Organized Master Calendar

Aug 27

Anyone already feeling the pressure with school dates, appointments, volunteer requirements and classroom calendars flooding in? *raises hand – very high* Am taking my own advice, remembering one day / one thing at a time, keeping appointments with myself (the gym) and breathing in that fresh air. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks as I got my 3 kids back to school (2 different schools) and had some high priority, last second deadlines dropped in my lap. All exciting things, but there’s only one Sam here to do it all.

When I’m feeling the pressure, I find getting more organized releases the stress. May sound crazy because, yes, I’m already pretty organized. But when there’s so much responsibility on your shoulders and dates, projects, clients and more to stay on top of…my master calendar is what keeps my head on straight and where I turn to know all is well in my little world.

I’ve tried going digital, but with everything there is to manage (including 3 kiddo schedules) it looked visually cluttered to me. The last thing I need to see is something that stresses me, doesn’t mesh or goes against my grain. So what I’m sharing today is paper-based…but it works, my friends!

2 years ago I shared my master calendar binder here on the blog and it was pretty close to the version I’m sharing today…

Why did I make the change? Because Martha Stewart stopped carrying her calendar insert. Boo! I tweaked my binder one year ago (almost to the day) to my updated master calendar

And happy to report what I’m sharing today is simple tweaks off that very same system. Earlier this year, I switched to a new binder and removed the extra divided sections in an effort to save my back. Those sections needed to live at home in a household binder because I was lugging around all this paper in my work bag – which meant my back was killing me. My calendar goes everywhere with me so the less weight I have on my back, the better. Literally. 😉

My secret weapons for an organized master calendar…

 

Let’s dissect the whole thing so you can see it all! First up, these are the components used to create my system (one day I’ll develop my very own Simply Organized binder for busy moms and small business owners)…

If you haven’t seen the better binders from Staples, give them a shot. I love these and they come in a wide array of colors. My personal favorite is teal, of course…

In addition to my master calendar, I use these to organize finances, home topics and passwords…which are contained in the binders you see next to my computer. The binder edges are soft and don’t scratch your desk, workbag or arms when carrying (the Martha binder did have sharp corners, which is why I updated to this one)…

 

My next secret weapon is the MomAgenda Weekly Family Planner sheets

These can be purchased here or grab them at The Container Store…

It’s a large pad and the paper is nice and thick…

If you don’t want a binder and instead like having a weekly calendar posted in the house, the pad has a magnetic strip on the back making it great for the side of a fridge or a magnetic board in your command center / home office…

The beauty of these planner sheets are in the details. I’ve been using these for a full year and it’s amazing! There’s a large section for me, for each of my kids, an extra row for a sitter or blog schedule (could work if you have a 4th child), and a row to plan out dinner (sometimes I use it for chores)…

Should come as no surprise that I tweak this sheet too! Just all depends on how hectic any particular week in my life may be.

Another must-have is the At-A-Glance daily 2-page calendar insert (similar here)…

I tuck these behind each of my weekly planner sheets and this is where my detailed business schedule and notes are kept. With the nature of my work, I need a lot of writing space for product shopping lists, measurements and more. At-A-Glance offers a simpler version where each day is just one page. But given all the space I need, I opted for the 2-page layout. This gives me tons of writing room…

The monthly dividers that come in the pack…

And behind each tab is a full month view in case you like seeing an overall of your priorities, birthdays or other events for the month…

This page is within each month, but don’t use it all the time since I have so much writing space in the 2-page daily spreads…

The yearly At-A-Glance pack is huge so I appreciate the company breaking it into quarters…

Within my binder I keep 3 months of calendar…when one month ends, another month is added to the back. I update my binder monthly and previous months as well as upcoming months are organized here in my home office

My office supplies are within these magazine files and one is labeled for calendar inserts…

 

My small secret weapons are correction tape…

My favorite Sharpie fine-tip pens…

 

And post-it notes / flags…

 

 

The correction tape is a must-have because it’s thin enough to fit between the lines on both planner sheets and it helps with my visual eye-clutter issues. 🙂 Sadly, my weekly schedule is never firm. In fact, the schedule I’m sharing below has already been covered in correction tape. For fun, I may come back to show you what a week looks like once it’s compete.

