Let’s be honest, moms do almost everything, especially when it comes to planning. From the mundane tasks of everyday parenting to elaborate carpool scheduling, moms juggle it all. Luckily, moms are some of the best planners on the planet, so here are a few mom-approved planner hacks to make your days more efficient.
*NOTE: We may be biased, but we think a planner should bring you joy. You can apply these tips to almost any paper planner, but an inkWELL Press planner gives you freedom and flexibility with moveable pages made with ultra-thick paper. Learn more here.
- Start with Must-Do Daily Tasks
On a page that shows a clean day, week, or month, write in all the minor tasks that feel like second nature. That means meals, driving to school or camp, and even your shower/get-ready routine. Writing out the “obvious” tasks helps you identify where your time is taken and where you have time to sneak in a workout, a quick walk, or something that you’ve been looking for the time to do.
Your commute takes 30 minutes, should you write that in? Yes.
Brushing your teeth takes two minutes, should you write that in? No.
- Add Scheduled Appointments
Next, write in what’s unique to a particular day. This includes doctor’s appointments, meetings, birthdays, anything that is definitely happening, but doesn’t happen every day. For example, you drive to work every weekday after school drop-off, but this coming Wednesday, someone is coming to your house to give you a quote on new windows. Write that in. Adding scheduled tasks after your usual tasks also lets you know if you’re double-booked.
- What would you LIKE to accomplish?
Goals come in different shapes and sizes, and they all belong in your planner. Want to do yoga every Thursday? Assign a time to it, so it has a better chance of actually taking place. The same applies to other would-like-to-dos, like cleaning a closet, reorganizing a pantry, or taking items to the thrift store. Write it down, and it will happen.
- Write in your family’s schedule
Color-coding time! Now that your plans are in writing, you can list your family’s tasks. Choose a color for each person and write in their schedule. If your kids are at school all day and your spouse is at work, you probably don’t need to write that in. But kids’ practices, games, recitals, and birthday parties should go in your planner because you may be driving there.
NOTE: On a passenger airplane, the safety instructions always say that you should put your oxygen mask on before you help others. The same applies to planning; you always go first. If you aren’t available to do something, you have the power to say no.
- Create a Routine with Automations
An established routine will benefit everyone in your family, but a new routine takes time to sink in. Start small. The Automations page of an inkWELL Press planner is a template for assigning tasks and chores to certain days of the week. The goal is to make things automatically happen on their assigned day, and our founder, Tanya Dalton, recommends alliteration to help you remember. Want to pay your bills once a week? How about Financial Fridays. Want to get your kids in the habit of helping? Give them a day to bring their laundry baskets down before school. Wednesday Wash Day is something they can remember.
- Time-Blocking 101
Time-blocking is the practice of planning out your day in advance, allocating specific time "blocks" for different tasks and responsibilities. Think of it as budgeting your time – you’ll use the time in your budget to make the most of each day. If you commit to it, time blocking helps you stay on track, avoid distractions, and do what needs to be done. Our Daily inserts are perfect for time-blocking because they feature hourly slots.
7 Use Mission Boards
Mission boards appear before every month in an inkWELL Press planner. These colorful charts let you fill in your goals (or what you will do to achieve that goal) for each subset of your life: personal, social, career, health, and so on. When you’re planning ahead, write in what’s coming that particular month. Halloween is always in October, so use this space to pre-plan for parties, costumes, pumpkin patch visits, and decorating. Then, when October rolls around, you’ll see the mission board first and be reminded of what needs to be done.
Tips aside, the main hack is to use a planner that works for you. Take some time to plan your day and you’ll see your productivity improve over time.