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If you’re a WAHM or SAHM who struggles with productivity like me, you’ve got a million things to do with absolutely no time to do half of it!
I’m a mom, housewife, small business owner, writer, active church member, & will be returning to college soon. I have so much to keep track of, but I struggle doing it all. After some hard evaluation, I realized why: I suck at prioritizing my time.
Yep, that’s right. I have so many dreams, ambitions, & responsibilities, but other than the basics, I struggle to get it together. Throw in a baby and it’s really overwhelming!
Enter the Happy Planner!
If you’re a beginner in the art of planning, you aren’t alone! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of planners. I’m actually a bit planner obsessed because the thought of being organized entices me. The problem is I never follow through on those plans!
So I’ve completely revamped my entire planning strategy & so far, it’s going good! Now I’m going to share my strategy for my initial planner set up, writing up goal plans, & actually using my planner long-term!
What is the Happy Planner?
The Happy Planner made by Me and My Big Ideas (MAMBI) is a disc-bound planner which means you can add or take away pages, making it completely customized to your needs!
You can grab this particular planner over on Amazon!
They sell specific accessories for the planner & there are even Etsy shops that sell custom inserts!
There are a variety of layouts available ranging from classic horizontal, vertical (which is what I use), hourly, & even specialty layouts for teachers & students!
The Happy Planner Accessories
The most popular accessories for these planners are the expansion packs (which can include budgeting, student, or fitness pages) & stickers.
The stickers are extremely popular and there are no shortages of sticker book themes. However, these books are expensive and can cause quite a bit of sticker shock to a beginner.
I myself bought two to start: the seasonal book to match my seasonal themed planner & the productivity book because I need motivation in that area.
I recommend purchasing one, maybe two MAMBI sticker books, then loading up on other brands of stickers to make your money go further! There are even great stickers at the Dollar Tree!
As a beginner, I didn’t want to spend a ton initially. These planners can be great creative outlets, but I plan to hold off on purchasing more MAMBI stickers until I get the hang of decorating the pages.
Long & Short Term Goals
This is important! Do this before you even open up your planner!
Sit down & think where do I want to be in 3 months? 6 months? a year?
They could be business goals, fitness goals, personal goals, anything! Once you have your answers, write them down!!
Next, jot down a few short term goals to make the big goal seem more obtainable. These will go in your monthly spreads.
Finally, write down small steps to achieve those goals! I’ll give an example:
Long-Term Goal: Lose 50 lbs. in 1 Year
Short-Term Goals: Lose 5 lbs the 1st month; lose 20 lbs in 6 months
Small Steps to Achieve the Goal:
- Research healthy meals & snacks
- Grocery shop online to avoid junk food temptation
- Exercise at least 20 minutes every weekday
- Walk everyday
Now it’s time to transfer these to your planner!
How to Set Up your Planner
- Your fresh crispy planner!
- Pens (I love my Sharpie pen)
- Highlighters (Mildliners are great!) or colored pens
- Schedules, appointment cards, etc.
- Your goal list
- Stickers to make it pretty!
It’s time to start prepping your planner! Gather your supplies and set aside about an hour of quiet time to focus.
“I don’t have time!”, you say? Then setting your planner up is even more important! Make your time a priority! Plan to plan (ha…) while nursing at the table, during naptime, early in the morning, or after the kids are in bed!
Okay, now that you’ve set aside your prep time, let’s get to it!
I like to start by looking at the big picture because if I narrow down too quickly, I end up bouncing around trying to fill every little thing in & forget things.
Start on the first month of your planner & go through filling each month in. You can record whatever you’d like, but here are the basics:
- Scheduled appointments (don’t forget vet appointments!)
- Reminders to make appointments
- School events (games, off days, PTA meetings, etc.)
- Long-term goals
- Short-term goals
Remember those long-term goals you wrote down? Record them in every single note section of your planner! Whenever you start a new month, you’ll always see what you’re working for!
Next, write down the short-term goals in their respectable months! I put mine in the empty areas on the monthly calendar.
Now, whenever it’s time for a new month, you already have a foundation laid & there’s less work for you, yay!
If you’d like to be even more organized, assign different colors to each event (blue = birthday, pink = anniversary, etc.).
Congrats! You’ve completed step one!
When a new month rolls around, it’s time to crack that planner open once again!
Use this time to record more variable events, such as:
- Gifts to buy for upcoming birthdays, weddings, etc.
- Newly-made plans
- Work meetings
I like to use this time each month to do a “goal checkup”. How close am I to the next short term goal? Am I on track? What do I need to change? I use these checkups to determine if I need to up my game!
I decided not to decorate my monthly spread too much to keep it easier to see events at a glance.
My planner is a vertical setup, which means each day has three separate blocks.
I use the top block for appointments, birthdays, events, or special plans. If there’s nothing special going on that day, throw a sticker there & make it pretty!
I use the middle block for to-dos such as housework, phone calls to make, or errands to run. I like to use my checkmark stickers & time-stamped stickers in this section!
Finally, I use the last block for my blog tasks. You can use them for work tasks, fitness trackers, or for school assignments for the kids (or you!).
Time to drag out the goal sheet! Remember those small steps you wrote down to meet your goals? It’s time to transfer them to your planner! Write them in the notes section for quick reference.
Finally, add stickers or washi tape to your heart’s content! Make it something you love to look at!
Tips to Continue Using Your Planner
Unfortunately, the fun & creative part is over. Now it’s time to put the work in! As I previously mentioned, I suck at keeping up with planners, so I have to pretty much force myself to make it work until it turns into a habit.
Take a picture of your weekly spread & make it the background of your phone.
First thing when I wake up, I reach for my phone. It’s an awful habit, but putting my weekly spread as my background puts my mindset into productivity mode!
Making myself see & acknowledge what needs to be done enables me to start my day quicker. Rather than lounging on social media, I jump up and start my routine.
Set a reminder to update your planner.
When Sunday rolls around, it’s time to plan for the week ahead. Give the kids to dad, make a cup of tea, & spread out your supplies.
If you tend to be a bit forgetful, set a reminder! This is a simple, yet effective way to stay on track.
Put your planner where you can see it constantly.
The baby is crying, a conference call is coming up, dinner is about to burn… Where’s that planner??!
Lay it on the kitchen counter, the kitchen table, the coffee table, anywhere you can constantly see it! It’s so much easier to keep on track if I can quickly glance at it as I go through the day!
Mom Planners to Follow on Instagram for Happy Planner Ideas!
As a beginner, I love referencing ideas from other planner moms who have been using the Happy Planner for a while! I particularly recommend the following because they tend to post spreads that are a bit more realistic & obtainable for someone new to the HP world!
Hopefully, I’ve inspired you to start the long process of organizing this crazy WAHM/SAHM life! How do you keep the craziness organized? Let me know in the comments!
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