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Answering "How do you do it?"

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Hi I'm Caitlin! I'm wife, a mom to a kindergartener and preschooler, and I run my own business from home. We have swim lessons, preschool, networking events, board meetings, family events, errands, grocery shopping, etc. happening every week.
Sharp Plant Designs Erin Condren Planner
Sometimes our schedules get chaotic and busy. When every possible type of event occurs all in the same week.

As our kids get older and the business grows I found that with our schedules getting busier and busier. Doctors appointments, play dates, and birthday parties slipped through the cracks.  I realized that I need to do something to keep everything straight. 

I have tried several different methods before I found a method and system that worked. Initially I just kept a calendar on my iPhone using iCal. It was an easy place to keep everything because I always have my phone on me. I can quickly enter the appointment plus I can add a location so I can get directions if I need to.

iCal calendar apple

The one draw back I had is that I couldn't see a whole layout of what my week looked like. I still found myself missing events. It definitely still happens when I fall out of my routine. 

I decided that it was time I went back to using a paper planner. I had used one all through college when my varied each day. Having a planner and taking time to write down commitments helps me visualize what I have going on. I had looked at paper planners at large retail outlets and I didn't see a planner that contained every thing I wanted in a planner. 

A few years back I discovered Erin Condren Planners from Lisa Druxman, Cheif Founding Mom at FIT4MOM.  After hearing about how she loved them I looked at Erin Condren Planners and found that it had what I needed and more.

Monthly Erin Condren view

It contains both a monthly and weekly breakdown. The weekly breakdown has a vertical layout option with an hourly breakdown. There are other weekly layout options beside hourly.

I am able to customize the cover for my planner and they are interchangeable. Right now I have two different covers on my planner. I have an outside cover and inside cover.  The inside cover I customized with a collage of different product I have made so I can quickly show people my body of work. Having a paper planner allows me to quickly reference my schedule.

 

After looking at the planners and discovering all of these great features. I decided to make the investment and start using a paper planner again. After I began using a paper planner I found that I was able to keep things better organized and fewer things went through the cracks. It was the one place where I could visualize my week and see when and where I had commitments. 

I really can't tell you how much I love my Erin Conrden Planner. I have a weekly layout with a hourly breakdown of the day. My calendar is color coded by person. The colors I use in my planner match my electronic calendar. Sometimes when I'm feeling particularly committed it will even match my weekly schedule pad. 

 

Most recently I added my the meal planning dashboard to my planner. I use it with wet erase markers I can plan out the meals for the following week and accordingly plan the grocery list. This allows me to stay on task and on budget at the grocery store. 


Over the past couple of years I have added a couple of more Erin Condren products to my planning routine. I use the Schedule Pad I keep the current week on the fridge. I also include my meal plan on there so my husband and I know what we're having for dinner and what we have going on. I keep it on the fridge because we are in and out of it frequently for food or water. So it's the perfect location to take a quick glance to see what's going on.

Schedule Pad Erin Condren

 

The other item I added was the Jumbo Calendar. I keep this calendar in all pencil just in case things change and I can quickly add and erase items. I keep this hung on the pantry door so I can see the month at a glance. 

I really like that everything I have in my calendaring system works together. Sometimes I think to myself. I find that taking the time to plan and write down my week makes me feel less frazzled. It allows me to be able to set my goals and intentions for the week which I find to be important. I have fewer things slip through the cracks. Taking the time to sit down and plan out my week, meals, workouts really helps me better navigate through it all. This is especially true when we have very busy weeks where everyone has something going on every part of the week. 



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