SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks

{March 25, 2015}   Organizing: Schedules

The older I get, the crazier my schedule seems to be.  The monkeys have more going on at school, church, karate, grandparents.  My husband has work obligations and pool league.  I’ve taken on the school yearbook this year, as well as regular 8th grade activities and school obligations.  Hubby and I, now that the monkeys are more self-sufficient, have a lot more social doings as well.

How in the crap do we keep it all straight?

I have a calendar with my Google account on my phone.  It makes the grands nuts, but EVERYTHING goes in that calendar.

I have my paper planner.  I love love love it.  My mother-in-law ordered it for Christmas from a blogger I adore.  I had it printed and spiral bound at Office Depot and it’s probably my favorite Christmas gift this year.

I also keep a calendar in the kitchen, where everyone in the house has easy reference.  The monkeys have learned that if it isn’t on the calendar, it isn’t happening.  Everyone has their own color on the calendar, just my CDO in overdrive, but I love it.

I’ve noticed the monkeys write things now, too.  “Military Ball.”. ” Sleepover with Karate BFF.” They know. They don’t color code, but that’s coming.

Do I still get overwhelmed, over worked, and over extended? Of course.  I’m a mom and I forget to ask for help.  But this system is working for me.

How do you organize schedules?

~ Katie

Posted from WordPress for Android


Office Calendar

Office Calendar (Photo credit: glindsay65)

This section has been my planner. It is, without a doubt, the thickest and most complicated section.  Ugh.  But it is necessary for the House of Cheaptitude to run smoothly.

What goes in this section?  Honestly, it would be easier to ask what doesn’t.

  • Monthly calendars
  • Any long and short term to-do lists.  I’ve mentioned before mine reproduce themselves exponentially (there’s that word CrazyMathLady would love!) with startling speed.
  • Reminder notes.  The guidance counselors at my school are amazing about putting little conference sheets in my box at work.  I wish they did it less frequently…..
  • Birthday calendars.  Since I don’t get on FaceBook often anymore, this would be helpful.  There are very few birthdates I remember off the top of my tinsel-covered head.
  • Work schedules.  This would be the school year calendar for my district, meeting dates, reporting dates, etc. For Grizzly?  His is all in his head, which makes me insane!
  • School schedules.  The district school calendar for the Monkeys (they attend in a different district than I teach), Monkey 1’s class schedule, and important dates for Monkey 2’s school.
  • Activity schedules.  This would be karate, church, PSR, pool/softball/whatever Grizzly is up to,  Bunco, etc.
  • Any piece of paper with a date on it.

Most of these items are “handouts” from work, school, church, and other activities.  I can hole-punch and add these easily.  They could go in page protectors, but I don’t see the need as the longest most are useful is a year.

I have a calendar on my kitchen wall with everyone’s “stuff” listed.  To do this, though, I have to track down every crumbled scrap of paper with a date on it.  In the planning section of my binder, I can just open it up and transfer dates each month.  The kitchen calendar then acts as my daily reminder of who needs to be where at what time.

I would not include my cleaning lists nor my menu plan because I keep those in other sections of the binder.  My bill-paying calendar may go in this section, as I am planning to set up a separate finance binder and don’t care to access that one every day.

I have not created any forms for the planner section, yet.  There are too many cute templates available for download that work just fine for me.  At some point, I may make some forms, but I doubt it.

I’d also like to color code everyone’s activities on the main calendar, even though it’s less than necessary.  Grizzly is a visual guy, though, so maybe it would be helpful for him.

What would you include in the planner section of a home management binder?

~ Katie

May - Oct 2006 Calendar

Schedules are always an issue at my house.  I loved my calendar last year, but due to my cheaptitude, am using a freebie for 2013.  Not loving it so much.

I write things as I learn about them and somehow it still isn’t working.  I remember a woman I worked with at LifeCare who used a Dayrunner, color-coded, and seemed to be amazingly organized.  My calendar is filled with whatever ink happens to be handy at the time.  Pink Sharpie, anyone?

We’ve been back to school from the Christmas Break for almost a month, and even writing everything on the calendar (for the monkeys and me, anyway), I’m still not under control schedule-wise.  I feel like life is spinning around me.


  • Faculty/Dept. Meetings right after school – Monkeys need to go to PaPaw’s
  • Pool:  Hopefully dinner is ready before Grizzly heads to whatever bar for pool.  I aim for crockpot meals on Mondays but it doesn’t always work out.

So my meetings only occur twice a month and many times I’m home before Monkey 2.  Monkey 1, empowered by karate and an iPhone, wants to come home after school on Mondays.  “I like to spend time with PaPaw and I miss him, but I don’t need a babysitter, M-o-o-o-m.”


