Using a Household Planner

The article below speaks of using a paper planner. Technology has made paper planners seemingly useless, but they're not because paper planners do not require batteries, they do not crash, and as long as you do not lose it, flood it, or burn it, then you will always have it (and it doesn't cost $$$). I'm not against digital organizers, they have their uses and they perform them very well as long as everything is working right.

The Paper Planner

How I use my planner

My planner usually consists of these sections --

A Yearly Calendar - This is a calendar that prints on one page, or if you prefer a two page yearly calendar (only available in half-size), use it instead.

The Monthly Calendar Section - Replaced each year; old calendar is stored. The monthly calendars are usually the two-page block calendars (ex: Full-Size 2-Page Block Calendar or Half-Size 2-Page Block Calendar) but/and they can also be the one-page monthly calendars (ex. Month on a Page Household Planner)

  • When I receive a bill: In the square that I need to pay and mail the bill, I write the bill's name and I draw a check box. When that day comes and I see that a bill is due, I pay it, mail it, and check-off the box.
    (Now-a-days, I conduct this bill-paying online. Sometimes I wonder about the wisdom in doing so, but it is compellingly convenient.)
  • When there is an appointment made: I always write the appointments in the monthly block calendars. When I make appointments, I can open my book to make certain that it is a free day.
    (Now-a-days, I also write the appointment into an online calendar. I see this online calendar when I go online because it is displayed on a "home page.")
  • Children's activities: My son is in the Civil Air Patrol and the group that he is in is a very active group. He gives me his schedule after his meetings and in my book I write the upcoming events. He has his own planner book to keep track of all the things he does with CAP.
  • Reminders: If I need to make a phone call or write a letter to someone in the near future, I schedule that in the planner book on the date that it needs to be done.
    (I place these types of reminders in the same aforementioned online calendar. Typically I add birthday reminders both one week and two weeks in advance.)

The Notes Section - use matching ruled paper for this section.

  • Meetings: in the past, I sometimes brought my planner to certain meetings. I took notes of the important points of meetings in the notes section of my planner book and I entered the names of any new people that I met. -- Now, I have to mention that allowing your planner out of the house is a good way to misplace the planner, so be sure to keep up with it if you decide to take it with you. Meeting notes might be better taken on a small notepad and then later, at home, transferred to your planner if the notes are really that important.
  • Journal -- A section can be used as a journal.

Uses for the Planner Book that Makes it a "Household Bible"

  • It's a phone book -- Write everyone's name, address, e-mail, phone, etc in your planner.
  • Directory of important contacts -- Who do you call when the car breaks down, when the plumbing fails, when something needs repairing somewhere in the home, what name and number regarding a bill or any other service?
  • Internet -- A list of URL's along with any log-in information. This part is one of the reasons why the household planner should stay at home. Of course, this section doesn't have to exist inside of the binder, it can be placed elsewhere in your home.
  • Records of a social nature -- Keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, if you sent a card.
  • Holiday Records -- Keep records for holidays, such as purchased gifts, where you went on Thanksgiving, Christmas, what dish that you brought, etc.
  • Inventory -- Keep a list of where important papers are stored. Record important purchases and warranty information and where the receipts are stored, etc.
  • Kitchen -- Keep a few standard menus -at least four seasonal ones for a time period of up to one month each along with a shopping list for each menu. Keep a few special occasion menus along with a sequential to-do list and a shopping list for each one.

Once you get used to using a planner, you might find it to be helpful to your daily life. You should take care to never lose your planner because of all the important information that it will hold.

Donna Young - 2002, updated January 20, 2012
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