This post contains affiliate links**
Over the past few years, I've found that the first step to finding peace in every day is preparation. Being prepared for the day, the week, the month... it makes a big difference. Plans change, of course, but having a plan A makes it possible for you to make a plan B (and C and D and, you get it.)
"The Binder" is my method of planning. And yes, my mom makes fun of The Binder and its overwhelmingly large influence in my life. But whatever, it works for me. And that's really most of the battle.
I started out using this binder, which was a regular three ring binder, just half-sized. I got mine at Staples. I love the size because it fits in my purse (which, I admit, is huge), and because it's so easy to customize the pages.
And I customize pages a lot, because
1. I get bored. I enjoy coming up with new ways to organize my day, adding cute graphics, changing fonts and colors... which might be one reason I like blogging.2. The structure of my life changes. Working at a Bible Camp means that my year is broken into seasons, and each season seems to require a different structure to my planning. In the summer, things are so busy that I need to be reminded of every routine. In the fall, things can be a little more flexible, and then when spring rolls around and preparations kick up again, I generally need to add a little more structure.3. I haven't found just the right one yet. I'm still making tweaks and changes to improve my daily pages so they work best for me. I've done some snooping into other folks' planner pages, and some simply would never work for me, while some look pretty interesting, and some are so great that I steal ideas from 'em.
After about a year with the yellow binder, I found a leather (well, psuedo-leather) binder at a second-hand store for $3. It's a little less ridgid, and I like the texture of it a lot, not to mention all the extra pockets. (Yay pockets!).
It's a DayTimer brand, in a style that I'm sure is very outdated by now... it's something like this- Day-Timer Organizer,5-1/2 x 8-1/2. It works really well for me for the time being!
If you've got one of these things, or if you've now been convinced that you must.have.one ... here are some tips to make The Binder as influential in your life as it is in mine.
Make it Yours:
No one else has a life just like yours- make your binder customized to your life! I looked through several different examples (try searching "Family Planning Binder" on Google- you'll be impressed and maybe a little overwhelmed), and then used what I saw to come up with something that works for me right now, and then changed it, and changed it, and changed it...
I like using at least a little color on my pages, and using a fun font helps personalize your planner even more (try dafont.com to download some great fonts).
Make it Flexible:
Start with a few different options at first, and be ready and willing to change things up as you figure out what you liked and didn't like about each example. Adjusting your planning pages and things takes time and experience. Also recognize that your life will change, too- and along with that, your needs will change, and so will your binder! I've made lots of changes over the past two years.
Make it Routine:
A binder won't work if it's not part of your schedule. I take my binder everywhere and usually look at it very frequently throughout the day (I even leave it open on my desk at work) and then once at night before bed. I'm forgetful, and having a constant reminder really helps.
Keep in mind that your binder will also need to fit into your life- physically. Find a spot for it at your house- I put mine in one of three places when I'm home, and that's it. It reduces the number of times I ask Trevor, "Have you seen my binder?" (Which I should learn to do with my phone, but that's another post.)
Okay, this is getting long... but I have lots more I want to show you about my binder (luuuuucky you!), so stay tuned for some additional Keeping the Peace posts about The Binder!
Edited to add: More about how I use my planning binder!
**Affiliate links what? An affiliate link (mine are through Amazon) is a link that directs you to an Amazon webpage. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link, whether it's a purchase of a product that I recommended or something else you find on Amazon while you're looking around, I will receive a small commission of your purchase, at absolutely no additional cost to you. **