15 Lists to Keep in your Planner to be more Organized
Planners seem to be making a big comeback these days, and it's one of those trends that I am really glad to see revived! There is no better way to keep yourself productive and organized than writing everything down. I'm a paper and pen girl at heart and I always have been. I remember years ago having a Franklin Planner and I kept it religiously. Then along came all the techy stuff that changed everything and I tried to go along with that trend, but it never really worked for me. There is something about writing things down, having lists sitting in front of me, a place to physically check things off that is just motivating to me. And there are definitely a lot more than 15 lists to keep in your planner, but I decided 15 was a good number to start with.
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1. Meal Planning and Grocery ShoppingI'm a super fan of planning out meals and then making my grocery list all in my planner. Have you ever taken a grocery list to the store and been shopping, and you can't remember what the ingredients you are buying are going to be used for? Or you didn't write down an amount needed, so you have to guess? If you have the menu handy, either on the same page or just a page away, it's easy to refer back to it. Then you don't end up buying cottage cheese with pineapple in it, thinking it was just snack food, and realize later it was meant for a recipe. (I may have actually done this, so if it seems like a super specific example, that would be why.) It doesn't matter if you're planning a week at a time or a month at a time, having both the meal plan and the grocery list together is a great way to stay productive and organized in the kitchen. This spread is in the front of my planner. I used a page that was meant for something else that I was not planning to use and created it. It makes it easy to menu plan because I've included all the things I cook on a regular basis that my family loves, (but when it's time to plan only about 5 of them come to mind. It's why I need a good list!) With this spread, I can throw the ones I haven't done in awhile on the menu and then fill in the holes. This is an example of my menu plan! I lay out the meals I want to cook in the matrix, then have the weekly grocery shopping list color coordinated in the boxes to the side. This makes my grocery shopping more organized and efficient because my planner goes with me to the store. This spread is one of the best pages in the In the Leafy Treetops planner that I use right now.
2. Cleaning SchedulesThere are numerous lists to keep in your planner than revolve around cleaning, so I'm actually going to break this one down a bit.
Keep a "When Did I Last..." ListThis is a great way to remind yourself when you last did something that you don't do very often, but should really be done on a regular basis. Like change your furnace filters, change out everyone's toothbrush, checked the batteries in the smoke detectors, or clean your carpets. I added this list to my planner this year and it has been immensely helpful!
Keep a "Weekly Chores" trackerDividing all the chores into a tracker is a great way to keep a list of things that need to be done, break them down by day, and not have to keep rewriting them in your planner every week. You can just refer back to the original list and if marking them off is important, be sure to include some check boxes.
Plan Your Seasonal Cleaning in AdvanceI have several cleaning tasks that I like to do at certain times of year, like Spring Cleaning. Only I have lists in my planner for other seasons too. For example, I clean out my fridge, clean my oven, and do some other organizing right before the holidays. And right after I take down all the Christmas decorations is a great time to do some deep cleaning in my family room, plus reorganize and de-junk closets to make room for new things from Christmas.
3. MedicationsThis idea can also be broken down into different types of lists.
Prescriptions and Dosage InfoKeeping these kinds of lists in my planner has been especially important to me because my oldest son is disabled and has been on a LOT of medication his whole life. However, even for my medications, there are a lot of times when I am asked to fill out what medications I take and dosages. And I generally don't remember their actual names let alone how to spell them or the actual dosage.
Medication TrackerNeed reminders for taking your medication on a regular basis? Or have a child that is ill and you're giving them regular painkillers or antibiotics? Keeping a tracker where you write down the times can be really helpful, especially if you're not the only one giving the medication. Keeping track of what and when you're giving medication can also be helpful when you finally decide to go to the doctor and they ask that inevitable question, "Have you taken anything and when was the last time you took it?"
4. Gift PlanningI use my gift planning tracker in a couple of ways: First, I have a list of ideas for everyone I regularly buy gifts for. When something comes to mind, jot it down! The other day I failed to do this and it's time to shop for my son's birthday. Guess what? It took two days to remember what my awesome idea was. My free printable bundle of family planning worksheets includes a tracker that you can use for this purpose. The second gift list that I keep in my planner is for Christmas time, where I write down what I have bought for each person I'm buying for. I tend to hide things away in every nook and cranny in my house and I may or may not have forgotten a gift before... (I actually did this just a few years ago. We were done opening presents and I realized there was something missing. Had to search the house for it and wrap it in my room.) So it's good to know what I have, how much I've spent, and it's easy to tell when I'm done.
Can't decide between a bullet journal and a planner? Read my post comparing the two to help you choose!
