I've tried each and every one of these planner styles. And you know what? My favorite is a $3.00 notebook from Walmart. We have a giant master calendar on our refrigerator, so I don't need another one. Again, I find adding info to multiple calendars a waste of time. The three things I need to keep track of are:
1. my shopping list
2. my to do list
3. the menu plan
It's very important that my planning notebook fit into my purse. Trying to hold hands, carry a purse, and a notebook gets a bit tenuous and I've dropped mine in slush before. Yuk. Learn from my mistake. Make sure it fits in your purse. Since I have 3 categories, I found a notebook divided in 3 sections. I simply labeled the tabs, and can easily open up to the section needed.
The first section is Shopping List. I think it's self explanatory. I make two columns. On the left I keep a running list of food/grocery store items we run out of or need. On the right is the miscellaneous list. Things that make this list include: stamps, clothing items, animal needs, gifts, etc. I think you get the picture. I just grab the notebook before heading to the store and cross off what I buy. I don't always buy everything on the list in one shopping trip, so I continue adding to this list, buying, and crossing off until the page is used up. Then I rip it out. One huge benefit of having one single, identifiable notebook is that when the kids use up the last of ________, they know the exact notebook and list in which to add the item.
The second section is To Do. I keep a running list of things to do, obviously. This includes home repair/improvement, blog post ideas, calls to make. Anything that I have "to do". I cross off and add until the page is used up, then rip it out. You might notice this is not a daily to do list. I've tried that before, but it seemed silly to write laundry, homeschool, prepare lunch, etc. just to cross off. Over the years I've fallen into a daily schedule that works for me. I keep a mental note of daily tasks to do.
The third section and the most important to my family is Menus. If the notebook is open, most likely it's open to this section. Here is where I plan our lunch and supper meals. I plan for about 10 days at a time. Even though we rarely have the meal planned for Tuesday on Tuesday, I still plan this way. Sometimes I've forgotten to thaw the meat or sometimes other plans come up. So this is a loose plan. It's a list of available ingredients (if the teenagers haven't eaten them yet) for these meals. I also note where to find the recipe, if needed.
Once a meal has been made, I cross it off the plan. Easy peasy.
If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed with all you have to keep track of, I urge you to start simply. Buy a cheap notebook, maybe one with dividers and start making some lists. Even Santa, as magical as he is, makes a list and checks it twice.
But all things should be done decently and in order.
1 Corinthians 14:40