How to Plan your Entire YEAR in advance with Free Printable

Happy Martin Luther King Day friends! We get the day off school to honor this great man and always stop to appreciate the ways he helped change our world for the better. Thank you Dr. King!

I’ve been working on this post for a few weeks and I’m so happy it’s finally ready for you!  One of the things I’ve been doing for a long time now is calendaring out my whole year in January.  It may sound crazy or a little too rigid, but if you give it a try, I PROMISE you, you will end up loving it!   I got the idea when I started calendaring all the things that happen during the school year as soon as the school year started.  There’s a million little things to remember/do/plan for during the school year, that having it all calendared out at the start of school helped me keep my sanity.

The same principle applies to your entire LIFE! If you sit down at the beginning of the year and calendar out everything you can think of, you’ll have it there for easy reference when it comes to planning and preparing.  Little things won’t sneak up on you and you won’t find yourself home and bored on a holiday weekend when everyone else is out doing fun things!

It’s easy to calendar out the big things like birthdays and holidays, but this year I got even more ambitious and planned out even more.  Of course, things may change and you need to allow some flexibility, but if you generally know how your year is going to go, you won’t come to the end of another year saying, “where did all the time go?” and “we didn’t get to do what we wanted to do!”

HOW TO PLAN YOUR ENTIRE YEAR IN ADVANCE

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So, I started with our big kitchen calendar that hangs right where everyone can see it.  I got this one at Target in the dollar bin for $5 and I like it because it’s thick cardstock.

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I used a thin black sharpie for everything and didn’t worry about color coding or anything complicated, but I may go back later and add stickers or circle sports in a certain color and circle birthdays in another color, etc.

5 Pro Tips

  1. If you are married or have a partner, it’s a good idea to involve them in the planning.  This is especially important when it comes to date nights/vacations/parties.
  2. You don’t have to know right now what you will do on a holiday weekend, but you can calendar a couple months out to start thinking about it and make a decision then.
  3. If you don’t know exactly what date something will fall on, just write it off to the side for a particular month.  For example, our baseball schedule isn’t out yet, but I know the season starts in March and goes until May, so I make a note of it.
  4. It may take a day or two to capture everything, so don’t feel rushed to figure it all out in 30 minutes.
  5. Gather all the materials you need to plan your year.  For me, that’s my phone and my computer so I can go to the websites that have important dates, like the school or sports associations.  Gather all papers with important dates and infos, invitations, doctors’ records, etc.

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Start by writing in all the things that you know will occur during your year!  I included a FREE printable for you here for your easy reference, then expanded on it below.

Click HERE for the FREE Printable!

How To Plan Your Entire Year FREE Printable

School

OMGEEEE all the school things to remember!  Honestly, I cannot remember them all, that’s why I have to write them down!  And I only have 1 kid in school!!

  • First day of school
  • Days off
  • Half days
  • Teacher conferences
  • Honor roll mass
  • Non-uniform dress
  • School Projects
  • Fundraisers
  • School Gala
  • Field Day
  • Field Trips
  • School parties – Mardi Gras, Halloween, Christmas
  • Birthday – have lunch at school/bring treats for class
  • Teacher Appreciation & Teacher Birthday
  • Grandparents Day
  • PTO Meetings
  • Concert
  • Last day of school!

Sports/Activities

With sports, it’s hard to know exactly what the schedule will be until you have the actual schedule in hand, but you can generally write what month has sports or activities until then.

  • Try-Outs/Auditions
  • Parent Meetings
  • Practices
  • Games/Performances
  • End of Season Party

Birthdays

Birthdays and birthday parties go hand in hand! So, if you know when the birthday is, you can usually be certain a party will follow! I’ve started buying $20 gift cards to Target to have on hand for kid birthday parties.  Then we make a handmade card with a special note for the birthday boy or girl.

  • Family
  • Close friends
  • Then set a 2-week reminder to buy a gift, and a 1-week reminder if you have to mail it.

Anniversary

  • Yours
  • Parents
  • Kids
  • Anyone else you want to acknowledge.  It’s nice to remember friends’ anniversaries and acknowledge them.

Holidays/Long Weekends

There’s nothing worse than sitting around twiddling your thumbs on a long weekend while everyone else is out having fun on some getaway! Do not be that family unless you actually want to be!

  • Write out what you plan to do for that holiday or some ideas
  • It’s good to start thinking ahead if you’re going somewhere, perhaps with another family, and get it booked in advance before everything sells out.

Travel

This is a big one since lots of planning has to occur around travel.  Again, if you don’t know yet exactly what you want to do, just calendar out a few months ahead so you can think about it then, and make arrangements early.

  • Work trips
  • Weddings
  • Reunions
  • Vacation

Health (You)

You guys know I’m all about taking care of YOU!  We often put ourselves last or get lost in the hustle and bustle, but when we are strong and healthy, both mentally and physically, we are better equipped for everything else and happier people.

