I am a self-proclaimed planner and productivity junkie. There's something about walking into a stationary store and having so many possibilities in front of me that makes me insanely happy. I feel inspired, invigorated and excited to get going! But for many women this is not the case. It feels daunting, overwhelming and just plain scary. Especially because they don't know where to start. I have used many systems over the years and the the one that I am currently in love with is The Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas. It started as a mother/daughter scrapbook line and has blossomed into a creative planner company that I absolutely adore.
*I am not being paid or endorsed by this company. It's a system that I truly love and wanted to share with you.
I started with this company trying to create a memory planner to hand down to my kids. I don't scrapbook anymore because the time it takes to do beautiful layouts is just too much for me to want to do. I started with The Happy Planner's Planner Babe line and I was instantly in love. I adore rainbows and always have so when they had a gorgeous rainbow planner, I jumped on the train. It also gave me another reason to use my HP Sprocket mini printer I use for my travel planner. I am almost done with 2020 and documenting our crazy, insane year.
But the more I spent time with this planner company made me want to ditch the Erin Condren planner I was using to start using The Happy Planner system. I literally agonized over this way more than I should have. It was slightly ridiculous how much I went back and forth but I wanted to be sure I was being smart with the money I had already spent on EC over priced planners with horrible paper quality. I jumped. I decided to stick with the Planner Babe line because let's face it. It's the prettiest planner line I've ever seen.
The slowly, the more time I spent in quarantine in March and April, the more I researched different planning methods and I discovered something called Frankenplanning....and I died and went to planner heaven. This concept is quite fantastic. I usually end up having multiple planners to track different things anyway but I hate carrying the stupid things around. Behold....the frankenplanning method.
This method combines different planners into a single planner so that you aren't carrying around 5-6 different planners. I've seen some women create these beautiful layouts with stickers and calligraphy and it just seems too much for me. I need something beautiful AND functional that doesn't take lots of time to track or fill out.
These are the planners I have in my 2020 planner set up:
As a business owner, a mom, a wife and a human being there's so much I need to keep track of. The most stuff I write down, the less I need to keep in my head to remember at all times. I now have a freshmen in high school, a 4th grader, a second grader and a kindergartener. My freshmen goes to school seven minutes from our house and my other three go to a school thirty minutes away. I spend a lot of time in my vehicle driving and waiting. In order to be as productive as I can in those times I've developed a system to help me do that. I am first and foremost a wife and mother before I am a business owner. My main priority is to them before it's to building and maintaining a business.
I developed a "business go-bag" that I use as a mobile office. Its a cheap Amazon knock off of a Thirty-One Gifts utility tote. I've used this for a couple of months and I love the system but the bag....splurge on the nicer bag. These straps literally take the skin off my shoulder. So what's in the bag?? Watch this video to find out! I organize all my supplies into this planner cart (from Michael's) and then I switch things out in my bag.
I can switch out the stickers whenever I need to depending on what my needs for the week might be.
On to my actual system and how I stay organized. Here's the biggest one:
I don't use my planner to schedule things.
I know that might sounds super weird but bear with me. My business thrives on my client's being able to schedule their own consultations, ordering sessions, order pick ups and meetings through an online scheduling system called Calendly. Everything goes off my iCal on my phone. So if the school sends home a notice that there's a meeting for my daughter's Biology trip to Peru next year, in my phone it goes. A dentist appointment scheduled??? In my phone. School pick ups and drop offs and drive times are all in my phone. Every little life detail is in my phone's iCal. Calendly sees all that information and instantly allows my clients to see what I have available in my calendar on the set days I want to work. Now they can schedule all their own appointments based up a workflow I have set up on Honeybook that auto emails them all the information on the timeline that fits their client file.
I know what you must be thinking....why does she literally have five different planners to schedule her life when she uses the calendar on her phone????
Here's the logic: the amount of time I spend going back and forth with clients on what day particular they can meet with me is astronomical.
Calendly literally took HOURS of my day and gave it back to me. But the problem that I was running into is that I had nowhere to plan my to-do lists and meal planning. It had an app called Trello I tried using for about a year and it only did my to-do lists. Meal planning what on a completely different thing. I still had about 6 different things and apps and no where to jot notes. I was going insane!!
Now, I use my Catch All Planner and I record only what is on my phone for a two week period. This two week period corresponds with my husband's payday schedule so I know when to meal plan. Now I know if I need a crock pot meal if I am going to be gone shooting a session on a particular night all right on my planner. The vertical planner layout from The Happy Planner is awesome for this method. In the top box I record my daily schedule. The middle box is left open to bullet journal my to do lists and the bottom box contains my meal plan for the the day. My entire day is contained in three little boxes instead of four different apps that I need to toggle between back and forth constantly. Thus saving me time.
My home tracker is also a life saver. I can't possibly remember how many eggs my chickens produced each week or who is on the list for buying them, or which veggies need to be planted, picked or pruned all in my head. Having a completely separate planner for tracking this is fantastic. If something needs to be purchased, it gets moved to my catch all planner so I can plan errands for a day I am off. I also track when oil changes were done, new tires, new brakes, vehicle repairs, home repairs, home to do list which depends on saving money for a task and my weekly/daily cleaning bullet list. On the monthly page, I write down the verse of the day I get text to me from my Bible app. I like the reminder each day.
I divert a bit with my social media planner. I use a BIG version of this instead of the classic in a different planner. I bought a faith planner and took out all the inserts and replaced them with a weekly planner pages. On the monthly page I plan out my entire Facebook marketing strategy and then write the posts and schedule them using Coschedule. I write my rough plan on the weekly colored boxes and then write any to do items that I need to complete on the grid side. Any items that need to be completed that week gets fit into my daily to do lists in my Catch All Planner. I take my rough plan and schedule posts for the enire month using Planoly. This takes about two hours at the end of the month prior to write and schedule the posts of the entire month. My Frankenplanner only tracks the daily posts. I write the stats in each evening and then update them at the end of the week. This reminds me that I need to nurture and care for my social media pages and marketing each week. Just a few minutes each day does that.
My budget planner are inserts from The Happy Planner as well. I'm not showing photos of this section. This one is completely different for each person and how they track and maintain it.
And finally, my health planner. This is a wellness planner from The Happy Planner in a vertical format. It's amazing! I love the grid section for tracking things I intake that day. The top box I record either fitness ideas or how I am feeling mentally or physically. The second box is a focus box where I will write goals or ideas I want to focus on that day. The third box I track my intake of fruit, veggies, protein, water and coke. I used to track sleep too but as school started I noticed that tanking and decided to drop it for the time being. And the bottom box I will record my stats and measurements, weight or fitness level accomplishments. Any to do items get transferred over to my catch all planner.
And that, my friends is how I stay focused, planned and on task running a very busy business, home and a tiny urban farm. My 2021 set up is much different and I can't wait to share that with you! Check back in November how I am setting up and planning that planner!