Organization Day 3: Using a Journal and Day Planner

journalWelcome to Day 3 of my new Organization series! Today we’re going to discuss the importance of using a journal and day planner as well as calendars.

If you missed the first post in the series, here’s the link . You can find the second one by using the ‘next’ button at the bottom of that page.

A brief re-cap of the previous two posts puts you at the point where you’ve created and P.M.S.’ed your lists and routines. Now you need a place to keep them so they stay organized and are easily accessible.

This is where a journal, day planner and calendars come into play. Using these tools will help you keep on track with visual ease. I could never keep up with my many ‘hats’ without them.

My journal is primarily used for household tasks and responsibilities where my day planner and calendars keep my work related projects scheduled.

First lets look at the journal. It can be as complex or simple as you the designer want it to be.  Be aware that it’ll evolve and grow along with your children and as home renovations occur.

I thought it would be helpful if I explained how my journal is set up, so here we go.

I use a leather-bound 1 1/2 inch 3-ring binder for my journal. It’s filled with top loading plastic sleeves and side tabbed divider sheets.

My Sections are in this order: Zones, Daily Routines, Daily Home Blessing, Menu Plans & Grocery Lists, Tools, Personal and Activity Frequency List.


Here’s what is in each section:

Zones refer to each room of your home and is where you’ll put your room-by-room detailed cleaning routine lists. With this concept of zone cleaning, spring and fall cleaning can almost be eliminated.

Daily Routines holds my morning, daily, after school and evening routine lists as well as each day of the week’s schedule of routines that get done. This is where the example of my morning routine I shared with you last time would be placed.

Here’s an example of my Monday Routine:
*Purge magazines and newspapers
*Fill bird feeders
*Bathroom (this is where you’ll go to your Bathroom Routine)- tub, sink, toilet, floor
*Wash all area rugs and throw blankets, laundry
*Kitchen floor, sweep, dishes

The Daily Home Blessing is my Mission Statement. I’ll share this in another post!


Menus & Grocery lists. I decided to spend one day with the help of my husband and children to design our weekly menus for a year.  That may sound a bit scary but not really… you see I didn’t make 52 separate menus. I designed two groups of menus according to the seasons. Spring & Summer’s menus focus on the fresh produce we’re growing and that’s available. The second is Fall & Winter which features what we’ve canned, frozen and what’s in the root cellar along with what we’re still growing in the fall garden and winter hoop house. I created eight weeks of menus for each group. This allows me to rotate over two months. I keep that weeks menu on the fridge so we don’t have to think about meal prep, especially during our busy gardening and canning season. Having a menu helps in grocery shopping and meal prep every morning. I will go into detail on menu planning and grocery shopping in an upcoming post… so stay tuned.

My Personal section holds things that inspire me. I have several poems on mothering, being a help meet, cartoons, drawings from the children and cards from friends and loved ones.

Frequency of Activities section simply holds a list of how often I want to do particular tasks.

*Each section has a Title Page. I have family photo’s, pictures the children have made, poems, cards and other special things to me.

As I said, your journal is exactly that- yours. Let it be a reflection of what you love, who you want to be, your faith and your passions!

Now onto Day Planners and Calendars.

I purchase a new day planner along with a desk calendar every year. I live by my day planner and calendars because they allow me to visually see what I have going on and aid me in planning ahead through the year.

I also have my Google Calendar, but honestly… I like my tangible planners and calendars best. It’s not always easy for me to jump on my desk or laptop. I know lots of friends that use their calendar on their phones as well. I think this is a great idea, especially for setting up appointment reminders.

As a writer, I have many dead-lines for articles and projects that cannot be forgotten. I keep a list of the magazines, blog, etc. in my day planner in the side bar on the Month-at-a-glance page. I  write what articles need to go to which one and the due date. Having these visible on this page makes it really easy to organize my writing time through the month.

I also own/manage a winter farmers market. I keep all the events, special guest vendors, permits due as well as any other important info I need to remember here. Otherwise, all 24 weeks of floor plans, that were completed well before opening day are in a work file. I print out that weeks floor plan on Monday so I can be specific in business emails and remind any vendors of ‘need-to-know’ info.

I also keep all my appointments in this part of the planner.

IMG_8351On the Daily Pages of my planner I keep more detailed information. Here are some examples
*On office/desk day I’ll jot down all my phone calls that need to be made.
*I put down what’s for supper if it requires something needing to come out of the freezer, like meat.
*I’ll add extra chores to be done that may not be on that day’s routine. For example, during canning season my kitchen gets a bit more messy. The day we do apple sauce I may want the floor washed or the cupboards wiped down when we clean the following day.
*Errands and appointments.
*Birthdays and anniversaries.
This is my favorite spot because I love the feeling of accomplishing my tasks and seeing them be crossed the list!

My desk calendar is basically a large visual and it’s where the children leave me notes of what is on their agendas.  I then add them to my planners.

Well… now you have the ideas of how to create your own journal and an outline on what to include in your planners and calendars. Go ahead and start working on these until I get back with the next article in the series…how to do a ‘walk through’ and then the how-to on Zone Cleaning!  Keep posted!

Happy day,