2013 Daily Planner {My Master Plan}

As many of you know, I’m a working mom of a very energetic two year old daughter.  I was fortunate to be able to take a three-month maternity leave after she was born, but when I went back to work, I realized (what every other mom already knows!) that its hard to keep everything straight.  Whether you work outside the home or not, life gets crazy after a newborn arrives on the scene… and somehow, things don’t get easier as life speeds up and the kid(s) get involved in activities.  Along with that, there’s the daily household to manage (cooking dinner, cleaning, keeping up with the laundry, scheduling {yours, his, their} activities, planning vacations, date night, etc.  

Thankfully, by the time I went back to work, my daughter was sleeping through the night. However, I was so tired; I felt that I could barely keep it together.  If I didn’t oversleep and actually had time to wash my hair, it day was a good day!  I started asking other working moms how they manage everything and maintain their sanity along the way.  I got some great tips from other working moms, including my cousin and a few co-workers.  I put the tips to work, but somehow I still wasn’t able to manage things.  I kept thinking ‘How on earth do people do this?  I only have one child… what about all the moms who have two or more kids?!’  I just needed to get more organized… but how?!

There were many things that needed to get organized for me to become a Smooth Operator…  Monthly Family Calendar, Daily Schedule, Meal Planning, Grocery Shopping, Cleaning, Laundry, Work Projects, Home Projects, Basic To-Do Lists, Fun Ideas for Little Missy, Things to Buy, Gift Lists and Party Plans, Vacation Ideas, etc.  I’m also trying to eat healthier and exercise to lose those last 15 lbs. of baby weight because I really don’t want to become a schlumpadinka.  So that means I also have a daily Food and Activity Tracker that I maintain.  That’s a lot of stuff to keep track of.

I decided it all had to start with one consolidated notebook, a Master Plan, if you will, that I could use to organize myself both at work and at home.  I tried Franklin Covey, as well as Mom Agenda, but neither one worked very well for me.  I decided to take things into my own hands.

Hence, my Master Plan was born.  I’ve been using it for 6 months, and after two versions, I have finally cracked the code on what pages I need to include.  Many people use their phones or computers to keep track of things these days, but I’m old school.  I like keeping lists, checking the box when things are done and having everything (for both work and home) in one place. 

 

{This photo shows my Master Plan for Oct/Nov/Dec 2012.  Originally I had these spiral bound at my local office store to include three months at a time.  I have since found another system to keep my planner bound yet add pages for each month.  Keep reading for more tips!}

 

 

 

My original bound-system worked great, but every three months I had to create new pages and have the book completely re-done.  Not a super big deal, but it caused extra work and I felt bad about the waste of re-printing some pages.  My sister-in-law introduced me to Levenger.  Its a great system, but its on the pricey side.  I did my homework and found the Arc {customizable notebook system} at Staples.  It is a disc-bound system that is interchangeable with other disc-bound systems, such as Martha Stewart, Rollabind and Levenger.  This system provides me the opportunity to include my own pages and keep my planner bound, while also giving me the option to add the next month’s daily pages without re-doing the entire planner.  Another option would be to use a 3-ring binder.  This option provides just as much flexibility to add or change out papers, but I’m not a fan.  The open binder takes up too much space on my desk and in meetings.  I like the simplicity of the Arc system.  

 

I have a tab for each month in my planner  Each month starts out with a Month-At-A-Glance page, followed by daily sheets.  You can download my 2013 Monthly Calendars here.  I also include the current month’s daily pages in my planner.

 

Next up is the daily planner pages. This is where I keep everything together on a daily basis.  This page is my road map for the day, where I keep track of meetings, notes, to-do lists, errands to run at lunch or after work, etc.  I like this format because it shows the entire day, from 7AM to 10PM.  You can get started by downloading 2013 daily pages here; I’ve created both black & white and color options.  {Note: There will be more pages to come!}

8.5 x11 Daily Pages {color version, print duplex}

5.25 x 8 Daily Pages {color version, print duplex}

For those of you who prefer week-at-a-glance pages in your planner, here are print-outs for the first-half of 2013.  More pages to come before July!

