April begins a new quarter here at the EAE. And as with any new beginning comes a chance to evaluate and recharge. As I talked about before, each quarter of my year has it's own life and focus, goals and intentions. And so too do the months in each quarter. April in my Plum Paper planner is no different.
So let's break it down:
My weekly planning style:
I really enjoy having each week laid out exactly the same since it does allow me a quick over view when making plans. I kept the washi tape for school pick up and drop off as well as the basics of my habit trackers. I used to cover up the sidebar with fun stickers but have since moved on to using it a little more practically. Each week in April follows the same basic structure which helps my OCD mind stay sane.
April - Week #1 (technically March ;-D)
This week is a bit of a "one off" as it were. It's spring break here around these parts and so I have nothing, more or less, to really track or plan. Both the girls are on their respective spring break-ations and so I am left to my own devices.
I opted for a streamlined and simple weekly view, simply because anything that winds up in this weeks plans is completely flexible and 100% negotiable.
However, just because it's spring break and I have everything to myself doesn't mean that life has stopped. I still have the basic chores to be done, the washing, the cleaning, the meal planning. I'm using this week to get a head start on all of the April needs.
Take a look at the upcoming weeks:
Since this layout and structure works for me, I have laid out the rest of April in my Plum Paper planner in the same way.
Some attributes you'll see repeat from week to week:
1 | Washi always goes on at the top and bottom, creating sort of a frame for each week. The bottom washi separates what I have to do/be at what time with what I need to do that day or else it serves as a place to log a note of two.
2 | Break lines (using washi) at the 7 am mark and the 4 pm mark. These are the times I know I must be to the bus stop for Lily. By marking them in this way, I am never able to accidentally book myself or I know when to leave wherever I am that day.
3 | Habit Trackers. I love habit trackers to help hold me accountable when I need to make sure Lily does everything she is supposed to. Between cooking, cleaning, shower.bath roundups and helping Abbi with her homework, Lily's spelling list can wind up lost in the mix. This way I can be sure it was accomplished and we can move on to the next task at hand.
4 | Repeating events. Each week on Tuesdays I volunteer for the Super Mom's at WE/ I know that I will be doing this the same day and time every week so I always plug things like this in before making any other plans. Others of note are; my girl scout meetings, Abbi's bowling practice and tournaments and Abbi's tutoring sessions. Since I know these won't change until the end of the school year, it's easy to pop them in and go.
Laying everything out like this just works for me. It makes each week run a whole lot smoother to know that my plum paper planner has me lined up, structured and ready to go.
And now a look at the rest of the month:
The monthly spread is more or less the heart of my plum paper planner. It's the first thing I set up at the start of a new quarter (the three month's of layouts) and the place I refer to more often than not.
The monthly section is where my budget and billing live, my schedule for the girls activities. appointments, events, birthdays and anything else I need a quick peek at.
I use a color coded key the the bottom of the month) that allows me to save valuable writing real estate for recurring events such as bowling or scouts. I can easily just take a quick look if I need a reminder of what color dot means what.
I refer to this page so often that the pages end up worn down. But it's functional and works perfectly for my family.
The brains of the operation:
If the monthly view in my plum paper planner is the heart, then the next two pages plum provides is the brains of my planner.
Plum Paper provides these two pages in all their planers. When I was setting up my first PPP, I was so confused about what to do with these pages. The notes side wound up covered in sticky notes and horrible handwriting while the goals page went untouched.
I decided to be more vigilant about these pages, so I created a plan for my next order - which I have now used for the past three years. It works, people! And how!
I break down the goals page into sections:
1 | The top circles are for business goals. Meaning; what I want to accomplish this month for this little blog you're reading. I pull my goals up from my brainstorming add-on (available to any Plum Paper planner) and move them to the forefront of the month so that I can create more detailed action steps, making it much easier to meet my deadlines and crush my goals.
2 | The lower sections are divided to categories that apply that month. I like to see a visual when I am planning each week - with details not provided in my monthly view. I can toss all the important events, goals, steps to take, etc into their own category and come back whenever I need to to check in.
The notes pages across the way are exactly that; a page for notes.
I keep the movies and books I want to watch/read in a log on this page as well as a list of any playdates for Lily and regular dates for Abbi. It houses what amounts to my monthly brain dump.
And then there's the back...
I always order my Plum Paper planner with a tracker dispersed through each month. This is what really holds me accountable.
I list the dates across the top and the tasks along the side. Some of them are simple and should be easy to remember but as I find my memory slowly fading, I make sure everything from taking my meds to feeding the cat is on this list. It also guarantees that I will be working, in some way on this blog right here. Accountability. That's my real secret weapon.
So what about you?
Do you use a paper planner? What kind? What structure suits you best? Let's chat and share ideas on planning today!
Meanwhile, I'll see you in the next post,