I was not always a planner. As a homemaker, I made lists and schedules but rarely ever followed them. But over the years I’ve realized how much a planner and having a written to-do list helps me keep on top of the many things I need to remember. Today I’m talking about using a planner to stay organized and how it can help you.
I remember way back when I first started blogging (over twenty years ago) and I wanted to provide my homemaking readers with pages to print for their household notebook. Just trying to figure out the software needed was a struggle! I was telling my daughter Emily a couple days ago about how I searched and searched software to make it possible for me to offer printables to my readers and finally found Adobe and paid hundreds of dollars to own that software (back then you had to buy the disk in a big box!!)
Today printing planner pages or pages for your household notebook is so easy – and the options are endless!
Some people just seem naturally organized. Others…well they struggle. Often though, the biggest difference is not a lack of knowledge about how to organize, but a lack of planning. Using a planner to stay organized bridges the gap between the two. So whether you come by it naturally or you feel like Pig-Pen living in a tornado of your own mess—you CAN make a plan to be organized!
The Right Tool for Organization: A Planner
Few people would argue the importance of having and keeping a budget, even if they don’t use one. Money just seems to disappear when we don’t tell it where to go. And when that happens we find ourselves either unable to do the things we really want to do or in debt. To achieve our financial goals, we have to have a budget—a plan for our money.
Using a planner is a lot like using a budget, but in this case we are telling our time where to go. Without a plan, we risk getting to the end of our week having been busy, yet not productive. And worse, we realize the most important things were once again pushed aside for the urgent ones.
I have good news though! You don’t have to live this way. Using a planner to stay organized will help you to live the life God has called you to as a homemaker.
A planner is just a tool to help you live out your priorities.
Using a Planner to Organize Your Priorities
What’s most important to you?
I think the majority of us would say our relationship with God followed by our families. Yet, at times our actions don’t seem to demonstrate our heart’s desires. We get busy and decide to spend time with God later that day (and then get busy with other things later that day). We say building family relationships is more important than any other activity, but our outside commitments crowd out time with one another.
Here’s the truth: When we don’t plan for our priorities, then they often don’t happen. With a planner, you can make sure that you don’t let life get too out of balance. You won’t do it perfectly, but like a tight-rope walker you can make adjustments when you feel yourself start to wobble.
A planner for a stay at home mom is about more than a place to write down the meals you cook, the chores that need to be done, and the various activities your family is involved in. Those are all good things, and we will talk about them. But when you are using a planner to stay organized it’s important to start by scheduling the most important things.
A Plan to Abide
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4–5, ESV)
Schedule time to pray and study God’s Word. I suggest doing it first thing in the morning because it’s how God teaches, refreshes, and guides us. As a stay at home mom, you know that you need God’s wisdom for parenting. You need His strength for the ministry of homemaking. And you need His love to give sacrificially.
A Plan to Nurture
Next be sure you’ve planned for the time to build family relationships. Yes, this will happen as you interact throughout the day with your children as well, but intentional family time is incredibly important as families become busier and busier. As your children get older, your schedules become more complex as you juggle each person’s commitments. There are two things you’ll want to make sure happen, no matter what age your children are, though.
1. Plan for family nights. Whether it’s game night or you cuddle on the couch watching a movie and eating popcorn, it’s important to have fun together as a family. Using your planner to schedule the time means you will make these nights a priority. You can think through how involved you want to make these times as well. There are weeks you may just want to hang out at home—like when you choose to play games or watch a movie—and there are weeks you’ll want to do a bit more. Playing miniature golf, going to a park for an evening picnic, taking a nature walk are all activities that you can consider.
2. Make dinner a family priority. You need time to talk to one another, to share your highs and lows. You need time to engage with one another without cell phones interrupting. Studies show that kids who regularly eat dinner with their family are physically, socially, and emotionally more healthy.
Which brings us to the importance of another way you can use your planner: to organize your meals.
Using a Planner to Organize Your Meals
When we don’t plan our meals, the day to day decisions about what to eat will quickly become exhausting. We get frustrated because we don’t have what we need on hand. We waste time having to make another quick run to the grocery store. We begin to resent the whole process.
When you set aside a day to use your planner to organize your meals, you’ll save time, money, and your sanity. By having a list of your favorite go-to meals, you’ll be able to quickly choose what you’ll have for dinner each week.
But don’t stop there! Planning your breakfasts, lunches, and snacks will help you provide healthy, quick, and easy options for the whole family.
To learn more about meal planning check out Meal Planning for Busy Moms.
Using a Planner to Organize Your Chores
In my Purpose 31 Weekly Checklist Binder, I divide chores two ways: monthly and weekly. By doing some chores each day, you will avoid those all-day-marathon-cleaning sessions that leave you and your family overwhelmed.
Using a planner to schedule chores means everything actually gets done. You won’t forget those things that only need to be done a few times a year—like changing batteries in smoke detectors!
This is a part of the ministry of homemaking. Keeping a tidy house so you are ready to take advantage of the opportunities God gives you to minister to your family and others. By using a planner to organize your chores, you can be ready to invite others into your home without making your family feel like they aren’t as important. (If your children have ever asked as you clean the house, “Is company coming over?”, you know what I’m talking about 😉)
Using a Planner to Organize Your Activities
It’s easy to fill our lives with outside activities and commitments. Those things are important, and teach our kids valuable lessons about commitment, teamwork, and community. However, they can take control of our days and nights to the point that we are constantly running from one thing to the next.
If you haven’t used a planner before, you may be surprised when you actually start writing in each thing you do as individuals and as a family. Seeing your activities will help you to evaluate whether you’re saying yes to the best, or filling your time to the point that you can’t do the things that are most important as a family. It will help you to both prioritize and organize your time.
Tip: By assigning each family member a color when you plan, you’ll easily see where each person needs to be and be able to evaluate if it’s gotten a bit out of control!
Using a Planner to Stay Organized: A Choice
Simply having a planner though, isn’t enough. You need to take time each week to actually do the planning. Then you have to choose to follow through with the plans you’ve made. Sure, there will be weeks that are filled with unexpected interruptions (or God-give opportunities as I like to call them), but having a plan means it will be easy to adjust and pick up where you left off.
The first step though, is to find the right planner to help you live out your priorities as a homemaker. A planner for stay at home moms like The Martha Planner (exclusively available in the Homemaker’s Circle), the Mary Planner, or the Purpose 31 Homemaking Planner, will help you to stay organized—whether it’s in living out your priorities, meal planning, taking care of chores, or scheduling activities.
But whatever you choose, know that planning is essential for an intentional life.
Actions Steps to Take Today
- Pray and ask God to show you how you can best budget your time.
- Choose a planner that fits your needs – whether it be a simple notebook you write your to-do list in, one of my homemaking planners linked above, or another planner.
- Make the choice daily to be intentional with your time.
- Print out my free printable weekly planning pages below, if desired.
Free Printable Week at a Glance Planner
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