Friday, January 17, 2014

Free For All Friday No. 19: Annual cyclicity

Now that we've lived here for about a year and a half, holidays and events are repeating and I'm finally starting to figure out how things are done here. This is the first place we've lived where people really "do" holidays, and now as I come around to each one again I remember what happened last year and what I need to do this year to prepare.

This year Christmas kind of crept up on me. It all came crashing down on me in the last two weeks when I realized I needed to order gifts online (and had to pay extra for expedited shipping because I waited too long), buy cards and gifts for teachers (oh yeah and wrapping/ gift bags for those gifts), cards for each kids' class (students give cards to all their classmates here), etc etc etc. Plus I was busy with home and Plannerisms things too. In the end I was so rushed and stressed I ended up with the flu for Christmas. Bah humbug!

So I'm determined that's not going to happen to me again. Tuesday (the 14th) I realized that Valentine's Day is just a month away, and I remembered from last year that the kids give all their classmates little cards. So I wrote in my planner the first week of February to take my kids to the card shop so they can choose cards for their classes.

This morning I realized that Easter is on its way soon (as if the plethora of Easter candy in the stores hadn't clued me in to that) and I need to write my plans in my planner well in advance so I'm not rushing at the last minute again.

And I'm already writing things to do for Christmas this year in the weekly pages of my planner, so I can have those cards and gifts ready early! No more last minute crunch for me!

I'm doing similar things for my kids' birthdays too: writing weeks ahead to book a venue, buy cake ingredients, etc.

I'm thinking of a way to move this information from year to year so I don't have to come up with it each year. I think I'll put countdown activities (things to do when there's 3 weeks to go, 2 weeks to go, 1 week to go) for each holiday/ birthday/ event on sticky notes in my monthly planner pages (on the pages between the months) and move them year to year so that as each month comes along I know exactly what I need to do to prepare!

Do you keep track of what you need to do each year for holidays and events that recur annually? How do you keep track?

And as always on Fridays, feel free to discuss/ ask anything planner related!


  1. This sort of thing is why I both miss and don't miss using a filofax. I miss it because it is so easy to insert a page into the filofax in an appropriate week which can then be moved from year to year. It makes so much sense.

    However something to do with my personality means I would get all excited about designing a perfect page with attractive font. I have been known to spend hours over a single page. Yes really. The outcome is that I have a useful page in the filofax but I haven't done a whole days worth (or more...) of day to day stuff. This is where things start to unravel with me. I may have a great reminder of when to buy wrapping paper but I have missed an appointment the kids don't have their clothes washed and there is a pile of washing up in the sink.

    I think I would rather write 'buy wrapping paper' on a weekly page every year.

    1. Sydney I have to admit this idea has tempted me to shift back to a binder as my planner, because it would be so easy as you said to move those pages year to year. I'm realizing more and more things that happen each month that recur every year (like long weekend school breaks that happen in the same month each year), and it sure would be easy to write it all on pages that I can keep in my binder each year. I know some people have successfully cut the Plannerisms pages out and punched them for their binder...hmmm...

    2. I also write it on a page and just move them from year to year, usually just sticking it behind the monthly calendars. There are so many things that come each year that it just makes sense not to reinvent the wheel, saves the stress of having to replan everytime.

  2. Not exactly the same but I have a whole bunch of repeating meetings that I have to organise for work, and just the other night was I whini- er, I mean, thinking out loud, at my husband about how they creep up on me every time. Then we sat down and drew up lists of the standard actions that I have to do before each meeting (e.g. find venues, find speakers, find case studies, etc.) and then we set deadlines for each, e.g. start trying to find venue 12 weeks before the meeting and make sure I have a venue found by 10 weeks before the meeting. And so on.

    Now I have them all in a) a spreadsheet that automatically generates the deadlines when I put in the meeting date and b) my Outlook calendar at work so I get reminders.

    It's only taken me about 10 months to come up with this!!

  3. I have one of those perpetual calendars - it's just the months and days with no days of the week. Great for birthdays, anniversaries, and deadlines that you're going to need indefinitely. :) It's on a few pages that I just transfer to new planner pages every year. I use a Franklin Covey system, and each month I refer to my monthly and perpetual calendars, and add reminders as needed in the daily sections to keep me on task. :)

  4. For things like planning my kid's birthday parties, I have typed up the task lists in my computer, and just tweak and reprint each year. Menu, who to invite, RSVPs, shopping lists, etc. I keep a separate cookbook for anything I cook in large quantities for parties.

    I use half-letter size binders for my cookbooks - all made from tear outs and print outs. No cookbook is sacred in my home - they all get torn up.

    Christmas is my big planning bugaboo. The last 6 weeks of the year are the most critical at my job, and Christmas always falls through the cracks. It was no big deal before kids to let things slide, but it's a lot harder now. And like you Laurie, I get sick and/or just collapse between Christmas and New Year's. Not fun.

  5. I use Post its for anything that recurs -- weekly, monthly, annually. Very easy and fast.