How to be an organized mom can seem like a constant struggle for busy moms. Who has time to plan when dealing with inflexible toddlers, last minute school projects, snow days, and the tiny, yet important minutiae of daily living?
You do. I do.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
― Alan Lakein
Yes, the best laid plans of busy moms are subject to so many unexpected variables. How many times have I gotten ready to take the kids to school only to find someone forgot to pack their lunch or forgot to tell me they needed specific supplies for that day at school?
Having a plan in place gives you, the busy mom, breathing room to handle the unexpected chaos and crisis that equals raising kids. Something will always go wrong. It’s part of raising kids. Making a plan for our day with margin for handling unplanned events reduces our stress and gives us more space to be the capable, loving moms we strive to be.
How to Be an Organized Mom: Weekly Review
A weekly review is a planning tool all moms should embrace. Once a week, you do a review of everything you need to manage – family activities, school, meal planning, household management, and work. You can do the weekly review by yourself or with your husband.
How to Do a Weekly Review
My favorite time to do the weekly review is Friday morning. Otherwise, I’ll do it Saturday morning. Before starting, I gather together everything I need and set myself up at my home office desk. If I forget anything, it should be nearby. Working in the office also keeps the kids from interrupting me while I do the review.
Even though I do a monthly review at the beginning of the month, the weekly review keeps me on top of the daily details of life with 5 kids and 1 husband. I learned about the Weekly Review from David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, and I’ve modified it to fit my situation over the years. I started out using paper planners, switched to mostly electronic planners. Now I’m back to using my Erin Condren planner in combination with Evernote, Google Calendar, and Nozbe.
The end result of the Weekly Review is to have lists of tasks on the paper planner that sits in the kitchen. I tried using Evernote as a daily planner and found it was too visualizing distracting. I need a single list for each day that I can cross off. I’m still a paper girl at heart.
1. Review Inbox and Email
My Inbox is in my office and holds any papers and mail that aren’t financial in nature. All the bills go directly into my bill file, also in my office. I have several email accounts that I review, especially the one for financial correspondence.
2. Review Google and Paper calendars
I keep my daily home keeping and blogging schedules in my Google calendar along with the kids’ sport schedules, appointments, and school-related activities. I can access the calendar on my iPhone when I’m on the go.
Our family calendar hangs on the wall in the kitchen. All appointments and activities go on this calendar. I also write the days each kid has library and gym at the top of the calendar. My Erin Condren planner also has all the scheduled appointments and activities along with a daily list of tasks.
I check my Google and family calendars along with the school calendars to make sure I haven’t missed an event or deadline. If I need to send something in or do something for school, I make a note in my Erin Condren planner using my color-coordinated system.
3. Review Nozbe Project Lists
In Nozbe, I have a section of project notebooks just for the home and family events. These notebooks have tasks which are linked to my Evernote notebooks. I use Nozbe to help me set dates and deadlines and Evernote functions as my filing cabinet.
4. Review My Weekly Meal Plan
I write my meal plan down weekly. Last year, I adapted an Erin Condren planner for meal planning and loved it. This year, I adapted an Arc notebook which I already had. Next year, I’ll go back to the Erin Condren planner.
In my weekly meal plan, I include food that needs to be prepped or used up. This strategy has helped me stay on top of leftovers, saving money on food. I also maximize the time I spend in the kitchen.
When I’m finished with the review, I have a plan for the week which can be adapted to meet last minute needs like a sick kid or household emergency.
4 Simple Steps to Setting Up Your New Planner
The Erin Condren Life Planner
Using the Erin Condren Planner as a Meal Planner
How to Stay Organized Daily with a Tickler File System
Life on the Go: My iPhone Apps for Being an Organized Mom
Quick and Easy Meal Planner Using What You Have