write it down. And then? You get to cross it off.
If I’m being entirely honest, though, I will say a big problem with having my life on my computer is it requires me to be on my computer more. And sometimes what I really need to do is not even open the damn thing. Sometimes I need to not even log on to check my list of daily to-dos and appointments because you know what? I will get sucked into things like Facebook and Twitter. I’ll end up window shopping on Amazon after I get an email about a sale, and before you know it I’ll have wasted so much time on my computer that I could have accomplished three to-dos that don’t require the internet or a keyboard (like a load of laundry, a grocery list, and cleaning out the pantry).
So all this is to say that I’m going back to paper… for now. Though I’m not entirely ruling out phasing back into some digital organization eventually (the kind folks at Cozi.com have offered to give me a tutorial, which I fully intend to take them up on). I was really close to ordering a MomAgenda Desktop Planner the other night, but I just can’t justify spending $50 on something I’m not positive will work out. See, this is not the first time I’ve decided to go back to paper. I have so many day planners sitting around this house, 90% empty. But, I tell myself they just didn’t work for me, the format wasn’t right.
So I made my own for about $15 (roughly estimating the cost of paper and ink I used) with the help of some awesome free printables I found online. I put them all in a 100% recycled paper 1″ binder I picked up at Target for less than $6. I grabbed a pack of these super cool, re-usable Clip-Tabs for about $4 to make it easy to navigate the stack of paper. Then I printed off the following pages:
Monthly Calendars, Master Weekly (cleaning) Checklist and the Daily Docket from Simple Mom
Blog Weekly Calendar from Living Locurto
The Eat Sheet (menu planning), The Balance Sheet (to-do list) and the Weekly Family Calendar from Mommy Tracked
(I also looked at getting a subscription to ListPlanit.com, but again, I want to give myself some time to see if this system is actually going to work before I spend any more $$ on it. If I get into the grove, I just might let myself splurge on the $30 yearly downloadable membership.)
I organized it in the following order:
The Balance Sheet (x5) (I like to to keep a master list of my to-dos at the front, and then use that to assign my daily tasks. It’s also easy to just open the binder and add something to the list when it comes to mind.)
Weekly Family Calendar, The Eat Sheet, Blog Weekly Calendar, Master Weekly Cleaning Checklist, Daily Docket (x7) < repeat order for # of weeks in the month, then start over with the next month’s Monthly Calendar
Each week is easy to turn to and marked with a Clip-Tab to the right. Each month is marked at the top with a tab and labeled.
The *plan* is to fill out the next day’s Daily Docket the night before to give myself some clear goals for the following day. This will also be the first time I’m actively trying to meal plan. Hopefully this cuts down on the number of trips I make to the grocery store, wandering around the aisles aimlessly, only to come home and feel like there’s “nothing to eat.”
I only printed enough for 2 months, mainly because I don’t want to kill too many trees if this ends up being like the rest of my paper planners and goes unused. Also, turns out not much more than that fits in a 1″ binder, but I plan to recycle pages as time passes, like the Daily Docket, Blog Planner and Eat Sheet, and just hang on to past Monthly Calendars.
So far, I’m liking having my binder open next to me as I work on the computer. As soon as I hit publish on this, I get to reach over and cross off one of “Today’s MITs (most important things)”- Tell Baby Rabies readers about new paper planner. Awww, don’t you feel special? YOU all are that important to me 🙂
Have any tips or tricks or links to add? How do you manage to stay organized?
Kendall is 2 1/3 and I’m nearly 28 weeks pregnant, and that to-do list is frighteningly long.