I also have a section for meal planning and grocery shopping.  I typically do both on Sundays. I review my local grocery store ad, make a plan for the week and then go shopping.  I’m not one of those people who goes to 3 different stores to get the best deal, but I have found that by planning meals ahead of time, I do save money.  I’m also a fan of cooking multiple meals at one time and stashing them in the freezer… watch for a future post and recipes on this topic.  

Download my Weekly Meal Planner worksheet and Grocery List here. 

       

I also keep pages for my various weekly work meetings (example: our Monday morning Operations Meeting).  I can either keep them in the planner or move them to a file after the fact.  I keep master Work To Do and Home To Do lists, as well as One-on-One Meeting Notes with my manager, Team Meeting Notes, and spring cleaning pages. {You can download my Spring Cleaning pages below.  I use these sheets to keep up with organization room-by-room; they are grouped into living area.}

Spring Cleaning:  Main Living Spaces

Spring Cleaning:  Utility Areas

Spring Cleaning:  Bedrooms & Bathrooms

Spring Cleaning:  Storage Areas

I use blank, lined pages to help me keep track of everything else, such as the the aforementioned Fun Ideas for Little Missy, Things to Buy, Gift Lists, Party Plans and Vacation Ideas.  I just put the topic in the header and jot things down as I go.  You can download the blank, lined pages here:

 Master Plan 2013 {my tabs}: 

  1. January 
  2. February 
  3. March  
  4. Operations Meetings {my weekly work meeting}
  5. Work Projects
  6. Home Projects
  7. Meal Planning
  8. Team Notes / Blog Ideas
  9. Misc.

Whether or not your New Year’s resolution is to get {and stay} organized in 2013, I hope these tips and and free printables help you simplify, organize and plan ahead.

Thanks for reading!  –Decluttered Mama  

 
 
 
 

60 thoughts on “2013 Daily Planner {My Master Plan}

  1. I’ve been wanting to create my own planner for 2013 but was struggling with how to bind it. With the Arc system, how do you punch the holes on your own pages to match their binding? Thanks for sharing your pages!

  2. Heather, I bought the Arc paper puncher. I thought it was a bit pricey at $40, but I was spending $5-$6 every three months to have a new planner bound at FedEx Office. I figure the puncher will pay for itself over the next 18 months if I continue to make my own planner (which I intend to do). Your other options would be to have them bound at your local office store or use a three-ring binder. Good luck, and thanks for reading!!

  3. Found your blog today on a facebook page. Love this organizer and going to try to implement this in my life. Heading to Staples tomorrow. My office is out of control. I need to get a grip this year. Can’t wait to learn more from you!

    • Teresa, I’m so excited you found my blog! My {master plan} has definitely helped me keep things organized. Good luck and keep reading for more tips to simplify, organize and plan ahead!

  4. Pingback: Organized planners | A Bowl Full of Lemons

  5. Hello there neighbor! I think I may try your system! I have 3 calendars going at all times. {big family calendar on mudroom door, my work/family paper planner & my phone/Outlook calendar} I seriously need to cut the cord on at least one…but I am scared! :) I also love lists and have a zillion going all the time. Maybe one neat little place like this would be the trick! I may need to put my boots on and run over & use your fancy hole punch! Thanks for the freebies Cindy! {congrats on being featured on another blog- awesome!}

    • Tonia, I still have a family calendar that I keep in our mud room for a quick snapshot of the month… but I love my paper planner for the details, and I like to have both work and home in one spot. Its just easier for me to manage. I also like lists and crossing things off those lists!

  6. This is such a fantastic system! I have a couple of questions… Do you use a special kind of paper to do your front-back printing? And are you using a laser printer? I’d love to try this with an inkjet, but didn’t know if it would be a huge flimsy mess. Thanks so much for sharing your awesomeness! :-)

    • Andrea, I’m glad you like my system, and I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me! For the daily calendar pages, I use 28 lb. copy paper and print duplex. For all other pages (meal planning worksheets, home to-do lists, etc.), I use standard 20 lb. copy paper. I find that this lighter paper weight is better for removing and/or re-arranging pages. I print everything out on an ink jet printer, and have had no issues with it being a “flimsy mess!” :)

      • I don’t know if this helps Andrea, but my experience in using Levenger’s Circa binder was that the lighter weight paper (like notebook paper) tended to slip out of the discs, whereas I didn’t have that problem with sheets that were of a heavier stock.

