But at the end of each year, I like to plan the year to come...
This is what I do...
First, I use my diary. I only have one and it has the whole families commitments in it. In our house its a case of if its not in the diary - its not happening! The diary sits on the kitchen bench and everyone is encouraged to write in it - especially the kids. (Need this stuff for cooking, need a new ruler, free dress day today, sports trip today- that sort of thing!)
Second, I track all the birthdays in here - so at the beginning of December, I buy my next years diary (I know, not the cheapest time to buy it, more the most practical) and I transfer all the birthdays and celebrations that are cast in stone from one to the other.
Then I mark out all the public holidays in a flouro pen so they are obvious.
Then I have a conversation with the family and we decide on the things we want to do the next year - Trip to Fiji? Pencil it in... Nieces wedding in NZ? Pen it in with a reminder 2 months before to find and check passports are valid. Camping birthday weekend? Mark it in. Fertilise the lawn, write in what week. Spray for stink bugs - BIG BOLD PEN so you don't miss it 12 month later when you have forgotten the previous battle. Vet check ups for the pets? Pencil it in (but don't tell the cat!) Fix the fence - pop it the house maintenance week list! Romantic Valentines weekend? - dream on, but pencil in a dinner and find babysitter anyway!
I also mark in pay days, sporting commitments and school holidays. This gives me the framework to see if we can a) afford to go where we want to go and that b) it doesn't clash with other plans that cant be changed.
We have discovered that if we take a week off in Winter - usually Queen's Birthday we use up only 4 days of leave but have 9 days to get stuck into the house maintenance. We paint a side of the house each year (2-3 days) and the roof (5-6 days) on the 5th year. In that week we also take out a few branches (or trees), fix fences, re mulch the gardens and do any of the bigger, time consuming jobs that need doing. We have a special house maintenance list. In May we have a look at it and decide what we will do for that week and buy, order or procure the bits we will need like paint, scaffold and pruning shears. We do it in Winter cause otherwise its too hot to paint or work hard all day. We also eat a lot of crockpot meals or bludge dinner off the relatives that week too!
We also put aside weekends, once every two months, to visit people from out of town. We don't decide who we will see right at this moment but about a fortnight before - if its still appropriate to go - we ring a friend and make arrangements to catch up. Some times its a meal 1/2 way between the two families and sometimes its a weekend visit to the wilds of Toowoomba or to deepest Warwick - both a couple of hours away with good friends who live there. This ensures that we get away occasionally and we catch up with nearst and dearest.
I also mark in the diary as the year goes on, when I noticed things like the Bindi growing in the grass and also stuck in my foot. When I am writing up next years diary, I put "Spray for Bindi" a few weeks earlier than I noticed it and of course when I see it in the diary the following year - I have the opportunity to spray and relive myself of Bindi pain or to endure it knowing I should have sprayed for earlier. The reminder means I have less Bindi every year!!! This works for what ever bug/weed/pest you never seem to catch before they become a plague.
I also mark in my diary approximately when bills are due and about how much they were last time. That made a massive difference to budgeting as I always forget the power bill - and its always bigger cause it comes every three months not monthly! Car rego, iinsurances, rates and all the other once a year bills go in there too. I may not pay them on time but I wont be going out for dinner 3 times the week before they are due this way!!!
Some people think I go too far with my diary - but I find they are the same people who go, "Wow, how do you fit it all in?" I don't have the greatest memory but find the diary the best place to put the reminders of the things that we "need to do" along with the "want to do". And of course writing something down seems to make it actually happen... The power of positive affirmations!
Happy New Year!