I am a visionary. I am a dreamer. I see the BIG picture and a lot of "unseen things." Vision is easy for me. It is natural, life-giving, and my default. I have to WORK hard to get out of the "vision," "why," and "dream" of things.
I do not naturally understand time, plan time, keep time, think time, or manage time well. Ask my people...they will tell you. I have to WORK hard on "time." It is such a weird thing. I am a very disciplined, organized, and even a neat person...but time--it is like chaos in my brain. I have been working hard on it this past year because time is important to people, and people are important to me! I want to spend and steward my time well.
I have a weekly planning sheet that helps me! I want to SHARE it with you--maybe it will help you. And, even more, I am sharing why and how I came up with this thing! I am sharing more about my time management (ahem...or lack of). I hope it may encourage some of you--those of you that might get my struggle or be right there with me, and for those of you that have ninja time management skills, maybe it will give you a good laugh to see inside of a brain of someone that is learning. I will keep learning, and I am getting better and better!
Fitness for the Field really pushed me to work on time,
which led me to develop this resource,
so I want to share it with you! Enjoy!
There have been 2 times in my life when I have made leaps and bounds on time management.
1. when I started grad school (January 2018).
2. when I started Fitness for the Field (July 2020).
At the start of these 2 things, I knew that in order to keep my main priorities
1. God 2. my husband and kids 3. my job
my main priorities and not let them suffer, I had to get a grip on my time management.
This time last year, we were finishing plans for the launch of Fitness for the Field, I was mostly scared to death of how it would affect my family. I was scared of warfare. I was scared of it flopping. I was scared of my priorities suffering. I was scared especially of the chaos of time--adding something big on my "to do" list and managing my time well. Whew! Time management scares me--well it used to scare me a lot. Now, I am finding my way!
I had heard of a wonderful planner (thank you she works His way--see their resource page and also check out this amazing ministry), and I got one. The week we started planning Fitness for the Field, I purchased the Day Designer daily planner from Target. I highly recommend the Day Designer Daily Planner. Day Designer is amazing!!! I am not sponsored, paid, or asked to do this...I really am sharing one of my favorite things with my friends! My friends in real life (in-person life) have seen my planner, and many have purchased their own! Y'all know who you are--wink, wink!
Day Designer has their flagship daily planner on their website, which is most like the one I prefer. I actually purchased my favorite Day Designer planner from Target. And it is still available at Target in stores and online for $19.99 I actually like the cheaper, Target version more--mainly because of the day layout. Look at these differences below:
I am sure the flagship has other GREAT things about it...for one, I love the folder in the inside. The planner is hardbound. And, I think there are other helpful tools, resources, and pages to guide you well and help you with goals, planning, and time management.
ANYWAY! I have LOVED this planner. I cannot recommend it enough. I actually started using it again this summer, as I have been the busiest I have ever been in my entire life. I love seeing the paper in front of my face--writing it down with my hands with an actual pen and paper keeps the chaos organized.
BUT, since January 2021, I have also been working hard with my family to get totally electronic! It is serving us well--also thanks to my husband, who is a black-belt ninja time manager. I have tried years before to go electronic, and it just didn't work well. But now that our older kids are doing things, setting meetings with teachers, going on trips, and such...whew--I see the need! Also, Gray and I have been sharing our work meetings, personal plans, and putting important priorities on the calendar and protecting them in this busy season--family nights, dates with kids, dates for us, times with friends. We have seen the beauty of sharing a calendar. So, we really have gone electronic. Well...until this summer, I was primarily electronic, but still using my favorite things about Day Designer planner. Let me explain...
A few months back--when we were really focused on getting electronic, I drew out, designed, and planned my personal favorite parts of my Day Designer planner. It is more of a weekly sheet. I use this one piece of paper for my whole week along with our electronic calendar. And, this is one of the awesome gifts I am sharing as we celebrate Fitness for the Field this month!!!!
I love that I can see and write my Top 5 priorities for the day. Each day has the option of the 5 most important things I need to get done that I am not going to naturally do. For example...I naturally feed my people, but I don't naturally do laundry. Sometimes laundry is on the Top 5. I naturally workout, but I don't naturally post on Instagram--I am talking Fitness for the Field account--I don't plan my personal account. Some days I have a big school assignment due, and I can't forget that. You get the point! These are my "no matter whats" that I have to get done each day.