5. HealthThere are a lot of great lists to keep in your planner having to do with your health. I have a weight loss tracker in mine this year, since I am working hard to lose weight. If you need to track your blood pressure, or you are diabetic and need to track your blood tests, keeping everything together in your planner gives you a great history. You can create lists to schedule your exercise, keep track of what you're doing and your progress as you try to improve, or how many steps you're taking every day so you can see progress. If you feel like you have symptoms you are suffering from, tracking them gives you a great resource to take to the doctor when you go in. Maybe you're worried about allergies, and keeping track of things will help you narrow it down.
6. Car MaintenanceA few years ago, my husband and I bought a very used car for my kids to use. It had 300,000 miles on it, and SURPRISE the owner hadn't received one call about it. I'm pretty sure it was the mileage. Some might say we were crazy to buy a car like that. But the best thing about this car was the folder he gave us that had every single receipt and a complete log of every single piece of maintenance that had ever been done on the car, right down to changing out the windshield wipers. It was awesome! That was my clue that we really needed to keep records like that. Not only was it a great selling point, but considering the cost of a car, making sure you're doing regular maintenance can keep it running way longer than you might expect.
7. Your BudgetAs far as lists for your planner go, I have to admit that I'm not a person that keeps track of my monthly budget in my planner. It involves too much writing and math for my taste. Besides, we are on the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover plan and we use cash for everything, so it just didn't seem to work for me. However, I do track several things related to money:
Debt PayoffI love keeping track of extra payments we're making, what the balances are left to pay, etc.
Future SavingsThis is for expenses I know are coming, like the stove I've going to have to replace soon, or the tile we just had installed in the bathroom.
8. School InformationWhether you are a student yourself or you have kids in school, there are a ton of different lists to keep in your planner! Here are a few ideas:
- Teacher contact information
- IEP plans for your child
- Daily school schedules
- Important dates/events to remember
- Holidays/Teacher Work Days
- School Lunch schedules/meal plans
- Due dates for big projects
- School supplies needed
9. A Habit Tracker (or two)
This is my Habit Tracker. I love checking off boxes, so this is a great page for me! It's also really telling when I see a row that ends up mostly empty at the end of the month. I clearly need to step up my exercise game and get my steps in!
I LOVE keeping a habit tracker in my planner! This is basically some kind of a grid that you fill out each day to keep track of the things you should be doing, take note of how often you do them (or how often you skip them), and keep yourself accountable. These type of lists for you planner can be as extensive or as simple as you'd like them to be. Need some ideas? The list is endless, but here are some ideas I have put on my tracker:
- Eating out/cooking dinner at home
- Soda Intake
- Scripture Study
- Getting steps
- 7 hours of sleep
- Spending time on a hobby
- Taking medications
- Cleaning projects
- Taking vitamins
- No spending
- Water intake
10. Your Goals!
We definitely can't forget goals. Goals that aren't written down are never going to happen. You really do need to have lists in your planner than include your goals and all the baby steps you need to take to reach them. And you can express your goals in many ways. I generally outline my goals on one page altogether every month. Then I move the steps I need to take into my daily planning pages to remind me what I need to accomplish. You can set your goals up however you'd like, so it might be a yearly goal, or a weekly goal. I like to keep my goals to something that I feel like I can accomplish in a month's time. That way it doesn't drag out so long that I lose steam.
This is an example of my Goal Plan page. I have my goals divided into 6 categories and try to set about 3-5 specific goals in each category.
11. Holidays, Birthdays, Anniversaries, PartiesNot only should you have lists in your planner that remind you of upcoming events, but it can also be helpful to devote some pages to planning for these events. That way, you'll have a place to jot things down as you think of them rather than trying to sit down at the last minute and plan. These could include decorating ideas, menus, party favors, or guest lists. Another great reason to have the plan started is so that you have things in mind that you might need, and if you stumble across them, you're ready to pick them up.
12. Travel Plans
There's nothing quite like planning an exciting vacation, and there are several lists to keep in your planner for your travel plans. You could make a list of things you want to see and do while you're there. And of course you'd need a packing list. You could keep a list of hotels you've researched as well, while you're making your decision. Sometimes I think the planning is as fun as the actual trip!
Related: 5 Tips for a Better Disneyland Trip
Getting ready to go to Disneyland can be overwhelming with so much to think about! Believe me, I've been there and now I've got you covered. Grab these free printable planning sheets to make the most of your trip! Click the link below and I'll send them on over to your email!
13. Child InformationIt's a great idea to have lists in your planner for each child separately. You probably could use information like clothing and shoe sizes, allergies, likes and dislikes, babysitter information, daycare information, contact information for their friends, upcoming needs to plan for, or a place to track important information that you might need to later pass on to a doctor. You could also keep track of a sports schedule or other practices they may have.
14. Bucket Lists
The bucket lists you can keep in your planner are about as extensive as anything you might put on a habit tracker. For example, I love having a list of books I want to read, and it comes in handy when I'm at the library looking around. Another great idea is a bucket list of things you want to do for family fun in the fall or winter.