I love going over the fare of planners in bookstores around October, November, and December each year. At the same time that bookstores bring out their stocks of Christmas cards and wrappers, they also bring out their planners for the next year. I like the newness of it all, the attractive covers ranging from the no-nonsense and formal to the ornate and seemingly frivolous, and smooth and fresh-smelling pages ready to be adorned in ink.
But, honestly? After the visual appreciation phase, I am overwhelmed and confused. And I leave the bookstore with Christmas cards and wrappers, but with no planner. An annual sad reality, you might say.
Never mind how I planned the previous years :-(, but for 2013, I am proud of and thankful for... ta daaaaan... my one-spread planner.
I figured things out on the fifth day of Christmas. The children were on vacation with the grandparents and I was mulling over plans for the new year. I did not want anything complicated, just reasonable and doable, and the results uplifting for all of us.
My planning motto was streamlining.
|The simpler, the better|
The general plan was to be aligned with the liturgical seasons, so the seasons have to appear alongside the calendar months. To supplement knowledge of the liturgical seasons, I put in dedications, papal intentions, and virtues for each month.
Then I added three special goals for our family:
1) to live the liturgical year more deliberately,
|Holy cards f-i-n-a-l-l-y dug up, dusted, sorted,...|
|... and boxed.|
2) to have more outdoor activities,
|Eldest Daughter on a brief break from classes|
3) to read more good books outside those required in school.
|Youngest Daughter's book bin|
Then, of course, there were household targets to set just so things will not get out of hand.
|Pre-dinner state of things|
Putting all that together, this is how I structured my planning spread:
~ ROW HEADERS: Months of the year
|The row headings are |
the months of the year.
~ COLUMN HEADERS:
1st column: "MONTH"
2nd to 4th columns -- references to goals on liturgical living
* 2nd column -- "LITURGICAL SEASON" -- Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, and so on
* 3rd column -- "MONTH DEDICATED TO" -- say, the Holy Childhood of Jesus for January. I followed what was in the children's homeschool plans for the past years. In addition and for myself, I added Jenny's monthly dedications.
* 4th column -- "PAPAL INTENTIONS" -- general and missionary. I belatedly found them in the Apostleship of Prayer website, as cited by Catholic Culture.
5th column: "VIRTUE" -- Only Son's school prescribes a virtue to be learned each month; I decided to adopt those. In addition and for myself, I am also adopting Jenny's themes in her plans for Suscipio.
6th to 7th columns -- references to our family's special goals of engaging in more outside activities and reading more books
* 6th column -- "OUTSIDE ACTIVITY"
* 7th column -- "BOOK/S" -- Only my book targets are included here. The children have their own lists. Thanks again to 2013 Suscipio for the inputs! I was especially feeling brave, so I added some more.
8th column: "HOUSE ZONE/S" -- at least one zone per month until the whole house is covered at year's end
|The column headings refer to |
the year's general plans and special goals.
In the end, this is what I had:
|Not a very clear or pretty picture, but you get the idea :-)|
Of course, as we get to the nitty-gritty of the weeks and the days, there will be to-do, to-buy, to-repair, to-check, to-mail, to-study, and to-what-not lists, but it is the one-spread planner that will hold things together.
Should I feel overwhelmed and tired and just about ready to throw in the towel or order pizza for the third night in a row, I will look at this planner, say a prayer, breathe deeply (maybe sit down for coffee or tea), and well, plug away.
If you read this far, thank you, dear reader.
I hope the post could be of help :-)