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.
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.
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!