  • Annual physical
  • Dental visits (twice a year)
  • Mammogram
  • OB/GYN
  • Dermatologist
  • Massage – I just got one on Friday and I’m thinking we should get one at least twice a year!
  • Facial- I never get facials, maybe I should start??
  • Nails – I go every two weeks, but don’t put it on the calendar because it’s too subject to change
  • Haircuts/Color – I’m generally getting my hair colored every 5 months, but need to call 1 month in advance to book
  • Counselor
  • Other, according to your own health needs

Health (kids)

Especially when you have a baby, it seems you’re always at the doctor.  You can schedule those visits for the whole year.

  • Immunizations and/or checkups
  • Annual physical
  • Dental visits

Date Nights

This is one area we really let go last year and it’s so important!  I know some couples go every week or every other or even once a month, but make a commitment and stick to it.

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  • As a couple
  • With other people

Friends

  • Lunches
  • Nights out
  • Bunco or recurring events

Parties (Hosting & Attending)

  • Including inviting people over for dinner
  • Kids birthday
  • Spouse birthday
  • Your birthday
  • Extended family birthday parties- If you write when the birthday is, you’ll generally know there will be a corresponding party to attend
  • Baby Shower
  • Bridal Showers
  • Bachelorette Party
  • Favorite Things Party
  • White Elephant Party
  • Christmas Eve- for us, we always have Battle Christmas Cookie at SIL house
  • Christmas Dinner

Community Activities

You may want to add in fun things to do in your community.

  • Religious services and celebrations
  • Children’s Museum
  • Zoo
  • Concerts
  • Rodeo
  • Miller Outdoor Theater – in our city, we have free concerts August – Nov
  • Bowling
  • Sporting Events – For example, we have season tickets to UT football games, so I write in all the home games (even if we don’t end up going)

EXTRA

  • Workouts- I usually schedule these by the week, but I do put them on my calendar!
  • Car Services
  • Household Services – AC/Lawn/Pest Control
  • Family Photo Shoot – plan for September/October for Christmas cards

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LINE UP BABYSITTER

Next thing to do after writing out your calendar, line up babysitter for those times you need one!  Nothing worse than scrambling at the last minute for someone to watch your kids!  And how good does it feel to have your babysitter lined up WAY in advance?!

TAKE HEART

If seeing this list of things exhausts you, just take a deep breath! The fact is, most of this stuff WILL happen in your year, so it’s better to be ahead of the game as opposed to running behind it or getting trampled by it! Am I right?!

MINI BUCKET LIST

Aside from reducing your stress and helping you plan ahead, a HUGE BENEFIT to planning your year in advance is so that you can LIVE the life you want to live!  Once you have things in place and scheduled, you free your heart and mind to focus on those things you want to do, a mini (or big!) bucket list if you will.  You can continuously update this list and then scan your calendar to see where you can put them in!  Maybe once a month or every other month, you add in one of your mini bucket list items.

Things on your mini bucket list might include:

  • Restaurants you want to try
  • Party you want to host
  • Band you want to see in concert
  • Place you’d like to visit – even a day trip in your own city!
  • Books you want to read
  • Taking a class- cooking, language, art, photography – whatever you are interested in!
  • Seasonal things you want to do like go apple picking in the fall

If you never plan for these things you want to do, they will never happen!  We have one amazing life to live!  Let’s live it to its fullest!

If you need a big, pretty 2018 wall calendar, I found this Bloom Calendar on Amazon with Prime shipping!  It’s 11 x 17 and it’s gorgeous!

bloom calendar

Bloom wall calendar 2018

Bloom Calendar

Are you excited to plan your year in advance??!!

 

 

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25 Comments

  1. Amy
    January 15, 2018 / 5:16 am

    Yes, yes & yes!!! This is awesome and I love that calendar you found on Amazon, so pretty! I already “plan” my year out, but just in my head, lol. I actually write down probably only about a quarter of this list and let the rest float in and out of my brain (and many of these items I hadn’t even thought of). Time to get it all organized and down on paper! The perfectionist in me though needs an erasable sharpie….do they make those I wonder?! Thank you for the great ideas and have a great Monday!

    • Megan
      Author
      January 15, 2018 / 9:37 am

      So glad you love it! If they make those I need one!! Having it down on paper definitely makes things sooo much easier. Hope you have a great rest of your week! 🙂

  2. Mireille
    January 15, 2018 / 6:51 am

    That printable is perfect, thanks!!

    • Megan
      Author
      January 15, 2018 / 9:34 am

      So glad you love it!! 🙂

  3. Anne Droesch
    January 15, 2018 / 8:07 am

    Hi Megan,
    Great post! Thank you! I’m wondering about the table you are using. I am looking for something like that for a NYC apartment and that looks like the perfect size. Are you able to share where you got it?
    Thanks so much! I’m looking forward to getting my calendar out today and getting organized!

