What I want for Christmas..

is an A5 day to a page diary to help organise my family!

With the countdown to Christmas well and truly started, it is time to think about calendars and diaries for next year if you haven’t already.

 My family diary is my main organising tool for the household so I thought I would share with you how I have been using it to organise 2011.

Before 2011

 In previous years, I have tried using both calendars and diaries with varying degrees of success.

 For several years, I bought calendars with lovely large squares for each day.  However, I did find that even with the generous sized squares for each day I could not always clearly note down everything on particularly busy days.  And my husband could not always decipher my scrawl, made worse by writing perpendicularly.  I ought to say here that my sister Jane uses Organised Mum calendars every year and loves them. 

 One year, I tried a calendar with separate columns for each member of the family but found it difficult to use since you had to check each column to work out the day’s schedule.  Since my husband and I share drop offs and pick ups for school and after-school activities, we need to be able to tell quickly what we have to do each day, and when.

I have also tried diaries and found those had similar problems to the calendars until I bought an A5 page a day diary for this year – and it has been brilliant.  Plenty of room on a day a page to write everything I need, even if I have to make several corrections. I did think it would be a nuisance not being able to see a whole week at a glance but, in fact, it has been no problem at all.  I have got used to flicking backwards and forwards through the pages; I really would rather have the extra space for each day.

Page to a day diary

So this is how I use it…

Regular events

I write in all the children’s music lessons, swimming lessons etc with the time beside them, am at the top of the page and pm lower down.  I do this for each day that they have an activity.  It sounds like a pain to do but, in fact, it is really quick as there are usually only a maximum of 10 or 12 lessons each term.  Also, it forces you to check the list of dates you usually get for an activity and you can then note when a lesson isn’t taking place.   I usually put something like ‘No swimming’ so that I know that I haven’t just forgotten to write it in.

 I also put at the top of the relevant page what each child needs on specific days – PE kit, recorder, drum lesson stuff etc.  I do have all this on a separate list by day of the week but I kept forgetting to check it.  Now that everything for a day is in the diary, I have to check it every morning and so see the ‘what goes to school today’ list at the top of the page.

 One-off events

If the children are performing in any school productions or are going on a school trip, then I add that in as well.  If they need to take anything with them, then I add that to the top of the page – eg packed lunch for a school trip.

 I always add deadlines to the appropriate page – eg play costume due in today and then put a note a few days or weeks back to remind me to sort out eg the costume.

 I keep all the school notes, paper clipped to the appropriate date so that I can check any details– eg what should the children wear for a school trip or what time should we pick my daughter up after the school production.  As soon as the event is over, the notes go straight into the recycling of course!  If we need tickets for an event, I paperclip those to the particular day as well.

 And, yes, the adults of the house do occasionally go out on their own so that goes in as well.

 Appointments

Everyone’s appointments go in the diary – dentist, doctors, car service etc.  I also put in reminders to contact the optician, dentist etc to make regular appointments.

 To do list

If I know that something needs to be done on a particular day, I add that to the diary as well.  I also check back a few days usually to make sure there isn’t anything outstanding from previous lists; if there is I add that to that day’s to-do list. 

Birthdays

 Very important!  If you don’t have a separate birthday list, add everyone’s birthday as well as a note a few days before to get them a card and/or present. 

 And that’s about it.  I have bought another page a day diary for 2012 so hope it works as well as this year’s.

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