Today, I'm dying to share my newest year-long project, and that is my Erin Condren Life Planner! I debated about purchasing this along with my Teacher Planner, but when I knew I would be a Stay-At-Home-Mom, it was the first thing I ordered to hopefully keep track of all of the spinning plates in the air!
This year, even though I'm heading back to teaching, I happily reordered the planner during their 2014-2015 launch and I am so glad I did. I plan on using both my Teacher Planner and Life Planner and I'm hoping this post can give you some ideas for how you can keep and use both effectively throughout the school year.
|"Work Hard. Play Hard." are on the first inside pages. Love this planner for all of its inspirational quotes!|
My Life Planner and Teacher Planner both have my favorite things listed on the front and I added a vinyl monogram to the back of each that I made with my Silhouette Cameo. I love how it turned out since I love all things monogram!
The covers this year are interchangeable, so you can order several designs and switch them out with your mood-- genius!! I have my eyes set on the turquoise and silver, since that would glam it up from time to time. I do love this cover, though. It's so refreshing to look down and see my most favorite things staring back up at me. It was a lot of fun generating the list and I look forward to rereading it throughout the year when things get challenging or I get too stressed. It's my little reminder sign!
I adjusted a LOT on the inside to suit my needs and I love how it turned out!! I bought thin washi tape in a dispenser from Michaels with a coupon and covered up the "Morning", "Day", and "Night" sections, as well as separated the week from the weekends. I changed the colors to match each month and managed to not run out of any colors just yet, so it worked out well!
I renamed the top section "School & Blog" and the middle section "Life". I do NOT use my Life Planner for school, except for jotting down to-do's (that I usually remember after school at 11pm!) and things I need to keep in mind that I otherwise will forget. My "Life" section is all about appointments, to-do's, errands, and the like. Doing this, I am able to maximize my time and do not have to run errands, go to the grocery store, and try to cook each and every night. The bottom section is used for my gratitude lists and mini-journaling, so I didn't title it since it's just for thoughts and thanks throughout the week.
I typically cover the very bottom with colorful washi tape. I love the color and theme that it provides and I found I was never using those lines well anyway. Now, it's a pretty space that sets the tone for the week. I love trying out new patterns and combos of washi tape and stickers together in that spot :)
The other thing I did on each page was highlight the current week on the monthly calendar view. I love being able to quickly find where I am in the big picture of the month. Quick and simple, but effective!
How I Plan
|This is a summertime spread, so I don't have it split into "School" and "Life" just yet. I start that in August.|
Every Sunday evening, I sit down for the big weekly plan. I always insert everything into my Google Calendar on my phone as they come up during the week. Because events, appointments, and activities get changed and adjusted so much, I never like to plan in hard copy more than one week at a time. Plus, it keeps these events fresh in my mind, and I can only hold about a week's worth at a time (or maybe even less!).
I will bring up my Google Calendar online and begin adding in the appointments to my Life Planner. I use washi tape from craft stores and Etsy to decorate and I always write with a black ballpiont pen and thin Sharpie markers (on the washi and labels only-- it will bleed through the pages otherwise).
I start by adding in main events to the "Life" part and decorate using washi as well (I even have a laundry one that is the only thing that motivates me to tackle the piles, I swear!). I usually cook a LOT on one day of the week and we make meals from that throughout the week, especially our breakfasts and lunches, so planning is incredibly important. It helps me to see what days are empty and what days may be too full. I really try to reach a balance if I can-- our daughter is only three and with working half-time this year, I want to make sure I am still leaving lots of "girl time" for us to share and not just cram it full of to-do's.
The last section is my favorite and is what moves this Life Planner from just a scheduler and checklist system to an actual journal/scrapbook/something special just for me. I sit down every night after our daughter is asleep and before we turn in and reflect on the day. I will then add little bullet points of the cute/funny/happy/silly/etc. moments that make me so grateful and joyous. I have absolutely loved this practice and am amazed how it has transformed this Life Planner in my life. I love looking back in past weeks and remembering the sweet things my daughter said, or a particularly fond moment we shared as a family, and more. At first, I only started by writing three things, but it has blossomed now into tiny writing that often gets squeezed into every available spot. This is my favorite section of my planner and I am so thankful I started this practice (and highly suggest you do, too! It's awesomeness!)
At the end of the day, I will also fill in the black spaces of the day with stickers from craft stores and Etsy. I love finding quotes on Pinterest and printing those out as well. The spaces are 1.5" x 1.9", so you can shrink down any favorite Pin to fit, so they can inspire you in hard copy form!
I hope this gave you a good idea of how to use your Life Planner for something other than scheduling appointments during your day. I am looking forward to using mine this year alongside my Teacher Planner (more on that one soon!) and know there are a million (at least!) more uses than the ones I've shown you, including meal plans, fitness, etc.
If you're new to Erin Condren, you can sign up for an account through my affiliate link and earn $10 off your first order! An email will come to your inbox with the code and that way you can try a planner at a discount, which is always a good thing :)
I'm linking up with my friend Tara's Monday Made It! Be sure to head over to see all of the other amazing projects your favorite teacher friends are creating this week :)
Off to jot down my daily gratitudes....