I don't write down the routine, daily, or weekly appointments here--I usually do remember those. But, if I have a meeting that I might not remember, or an outing with a friend, or dentist/doctor--those go here. The rest are in that electronic calendar. This really could be optional...because I really am trying to stay electronic with my schedule. This sheet is more of a "To Do" list and brain dump than for scheduling and time--again...keeping it electronic. BUT, because I am still a working hard on time management, these special appointments are here. Why only 3...I usually don't have that many "special appointments" in a normal day...because in a normal day, I am doing all of those normal things...homeschooling my kids, feeding my people, doing some work, laundry--oh yeah, that's on Top 5, and those other "Top 5 priorities." I will mention down below what I do when I have those REALLY busy days with so many appointments (ahem...this summer). Though I am working hard on time management, I must keep my personality--I prefer to have lots of flexibility, more of a flow than time blocks I must stick to, and I need lots of freedom to rearrange things. These traits certainly have strengths, but sticking to a schedule is not one.
The "Get To" Weekly To Do List...
Day Designer has a "to do" list on each day's layout. I love this, but what was happening to me day after day, is I might only get half or a few of these tasks done...why? Because of normal life demands, the Top 5 priorities of the day--that's where I give my time and focus and must do those things. I was moving things on my "To Do" list over to next/future days SO very often. Yet, usually getting them done at some point in the week. I still want a "To Do" list for when I have the time. I like having a big/longer "weekly to do" list. Here it is! I love using the language "get to" instead of "have to." Changing that one small word is really a big and powerful perspective shift.
Some of you might argue that I am putting too much on my to do list or not proper days. I get that. BUT, I like to dump it all out and see it all and think of the possibilities...the what ifs. And, I can also handle the tension of not getting it done, yet knowing it needs to be there. I don't ignore it. I put it on paper and face it--which brings me to the next part...
The Brain Dump...
This is for those things you need to know for the week that keep swirling around in your head. This might be notes from a meeting or a prayer request. I often have people in my brain dump. When I am leading a study or doing one-on-one coaching, my ladies are here! They are not my "to do" list...but they are important to me and I keep their names in front of me so I am mindful to pray for them, reach out to them, and send them things we have discussed. I also write some of my dreams and ideas here. If I find that they keep showing up, they get moved to other special places (like my notebooks and planners that are long term "to do" lists for projects that take much more).
I don't have a bunch of these sheets all printed out (although I am thinking of planning a 6 month calendar--that has continued to show up in the brain dump so it's in one of those special projects/big ideas books--see above). For now, though, I have this one sheet, and at the end of the week, I move my plans for next week to the next sheet. Items still on the "Get to" list, get moved on to the next sheet, and I throw this one away--TRASH. I have worked hard to minimize the clutter and paper trash in my life this year--that is another post for another day!
I have a thankful journal where I regularly write down things for which I am thankful. This space here on this sheet is a short, simple place where I specifically write things I am thankful for in my schedule...having to do with time. This keeps me thankful for time management and remembering why I am doing this. It keeps me joyful and content--especially with the time and plans the Lord has allowed me to have on my plate.
So, there you go! I hope this is a fun resource for you! If not...pass it on by and keep doing what is working for you or finding your way! If you are looking for a great paper planner, I highly recommend Day Designer. My schedule and life will lighten up soon, so I will stay electronic and use my weekly sheet. But if and when I go back into the busier, scheduled, appointment-filled days, or I am fed up with electronic, I will be purchasing a Day Designer so fast.
Still, on VERY BUSY DAYS...this is what I do. This past year, I have downloaded and used a lot (I mean a lot) of Day Designer's free printables. Thank you for being so generous, Day Designer! I use their daily planning page when I need to see my whole day! It reminds me of the paper days. It gives me a day of such a nice template to write out what I need to see, more than keeping it digital. I often use other printables for our family chores and ideal week--this is great for those mundane normal days/weeks, and more. The free printable link is a planner's dream! Enjoy!
Let me know if you try the weekly sheet.
Give me feedback and let me know if you have questions.