I'm not a crazy planner when it comes to dinner plans. I know some people plan for an entire month and it works well for them. For us, Chris' work schedule is so unpredictable that I find it's easier to plan for one week at a time. On the weekend, I chat with Chris to see if there are any nights he knows he will be late or has a work dinner. On those nights I try to plan something that can easily be heated up or plan to eat out with my parents or friends (think pizza and ice cream or Chipotle). Once I know the nights Chris will be home, I like to plan a few meals that also give us some leftovers so that I don't have to cook every night.
2. Take inventory and grocery shop.
Once I have our dinners planned for the week, I check our fridge and pantry and make a grocery list. I also figure out what staples and snacks need to be replenished. I keep running lists for the grocery store, Target, and Costco. I go to the regular grocery store on a weekly basis (and sometimes more for produce) and usually end up at Target and Costco once or twice a month. While I get all of our meat, dairy, and produce at the grocery store, I try to get my baking supplies and snacks at Target since they are usually cheaper there.
3. Add EVERYTHING to my iPhone calendar.
Part of me would love to use an physical planner. I've purchased a few pretty ones thinking it would inspire me to use one, but the reality is that I forget it at home and never get around to filling it up. On the other hand, I always have my iPhone with me. So I decided to give up on dream of having a pretty planner and instead just use the iPhone calendar to it's fullest and put anything and everything into it. I love that I can add things to my phone or my laptop and they stay in sync! Not only do I add Noah's activities, vacations, and family events to the calendar, but I also add important to-do items. For example, if there's a craft I want to do or something I want to bake with Noah, I find a free afternoon and add it to the calendar. This acts as a reminder as well as ensuring I don't overbook our days/weeks. I even add some cleaning to my calendar to remind me to wash the sheets and clean the bathrooms on a regular basis. Otherwise I constantly forget when I did it last!
I also use my calendar for blogging and meal planning. At the top of the day, I enter in the blog post I have planned for that day as well as what we will be having for dinner. For the blog, this helps me plan out the month. Making sure I don't forget about linkups and sponsored posts, but also making sure I spread out my craft and mommy style posts. For meal planning purposes, it's easy to look at my calendar and see what we are having for dinner each night. It also helps me so I don't make the same dinners over and over! I will even add "take out chicken" to the night before we are having it so that it's defrosted in plenty of time ;)
While many of our activities are the same each week (school, swim, soccer, etc), there are always random play dates scheduled and appointments for both me and Noah. I guarantee that if I didn't write them down I would forget to show up to 90% of it! Now that spring is here, many of our plans are outside and dependent on weather. So on Sunday evening, I like to remind myself of the things we've committed ourselves to and see if anything that's going to be outside might be cancelled or could be moved to another day. I also like to check the weather so I can start brainstorming outfit ideas for myself :)
5. Make a to-do list.
I do this more on a daily basis, but based on my calendar, I then like to make a to-do list in the Notes app on my phone. It's just a running list of things I want to get done the next day, like appointments to make or little things to do around the house. I can't tell you how many times I will think of something when falling asleep, and if I didn't write it down I would have totally forgotten about it the next day.
6. Make a Blog to-do list.
Included in my to-do list in my Notes app, I have a list of blog posts I need to write for the week. I also make sure to note any photos I need to take or ideas I have for said posts. This really helped once I decided I wanted to post 5 days a week. Without my blog calendar and to-do list, I would totally run out of time or have no clue what to post about on a given day!
7. Catch up on blogs and respond to comments.
In addition to having my own blog, I read and comment on a lot of other blogs. While I try to stay on top of it on a daily basis, there are times when life gets busy and I don't get to read every post in my Bloglovin feed. Since most people don't post on the weekends, I will often use Saturday and Sunday to catch up on all my favorite blogs. I also try to respond to all the comments I receive on my own blog. Lately I've found that I prefer to respond in batches as it saves me some time. So every few days I sit down and clear out my inbox by responding to all my wonderful readers :)
8. Stay on top of cards that need to be mailed out.
While I prefer to buy all my birthday and anniversary cards at the beginning of the year, I often need to remind myself on a monthly or weekly basis to actually fill them out and send! I like to enter everyone's birthdays into my calendar (I told you I use it for EVERYTHING!). That way, when I look at my week on Sunday evening, I can see which cards need to be dropped in the mail box.
9. Stay current on my digital scrapbooking.
I take a lot of photos, and while I share a lot of them on the blog, I also create family scrapbooks (I do all my scrapbooking digitally... creating the pages in Photoshop and uploading them to Shutterfly). I create two books each year... a family book that I will keep as well as one that is more focused on Noah and his milestones that he will eventually take with him when he moves out. Obviously this takes a lot of work, so even if I don't find the time each week to actually create the pages, I like to get everything organized for when I do. I already organize my photos in Photos by week, but many of them don't necessarily make the cut for being printed. I go through my hundreds of photos and pick my favorites that represent that week and put into a separate folder. That combined with all the notes I take in my iPhone calendar, when I have the time, I can easily add the photos and journal about what we did.
In addition to including photos in my albums, I also like to add videos (in the form of a QR code). To do this, each week I pick a few videos I'd like to include and upload them to YouTube using the Capture app. Then I can easily convert the YouTube link into a QR code using this website. For all I know the QR code will be as outdated as a VHS tape by the time people are looking through my albums, but I like the idea of including videos in addition to the photos.
10. Update my Collect and 1SE apps.
As if my photo albums weren't enough to update, I also make monthly photo collages and am working on a yearly video project. I am most excited about the video project I'm working on since one of my goals at the beginning of the year was to take a video every day. While I have missed a few days, I am in the process of putting together one second videos that will represent our entire year. It's been really fun and so far is very manageable by working on it each week rather than letting it pile up.
So tell me, what are some things that you do on a weekly basis to stay on top of things???