Twenty years ago when I was a young homemaker, I read Getting More Done in Less Time, by Donna Otto. She recommended using a simple daily planner to keep track of duties, appointments and commitments. “It will be your friend for life,” she promised.
I began my search for a planner that would help me organize my days and duties. But I soon realized that my homemaking days did not fit into neat little time slots that many planners offered. It was frustrating to be rocking the baby at 10:00 when the planner said, “Weed flower bed.”
I started designing my own planner pages so I could have a flexible plan. Today, The Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner is an expertly-designed version of those homemade pages of years gone by. From one child to six, through eleven moves, from toddlers to adult children, this basic, flexible planner keeps me on track while allowing me to constantly change from one stage to the next.
My favorite section is the Weekly Planning layout. Under the heading Task List are spaces to write specific duties I need to do—phone calls, appointments, balancing the checkbook, and so on. Some times I divvy out those duties and write them on specific days. For example, I do laundry on Monday. Laundry takes a lot of time, yet there are short slots of time to do small projects. It only takes a few minutes to schedule a dentist appointment or to send a card and if it is written down, I am more apt to grab those precious few minutes when the opportunity arises. Typically, I use a four-week menu plan, but I still write what is for dinner in the menu block.
I always write with a pencil so tasks can easily be erased and rearranged to accommodate the unpredicted issues that come along.
The Monthly Calendar is where I jot up-coming events such as church functions, weddings, school activities, appointments, reunions and holidays, etc. This helps me for weekly planning because I can see at a glance what will be happening over the next few weeks.
The Year Calendar section has a place for basic notations and pages on which to journal or write prayer requests, birthdays and quotes.
The pages in Tasks List section are untitled. This allows freedom to create monthly, bi-monthly or seasonal lists. I do some gardening and food preservation, so I title one page, Summer Projects. Then make a list of things I want to freeze or preserve.
The Projects and Events section is for occasions that need more space for writing. If planning a baby shower or a family gathering, I keep that information in this section. These pages are untitled for flexibility.
The Information section can be used for phone numbers and addresses needed temporarily. For example, when placing an order, I jot down the number so I won’t need to look it up again. This is a good place to write addresses for a card shower or the information for the eye specialist.
I use the perforated Shopping Lists several ways- Sometimes as comprehensive shopping list and other times as a central location to write the items needed for an upcoming event, project, or menu. A running shopping list helps me to make the best of a trip to town, whether it is planned or unexpected.
The busier I am the more I use my planner. It helps me balance homemaking responsibilities with other obligations to create a realistic schedule that works. It is typical for me to veer from a daily plan when urgent matters arise, but a written plan refreshes my memory. My planner is a trusted friend that helps me focus on what is most important.