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Simple Saving Savvy: Intentional Housekeeping: Part 6 - Weekly/Monthly Planning

Simple Saving Savvy

Practicing Wise Stewardship & Blessing Others Out of Our Abundance

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Intentional Housekeeping: Part 6 - Weekly/Monthly Planning

How's the menu planning coming along? I hope you are implementing some sort of system that will help you decrease spending and eliminate stress.

The method I will share with you today may be old news to many of you. But you'd be surprised how many people don't use it. I can't imagine my life without it. Especially since I have to somehow keep seven people on the same page.

So with that said, I'd like to introduce you to one of my best friends:

This little guy keeps everyone where they need to be, when they need to be there and makes sure we don't end up needing to be two places at once. And occasionally when we DO need to be two places at once, this helps me know ahead of time so we can plan accordingly.

I buy one of these every year, usually at Target for around $8. It covers a year and a half. Each month is shown at a glance and then the weeks are divided up with plenty of space to write in notes or details about appointments or projects. It is spiral bound so it lays open and flat on my desk at all times.

When I first get it, I go through and write down all of the regular appointments I have like Monday shopping, Tuesday Bible Study Fellowship, the weekends we have the kids, etc. When I get sports schedules or the schedule for the school year, I go through and mark down all the game times and activities. And I just keep adding as we go. Snack days, class parties, project due dates, parent/teacher conferences, etc.

The best thing about a  planner, is that I can look at a glance and see what kind of week to expect. I can tell whether it's safe to schedule one more thing or if I need to lay low and say NO.

I know many of you  use more modern, electronic devices to do this very same thing which is great. Organization is organization. But for many people (like me), technology isn't always an answer.

Hubby  and I have decided not to tie ourselves to a phone plan of any kind so we don't have the technologically advanced phones that do everything for you and we feel that we shouldn't spend the money on one that will be out of date almost as soon as we buy it and in no way near worth what we paid for it. And palm pilots or Windows Live or any other kind of scheduling softwares aren't really my thing.

While I love the internet and email and even this blog...I still have a need for writing things down. I think it helps stick in my memory that way. Plus, because we only have one computer right now, which happens to be in our bedroom, if hubby is sleeping or shopping on ebay, I can't access it.
So my good, old fashioned $8 paper planner works quite nicely to keep us on track.

Regardless of what method you use to keep track of your family schedule, the question really is WHY should you engage in weekly and monthly planning?

Reason #1
It decreases stress! Enough said. When hubby and I were first married, I can't tell you how many times we argued because of over-scheduling, forgetting we had to be somewhere or because we were just stressed out because we planned too much. Now, before we plan anything or add anything, we sit down and go over the calendar. And every Friday we have a "what's on your agenda" meeting just in case something didn't get on the calendar like oil changes or a trip to Bass Pro.

Reason #2
It adds structure. And families need structure. Even the most spontaneous personalities need some structure. Experts will tell you that kids thrive on structure. If you don't like the word structure, then think of it as boundaries to keep your family safe. Safe from over-scheduling, safe from stress, safe from busy-ness that negates quality time. And most importantly, safe from a stressed-out psycho mom who feels like if she so much as breathes, the whole house will come tumbling down around her.

Reason #3
It creates productivity. When I map out what I need to do, then I can plan the best plan of attack. This allows me to stay focused and use my time wisely thus being more effective. And as I've said before, organization leads to productivity which leads to a cheerful disposition. Do you desire a more cheerful disposition from family members? Get organized and  add some structure so you can be more productive.

God gave each of us our own distinct personality. We all respond and learn in different ways. So my method of planning and scheduling may not be comfortable for you. And what works for you may not fit someone else's needs. So research different planning ideas and go with what appeals to you. Then tweak it to make it your own. Before you know it, you will have created your own "system" and your household schedule will be running like a well oiled machine.

Oh, and by the way, I always add "chore day" to my planner. Next week we'll discuss more about how to effectively utilize the available labor sources (your children) without feeling like you're pulling your hair out and thus creating capable, responsible and cheerful future citizens.



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