  7. Found this on Pinterest today and wanted to say, Thank you so much for sharing it with everyone! I have been searching in vain for a planner that has time lines that don’t stop at 6 pm. I know my evenings are usually as booked as the rest of my day! I can’t wait to get started using this new planner. Thank you again for taking the time to create something so well planned and thought out!

    • Nitasha, I’m glad you found me on Pinterest! I’d also been searching for a planner that goes into the evening, because the day does not stop at 5 or 6pm! I hope these pages help keep you organized.

  8. How do you customize the pages of your planner? I would love have a customized planner but don’t know how. Is there special software you use?

  9. I wish I had found you 4 weeks ago! I too use a daily planner that I created myself. I hate that I spent so much time reinventing the wheel when your blog was right here with the exact same set up! The only thing I have that I didn’t see mentioned in your list was I keep a “To Call” list, an “Errand” list and an “Online To-Do” list. I randomly have pockets of time (20-30 minutes) in between various obligations so I use it to knock something off of my call or errand list.
    For my binder, I found a line by Mead called Organizher that is sold at Target. It’s the size of 1/2 of a piece of paper (perfect size to toss in my purse). It’s refillable and uses a 2 hole punch. It folds completely open which is essential for me!
    Thanks for creating such an awesome planner and providing it for free!

  10. Wow Cindy!! I can’t thank you enough. I found you on Pinterest and have completely re-worked my planner. I, like you, had been introduced to Levenger and bought their punch so I could use it with the arc system, but Iwas using it as a work binder only never thinking I could do more. I have tried loads of different planners, event went digital for awhile. But I like how you combine home and work and make it so personal for you. I lamintated the Work & Home To Do pages and the Menu Planner and Grocery list and use colored wet erase markers on them (to save on printing). I LOVE the flexibility of the daily pages, the extra hours and there’s enough space for me to track my food, water and workouts and still jot down a sentence or tow about my day. Thank you for showing me how I could make something I have even MORE functional. I appreciate your time and sharing!!!

    • Julie, I love the idea of laminating the meal planning and grocery worksheets! I’m now working on a bill tracking system… I manage the finances for our household, and after 6 years, I still don’t have a very good system to keep track of bills {when they are due, when they’ve been paid, what to keep, throw, etc}. I’ll share my system once its all worked out! Thanks for reading! :)

  11. I have ADHD. Time management and organization are my two nemesis. I am going to try your organization system. Wish me luck. If you have any other tips, Cindy please let me know.

  12. You should look into developing an app with this material- I have been looking for an app with a calendar for meal planning, finance tracking, cleaning, etc. along with the calendar, but it doesn’t seem to exist. I would pay for this in a heartbeat! Beautiful pages!

    • Elizabeth, Thanks for your kind words. I’d love to develop an app, but that is not my strength. I’ll let someone else work on that! For now, I hope you find benefit in the paper version! Thanks for reading!

  13. Hi! Found you on Pinterest too! I love your system. Thanks for sharing it. I have a question though- do you only keep 3 months at a time? How do you plan ahead (something outside of the 3 in your binder)?

    • Laura, I’m glad you like the system! I keep one month’s worth of daily pages in my planner for daily tasks and to-do’s. I also keep a calendar for each month in my planner… so if something needs to be scheduled two months out, I’ll be able to check my monthly page. Thanks for reading!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and free downloadable pages. I was curious, what size Arc do you have? Letter or junior size?

  15. you are an answer to prayer! I am in a new job, with a ton of responsibility and your weekly pages and daily pages the truly helped me! Will you be doing weekly pages past March?

    • Michaela, I am working on the next batch {April-May-June} right now. Check back soon for the additional weekly pages! I’m in the same spot as you – a new job with new responsibilities! Combine that with running a household, and that’s even more responsibility to manage on a day-to-day basis. I’m glad you found the pages helpful.

  16. OMG – thank you for sharing your templates! I recently switched to the ARC/Levenger system and really like it, but hadn’t found a great way to integrate my calendar. Your templates are just what I was hoping to find the time to create.