  4. Alison K (ally0005)
    January 15, 2018 / 8:41 am

    I used to do this when my daughter was in dance it was very helpful. Since my kids are 18 and 13 now life is different. I plan out two months in advanced mainly so I don’t get overwhelmed. Some would say how do you schedule that far out trust me you can mostly there are things that we are aware of that are going to be happening in two or three months we just don’t write it down. I do like the idea of grabbing Target gift cards for birthdays I wish I would have done that when my kids were attending parties when they were smaller that is a awesome wonderful idea

    • Megan
      Author
      January 15, 2018 / 9:29 am

      It definitely gets tricky when they get older! Two months is a great amount, especially so you know what to look for in the upcoming weeks. Target gift cards are a lifesaver because they’re easy to grab and everyone loves them. Hope your year is off to a great start!

  5. January 15, 2018 / 9:22 am

    I like this idea!! Going to see what I can plan in advance 🙂

  6. January 15, 2018 / 10:34 am

    YES THIS IS A GOOD WAY TO PLAN ALL IMPORTANT THINGS ALL AT OF ONCE:p

    • Megan
      Author
      January 15, 2018 / 10:41 am

      Definitely keeps you organized!!

  7. MelanieL
    January 15, 2018 / 10:59 am

    Oh, I just love this! I calendar a lot of these things already but there’s a few areas I need to be better at so they don’t “sneak” up on me! This was a wonderful topic to post about. Have a great day!

  8. January 16, 2018 / 6:17 am

    Mind blown! Such a comprehensive look at a worthy topic. I’m inspired, momma! Thank you!

  9. January 16, 2018 / 8:21 am

    HOLY AMAZING POST!!! I’m so inspired to whip out all my calendars and do the whole year!! Thanks for the motivation and great reminders!

    • Megan
      Author
      January 16, 2018 / 1:21 pm

      You better pencil me in sister!! Can’t wait to see you soon!!

  10. Sole Ravendo
    January 16, 2018 / 11:20 am

    Great post! Having the year planned out with things you already know are happening helps a lot especially when you are planning/scheduling last minute appointments/trips! It is also helpful budget wise as you can plan ahead when you will be spending more or less! Thank you!

    • Megan
      Author
      January 16, 2018 / 1:17 pm

      Totally!! I think that’s why we’ve missed out on some vacations- waiting until the last minute and then places are either sold out or soooo expensive!

  11. Cortney
    January 16, 2018 / 7:16 pm

    I’m curious where the hanging wall planters are from that are on your wall in your Instagram story? I have some smaller ones from Hobby Lobby but love the larger ones you have!

  12. January 18, 2018 / 4:34 am

    GREAT tips! I also do this and have found it to be a huge lifesaver throughout the year.

  13. January 18, 2018 / 11:38 am

    This is very thorough Megan! As a young mom, with two active daughters, this would have been a lifesaver. I did sit down every year at the beginning of the school year and write in all the important dates, holidays, sports schedules and such. Makes penciling in all the other necessary things easier for sure. Now with it just being hubby and I (even though Katie is living at home currently), I just go month by month on a dry erase calendar we keep in the kitchen where everyone can see it. It has an notes section out to the side for months ahead. Katie can easily add things we need to know about. I kinda do miss our more “planned out” life. Just at a different stage right now.

  14. Jessica
    January 18, 2018 / 4:12 pm

    I am a planner and actually LOVE planners and calendars. I found a really cute planner this year at Hobby Lobby. Since I now have a school age kid, I got an 18 month planner that started in August 2017. The thought is that it would keep me more organized as she goes along the school year. I also love having a family calendar. We keep ours on the fridge and it helps quite a bit. Also, thanks for mentioning Dr. King at the start of your post. I read a ton of blogs and you are the first one that even mentioned him.

  15. Sara
    January 27, 2018 / 8:33 am

    This is such great idea! Every year for Christmas, I make a calendar for us and each set of grandparents with photos of my daughter on it. That way we are all ready to start the new year with a new calendar full of favorite photos! Definitely going to go through and plan what I can this week 🙂

  16. Brenda Botbyl-Velez
    April 17, 2018 / 10:10 am

    Can’t tell you how much I loved today’s post!! Just what I needed to hear! Love all your advice! Btw, we are now living in Syracuse, NY. Moved from Houston about 2 years ago….I’m missing it and live vicariously through your postings! I scour the background in your pics to see my old favorite stomping grounds! Loved going to Empire Cafe for Sunday breakfast. Really missing Tiny Boxwoods in West U( we used to walk there…we lived in West U). Anyway, just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog!

    • Megan
      Author
      April 17, 2018 / 3:15 pm

      Empire Cafe is where my best friends and I used to go and spend HOURS there on a Saturday morning catching up! Brings back great memories!! Thanks so much for the kind comment!

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