Get Organized: Tap the Power of Planners

A good master to-do list is a mix of goals and aspirations, errands and minutia. It's Mind Fly Central, a place to put those buzzing reminders into concrete form--the first step toward reaching those goals!

Don't worry if your list stretches for pages and pages. You're killing flies! As time passes, you'll have a record of the good work you've accomplished. Looking back at all the crossed-off items boosts motivation like nothing else can.

From the master to-do list comes daily or weekly to-do lists. Frequency depends on the complexity of your life. Mothers of young children may find frequent interruptions and the demands of child care mandate a flexible weekly list. A working mom with teen children may need the more intense tracking of a daily list.

Either way, the method is the same. Use the planner's list section to record each daily or weekly list. Each list should contain the day's recurring chores--cleaning, shopping, errands--and one or more items from the Master To-Do List.

Check the master to-do list regularly, and try to slay one or more mind flies each day--and because homemaking can drown aspirations and goals, be sure to add one "next step to a goal" item to the day's list. Achieving progress toward goals can reassure that there is more to life than carpools and clean-ups!

Address Book

Next-most-useful tool of a planner is the address book component. Don't stop with mere names, addresses and phone numbers! Add personal information like babies' names, birthdays, and e-mail addresses.

Computerized planner users can print Christmas card lists and mailing labels, too--but all planner users have the sweet relief of being able to remember what Susan named her new baby. Think of the brownie points for asking an old friend, "And how is little Sarah? She must be close to 18 months old by now!"

Create a special section in the planner for personal Yellow Pages forms. Unless your family name is Young, the XYZ page is a natural for these entries. Make it a rule: each time you look up a number for pizza, plumbers or party supplies, write it down in the planner's yellow pages. Next time the Senior Girl Scout sleepover is at your house, you'll be glad to know exactly which pizza parlor delivers to your neighborhood.


Whether you journal for fun, for self-development or as a spiritual tool, the planner's journal section is for you. Tracking the days of your life can be fun--and most commercial planners incorporate a journal feature.

Information Pages

A home manager's planner can be a Mother Lode of information, pun intended. If you need to know it, "it" needs a planner page. Some sample pages might include:

  • Master shopping list
  • Menu planner
  • Family health record
  • Phone roster of volunteer organization
  • Babysitters' names and numbers
  • Home dec planner, with measurements and sketches
  • Travel packing checklist
  • Checkbook register
  • Party planning pages
  • Homeschool records
  • List of sewing patterns or floss numbers
  • Christmas card and gift lists
  • Online account usernames and passwords
  • Book lists
  • Videos to rent

Information pages can--and should--be highly individualistic. A mother of young children will have party ideas, play date planners, library book lists and sports informations in her planner. An empty-nest working grandmother could include book club schedules, industry contacts, or decor ideas.

Make your planner reflect you in all your individual glory!The goal is to have that magic genie at your fingertips. What information should travel with you wherever you go?

It's all grist for the planner--and the planner is the secret weapon of every organized home manager.

Whatever the form, savvy home managers harness the power of planners. After all, we have better things to do, like rear our children, love our husbands, and do our life's work.

A planner is the closest thing on earth to a magic genie. It does the dirty work, so we can focus on the important things: our families and our lives.

Don't leave home without one!