    • Heather, I’m glad you found the printables helpful for you! I love the flexibility of the ARC/Levenger system, as well. :)

  17. OMG I have been looking for the perfect planner system since January. I settled yesterday with one from Target.
    Surfing the web today I came across your web-site and to my surprise you have exactly what I have been looking for I am so excitied to start using it
    Thank you

  18. Hey! I was wondering how you developed the daily pages? What program did you use? I’d love to tweak yours – I’m a full-time student so I have no need for a “work” section and instead would like to make that a “class” or “school” section.

    • Jennifer, I used Excel. To make the headers, I inserted smart shapes. Its easy, it just takes some time to get them together. If you’d like, I can send you a generic page (no pre-filled date) with a “class to-do” vs. “home to-do”. Let me know! Thanks.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing this with us! In 25 years of using many different daily planners, this is the best I’ve seen. Realistic organization of the way my life runs {or should run!} :)

  20. I love these printables. They are so helpful, especially considering I have a move coming up. I was just wondering, is there a way to get a blank copy of the grocery list?

  21. I started using the Master Plan at the end of March and it’s the best. I put it in a tri-fold three ring binder and everything I need throughout the month is at my finger tips. Please, please keep the free printables up to date for 2014. I love, love this.

  22. I noticed that in the black and white calendars that July 31, Oct 31 and Dec 31 are missing. Can you help with that?

  23. I like the pages, I have found the 5.5x 8 inch works best for me. Easier to tote around. Do you think you would make printables for that size? I do plan on using your ideas and pages to get my organizer organized and get things in some order.

    • Merri, at this point, I only plan to do the printables in the 8.5×11 size. I will, however, keep offering the planner pages in the smaller size. I’m glad you find the pages helpful!

  24. Saw this on pinterest & printed them. I’ve never been more organized! FYI the December 2013 Daily Pages have the wrong days, Dec starts on Sunday this year

  25. Hi, I found your site through Pinterest today. I have been using an Erin Condren planner for the past couple of years, and while I do love her color scheme and quotes, I’m not keen on the planner being unchangeable. I like to move things around my planner, and I believe this system will allow that functionality for me. Thank you so much for the printables, and like the others said, I hope you will continue to offer those in the future. You’re a lifesaver for us Type AAA people!

    • I do like the idea of the EC planner, but I’m not a fan of the format either. I’m glad you like this system. As of now, I plan to keep updating the pages and am looking at doing custom planners for a fee {in the future}. Thanks for checking out my blog!

  26. Cindy…. Amazing doesn’t say enough… was wondering if you could send me a generic page with dates… so I can change some of the titles… LoVE it!!!!

  27. You are an angel for sharing these files. You saved me from starting from scratch. Your files are very well organized!
    Note: For the monthly calendar, I put a “Notes” page (from the daily file) behind each month so that I could duplex the print out and have notes for each month (on the opposite page). I used Adobe Acrobat to do this.
    For paper, I printed on Staples multipurpose paper, bright white, 98 bright, 22 lb (83 g/m) and it is just heavy enough to hold, but is not too bulky.
    Thanks again for sharing so openly.
    BTW, I’d love to have the native file for the shopping list (I eat paleo).
    Have wonderful day!
    Karen

  28. Thank you so much for sharing! I found your link through Pinterest on my quest to find the ‘perfect academic planner’ — I’ve gotten some great ideas from your share, so thank you so much. I do have a question — can you suggest how to create pages similar to yours? I have some different needs in terms of the labeling and spacing of the pages you have shown, but they will serve as beautiful organized blueprints! Did you use a special program? Thanks! – Danielle

  29. You are a genius! I am a mom of two who works outside the home, and I have not been able to find the right planner for me. These pages look like they will fit the bill perfectly. I will be printing the next three months in black and white for now and giving it a try. Again, thank you from one crazy busy working mama to another!

    • Andreka,
      Yes, I would be interested and willing to put an entire planner together for you. {I do have an Etsy shop, but its still a work-in-proecss.} E-mail me details on what you’d like, and I can customize something for you and do a custom listing. Thanks! declutteredmama@gmail.com

  30. I was wondering if you have your etsy shop yet? I would like a planner but perhaps is a size I can manage in my purse.

    I am willing to pay,
    Natascha

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