It is back-to-school season.
Whether or not you have school-aged children or not, there is something about the season that is inspiring to get back into a routine after enjoying those lazy days of summer.
Today, I came home with not one, not two, but three new planners — all aimed at helping me keep myself and my family organized as we enter the busy fall season. I found that having one just for work, one for home and another for my special events like the holidays, is just the system that works for me.
I’ve tried a ton of organizational tools including professional-grade planners, online apps — and even bulletin board systems throughout our home.
Honestly, all of them felt like they were just creating just a bit more work for me.
I found a few ways to streamline my planning and keep my sanity at the same time.
Read on for a few ways to hopefully get you and your family at the head of the class this back-to-school season.
Hire a Personal Assistant: Just kidding, kind of.
While most of us can’t afford our own personal assistant to help us manage our schedule, now is a great time to sit down with your family and set up your schedule. Can you delegate some chores to your children?
This will help them learn some responsibility and hopefully free you up for other things that might need attention.
Pick a Planner: As much as I would love to have a personal assistant to schedule my day and prioritize my activities, I have found that the aid of a well-designed planner is a pretty good substitute, at least until I win the lottery! The key is to not get a planner that is more than you need! How many times have you bought a fancy-pants planner because of all of the features and pages it offers — only to find that you only use the calendar pages? Finding the right planner will give you a more streamlined approach to your planning — and help you plan your life more efficiently!
Classic and practical: There are dozens of paper planners available in stores these days — and there are plenty of passable options available at the same stores where you would pick up your school supplies and other daily goods. They are all fairly standard and come in a variety of colors to match your taste. I have several, unused, in my desk that I have had the best intentions of using. Why did I waste my money? Either they had too many options or, in my case, not enough of the right options to make the planning part any fun. I bought myself a snazzy new planner from The Happy Planner company this summer and I already feel more organized. This planner was customizable. I picked my favorite cover, chose between dated and undated (just in case you veer off course from your planning) as well as the types of pages I needed. Did I mention that instead of writing everything, these planners offer stickers to use to mark those important dates and appointments? Yes, I am aware that I am a 40-something-year-old woman confessing my love for stickers but this is definitely a game changer for those of you who want to get organized but don’t have the extra time to write everything down! If you want to get even fancier, Erin Condren offers additional customization, including the ability to order your own snazzy custom cover!
Visit www.thehappyplanner.com and www.erincondren.com.
Stay productive and inspired: Looking for something a bit more professional? If you are looking for something to promote productivity that doesn’t look like Lisa Frank went crazy on your desk, Panda Planner Pro is a great option. These come in more classic colors and provide scheduling, positive affirmations to start your day and for the long-term planner, spaces to write your monthly and long term goals and aspirations. Find them on Amazon.
Simple Works Just Fine: If you just aren’t going to use all those calendar pages — or if you are into setting goals instead of schedules, the Best Self Journal is a great option.
The journal is set up in three sections for daily, weekly and monthly and each of those is broken up into 13-week chunks for optimal goal check-in. Another great option, especially for those that get tired of writing, is the Simple Journal Planner.
It has no dates and each page is lined with grid paper instead of lines — making it a great planner for creative types and those that want to add sketches, pictures or other means of note taking or planning. Another option with a similar look and format is the Clever Fox planner. Visit www.bestself.co or amazon.com.
Online Planning: While we are all super connected to our phones these days, it does make a ton of sense to put those little time wasters to good use! While paper and pen planners may provide a lot more options, if you are not going to take the time to use them, what’s the point? An online app or planner can be a great option for busy folks, who can use the time they typically spend scrolling through Twitter and Instagram to help streamline their schedule! There are basic options available via Google Calendar but if you are looking for something with a few more options (and a super cool name), try the Teux Deux, app which gives you the look of a traditional paper planner but only a finger swipe away! You can create custom lists — or use their templates — and it gives you that wonderful ability to actually check things off, which we know is one of the most satisfying things to do! You can sign up for a free trial at https://teuxdeux.com. Have a busy work life? Try the Friday app — it has some of the best project managemet and team collaboration options out there. (Search for Friday in the Google or Apple store).
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)
Freshen up your organizational tools
It is back-to-school season.