Planners for Moms: Circle of Days

July 7, 2006 @ 4:40 am | Filed under: ,

Ta-da! Let the oohs and ahhs commence because the Small Meadow Press planner is here!

You know, I love it when people think outside the box. Lesley Austin is so good at that: she can take a tired old idea and reimagine it so that it becomes something entirely new and beautiful. She’s done it again with her planner, and she is right in saying that it isn’t your ordinary day planner.

Lesley writes:

If you are like me, you have tried many planners with the fervent hope that they will be just the right thing to finally keep some order in your day. So many pages, so much potential, so exciting! And then you find that you don’t use many of the categories, or that you don’t like looking at all that you have to do in a day all at once, or you begin to feel guilty because you are not using yet another system. I have done this so many times and was tempted to do it again, when the idea for A Circle of Days came to me.

This is not your usual planner….I see it as a sort-of-perpetual planner. A container for all the tasks we hope to accomplish during the day. It has twenty-one cardstock pages inside its covers-three for each day-one for morning, one for afternoon and one for evening. I find it more peaceful to see what I want to do for a part of the day, rather than the whole day. It is less overwhelming.

Lesley’s system uses small Post-It Notes to keep track of each day’s tasks. She has assigned a Post-It color to each of her children and one for herself. After a task is completed, the note either goes in the recycling bin or, if it’s a recurring event, gets stuck in the back of the planner until its time rolls round again.

Immediately, I’m thinking: FlyLady. You could make post-its for your daily and weekly routines and your zone work. It would be the prettiest “control journal” going—pretty enough to leave on your counter all day, for sure. The order page mentions a few other uses people have envisioned:

…one young lady plans to use it to organize her studies in the coming year, and a dear friend is using it to house inspirational writings that she turn to throughout her day.

If you’re wanting a permanent record of your activities (like the way I use my dayplanner to record what the children have read or studied each day, and to track Wonderboy’s medical and therapy history), you’ll want a more traditional planner. But if you’re looking for a way to bring order and beauty to your daily home management tasks, this is an inspired solution.

You know, I think it actually embarrasses Lesley a bit the way I’m always raving about her lovely creations. But I can’t help it. I so admire her sweet simplicity, her attention to detail, her ability to infuse even the most mundane of tasks with real beauty. She approaches her work with such care and gentleness—she’s like my favorite line from Anne of Avonlea:

“I’d like to add some beauty to life,” said Anne dreamily. “I don’t exactly want to make people know more. . .though I know that is the noblest ambition. . .but I’d love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me. . .to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if I hadn’t been born.”

That’s exactly what Lesley Austin does (and I know she’ll be even more embarrassed when she reads this). How many little joys and happy thoughts she has brought into my world since the day I happened upon her booth at a homeschooling conference!

Other planner reviews:
Catholic Woman’s Daily Planner

Motivated Moms Chore Planner

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15 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Rhonda says:

    Oh, I like this one. It reminds me of a born-organized friend that I have. I was over at her house one day and she had post-it notes spread out on the counter. She told me they were her tasks for the day. I, of course, don’t have a bare counter to spread them out on (ahem), so this would be perfect.

  2. Amber says:

    Now this one is very tempting! This is the first planner type thing that I’ve ever seen that is in the same sort of spirit as what I create for myself. It really is lovely too, much more so than my office supply store binder. I’ll have to keep this one in mind. Thanks for the review!

  3. Wendy in VA says:

    It’s…brilliant! :o) Thank you so much for the heads up on this one.

  4. Amber says:

    I was thinking about this more as I was eating breakfast and such…

    This could work really well coupled with a more traditional calendar/planner sort of thing. I could use this to keep on top of all the home management type stuff, and use the calendar/appt. book to do more long term planning and keep notes on the day. My main problem with calendar/planners is that they don’t work well for things you have/want to do each day or week – I would end up spending far too much time writing the same things over and over. Instead, with both I could use the reusable post-its for re-occuring tasks (saving the effort of writing things multiple times) and then consult the calendar each morning or at the beginning of the week and transfer my fixed appointments and such to post-its. Hmm… yes, I’m really liking this!

  5. Melissa Wiley says:

    Amber, I was thinking the same thing. I sporadically use a FlyLady-style control journal like that (just an old three ring binder with my daily & weekly chores printed out–I put them in page protectors and check them off with a wipe-erase marker) but I’ve always hated how it looks sitting out on the counter. And putting it away sort of defeats the purpose. Out of sight, out of mind. But Lesley’s is so pretty you’d WANT to leave it out all the time.

  6. Melissa Wiley says:

    Rhonda, LOL on the bare counter!

  7. willa says:

    Oh Lissa, this one looks like it could actually work for me! Along with my simple month at a glance calendar and planner that I use for appointments and the like. And it is pretty, too. Thanks for this interesting series.

  8. Amber says:

    I just had to drop in and tell you – I ordered the Circle of Days planner yesterday. 🙂 You’ve got to be laughing at me now, since when you started this series I seemed pretty determined to hang onto what I have now! LOL

    I’m really looking forward to this new planner arriving, because now that I have it to look forward to, I can barely stand to look at my current system!

    Now I need to find a simple yet reasonably attractive looking calendar with some note pages in the back, but I think I’m looking at the wrong time of the year! I’m considering dusting off my Palm device and trying that again since I already have it, but I haven’t decided.

    Thanks for doing this series!!

  9. Anne-Marie says:

    Melissa – please don’t tell me you’re using all these planners at once! HA!

    Me, I’m a computer gal, so Microsoft Outlook is the one way to go. I keep separate calendars for my work as an Usborne Books consultant, and a main one for daily appointments. Each family member has their own color and I also color code the different work things I do – MOMS Club, charter school, writing, Usborne, etc.

    My problem with written calendars is that either I run out of room or they’re a mess from the constant changes. With MS Outlook, I change everything online and just print out a new calendar to take with and post on the ‘frige.

  10. Silvia says:

    Thought I’d mention the Small Meadow Press will be a vendor at the homeschool conference at the end of August, in Richmond, VA. 🙂

  11. Amanda Regan says:

    This is a fantastic way to organise everyones chores, appointment times & homework (yes kids there’s no escape now ha ha ha).
    Who knows if I won this I could actually have a clean (er) home & not lie in bed thinking I should have done so & so today.
    I want this sooo much lol

  12. Scratchin' the Surface says:

    I love planners – please add my name for this unique one.