Sunday, July 5, 2015

Planning: A Beginner's Guide

I ran across a post a few weeks ago on Facebook about an invite to participate in PlanWithMeSundays with Meghan from Keeping Up with Mrs. Harris.  I looked at a few of the previous blogs, and was completely amazed at some of the planners I saw.  I thought "There is NOOOOO WAY I can participate in that!"  I haven't used a planner in over 6 years.  But, after looking at the blogs and thinking about it, I decided I NEED to get a planner, and I wanted to join in the fun!  And, this one has a giveaway, too!  Keep reading!


My planner is no where near as exciting as some of the others that have linked up, but I thought since I will consider myself a "beginner," maybe you can get some basic ideas to get yourself started, too!  I will give you some history about myself and then explain what I am planning to do with my planner for the rest of summer and beginning of the school year.

When I was in college (ages ago!) and in my first few jobs (not teaching), I lived by my planner and  desk calendar.  I LOVED being able to look at my calendar and know exactly what I needed to do.  I also LOVED being able to mark off each day as it passed, especially on my desk calendar.  My desk calendar was so pretty (cue the harp strings).....

I would write mostly work things on there since it was in my office.  There were a few personal things on there like doctors appointments and vacations.  But, my favorite part of the entire calendar was being able to color code marking off the days.  It was a rainbow of colors by the end of the month.  And, I never threw the month away after I tore it off.  I would fold that beautifully colored calendar into half and then half again and file it away in my desk drawer.  Those used months came in handy sometimes when trying to remember something!  I was also a Nazi (sorry) about my calendar!  If someone came into my office and wrote on my calendar or spilled coffee (gasp!) on it...........?!  Don't.Even.Think.About.It!

For several years, I had no need for a calendar (I thought).  I took a few years off from work when we had our daughter, and then I went back to school.  By then, Blackberries and iPhones came along with a calendar.  Fast forward to now.  I'm teaching, and I've tried to use that handy iPhone calendar for everything because, let's face it, my phone is ALWAYS with me, and my calendar isn't (especially since it was nonexistent).

But, in the past six years, I have found that I am more disorganized than I used to be.  This is not a trait I am proud of.  I used to pride myself on my organization and Type A personality.   I have blamed my disorganization on "mommy brain."  But, I can't do that forever.  No more!

I have been reading a lot recently about Erin Condren calendars.  Believe me, one of those is on my wish list.  Someday.  When I can afford it.  Maybe.  Quite frankly, it frustrates me that I can't see the Teacher Planner on their website right now.  I KNOW you're sold out, but I just want to LOOK at it!  However, I'm thinking it won't be useful for me anyway since I teach Music and not General Ed classes.  But, I don't know since I can't LOOK at it!

Enter my new planner! EEEEEK!


Since I couldn't afford the Erin Condren, and I really didn't want to pay that much for something I might not use, I decided to go to my local Office Depot and look around.  I found several calendars that would fit what I needed.  But, I decided to go with this one for several reasons.  As you can see below, it has both monthly and weekly pages.  It starts in July.  It's colorful, but not too colorful.  It's pretty, yet sophisticated.  And, most importantly, it's PURPLE!!!!!  

This will be my LIFE planner!  How will I use it?  Keep reading, and discover my tips for starting your very own planner.  And, here are a few pictures of my planner in action.


I have seen some AMAZING calendars lately with stickers, labels, and doodles all over them.  They are beautiful!  But, for me, that can be distracting.  And, again, I'm starting out.  I need simple.  So, I bought some erasable pens in several different colors.  I'll talk more about them at the end.  But, this leads me to my first planning tip.

Tip #1:  Color code everything!  I am a visual person, so I chose to use a different color for each member of my family.  I love that I found these pens because I can erase without any concern.  There is nothing worse (for me, at least), than writing something in ink and not being able to erase it if I misspell something or write the wrong time or date.

Tip #2:  Use every bit of space!  I used the notes section on the monthly calendar to write my to do list for the month.  It's not something that must be done right away, but if I look at it long enough, these items will get taken care of.  

Here is a before and after of the monthly view.


Tip #3:  Take it one week at a time!  I plan to write everything in the monthly section.  Each Friday or Saturday, I will take some time to write out the week ahead in the weekly section.  This will save me some time (since plans do change), and will also give me a chance to really look at the week ahead and change or discuss things with my husband before the hectic week begins.  

Tip #4:  Add to the weekly calendar anything you still need!  For me, I added some check off boxes to hold me accountable for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.  I do think that this would be a great place to use some stickers as I can see this getting annoying to have to write in each week.  I also used the notes section on the bottom right to write some goals for product creation for TeachersPayTeachers.  


Tip #5:  Start small.  Know that this is a work in progress!  Plans change.  Months and weeks get busy.  Do your best.  Take it one step at a time.  Soon you will be planning with the best of them!

Now, about these erasable pens.  Yes, they really erase!  I'm not getting paid to promote them at all, but they are wonderful, and I thought I would share.  Actually, Jennifer from The Yellow Brick Road blogged about them first.  She got hers from Amazon (probably cheaper, but I wanted them instantly, so Office Depot worked for me).  I would recommend to get the retractable pens that don't have a top to take off (which she linked to in her blog).

Here is my extremely basic video about the erasable pens.  I don't think I will ever use a standard ink pen again!  In fact, I let my husband borrow one the other night, and I have a feeling all of them will go missing very soon....  Thank goodness the store is only a few minutes away from us!

(I'm hoping this video works, and I apologize if it doesn't!  I'm still new at this.)


I'm sorry this was such a long post, but I hope you have gotten a few tips along the way!  I'd love to know what your top tips are for planning as well!

Now, that you are at the end of the blog, make sure to stop back over at Meghan's blog for more link ups and two giveaways!

#PlanWithMeSundays

15 comments:

  1. OMG! I have to go and get me some of those pens now! :) #newaddiction Thanks so much for joining in the link up fun. I love the layout of your planner. I'm so glad you linked up to share how you plan.

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    1. Thank you so much for allowing me to link up! I enjoyed it and can't wait for the next one!

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  2. Ginny, I love how practical you are while also having a seriously cute planner! I love the colors. I also like to keep things simple with my planner but it's nice to have something that makes you happy when you take it out to organize :) Thanks for all your awesome ideas!!!
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDtAND8tJYfg2AKawCl8zSg

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    1. Yes! I definitely feel happy when I'm organizing my week!

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  3. I love how you color code your planner! Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Thanks! The color coding definitely makes it easier on the eyes!

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  4. I need to go get some of those pens!!!! I love your post!!!

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    1. Those pens are GOLD! Go get some! ;)

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  5. Oh my gosh! That pen! I may have to order a set of these! By the way, your handwriting is wonderful!

    Krisanna
    Simply Secondary

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    1. Awww. Thanks! Yes, the pens are wonderful! I love them!

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  6. Welcome to the planner-world! I might be grabbing some of those pens for myself too! Love your post!

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad I found this link up to get me motivated! Go get some pens!

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  7. Great tips on organizing and using your planner 😀 those pens are my favorite! Thanks for all the ideas

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  8. Love these easy tips. Colorful pens always make writing fun. We do family color coding too.
    The Education Highway

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  9. Thank you, Ginny for sharing how you will use the planner. I was over whelmed also as I saw the other planners being used. I have used a similar planner for years, but I look forward to trying something new. I love the pens. Once again, thank you and have a wonderful school year.

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