Since I’ve been back to the office part time, I’m back to relying more heavily on my planner to keep me organized. I moved out of the Finsbury at the beginning of the year because I wanted an A5, so I purchased a Carpe Diem planner by Simple Stories (mine is the “Platinum” color). Obviously I wanted another Filo, but it wasn’t in the budget. And the Carpe Diem is actually really, really nice. (Note: when I purchased, the cost of the planner was around $40; now I’m seeing it’s not as available and more expensive, so perhaps they are not making them any longer). I thought I would do a quick review, and show how I use it. I am a big believer in keeping lists and goals organized and easy to refer to frequently. It keeps me on track with all my goals and our budget. I use mine for work, personal stuff, family organizing/homekeeping/finances, and my mom’s group administrative stuff. Having separate calendars doesn’t work for me very well (though I do have a monthly overview calendar on our fridge so Jonathan can also see what’s upcoming).
In the inside front cover, I keep things like my company contact list and random work administrative cheat sheets. I’d print them in A5 size and put them in my planner, but the font size would be ridiculously small, so this works for now. In the small pockets, I just put page flags and markers, mini post-its, and a roll of skinny washi tape. I keep a pen and highlighter in the pen loop. I have most of the office supplies from my pre- zero waste days, but I still indulge every now and again. I just try to keep a limit on the amount I acquire so I don’t end up hoarding tons of unused stuff!
These labeled agenda and category dividers were included with the planner, and I really like them. I was able to determine my own categories and label the tabs with stickers. Mine are Contacts, Agenda, Menus, Lists, $$$$$, and Inspiration.
I won’t show my “Contacts” section for privacy reasons, but it’s essentially just address book pages. The “Agenda” section contains the monthly and weekly page views included with the Carpe Diem. I love this little monthly overview page they included, where I can list big to-dos, dates, and goals for the month. I have noticed I like to have “themes” for the month and I’ll write down the little tasks associated with that. It helps me to focus. So next month (August), I am trying to really get back on track with our budgeting and other financial goals (including selling of some furniture and such). Before baby gets here, I want to have an uncluttered mind and home.
The monthly spread is helpful for just birthdays, holidays, vacations, appointments, and other planned obligations. Usually I can just refer to this page to schedule something, as the day-to-day to-do type stuff is all pretty flexible.
I use the weekly spread the most of anything in my planner. I plan out my week on Sundays, generally, and kind of list out little housekeeping to-dos, upcoming work tasks, some self-care stuff, as well as transfer over any stuff from the monthly calendar spread so I don’t forget about it. Sometimes I just make notes of what I’m reading or listening to at the moment, and record things about my day that I feel grateful for or that I want to remember, like stuff I planted in my garden, for future reference.
The third section is “Menu.” I am using the free menu printable from House Mix Blog; it’s been on my fridge for the past couple of months and I really have found it useful, but I decided to print it A5 sized and do my menu planning inside my planner instead. Hopefully this will work out ok. I like the menu and grocery list on one page, and the simple layout. I plan to add a list of quick, frugal, and zero waste meal ideas. Menu planning saves my sanity and I should probably do a post on how it works for me. I just need to learn to print and crop A5 better, as these ones overlap the dividers. Next time I’ll get it right. 😉
The fourth category is “Lists.” So far this includes work info, to do list, shopping list (non-grocery), my wishlist, etc. Some of my purchasing-related lists really help me prioritize for budgeting purposes. When there’s room in the budget for it, I’ll treat myself with something from my actual wishlist (which are not impulsively added), rather than buy something I decided I wanted right that minute. (If that something is THAT important to my future happiness, it may get added to my wishlist and eventually worked into the budget. :)) Also, a running shopping list is really handy. This is more for purchases that aren’t urgent; I like to take my time to find the best way to fill a need. Oftentimes that is buying second-hand, finding another option using what I already have, or even asking around to borrow first. If those strategies don’t work, I try to at least buy the most ethical/responsible/quality/locally-sourced option I can afford. I use post-its to create top-of-page markers for pages I refer to frequently.
The fifth section is labeled “$$$$$.” I have my budget printables and written financial goals in this section, but I will only share a portion. I created my own printables for this to fit my needs. I was using a cash envelope system earlier in the year, but just switched to this written tracking system which I’ll begin in August. Credit card purchases like online shopping and gas were complicating the cash system and causing some issues going over the budget. I kept the same dollar amounts in each category, but now I don’t have to withdraw cash (except a little to have on-hand that comes out of each of our “personal” categories.) On the next page I have a printout of our income and fixed expenses, but I won’t share that for privacy reasons. I added a little post-it with a couple items from my wishlist I want to work into the budget, if there’s room, in the month of August. I don’t have an extravagant spending style by any means, but I do have a tendency to let little items add up at times, and this helps with that. My cute owl page marker makes the adultiness of budgeting a little less depressing. 🙂
The final section is “Inspiration.” It’s poorly named because it’s really a catch-all category. I like to collect quotes and ideas I find inspiring or thought-provoking. I also am really easily intrigued by lots of different things, which can send me down rabbit holes of obsessive research for DAYS if I let it. Now I will just write it down as something to look up in the future.. this has kept me less likely to glue myself to my phone reading up on various topics, and to be a more efficient person. (I am really easily distracted/obsessed by things). Another thing I keep in this section is the daily schedule I whipped up for when we start at-home preschool (while I know we won’t stick to the schedule perfectly, I feel like it will help us establish a nice rhythm.. until there’s a new baby and it all goes out the window). I also write down ideas here that I have for Tot School topics and activities (which is constantly! I love to plan!)
Another helpful addition is kind of a vision board page I created for my minimalist wardrobe goals. My ultimate goal wardrobe is really pared down, versatile, ethical, flattering, and long-lasting. All efforts toward this are on hold due to pregnancy (and then losing a bit of weight), but this will eventually apply again. Referring to this helps me to avoid purchasing things that don’t fit my style (or at least the style I wish I had), impulse purchasing, and over thrift-shopping. In a year or so I’ll probably start thinking about my fall/winter goal wardrobe. It’s kind of silly, but I’m a really visual person so this helps me see the big picture and stay on track.
Hope you enjoyed my planner tour! I know they aren’t for everyone, but for me, it truly helps me save time, money, and my sanity keeping a paper planner. How do you keep yourself organized?