I’ve been struggling with planners my entire life. I think part of it is due to my mixture of left- and right-brainedness. Part of me is so left-brained that I crave the structure and ability to put my life into neat, little boxes that come with planners. But I also have a pretty dominant right-brained side that thrives on a bit of chaos. So, usually, I would be in one of my left-brained modes, and decide I must have a planner, run out and buy one, and get really excited about it for a few weeks. And then stop using once I got sick of the tiny little boxes. Mostly because I felt trapped by the structure of the planner.
I know, I think way too much about something as trivial as a planner.
I’ve tried everything. I tried buying paper planners that people swear by (the cheap ones, the expensive ones, and everything in between). I tried designing my own planners. I tried using online planners. I tried going without a planner (and well, that sorta worked, until I got pregnant and the pregnancy brain kicked in). And nothing really ever felt right. I never was able to strike the balance between organized and chaotic—which is pretty much where I love living in my life.
And then, I had an idea. What if I could come up with a not-as-rigorous planner—a “planner lite” if you will? So I started thinking about what things I did want out of a planner—a place to keep my to-do list, a list of my daily chores, and maybe a daily schedule. I realized I could fit all that in one sheet of paper, and my daily command center was born!
I actually use these in conjunction with an online calendar (more about my online calendar system here), which is where I track my due dates, work schedule, life events, and editorial calendar for the blog. I like using an online calendar for my actual date book, because it makes it so easy to move and change dates (which happens a lot) and share it easily with Craig. But I also really like the paper and pen feeling of crossing off items on a to-do list. These command center sheets really let me have the best of both worlds.
So, to use these command center printables, I just print them out for the day—usually I print the whole week’s worth, and put them on my pretty clipboard. I’ve been thinking about laminating a whole week’s worth and using a wet erase marker instead of printing them out each week, but I haven’t gotten there. And I really love the ability to use stickers and colorful markers, so I might never.
Usually in the morning, or, if I’m on top of things, the evening before, I’ll fill in my due dates and to-do list (working off my online calendar), and fill in the dinner, workout, and any extra cleaning tasks I want to accomplish. And then I figure out my rough schedule for the day. I also have a box at the top that is a free space—I usually fill it up with some quote to help guide my day.
As I go through the day, I cross off tasks (on both the list and the schedule) using a highlighter. There is also a small box at the bottom for things I need to make sure to mark on tomorrow’s list.
These have been working so well for me! I feel organized, but not restricted. I am loving these!
I figured there might be a few more left- and right-brained folks out there who would thrive working off of a “planner lite” like this, so I’ve got the printables ready for you to download. Of course, my version is pretty specific to my life (you probably don’t need a task listed as “Walk PF” or to follow my cleaning schedule), so I made a blank version for you guys. I did include multiple colors, because, well, colors are fun. But other than the colors, each page is the same.