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How to Plan Your Life!

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<img src="how-to-plan-your-life.jpg" alt="Best planners calendars apps for productivity planning">

None of us can know what’s going to happen tomorrow or at any given point of our lives, but we can put in place tentative plans that are open to change!

I love Jordan Page’s video on how her family organizes their year, which is where my inspiration came from. Like Jordan, I use both paper and electronic planners to plan my life. If I didn’t put plans and schedules in place, my household would be out of control!

We’re all busy in our own way–whether you’re running a family, a professional, a student, a caretaker, (or all of the above). We’ve all experienced times when there are not enough hours in the day! I’m a Xennial (the sandwich generation/Oregon Trail General/Late X’er). I’m a working professional, with a husband, a kindergartner, a new baby, I’m in my last semester of graduate school, with an aging parent (sadly my father passed away earlier this year). My life IS A WHIRLWIND.

I am literally caught between a rock and a hard place. To maintain my sanity I have had to adopt extreme time management and planning ideas. This includes “planning” out my life (as best as I can).

What Should You Calendar?

Holidays, birthdays, and annual events

The first thing I enter in all of my calendars are holidays, annual events, birthdays, anniversaries. We have certain days off every year, such as Martin Luther King Day, Good Friday, July 4th, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, and a few days during Thanksgiving and Christmas. I also enter the week we typically take our family vacation.

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School Events and Daycare

I input my children’s school calendar, so I know when they’re off school and when their school events are. For example, there are some days that my children are off of school when both my husband and I are working. My kindergartner has early release days. My baby is off on teacher training days. All of these days need to be accounted for in my calendar. Thankfully schools and daycares plan their years well in advance. Not only do I have the 2018-19 calendars, but the 2019-20 calendars. As soon as the school year ends, I enter the information for the next school year. This allows us to plan for childcare so that neither of us are taken by surprise.

Doctor, Dental, Eye Glasses, Vet visits

Some doctor visits are unscheduled, depending on WHEN one of us gets sick, but the vast majority of our medical visits are scheduled and thus go on the calendar. I update my calendar weekly.

Scheduled Activities

Ballet lessons, storytimes, music lessons, recitals, Easter egg hunts, visiting family, concerts, date nights, play dates, PTA meetings, etc.

Big To-Dos

School registration deadlines, vacation planning, when to get valentine’s day cards to the teacher, kids birthday parties, scheduled car maintenance, home repair appointments (and reminders–like when to change filters), baby showers, furniture deliveries, dinners, brunches, taxes, and church activities.

What to Use?

The Happy Planner is one of my favorite paper planners. I’ve had all types of paper planners over the years, but the Happy Planner is so much fun to use. The Happy Planner reminds me of a bullet journal without all of the hard work! The Happy Planner provides lots of space for writing and fun stickers. I jot down notes about my day and paste in photos. The Happy Planner is a calendar, a journal, and an informal scrapbook all in one. I’ve never been much of a scrapbooker or a journaler, so the Happy Planner is a nice hybrid. This is probably my last year using the Happy Planner. Next year, I hope to purchase a paper planner that is less bulky (with no plastic–just paper) and more in line with the zero waste movement.

<img src="happy-planner-sample-1.jpg" alt="happy planner me and my big ideas">

Google Calendar

I would not be able to function without an electronic calendar. Likewise, I couldn’t function without a paper calendar. Just like I need something physically in front of me, I also need something that goes with me everywhere. My phone fits the bill. Google Calendar also allows me to share the calendar with my husband.

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Edit: As I noted above I decided to use a more minimalistic calendar for 2019. This led me to Jstory’s Personal Calendar collection. Jstory’s calendars are bare-bones, but they are wonderful. Depending on what your needs are, you can get small, medium, large, and extra-large. The medium was a little smaller than I was used to, but it fits neatly in my purse for easy travel. You have to write the months and days in it, but it gives you incredible flexibility.<img src="Jstory-monthly-planner.jpg" alt="Simple personal planner minimalist easy calendar">

<img src="google-calendar-sample.jpg" alt="google calendar screenshot">


I was hesitant to use anything other than my iPhone reminders app, but Wunderlist converted me. Unlike the reminders app, Wunderlist allows me to create different lists, categories, notes. It’s a list app, not necessarily a reminders app (although it allows you to set reminders). Like Google Calendar, Wunderlist allows me to share lists with my husband. The lists I have are grocery, kids, school, house, cleaning, work, and more. I still use iPhone reminders for date reminders, but having a set of lists in its own little shell helps me focus and actually get stuff done!


I use my iPhone reminders app for EVERYTHING. I don’t know what the Android equivalent is, because I’m an iPhone user.

I put in a reminder to take the compost out, take my meds on a daily basis, go to appointments, when to change our air filters, emails to send etc. If it’s not written down somewhere I won’t remember it. I’m not sure if this because I’ve been toddlered (mother of a young child and a newborn) or if there’s something wrong with me?

Microsoft Outlook Calendar

I use this calendar exclusively for work. Yes, I have a multi-tiered system!


Everything else that isn’t necessarily a reminder or a list, goes in my iPhone Notes app. I write everything down I need to remember. If there’s a book I want to read, a recipe, a goal, vegetables I want to grow, something I’m grateful for, an address, etc. It’s truly endless.

<img src="electronic-reminder-apps.jpg" alt="electronic reminder apps">

I hope you find these tips useful in your own life. I’m always on the lookout for new ones so please share yours. One thing that carries me through the busy times is this scripture:

Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Plan your life
#planner, #plannerorganization, #Minimalism, #timemanagement #planningideas