Saturday, February 1, 2014

My 2014 Planner

In almost all of the blogs that I follow along with, one common denominator for a busy mom is a monthly planner. I don't know about you, but I have tried to use my smart phone and all of the wondrous apps at my disposal, and it just doesn't work for me. It actually makes it much more complicated than just simply pulling out a pen and jotting something down.

A year or so ago, I struggled to find a planner that worked for me. I am constantly keeping track of things for myself, my family, my animals, my work, and believe it or not my boss/Grandmother. I have struggled with keeping track of monthly bills (yes, I tend to loose those papers that come in the mail constantly!) and dance schedules. I loose those little doctor appointment cards (why do they make them so darn small!) and just about every business card ever given to me.

At first, I tried one of those school planners, you know, the ones you buy for your 5th grader to keep track of their homework. Yeah...big flop! I still lost everything! And with all the notes and so forth, I couldn't read my calendar!

So I got online and started researching planners. I checked website after website until I found one I thought would work....

I actually found what I was looking for at Staples.

The Arc Customizable Notebook system is absolutely amazing!

The first one that I bought was a simple poly cover notebook. I paid $9.00 for it. Of course, there are MANY new styles to choose from now. And at the time, I didn't want to spend much on it, in case it didn't work out for me. It came with both the front and back cover, the binding rings (BTW, these are what makes this notebook so awesome) and it was filled with lined note paper.

Then I purchased the following accessories:

Pocket Dividers 2pk $2.99

Sticky Note Page Flags
200pk $2.99

Black Poly Page Dividers
5pk $3.39

Poly Zip Pocket
2pk $3.49
Poly Ruler Junior $1.29ea

2014 Weekly/Monthly Academic Calendar

I have since upgraded to a nice black leather cover. And larger rings so that I could fit all of my pockets and color coded pens in it.

Here  is a few pictures of my planner:

My new leather cover!

Here I keep appointment cards and my sticky notes.
I also have a place where I can put easy to reach for papers.

It has a wonderful phone book section,
where I keep all of my account information for each of my bills
for easy access.

Here is my calendar. This is where I use my color coding.
I use orange for bills, blue for me, green for my husband, pink for Kalynn
and purple for Madison. It helps me to see at a quick glance
what I have going and the colors keep it all from blending together into nonsense.

This is one of my favorite features! It is at the end of each full month calendar
view. I use it to keep track of each of my bills. In the gray section,
there is a check box and plenty of room to write. I use the gray section
 to write the bill, the amount due and the due date.
I then make a big happy "X" in the box after each bill is paid.
Because I pay most everything either over the phone,
 or online, I avoid the paper clutter by emailing the receipt to myself,
 and then simply writing the confirmation number in the white section
next to each bill. I also write down any notations that I may need to remember in the future there as well.

Then I have my wonderful pockets! Here you can see I have the few paper bills
I still receive in the mail on the right. On the left,
 are handouts that the pediatrician
gave to me when we took Maddie in for one of her appointments.

Remember when I mentioned that I am always loosing business cards???
Well here, I use one of my zipper pockets to hold them. I also have a
zipper pocket to hold my pens for color coding my calendar.
This way I don't have a million pens floating in my purse/diaper bag.

For those of you who like to get the printable calendars found on many of today's blogs, you can print your own and just purchase the hole puncher that is designed for the arc system, and "Ta-Da" perfect match! It really is customizable to your needs!!

I probably should have posted this in early January, but if you are still looking for a good planner, or haven't found one that you like yet, I recommend this one! I have used it for the last 2 years, and I don't know how I would function without it!! In fact, I told my husband, "If anything ever happens to me, find my black will have everything you need to know somewhere in it." Bad, I know, but its true! Without this little book...Id be lost!

What do you use? Do you have a method that works well for you?

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