Last Tuesday night I gathered with a group of women - a few I know well, some I meet at only gatherings like this and several new faces - to get a "pep talk" about being intentional with ourselves and our families and then actually have about 1 1/2 hours to plan for next year.
I'd like to share some of those ideas with you via photos. If you would like an actually copy of any document, just leave me your e-mail address and I will send them as attachments.
One of the first things you need is a blank 2013 calendar. Don't buy a fancy one for this since this is your planning calendar - you can usually find free, blank calendar's online and just print from there. I would suggest using both a pen and a pencil. Use your pen to fill in "set in stone" items like birthdays, school dates, or events already on your calendar, confirmed. Use your pencil to fill in the things you want to happen such as family vacation, having a summer cook out etc. You could even pencil in dates that occur every year such as Christmas Programs and Family Parties based on the date they are normally held so at least you have an idea of what is going on in any given month. This allows you the freedom to plan your year now to ensure that your family comes first. Maybe you even want to take one month and totally block it out as a "family month" (Like July) where nothing else happens that month except things with your family - a very laid back summer month. My husband's family thinks I'm an over planner, I think, because I start asking about the family Christmas party in June . .. when really, I'd like it on the calender in January so that it has a sure place. This year is a great example - I asked several months ago and was told that no one wanted to talk about it yet. So I told my husband I was just going to plan our holidays and they would have to work around us. Guess when the big family dinner is?? The end of January. We could have had it on the 8th of December but since it was just discussed a week ago it was felt that was too soon. See why planning ahead is such a good thing???
Another great planning document is called "Fifty Great Dates". This is a list of Things you want to do, People you want to spend time with, places you want to go, tasks you want to complete, foods you want to cook and more. Brainstorm and just throw everything on here - then, take this list and back it up to your calendar above and plug it all in (in pencil). This allows you to see that in March you want to actually make corned beef and cabbage this year for St. Patrick's Day. (Yep, did it once and once was enough!) If you have kids that are upper elementary and above, give them this document and ask them to fill it out too - you can then pick items from each list to try and accomplish too.
The month-by-month plan is one of my favorites. This is the place I write down all of the "big" items I need to remember in each month. For example, in January I write down "Plan Darryl's birthday; Clean the basement". Then in February I'll writhe, "Darryl's birthday; Valentines day" etc. If I noticed one month is packed too full, I'll see if there is anything that can get pushed to another month to relieve some of the "pressure" on my calendar. Pull this list out and the end of each month and look ahead so you can plan your month accordingly.
Most of the time planning is something that is proactive - planning for what is coming up. This next document is new one to me this year and is REactive - looking back at the previous month. It is way to look at each month and ask yourself the following: In (January) we ... celebrate, eat, maintain, keep appointments, shop for, and prepare for. I think that this first year, it is a place for me to make notes about what happened in each category including notes on what did and did not work and the financial aspect of those items. Next year it will be a great stepping stone for my planning because I will see what we actually did last year instead of trying to remember. One of the ladies suggested modifying this for holidays to say "For Halloween we - Prepare, decorated, eat/bake, create, host/celebrate, Wrap it up". I really like that idea because I tend to not always remember what we do year to year. (Don't you love the little hand? I had a helper!)
The last document is called "Life on Purpose" lists. It is list of everything from Twelve Household Projects you would like to complete to Four things to do for "me", to dates you would like to have with each of your kids and your sweetie plus more! It is a great planning list and again, back this up to your calendar. If one of your dates with you child is to go ice skating on a pond - obviously that needs to be scheduled in the winter. If you don't plan for it, it won't happen.
One last challenge that I will actually be talking about on a different date is I "joined up" with a bunch of the women to write out 101 (goals) I want to accomplish in 1001 (days) - Known as 101 in 1001. Yes, I have my list and you'll see at least some of it later but for now, this is the tease. (Aren't I mean?) I'm also working on my 2013 Theme Word and, something new, a Study Topic for the year - something to focus on learning about all year long.
Are you a planner? If so, you understand this post completely; if you aren't, you probably think I'm crazy and that's ok :-)