How to Customize Your Mum Planner Inserts
Posted on February 11 2018
Whenever you take on a new endeavor, set yourself up for success by making a plan - just know that the plan will likely change. Working with your mum planner is no different. You likely have an idea of how you will make it your own, and you may even have your planner accessories ready for giving it that personal touch. But, keep in mind, you will most likely discover that your needs require modifications to your planner over time to keep it as relevant as possible.
If you are a perfectionist, this may cause you some angst in the beginning - you may hesitate to write anything down. But, fear not. In time, with the use of your planner, you’ll not only discover a rhythm in your schedule - you’ll also find the “just so” way of making your planner pages as functional as possible for your particular needs.
It’s not a bad idea to play around with scrap paper in the beginning and play with a couple of different layouts especially for the weekly spreads before you commit your planner inserts to one layout or the other. Use washi-tape to indicate a different “theme” for each day of the week. Do you run errands on Friday? Grab one color of washi-tape and a highlighter in the same color to track related to-do items. Menu planning on Tuesday? Get a different color to keep track of items related to menu planning (cleaning out the fridge, for example).
Take time to identify any categories for events and tasks that happen throughout the week, month, or periodically (which you can track in the personal section or the home and family section - whatever makes sense for you). Create a legend in your planner that will help you keep the color schemes consistent across each of the sections so you won’t have chaos taking over.
Not sure how you want to categorise everything? Get your feet wet with serious calendar organisation: practice with a brain dump. Get everything out of your head and onto scrap paper until you can’t think of anything else coming up or needed to be done. Set a timer and just write. And write. And write some more.
Prioritise first by figuring out what items are both urgent and important - this is your emergency to-do list. If these items don’t get done, something bad will happen. Start here with your categories. Your A5 planner inserts are the perfect size for getting all of your critical tasks and important events allocated in your week. Give these some kind of special indicator - stickers that will draw attention to these items and will remind you to handle them first.
Next, go through your list and figure out what you’ve written down that could be handled by someone else. If there are jobs that the kids are big enough to do, don’t be shy about delegating! Age-appropriate tasks are beneficial to their self-esteem. Mums have this terrible complex about doing everything themselves, and your planner can help you change that. If you decide to delegate something to your kids (or anyone else), create a schedule for it - a due date, or a recurring day for it - and make a note in your planner that you want to follow up. You can already feel your overwhelm ebbing away, can’t you?
Once you have your emergency items and delegated tasks scheduled, cross all of them off of the “brain dump” list you made on the scrap paper. The key to personalizing your planner inserts is really making them work for you by organizing stuff before it hits the planner. Perfection is not the goal, but if you have inconsistent color-coding going on and scratched out entries all over, it’s going to be very tempting to give up on it.
Decide what colors or indicators you plan to use for these two categories: urgent/important, and follow-up for delegated tasks. Go through your spreads and mark them accordingly. How is your week looking so far?
Here’s where this process gets really exciting. You know for a fact that those emergency items are no longer on the “I’ll do it someday” list - they are going to happen. It’s scheduled, and you’re committed. Now, what about all those items that are caught in between? They are the quality tasks that improve your performance overall. Getting exercise. Going out with your little ones for a treat. Calling your best friend. Reading. Things you want to do, but struggle to find time for.
Start giving these places in your planner as well. Specify the time you want to spend doing them (30 minutes, an hour, etc.) and give these tasks a different color. Make these entries non-negotiable! It’s easy for us mums to say yes to everything until we begin sacrificing the important things we need because of calendar clutter. When you fill out your week and your month with only the things that are important - urgent or otherwise - you’ll find there is less inclination to take on something others have labeled “urgent.” If it doesn’t meet your criteria of being really important to you and your family’s needs, just say no!
Remember, just because something sounds like a really good cause doesn’t mean it’s good for you to commit to. This is most especially true if doing so decreases your ability to fulfill your role as a wife and mum. There are only so many hours in the day, and you only have so much room in your weekly spread. Planner inserts sizes like this one will minimise your tendency to overbook. As you go through the really important, non-urgent items on your list and give them a place in your planner, cross them off of your brain dump list as well. What’s left?
What you will notice when this part is finished is something very eye-opening. Anything remaining on your brain dump list is something you really need to reconsider with regards to how essential it is. That task or that event may, in fact, be considered calendar clutter. Go through each one and decide if it’s really worth your time or not, categorise it accordingly, and then throw away the list from your brain dump. Your planner is now ready for any additional personalizations - pictures to remind you of your goals, planning checklists for projects, etc.
Hopefully, as you move from the scrap paper to your actual planner, you’ll see how much you’ve already accomplished in your efforts to manage your time. Just having this exercise under your belt puts you way ahead of the curve! Repeat the brain dump as often as you need to - weekly, monthly, or whenever you find yourself getting bogged down in the minutia. Your planner will be waiting whenever you’re ready. Make something yummy to drink, organise your thoughts, and fill it in.
Best of luck to you! If you give this a go, tell us how it went!
Until next time!