It’s that time of year again…the kids are in school, the air is fresh and invigorating, the leaves on the trees are just beginning to change color, pumpkin spiced everything is invading the stores, and autumn is officially upon us. I love all things fall from fuzzy sweaters and hot bowls of chili to the sound of leaves crunching beneath my feet on a cool morning run. As I happily wave goodbye to the humidity and the mosquitoes, I look forward to the upcoming holiday season from Halloween to New Year’s Eve. Fall, for me, is a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the new year, which means it is also time for me to order my new day planner.
It may seem a bit crazy, and I am almost embarrassed to admit it, but getting a new planner every fall thrills me. There is something about those crisp, white sheets that calls to me. They scream a fresh start is just on the horizon. I gaze at the blank pages and envision all the ways I will fill them in the coming year. The possibilities seem endless. Where will this year take me? How will I change? What new things will my family and I experience?
I pick up my favorite pens and begin to fill in all the knowns. As the calendar fills up with paydays, school activities, anniversaries, birthdays, doctor’s appointments, days off and holidays, I get a clearer picture. But often it is the empty spaces that bring the most excitement. As a wife, mother, and business owner, there is not much time left unscheduled. So I look to those spaces and think of all the possibilities. Sometimes it means completing a home project we haven’t had time for, sometimes it means a vacation, and sometimes it means just being together and having a moment to relax and breathe.
But beyond the thoughtful, idealistic reasons I love my planner, lies many practical reasons I find it necessary. Having an accurate family calendar is pivotal to running a household smoothly. You can find many articles on choosing a planner that is perfect for your needs. Just last year, I stumbled on the momAgenda Day Planner which has been my personal choice. I like that it has separate spots for each person in my family. But you should choose the planner that best suits you because having a system that works means you will be more likely to use it.
I also prefer pen and paper. I love to turn the pages of my planner as I anticipate the coming week, month, year. I love the feel of my pen gliding across the paper. Seeing everything large and in color laid out before me, helps me to see the big picture. And simply writing it down helps me to remember. But whether you keep a physical planner, a digital planner or both, the following are just a few of the benefits of having a day planner.
- Stay Organized – We lead such busy lives, it is often hard to keep track of appointments, practices, games, social events, school related activities, etc. But with a planner, you can easily see the “big picture.” More importantly, you can anticipate conflicts before they arise. With four kids, it is inevitable that schedules will conflict at some point. A planner helps me to see problems in advance, and plan accordingly.
- Time Management and Productivity – This one is especially important as I attempt to run my own business. With a day planner, not only can I keep track of appointments and commitments, I can also plan blocks of time for work. At the beginning of each week, I look at my to-do list and I prioritize my tasks. Then, I seek out the empty spaces in my calendar for that week and fill them.
- Improve Memory – The simple act of writing something in my planner helps me to remember. No more forgetting appointments, payments, recitals, practices, games, or friends’ birthdays. Putting these things on a calendar and referring back to it regularly will ensure that you don’t miss something important.
- Lower Stress – Having everything organized and prioritized in a planner will help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed and out of control.
- Keep a Record – Don’t recall your last dentist or doctor’s appointment? Simply flip back a few months, and you will have the date at your fingertips. Believe me, this will come in handy at some point. In fact, my past planners are almost like a journal for me. They are one of the things I have difficulty parting with. They hold memories of weddings, births, parties, vacations, birthdays, and the last time I was with someone I love. Occasionally, I will pull one out, flip through the pages, and take a trip down memory lane.