A composition book is my lifesaver.
Yes, I do keep my calendar in Google calendar, which I can access when I am out and about. Aaand, yes, I also have a (dollar store) wall calendar that hangs in the kitchen for the family’s quick reference, but my To-Do Book is the key to me getting to appointments on time and accomplishing tasks.
It fits in my purse, and I take it almost everywhere I go. For me, the act of writing things down forms a stronger pathway in my brain than if I had added the same task into an app (personal preference).
At some point every weekend, I have time set aside for planning for the week ahead. It may seem like a ton of work but, in reality, I save so much time throughout the week by being uber-organized that it is now something that is non-negotiable for me.
Weekend Ahead Planning:
- I first make sure that any new activities that added to my To-Do Book over the week, are logged into my Google calendar.
- I take 5 minutes (max) to make sure my Google calendar and wall calendar are in sync.
- I then spend about 15 minutes, creating pages in my To-Do Book for the week ahead.
- The days where I have a lot going on, a full page is used (on the right). Note: I always leave the left page blank for any notes/ideas/thoughts that I want to remember.
- The days where I know I don’t need much space, I may have the days share a page.
- Each day I include the date, the day of the week, and my daily must-dos: these are things I usually do before I get going in the day. Daily must-dos are non-negotiables and are the items that I’ve found if I skip, they will nag at me throughout the day.
- If I have an outside appointment, it goes on the page, BUT I don’t stop there. I always take the time to note the time that I need to leave my house to stay on schedule. This was life changing for me. With homeschooling, we don’t always have a routine Monday through Friday. Each day seems a little bit different with activities such as doctor appointments, outside classes, a trip to the city, and more.
Learning to walk through my entire day ahead of time, and making notes about details that I still need to resolve makes the week ahead run well. “Hmmm.. wait, do I need to pack a lunch for Wednesday?” If the answer is, “yes,” I add the preparation needed to my days.
I used to wake up in the morning, make breakfast, look at my calendar and then figure out what is going on for the day. On a good day, I might have done that all the night before but by doing this a few days out, I can trouble-shoot anything early. Talk about stress-relieving.
- The left page is for ANYTHING that I think is important that I might want to remember… a friend who says they are having surgery in September; a reminder to change my password on something; a book I saw that I want to read; etc.
- The magic clip holds the power. The thing that takes this portable To-Do Book from functional to life changing is having it OPEN to the day you are on all the time and keeping it with you – OPEN! I picked up an easel clip from an art store and use it to hold my book open to the current day. This way, when I come up with ten other thoughts in my head, I write it in the book (left page).
- This powerful clip also helps to save anything of importance – for example, a card you want to deliver to someone (people still do that, right?) or a form you need to hand in somewhere. I place these items under the clip on the left page.
At the end of each day (5 min. max)
- I take a look at the next day – has anything changed?
- I review the notes from the current day. Anything I did not complete either a) was not that important and umm… do I really need it on my list or b) is important, and I move it to the next appropriate day.
- I look at all that I accomplished and pat myself on the back. 🙂
I stock up on composition books in August during the back to school sales (50 cents each or so). The key for me, is that I need something I can take everywhere. It must be able to fit in my purse.
Starting A New Book
When it is time for a new book, I go to the very last page where I keep a list of books that sound interesting to read. In viewing my prior To-Do Book reading list, I transfer any unread books that I still have an interest in reading.
Then I flip one additional page backward, and this is where I list my long-term goals. Things like:
Declutter a room.
Go through videos and photos from 2016 and get them in a photo book and backed-up.
Make vacation plans.
Look at college financial information.
For the odd days, where I feel like I want to work on a project but need an idea, I head to my long-term goal list and begin working on one of those.
With those back pages setup, I return to the cover to label it with the start date. Sometimes, I will add some fun stickers.
Once I clip the book open to today, it is all ready to go!
What do you think?
My To-Do Book is what keeps me on the ball.
Every minute I spend using this book is worth it, as I gain ten times that in free time where I’m not wondering, “what is next, what do I need to do,” and so on.
Guess what I get to do now? I am off to check off that I finished my next WP post. Woo hoo! Of course, that was in my book. 🙂
Have a wonderful day,