Organizing isn’t always about the bins!! Sometimes you need to organize your time! I know Christmas isn’t even upon us yet, (BUT now that you’re all done your Christmas stuff you can think about the next thing, right? right???)
The New Year!!
One thing my husband and I have been doing for a couple of years now is carving out some time to sit down together one night between Christmas and New Year’s. We use this time to talk about a variety of things that are going to happen the following year.
In essence we plan out the whole year.
I know! It seems insane, but bare with me!
We don’t plan it minute to minute or even day to day. We sit down together to go through a calendar and add, or at least discuss, the big things that we want to accomplish or experiences we want to have or give the kids. For 2020, we wanted to do a lot of traveling with our kids, so we added rough timelines of when we wanted to go away, where we would go, and how we were going to get there. We also added reminders of when to consider booking the trips. (Our travel plan failed greatly, early on in 2020 due to COVID, but we will just try again another year!).
Planning the year isn’t meant to make it set in stone, its more to make sure the year doesn’t end without some progress or some fun. I don’t know about any of you, but I feel like its easy to get caught up in the day to day requirements of life; to go through each day, week or month without really accomplishing anything. But just getting through the days doesn’t really feel like living to me. I want to achieve, and improve and experience life. Occasionally…my husband disagrees with my ambition, but at least if we plan it out in advance it keeps the year more balanced.
For 2021, more of our planning will focus on our own family. In a normal year though, we would take into consideration visits with our parents and other extended family or friends. We would discuss a frequency of gatherings that we want to try to commit to, and see how that fits into our schedule.
We also try to cover things like work vacations, march break activities, and any major house or organizing projects with some roughed in timelines.
As a family, we do a lot of camping, so we generally add weekends where camping could fit into our schedule, including a reminder for when we need to reserve our sites.
Here is a list of some of the other things we try to add to our calendar:
- Financial check ins with each other or a financial advisor, keeping in mind any annual deadlines like taxes and other investment deadlines.
- School commitments for the kids, like PA days and holidays, and of course, the last day of school.
- Fun activities with the kids. We usually try to ensure we have added at least a few big activities or adventures like museums or amusement parks (this year we may look into some of the online options because, well, who knows what 2021 will bring).
- We try to think of at least one major upgrade or maintenance project for the house, bit by bit keeps it easier to manage.
- Extra curricular commitments or goals of adding new activities for the adults or the kids! (Don’t forget to create a reminder for the registration dates. (Pro tip: when you set the event in your phone why not add a link to the website for registration! That way, when the event pops up in you calendar you simply click the link, and register!)
- We confirm that we have appointments in the calendar for the next year. We include physicians, dentists, and optometrists. If it applies to you, you could add massage, physio, or any other specialist appts.
- We try to get in two date nights per month, so we add them into the calendar so that we can plan around them as best we can.
- We also try to come up with some priorities for the year to keep us on target with our life goals. For example, in 2019 one of our priorities was to declutter and organize, and enjoy more time with friends and family. For 2020, our focus was going to be on travel. 2021 will be on reconnecting as a small family and trying to become more resilient as a unit.
The whole process just helps to keep what is most important to us in our life at the time, in perspective. It gives us both the opportunity to think about what we really want out of life!
Let’s get real for a moment…
How often do you and your partner, lets say ‘disagree’, about what needs to get done and on what timeline? Wouldn’t it be nice not to argue about most of it because its already been discussed and agreed upon!? Of course life happens, but if its in the calendar then its harder to “forget” about it.
The above list is not an exhaustive list, but it covers enough so that throughout the year, you can feel more in sync with your partner.
So why not cozy up on the couch with your partner, grab a snack, grab a drink of your choosing and make it a date night. As date night homework, each of you need to pick 2-5 things that you want to make sure happen during the year. Then grab your calendar (and your phone, so you can put it right into your phone!!! You can always update that paper calendar later) and enjoy planning for the future, so that you can enjoy every day!