Practical Time Management Using The Busy Woman’s Daily Planner®
I read a lot of articles about managing my time and home office. I’ve picked up a few tips here and there but for the most part, what I’ve read isn’t applicable to my lifestyle.
I’m a work at home mom with a challenging preschooler who wants most of my attention most of the time. Our company has three divisions and I am the CEO, Director of Human Resources, Accounting, Sales and Marketing and Web Development. I also have community and civic commitments. I’ve relied on a day planner for over a decade. I’d be lost without one.
When I transitioned from corporate drone to Entrepreneur to work at home mom, I found that my brand name planner wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. So, I switched to the Busy Woman’s Daily Planner (www.thebusywoman.com). Each daily planning page is divided into six versatile sections that are useful to mothers. Here’s how I use my planner. You can adapt my techniques to suit your own style and needs:
This is the list of tasks you want to accomplish TODAY. The checkmark (P) column is where you tick off what’s done. The ABC column is how you prioritize your tasks. “A” is important, “B” is kind of important, “C” is not important. “A” tasks get done first. Your first A task should be “Planning and Solitude.” This phrase is a carry over from my days using the name brand planner and it is the most important task of your day. Spend 15 minutes each day planning, reflecting on your goals, reviewing the previous day’s unfinished tasks and accomplishments. You will find that you complete so much more when this is done each day.
The priorities column is also a great place to develop new habits, like exercising or writing in a journal. Add your desired new habit to your priorities list everyday until you do it automatically.
Anything that involves someone coming to, or you leaving your home, goes here.
Many of the time management gurus say to block out time on your calendar for naps, phone calls and personal time. Unless your children have biological clocks that put them to sleep at exactly the same time every day, naps belong on the priorities list. If you workout at home, it’s a priority. If you go to a gym, it’s an appointment.
There are only three lines in this section for a reason! Do not get so caught up in cleaning the house that you don’t get anything else done. I find that assigning a cleaning day to each room works for me. Sunday is bathroom day, Monday the living room gets tidied and vacuumed and so forth. If I can’t get to that room on that day, it waits until the following week. At the beginning of each month, go through your calendar and assign chores to each day.
**To Be Called
Make sure the list is reasonable. Don’t expect to be able to make 3 hours worth of calls if your child only naps for 45 minutes. At the beginning of each month, transfer any birthdays or anniversaries to this section so that you remember to call the person!
Plan out your menu for the week before you go grocery shopping. That way, you know what you need to buy and shopping will be more efficient. Transfer the menu plan onto each days Menu section. At night, check the following day’s menu and pull out anything that needs to defrost.
This is a great place to jot down your tax deductible mileage. If you travel for business on a regular basis, then it is best to use the mileage sheets that come separately. You can also use this space to write a single sentence summing up your days accomplishments.
Most moms will find carrying a Busy Woman Planner is the most valuable item in their bag. But, they are heavy. So, I recommend purchasing a “Busy Woman VIP Purse” with detachable planner so you can leave the planner in your car when you don’t need to carry it. I usually leave my planner on the passenger’s seat while driving so that I can tick off errands as I go. At home, my planner proudly lays open on my desk accompanied by my favorite pencil.
You will find that a little planning can go a long way. Having a plan makes everything from going on vacation to shopping for groceries a breeze. Every busy woman has different planning needs, so the versatility of the 6 part Busy Woman daily pages makes them a great tool for staying organized.