Ok, so we’ve got the binder components. Now…hopefully I haven’t completely overwhelmed you. Still here with me? 😉 Ok great!

So, let’s take a look at how it all comes together! Here’s a look at my week. This is how my binder would look when I open to today. The family planner sheet is in the middle of my 2-page at-a-glance pages, I had taken a few notes using post-it’s the week prior and just placed them on the left side…these were due or happening today and that’s why they are placed here. As I finish those during the week, I recycle them. I didn’t see clients on Monday, but if I did those appointments would have been written in under the appropriate time on the left…

On the note side of the 2-page daily spread (the right side), I would have written in notes like how long I worked with my client, if they paid me or I need to invoice them, any measurements taken, notes about products to be purchased, possible upcoming projects, and more.

You can see here what I did on Monday. 2 of the kids had school from 7:50 to 1:50. My 3rd didn’t have school (he started Tuesday), but he did have a dentist appointment at 8:30. After the dentist we ran to the market to grab last minute groceries for the new school week. After school pick-up’s, we had some down time before a school event that evening from 4:30 to 7. My blog section for the week is listed on that bottom row…

See that “blog” row? This is a perfect example of how my weeks change constantly. I do in fact have 5 blog posts planned this week. With the kids back in school, I was excited to get back to a consistent blogging schedule. But since taking this photo I’ve had a few client things pop up which always pushes out my blog posts. Boo! For example, you can see I planned on this post going up yesterday, but instead it happened today – no biggie! At least it’s listed here as motivation to get it done. And I already had the photos taken, which I generally do on the weekends.

For ease / quickness of getting to the current week, I add a wide post-it flag detailing the dates…

 

And I add a smaller flag for quickly getting to “today”…

 

These flags / tabs can be used over and over again.

The weekly family sheet follows me throughout the week by moving to the next day within the At-A-Glance sheets…

At the end of the day when I’m looking at my schedule for the next day, I move the weekly family planner sheet in the binder. This also helps me keep track of daily to-do items, which I spoke about last week. For example, if I know I’ll be going to the market tomorrow, I’ll write up a short list (while the kids are in bed, it’s quiet and I can think straight) to make sure I’m prepared for that.

Another reason I love the family planner sheets so much is because my 3 kids get out of school at different times. #ugh Their schedule drives me nuts, but thank God for these sheets because I wouldn’t survive. During the first few weeks of the school year, the kindergartener’s have an adjusted schedule. 2 of my kids have early release on Monday’s and the other has early release on Wednesday. But again, writing it all down ensures I’m at the top of my mom game…

 

This is the real deal people. And while it may seem complicated, it actually isn’t. It allows for me to keep track of their schedule while also keeping track of my clients / business / blog / life schedule. And again, this calendar funnels out my organized daily to-do lists.

Please feel free to reach out with questions as I’m always happy to answer! And happy calendar organizing!!

* affiliate links added for your convenience

 

comments +

  1. Bethany says:

    Thank you! This is a great post and very helpful for busy moms. I always enjoy your simple way of organizing.

  2. Love the binders Sam! The only suggestion I would add is to try out an online password app so they're accessible on all your devices and can be shared and updated easily. I loooove LastPass and it's free which has made moving between computers so easy!

  3. You are freaking awesome!! I am impressed!
    XO Ellen from Ask Away
    http://www.askawayblog.com

  4. Love this! You've inspired me to get my paper planner up to date! & I'm also super bummed about no more Martha Stewart paper!

  5. Christina says:

    I like this. Do you keep your “home management binder” with tabs other than calendar in a separate binder?

    • Samantha says:

      I don’t really have a home management binder in the mix right now. I had one back when I was doing tons of work here at the house and had to stay on top of things. For now, I have my home management to-do list tucked away in files pockets (can be found by searching for my to-do list post from a few weeks ago) and all of the contacts that I need in a pinch (like the pool guy, utility companies, etc) are all filed away in my home filing drawer. I just found I didn’t need a home management binder to stay on top of right now.

      xo,
      Sam

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