a new planner for 2022

Lately I’ve been really struggling with time management. Do you feel the same way? It’s ironic because, due to the pandemic, many of us have more flexibility to work from home. We don’t have to spend time commuting, and we can easily throw in a load or two of laundry while we’re working remotely. Life should be easier, right? But I still feel like there are never enough hours in the day. I’m always running around buying cupcakes for school, paying bills on the fly, and making dinner, but I’m not really moving forward in life. Can you relate?

A few weeks ago I stumbled across Living Well Spending Less, and I decided to splurge on one of their planners. I was surprised to learn that this planner is unlike any I’ve used before. For one thing, the planner is undated, so you can start using it at any time. Very cool. But, even more significantly, it helps you set goals and focus on the things you want to do. In the beginning of the book, you’re asked to take some time to identify how you want the next 12 months to look: what do you want to do more often, and what do you want to do less often?

You’re encouraged to set three big goals, either for your life or for the next year. Then, at the beginning of each month, you’re encouraged to set smaller goals that support those big goals.

For example, one of my goals for this year is health. I need to visit some medical specialists, get to my goal weight (recommended by my doctor), and move my body at least 5 times a week. I made notes in my planner reminding me to call doctor A in March, doctor B in April, etc. Each month, I can track how often I’m exercising and whether I’m weighing myself every day (this practice doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s helpful for me). I plan to use the monthly calendar view (shown below) for this, because it shows the entire month at once.

One of my other goals is to plan a service trip this summer. During the first 6 months of the year, I have reminders to contact certain people, put down a deposit, etc. If I follow through on all of these tasks in a timely manner, planning the trip should be a cinch!

To help with my time-management issues, each week I have a reminder to spend a few minutes on the weekend planning out the next week. I can use the monthly view for this, since it includes all my appointments and commitments, but I can also use the weekly view (shown below) to plan meals for the week. Hopefully this process will help save some time and reduce the number of trips to the grocery store! I don’t think I’ll ever be the person who freezes all the meals for the week ahead–for one thing, our freezer is tiny!–but theoretically I could chop vegetables and grate cheese on the weekend in preparation for cooking during the week.

(As an aside, cooking and meal planning in our family is quite complicated. We have a pescatarian, two vegetarians, one omnivore, and two Type 1 diabetics who eat a large amount of meat. I’d love to figure out a way for all of us to eat the same meals, but that hasn’t happened yet. Most nights, I end up cooking one meal for the girls, and John ends up cooking another meal for the boys. If anyone has suggestions for carb-light, protein-rich meals that appeal to kids, I’m all ears!)

This post is not sponsored in any way. This is merely a product that I purchased and found to be useful.

What do you think about setting big goals for the year and breaking them into bite-sized pieces each month? Does this approach appeal to you? Let me know in the comments!

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