How I Organize My Schedule–Tips for Organizing Your Day, Your Week, Your Month, and Even Your Year

As a Type A, Enneagram Type 3, Strengthfinders Achiever, the phrase, “Watching you exhausts me” is something that I hear often.  I love to be busy and moving and involved, so I understand when people say this.  But it does take a lot of planning and organization to make all of the pieces fit together.  And not to say that I’m perfect, because I do forget things from time to time.  But over the years, I have developed some effective routines around building and organizing my schedule, and today, I’m sharing them with all of you.

Right off the bat, I should tell you that I use both digital and paper tools to plan and organize my time.  They all serve a purpose, so I want to outline those tools first.

Digital Tools:

iCal on iPhone: If you have an iPhone, it automatically comes with the iCal Calendar app.  I use this for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays (most of which are prepopulated), and reoccurring tasks and events that I don’t want to forget.

Cozi App: This is a shared app for families.  It can be used for a shared calendar, shared grocery list, and a few other options.  It has been so helpful for our family!  I use this for events, travel, appointments, and vacations, and I am also able to see these things for my husband and son as they are added, condensed into a single calendar.

Microsoft Outlook for Business: This is the application that my company uses for email and calendar, so it houses all of my work calls, meetings, events, and travel.  Additionally, I use this much like my iCal, but for business–birthdays and anniversaries of work colleagues and reoccurring tasks and events.  I use it all day every day when I’m working.

Orangetheory App: This is the app that I use to book and view all of my workouts.  When I am home, it’s pretty straightforward when and where I am going, but this is especially helpful for me when I am traveling and bouncing around to different studios.

Paper Tools:

Emily Ley Simplified Planner: This is the paper planner that I have used for at least four years.  They offer several layouts, but I like the Daily Edition, because I am able to list out my meetings by time, and it has the to do list on the same page.

Oh So Lovely Paper Calendar Templates: I use Audrey’s calendar templates for so many things!  But I do have some top uses each month.  First, I use one to have a visual view hanging in my office for events, travel, appointments.  (Think visual version of Cozi.)  I also use one to plan and organize blog content and Instagram posts, which I also hang in my office.  Some miscellaneous uses have been for race training plans, meal planning, and family meetings.

Daily Planner To Do List Notepad: I started using these a few months ago, and they have been so helpful.  I know it seems redundant to use these and a paper planner, but I use both to stay organized.  I use one of these sheets each day so that I can focus on just that day, what is scheduled, and what I need to accomplish.  I love that I can write all over it, cross things off, and it keeps it all on one sheet.

I know it sounds like a lot of tools, but I promise you, they all serve an important purpose in my process!  So let’s get down to that–the process.

Let me break it down for us now.

Annually: This is where I use my iCal most.  Throughout the year, I plug in birthdays, anniversaries, and reoccurring tasks that I know I will forget (examples: getting my wedding ring cleaned/inspected every 6 months, when bills/payments are due, things that need to be cleaned/replaced/renewed).  Outside of this, and some annual goal setting, I don’t plan this far ahead.  Things change so often (and hello 2020…), so I find that planning too far out is not effective for me.

Quarterly: This is a similar approach to annually.  There are some things that I do quarterly (ordering new running shoes, things that need to be cleaned/replaced/renewed more frequently, etc.) versus annually, but those reminders are housed in iCal, and again, I don’t typically plan much that far ahead either.

Monthly: This is where a lot of the magic happens.  On the first day of the month (ideally), I print out a few of the calendar templates that I mentioned above, and I get to work.  I create one for a monthly overview of events, appointments, travel, etc., and I hang this on the big bulletin board in my office.  Then, I have a similar process for planning my blog and Instagram content–what events are coming, ideas for posts, etc.  (More to come on this in a supplemental blog post.)  At this time, I also check in on my annual goals to see if I’m on track, if there’s anything I can knock out this month, and I can plan and adjust accordingly. I use my iCal, Cozi, and Outlook calendars to help create these visual calendars.

Weekly: I create my weekly schedule on the Friday before the following week.  On Friday morning, I sit down with my iCal, Cozi, Outlook, Orangetheory calendars and my paper planner. I start with the following Monday, and I write down everything from the digital calendars to my paper planner.  This gives me a visual of the week to come, I can ensure I’m not double or overbooked, and I know if I need to make any adjustments and where I can plug in my tasks that need to be completed.  I have done this for several years, and I find that it’s a great way to end my week, feel prepared for the week to come, and relaxes me going into the weekend.

Daily: I plan my day the afternoon of the day before.  Before I sign off for the day, I pull out my to do list notepad, and I write down everything for the following day.  Like I said, things change all the time, so even though I wrote everything down last Friday, that doesn’t mean it didn’t change.  I write down all of my meetings and appointments for the day, and I write down all of the tasks I need to complete.  Just like with my weekly process, I find that this is a great way to mentally wind down my day, to feel prepared for the following day, and to be able to relax and enjoy my evening with my family.

I am an absolute planning and organization JUNKIE!  Life is crazy, so I love new tips and tricks and tools to make things as easy as possible.  So please share all of your favorite things you use to keep yourself on task.  I hope this helped, and I can’t wait to hear what you have to share!

XOXO,

Molly B.

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