  • Running Club:  Monkey 2 loves to run.  “I will go to college like Aunt Janice because I run fast like Aunt Janice,” she tells anyone who will listen.  This starts again in April, I think, so I’ll pick up Monkey 1 from the tutor, pick up Monkey 2 from the Running Club, and head to karate.


  • Math Tutoring:  Monkey 1, ends at 3:15.  Monkey 2 should go to PaPaw’s.  However, she often gets confused and gets on the wrong bus, which is an issue because we live in the same neighborhood but there are 2 buses.  Monkey 1’s Math teacher is having health drama and hasn’t tutored since the break, so we haven’t had to add that back into the schedule!
  • Karate: 4:30-5:30.  No way are we eating dinner by 6!  Thank goodness I don’t have food issues like the Wicked Witch of Texas!  I can get something on the table by 6:30, and Grizzly often trades off with me, which helps.


  • Monkey 1 has PSR at 5:00 (Catholic Sunday School), but Grizzly is liking the physical fitness aspect at karate and is thinking about alternating PSR and karate (6:00) on Wednesdays.


  • Pool:  Grizzly plays on yet another pool team, so he comes home for dinner and heads again to whatever bar.  I spend the evening watching TV with Monkey 2 (we’re big Gold Rush fans!), writing lesson plans, and grading papers.


  • Bunco:  One Saturday a month I play Bunco with some amazing chicks.  I love my SoBo Bunco Babes and have to be nearly on my death-bed in order to call out!

Looking at it like this, my schedule doens’t seem bad at all.  But I still don’t like to drive the blue lemon and honestly, once I’m home, I want to stay home.  I think I would be agorophobic  if I could afford it.  It’s just hard to get everything done.  And do you notice Monkey 2 doesn’t have much going on?

Most everything I have to do is within 5 miles of my house, but my schedule makes me insane.

How do you handle organizing time?

~ Katie

According to the local radio station, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. 8 days left until a two-week break and I’m kind of inclined to agree.

Today I finished my last week of 2012 lesson plans and submitted to my AP.  That’s always such a weight off my mind.  Today was made easier by showing a Sherlock Holmes movie.  Every block.  And making the kids answer questions.  The complicated, common-core kind.

What does this have to do with organizing? Ha!  You only ask that if you aren’t a teacher.  Developing my lesson plans takes nearly as much time as teaching them, if only because I almost never do the same thing twice anymore.  It’s a freeing feeling when I can get through that part of my week.  I can then work on other things.

Like the Christmas gifts I’ve been avoiding.

Knowing I won’t have time off school until the afternoon of the 21st.

And I can’t bring myself to take an urgent personal day to Christmas shop.

How do you organize your week?  My work week is easy, because it’s guided by my handy-dandy lesson plan binder.  My weekly meals are guided by my handy-dandy meal plan (though I’m still not religious about it – last week, I mixed up spaghetti night with chicken taco night).  But what about all of those appointments, school functions, and day-to-day chaos?

I love a dry erase board and used to think a dry-erase calendar would be the way to go for my family.  However, they tend to be pricey (I’m talking about the B I G ones, like hang up in construction offices) and don’t go with my decor, hodge-podge as it may be.

I’ve tried the Mom’s Plan It.  The small, spiral, weekly version is a great little planner.  It even has tear-outs for weekly menus and shopping lists.  I realized, however, that I only used it to make sure I remembered to pay all of my bills.

I like the calendars in the Household Notebook on Organized Home, but those go in a binder, and I tote enough binders (which gives me a blog idea!)  around without adding a big planner that I might not check.  And I need to have an in-my-face reminder.

Last year, at my school’s book fair, I found a calendar that looked really appealing.  It isn’t laid out like a traditional calendar.  Instead, the dates are laid out in columns.  And there were 5 columns!  One for each of us plus the canine kid.  And I actually used it.  Religiously.

I don’t have to color-code things and remember who/what is what color anymore.

Grizzly can figure out, at a glance, which monkey needs to be where each day.

And it came with stickers!

I am a little disappointed.  I’ve gotten spoiled with 15-month calendars, and this awesome one that I use only has a few weeks left.  Our book fair was last week, and I couldn’t bring myself to buy a $14 calendar when I knew I’d be pouring money into my car later that day.  I could probably figure out how to make one, and have thought about doing so for my computer, but this one is 1)cute and 2) big enough.  So I may have to bust out the Barnes & Noble discount card and go purchase one…..

So what do you do to organize your time?  Are you a purse calendar person, a binder person, or do you have another method?

~ Katie

et cetera
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