It was asked in the comments the other day for me to share some of the entries from my perpetual calendar. (This one is especially for you, Jennifer!) If you downloaded my planner pages (adobe reader needed), you’ll see there are very specific spaces for certain things. I think they are generic enough for many people to use in a way that works for them.
I’m trying to build this new notebook completely from scratch. Since I am just remaking them myself as each day passes, they are all still mostly blank except for what I’ve written here the last few days. All of my older ones are very specific and detailed with a lot of personal things I’d rather not show. So I am sorry to say that right now I don’t really have any visuals to show as you asked. I’ll try to work on that more in the future.
I am hesitant of writing all the things I am getting ready to write for fear that others just starting or redoing their notebooks will scramble around spending days researching and writing in things based on the examples. I am not adding these things to my own new planner until the time or place gives me a reason to add them. These are only examples to keep in mind AS we put these books together. Remember, purpose and intentional so they work for each of us and our individual families.
If you have a tendency to over plan or jump in too fast, you may want to bookmark the page for later and jump down to read the P.S. I’m adding on Software.
Having said that, I’ll be glad to break down in abstract what I used the sections for in the past or what I am thinking I might do this time around.
The way I use it may make more sense if you know that we are now in a life phase where the adults have a natural inclination to sit down in front of the computer or cuddle up around the tv unless something in particular comes along and our son is not yet old enough to know to ask to get involved in activities his peers may be doing. So, I use the calendar for timely things that will keep us social, active, and remind us to do things that will benefit us later. Prompts that will keep us from sitting the rest of our days and health away.
The Cleaning Matrix
I have my regular cleaning routine prompts spaced in blocks on the outside edges of the calendar space and my list of daily chores listed in front of the Notes section. As I said, I do not list more specific chores in the calendar. With the exception of the Fall and Spring Maintenance lists I’ll be remaking later this year, I don’t keep daily weekly, monthly etc. cleaning lists like others might. This matrix works well for me if I keep actively using it.
To Do Section
I will remind myself to use other specific pages. For example, in September or October, I will start looking at Thanksgiving and Christmas planning and I will start the Fall Maintenance list. This year I will be making those pages. Next year I will prompt myself to look at them based on how many weeks I worked those plans out to be and only after making adjustments to those plans if needed.
I may have a notation to start setting funds aside for recurring upcoming events not typically in our budget.
The other items would be things like schedule annual doctors appointments, call in services like HVAC, or to start looking in to sign up dates for kids activities to make sure I don’t miss deadlines. (Having remembered to set aside the money for anything unusual from an earlier months to do.)
Some of the things in the notes section may end up being moved to the blocks on the calendar. It really depends on how likely we are to take part in an activity vs. just a passing interest, if an event is more or less likely to move around very much on the calendar, if it is a date or information based note… you get the idea.
I mentioned in the last article that I added the months birthdays, our (or the banks) major holidays, and recurring events not already included that are important to us or impact the community.
I’ll take notes on the best time range for services we intend to use that month to run specials, when they will be less busy AND when/if they might be more willing to negotiate a deal due to their own low customer volume. I’ll take note of annual sales from my favorite stores and for approximate dates of regular consignment events I like going to (noting in the month ahead as a to do for the future a reminder to go through looking for things to consign.)
If a friend typically comes around at the same time each year, I have it noted in the events. I may also make notes on things they like or do not like to do while they are in town, any diet restrictions they might have, other friends to include, any number of things I want to remember when they come.
The rest would be random info repeated every year not belonging anywhere else. These are things I may want to be aware of, but don’t want to clutter other pages or my regular calendar. For us it would be something like recurring events or festivals we could take part in as a family or in a group when we are looking for something to do. We know they are out there, but up to this point we haven’t check it out or we didn’t see it as a must do. After everyone’s been sitting around for a couple of weeks or been extremely busy, it is nice to have some of these in your back pocket. It is also nice to have an excuse to get together with friends. Especially if you haven’t seen them in a while.
The Actual Calendar Blocks
There are a lot of things from the notes section and the to do sections that will work their way into the calendar blocks after a couple of years. It depends on how consistently they fall in the exact same week from year to year or if they are relevant to the cleaning matrix in some way.
Let’s see. The apple butter party, Thanksgiving and one of the family reunions are all on the same weekend each year. They are not floating holidays. They’ll all move onto the perpetual calendar even though other events and holidays that float will not.
I can also look at the October perpetual calendar and see that using the cleaning matrix, the second week I have the kitchen down for more focused cleaning. In the past I have always started Spring Cleaning my kitchen during this week to prepare for the upcoming holidays. (Kitchen Series.) During the fifth week of the months, Project weeks according to the cleaning matrix, I may have specific craft or DIY project prompts based on upcoming holidays/birthdays, weather, supplies available that may tend to be more seasonal….
Throughout the Spring months, I usually make notes on best times to start seeds or plants. But as time is taking toll on this old gray mare, that may be less usable for me than it used to be.
…. mostly things that add to the quality of our life in one way or another more so than chores.
I’m really interested in hearing all the things others do or are planning to do with their perpetual calendars. If anyone wants to share their ideas, don’t be afraid to use plenty of space in the comments! And as always, if you want to focus on a particular topic, let me know!
P.S. A Little Software
For the more digitally inclined…
In the comments section, Jennifer also wrote:
I have used MS Outlook for years. I made a separate calendar in the folder that has the seasonal cleaning tasks that come up, printed it and placed a copy of the calendar in my household notebook . The computer program still reminds me when something is upcoming but it doesn’t clutter up my family calendar. I did the same thing with planning for this Christmas and it worked really well. I need to tweak many things but it’s all there as a spring board for Christmas 2011….
Lots of other schedule based software/internet programs you may already use do use the recurring events feature that will enable you to enter and schedule all of your repeated tasks or routines. You may want to take the time to explore the capabilities of some of the programs you already use. Even if you don’t find something you need right away, it may trigger a solution for future use.
For those of you that already have Microsoft Office, look to see if you have Microsoft OneNote. As I am making a paper Home Management Notebook, I am also using OneNote in conjunction with other software to make a digital copy. (Back up, Back up, Back up. If you use the planner effectively, you will come to depend on it. Always have a back up copy.)
(If you do not have Microsoft Office, there is an open source set of programs called Open Office that may help you make pages for your notebook even though it will not organize them quite the same way OneNote would. If you do a search, you will find there is an open source version of OneNote called Ever Note. I have found it works great as a capture tool while surfing the internet, but to be able to store many of the documents you’ll want to make for your planner, you have to get the membership instead of the free version.)