Let me tell you a sad story. I have been cursed from a young age with a seriously bad memory. I have spent my whole life apologising for the things I have forgotten. I know, it’s sad. Even as a child, I used to keep a pen and note book next to my bed so that when revelations came to me in the night about things I might forget the following morning, I could write them down on what became known as my ‘remember list.’ Later, when I had children and came to realise that I was responsible for their ‘remembering’ too, I felt rather over-whelmed by the whole situation. Imagine my horror and remorse when I took my daughter to school on her first ever non-uniform day in her school uniform and had to watch her sad little 4-year-old little face while she shuffled off to whole school assembly as the only child in uniform. (I still haven’t forgiven myself for that one.) Or the time that I gleefully drove 20 miles on one of my first child-free shopping trips to a particularly exciting new shopping centre only to realise that I had left my wallet on the side at home and couldn’t even pay to park the car! It wasn’t such a gleeful drive home I can tell you! (Are you welling up yet?)
Let’s be honest, once a child starts school, the massive number of things to be remembered is daunting to say the least. How is anyone expected to keep up with it all? The cake days, the permission slips and payments for school trips, sporting activities and school meals to say nothing of the church services, Christmas plays, concerts, dance performances, piano recitals and swimming lessons. It is a minefield!! Does anyone keep up with it all?
In recent years, I have decided to take this impediment of mine by the horns and take charge. And thus, the Weekly Planner was born. I am sure that there are families all over the world doing something very similar to this (you may well have your own version working its magic in your life right this very moment) but, until I created mine, I had not come across one so I thought I would share it with you lovely people just on the off-chance that anyone is suffering from the bad memory curse like me.
Our weekly planner is broken down into two main sections for each day and each person in our family: ‘What’s On’ and ‘Remember.’ The section on which I most rely is the ‘remember’ one. This is where I keep a list of all the things I need to remember when I leave the house that morning for each member of the family. Typically, I leave my husband to remember his own stuff (which he does very well having not been afflicted with the ‘bad memory’ curse). For myself and the children, this is our go-to place each and every morning. The children quickly jumped on board with the weekly planner and have made it a habit to check each morning what they need to have in their school bags or extra things they need to remember such as musical instruments, sports kit, homework projects etc. They will even ask me to add things to their list so they know they won’t forget or do it themselves. Nine times out of ten, just before leaving the house I will check through the list and ask them both if they have everything on it and it’s already packed in their bags or sitting by the door ready to go.
In the electronic version I have on my laptop, I have all the things we need to remember regularly already typed in to be included on the print-out every week. On a Sunday night, when I’m planning for the week ahead, I will sit with the print-out, our calendar, my diary and the school newsletter and write on anything I can think of that we just need on a particular day for that week (things like birthday cards to put in the post box, sports kit for a one-off tournament or money for a school trip.) I also add to the planner as the week progresses whenever I think of something new one of us needs to remember.
In the ‘What’s On’ area, I have all regular clubs and activities pre-typed on the electronic version but nights out, special events or meetings that are just happening that week get added by hand.
There is also a small space for me to write the meal I have planned for that evening since I am also good at forgetting that I bought chicken for Wednesday evening and it’s hiding at the back of the fridge or to take Friday night’s bolognese out of the freezer in time to defrost it. (Anyone else? Or is it just me that forgets what I’m supposed to be feeding my family?!)
I generally try to keep print-outs for a month ahead of time in a little plastic pocket on our pin-board and tuck the ones I’m not using yet behind the current planner, that way, I can pull them out and write on them as and when I remember something I had previously forgotten or add extra things that are planned throughout the week as I find out about them.
And that’s it, our Weekly Planner and my life-saver! So, what about you? Do you find it impossible to keep up with all the ‘remembering?’ What systems do you use to help you remember things? Please, tell me about them…goodness knows, I could do with the help!!
Before I sign off today, I should say that I feel slightly uncomfortable this week merrily posting about something as trivial as our weekly planner without acknowledging the suffering that is going on in so many parts of the UK but particularly in Somerset and the South West region which has always been my home. As someone who puts so much of herself into her home, I can only imagine how devastating it must be to watch powerless as flood waters approach and finally take over your home and possessions to say nothing of the threat to your family’s safety. To live with this threat recurring over and over again over a period of weeks and now months must be overwhelming and exhausting so I wanted to acknowledge that my prayers are with those people (and animals!) who have been affected by this situation. I will be hoping for the quickest possible return to normality for everyone affected.
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