I’ve always wished I were a Type A personality. My mind looks a bit like one of those butterfly exhibits at the zoo–full of beautiful things swirling about; completely scattered and predictably unpredictable. I have so many ideas, so many dreams and one million ways to execute each of them. Each plan sparks ten more and despite my best intentions, no amount of writing them down ensures they’ll come to fruition. Despite these things being true, I work best as a mother, wife and business owner with a plan and loose schedule in place. Here’s how I allow for a bit of freedom and creativity without flying by the seat of my pants each day.
Choose a planner that works for you.
I’m pretty sure 90% of the population would say Google Calendar is their planner of choice. O falls into this category-I do not.
I’m a pen and paper girl through and through and find it relaxing to write plans out long hand, seeing them together and flipping back and forth between pages as I please. I think it’s because my mom always kept a desk planner throughout my childhood and it brought me comfort to see her scribbling away in there-every detail of our life that year laid out on paper. I have some weeks where I’m super loyal to writing plans out. I write out my meal plan, the kids’ schedules, work hours and so on and leave it wide open on the counter as a reminder to both O and I. Because of this, I also have a giant wall calendar where I write out the general plans for the month. I’ll put travels on there for O or the whole family, sports practices and kids activities as well as things that affect the whole family like babysitter times, parties and appointments. This is mostly for O and the kids but also since it’s not an absolute guarantee that I’ll look at my planner every day, having a color coded system on the wall makes for a necessary cushion. If you aren’t great at looking at your planner- be sure to have at least one backup option. I personally love the Emily Ley planners and have used them for 3 years now. I found my wall planner at Hobby Lobby last year but here are a few other favorites:
Don’t underestimate the power of ‘Reminders’ on your phone.
When I make any type of appointment, the first thing I do is set a Reminder on my phone. I set two alerts for it-one for 1 day before the appointment or event and one for 1 hour before the event. Anyone who is even the teensiest bit Type B knows how necessary this is. I’ll also hand write this in my planner to cover all my bases and seal it even further into my memory. This also goes for many other things like an upcoming Sale I’ve been waiting for, a deadline to respond to an Email, an idea I have that I want to press into further and truly anything I want to remember.
Utilize note sections on your phone.
iPhone to the rescue again. Years ago, I’d jot all my ideas down between different journals, on scraps of paper and receipts and anything I could get my hands on. I’ll let you go ahead and guess how successful this system was. A couple years ago, I started creating file folders in my office as well as folders on my phone to help keep me organized and save me time. I have a folder for all blog post ideas so when multiple people ask the same question on Instagram or I have an idea I cant stop thinking about, I type it in there. I have folders for artwork ideas, business ideas, quotes I want to remember, Bible verses to meditate on or turn into illustrations and so on. I’ve also talked about the ‘Saved’ feature on Instagram here which I am so thankful for because my screenshot-and-never-see-it-again system wasn’t quite so successful either.
Don’t just accept your fate-always pursue progress.
I am naturally very forgetful. Extremely lazy. I’m prone to dedicating more of my time and energy to the things that excite me rather than the responsibilities of mine that actually need attention and accomplishing. Because I know these things about myself and am not wild about them, I work hard to change them. God is a God of order- I thrive on order despite not being very orderly by nature. I want to create a more predictable and orderly life for my family rather than changing up the plan every day and starting each week with a question mark. Every day. I read books on being organized, keeping schedules and establishing routines. I listen to podcasts by Type A people I admire and soak up as much wisdom as I can from the women in my real life (Hi, Mom, Grandma, Cory and Megan, to name a few!) to see how they handle creating schedules and sticking to routines with young kids and in other seasons as well. Thankfully, O is Type A to a ‘t’ and the Lord was so gracious to give that man to me. He keeps me in check and lovingly helps me in every way while I balance his bend to schedule every second of our lives.
Here are some of my favorite resources for becoming better at creating routines and systems for you, your home and family:
I Heart Organizing: Jen has been one of the biggest helps to me in the past few years. She’s like Monica Geller in real life. I find her blog SO inspirational and each post leaves me inspired to put some of those ideas to work in my own life. If you have an upcoming house project on the horizon or need ideas for how to plan out summer with littles, spend some time digging around here. You won’t be disappointed.
Clean Mama: If you’re in need of cleaning systems and routines that work for you and your family, this is your first stop. Her Instagram account is super practical and helpful and is the perfect place to start.
The Lazy Genius Episode #48: I am an enormous fan of the Lazy Genius. The podcast as a whole applies here, but this episode The Lazy Genius and Time Management is such a gem.
Sally Clarkson Podcast Episode #17: Sally Clarkson is a gift to the world. Her wisdom and expertise is something I can’t thank the Lord enough for. Her books The Life Giving Home and The Life Giving Table have inspired tea time in our home and changed the way I viewed family meal time forever. In this podcast episode, she talks about the ‘anchors in our children’s day’ that they can depend on. Episode #28 ‘Seeing Mealtimes as a Special Training Ground’ is a bit of a peek into her books and also applies here.
Thankful Homemaker Episode #27: I’ve really enjoyed this podcast in the past year. Don’t cringe if you don’t consider yourself a homemaker- if you’ve been given a home, you are one! You don’t have to picture June Cleaver here, just envision yourself. In this episode, Marci talks in depth about her planning routine. Let me just set a disclaimer here: it is thorough. But it’s been so helpful to me! Another episode from this podcast that I refer to often is Episode #6: What does Self-Discipline Look Like in our Homes. It’s such a good one, friends.
I believe the most important step is this: you have to take a step. I’ll never be a Type A person. It’s just not who I am. But I can be a responsible, reliable, disciplined Type B person by asking the Lord for help and implementing what I learn along the way. I hope you find this helpful!
“Look carefully, then, how you walk not- as unwise, but as wise making the best use of time because the days are evil.” Eph 5:15-16