Summer’s finally over, it’s Fall on the east coast, and many of us are waking from our planner ‘slumber’. I recently took some time off from blogging to enjoy the last days of summer with my family and now, it’s time to get back to business—did you miss me? 😉 The kids are back in school, extracurricular activities will be starting soon, and work has started to ‘pick up steam’ which means getting back to my regular planning routines . For many, planning in the summer is very different than planning throughout the rest of the year and rightfully so—you should be having fun! This week I share my tips and tricks as well as process for ‘switching gears’ and transitioning from my summer planning routine to my regular planning routines.
Depending on your circumstances, family situation, and other life factors, your planner may encompass different things. For me, I’m a married, working mom with two teenage kids, four furbabies (2 cats, 2 dogs) and a blogger/Youtuber in my spare time. Like many parents, I look forward to the last day of school because it means no more running around on a daily basis, summer family vacations, and more carefree days. As a result, I don’t plan as rigorously as I do throughout the academic year. As a matter of fact, I can easily plan our entire family summer schedule on a custom, two-page spread. This layout includes a box for each week where I summarize our summer events and activities planned or attended. I like this layout for three reasons: I can quickly see 1) if we’ve scheduled/completed all our summer ‘bucket list’ items, 2) which weeks are very busy or not busy enough to reschedule and spread out events/activities more evenly, and 3) when the kids start complaining that they’re bored and haven’t done anything this summer—a common exaggeration—I can counter their argument by recapping all the fun we’ve had during the summer!
Regular Planning Routines
For the past 7 months, I’ve been using a B6 slim Jibun Techo as my primary planner—learn more about it here. Over the summer, I continued using the monthly pages to track appointments and major events and only used my weekly spreads when I had a busy week to keep track of tasks and/or jot down notes. So how do I go from ‘0 to 60’ when school starts again? I take it in stages.
- Around mid-August I check the school district website for the new school year schedule, supplies list, and any forms we need to take care of BEFORE school starts (e.g. medical forms for sports, activity registrations, chromebook pickup times, etc.). Once I have this information, I immediately enter it into my planner on the monthly pages as well as in our digital family calendar—Google Calendar—which automatically synchs to everyone’s smartphone calendar app.
- Next, I prepare a task list with due dates for everything we have to do and/or purchase before school starts. I then add a related reminder to my weekly pages on the week they’re scheduled to be completed.
- Before school starts, I also make sure the kid’s personal planners are setup and ready to go—start them young! 😀
- Once school starts, I gather additional information from the forms the kids bring home from school and add any new activities/events to both my planner and digital family calendar as well as add any relevant tasks to my list for follow-up.
From this point forward, it’s just a matter of keeping up with my regular planning routine to make sure everything is accounted for as new items come up so nothing gets missed. If you’re interested, below I’ve described my regular, weekly planning routine that I use throughout the school year:
- On either Saturday or Sunday, I review my monthly spread and add any scheduled appointments/events to my weekly spread. Due to lack of space on my monthly pages, there are no start/end times here; they are entered on my weekly pages.
- I review our digital, family calendar and add any missing appointments/events to both my monthly and weekly spreads—anything new that dad, kids, or I have added since the last time I synched with my monthly calendar.
- I review my ‘high priority’ task list—which I keep in my planner for quick reference—and add anything due that week or that can be completed that week to my weekly spread.
- I review my long running task list—which contains non-date sensitive and ‘someday’ tasks—that I manage on my phone in an app called ‘Things’ (it also has an excellent desktop component which I use as well) and select additional tasks to complete that week if time allows.
- Based on whatever is scheduled that week, I work backwards and enter reminders on previous days for any actions either I, dad, or the kids have to take in preparation for an upcoming appointment/event.
- I analyze how busy the week is and fill in the remaining gaps with blog/YouTube tasks, exercise, and other things like personal hobbies or family activities.
For the most part, my work obligations—regular 9-to-5 job—never spill over into my personal time unless I have to work overtime to complete a special project but that doesn’t happen very often so all things work-related are managed in a separate, dedicated work planner—read more about it here. I also keep a monthly wall calendar by dad’s desk so he has a visual overview of our monthly family schedule—I haven’t been able to get him to use a personal planner…yet!
So now it’s September and gone are the days of scheduling trips to the park, days at the beach, or journaling about sunny days and which movies we saw for family night. Now it’s time for keeping track of school schedules, extracurricular activities, college planning deadlines, and ‘life’ (e.g. work schedules, doctor’s appointments, holiday planning, etc.). I’ll be honest, I was dragging my feet a little during the last few weeks in an attempt to prolong and savor the last days of summer but thanks to my tried-and-true planning process, I was able to quickly switch gears and smoothly transition back to my regular planning routine in order to get back to serious business!
How about you? Do you have different planning routine in the summer versus the rest of the year? Do you have any tips, tricks and hacks for transitioning back and forth easily? Are there any techniques that are ‘main stays’ regardless of the time of year? Please share in the comments below and don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe!
Until next time, 🙂
♥ LilD ♥