Imagine this: you’re in the school drop-off line. You look over and see another mom. Her life looks so put together. Her kids probably even have love notes in their lunch box. Have you ever wondered what her secret is? How was she such an organized mom?! And … is that a Cheerio in your hair?!
If you’ve wondered the same thing, you’re not alone. Over the past seven years, I have been a full-time working mom, a part-time working mom, a stay-at-home mom and a work-from-home mom. In each system of life, I never felt like the organized mom I wanted to be. I knew that I needed an organizational system to help me stay on top of things and be the proactive mom that I wanted to be.
So I tried all the planners, purchase all the digital templates and even bought a Moleskin notebook for a fancy bullet journal. Hundreds of dollars later, I realized that I didn’t need a new notebook. I needed a new system.
The system that I created is the secret to being an organized mom. In this post, you will learn:
So if you’re tired of buying planners that don’t work and want to be a mom that has her you-know-what-together, you’re in the right place!
In 2017, I had just gone back to teaching after a ten month maternity leave. To say my life was hectic was an understatement. I was pumping, working full-time and coming home to two kids under the age of 3. Not to mention trying to be a good wife and have a semi-clean house!
To be honest, I was a mess. During this time, I was forced to realize that sticky notes and a Google calendar weren’t going to cut it anymore. I needed a true system that would allow me to think about things that were happening later in the week, later in the month and later in the year. I also needed a tool for capturing my personal growth journey and I was stuck.
Bullet journals were really popular around that same time and I naively went to Staples and spent a small fortune on calligraphy pens and a dotted Moleskin notebook that I am still too afraid to write in (it’s beautiful!). Why didn’t it work for me? Do me a quick favor and search “Bullet Journal” on Pinterest. That’s why it didn’t work for me. I didn’t have time to write in calligraphy – I was a busy mom to a baby and a toddler!
One day, enough was enough and I grabbed the nearest empty composition notebook I could find in my 5th-grade classroom, a pen and made the system that I needed in the moment. A place to plan my week on Sunday, a place to plan my day every morning and anything else was just a bonus. Slowly, I began to add different aspects to my notebook and it became the tool it is today. I’m hoping this chapter inspires you to do the same!
A MAP Book is the system that I created, loosely based off of the idea of the bullet journal. MAP Book stands for my “Make a Plan” book and I’ve helped dozens of moms get theirs off the ground. Once you’ve customized the system to work for you, I promise you, you’ll never go back!
This system is so much more mom-friendly because all you need is a pen and a 99¢ notebook, there are no rules and there is absolutely, under no circumstances, any calligraphy. I encourage moms to only invest 99¢ in their first notebook and as soon as possible, make a mistake in it (scribble, cross something out, rip a page – I know, it stresses me out too). For some reason, knowing that your MAP Book won’t be perfect from day one will help you develop and trust your system so much faster.
With this notebook system, you will customize what you need at that moment. Need to make a Christmas presents list? Put it in your MAP Book. Want to plan your week? MAP Book to the rescue! Ready to start planning your next house project? You know what you need – your MAP Book.
In my free set-up guide for busy moms, I share with you the exact format of my MAP Book, the must-have sections that I include and exactly what my pages look like. You can check that out here, if you’re ready to get started!
I have one notebook that I use for 3 months (one per quarter). They are from Target and I buy whatever color I feel like in the moment. Personally, I’m a college-ruled girl, but that’s completely up to you.
I buy all four notebooks that I will need for the year at the same time in December. This costs about $11 and I promise you, it’s well worth it. Then, I take the time in January to set up all four notebooks so that they are ready to go for the year. This is so helpful to do in January, because when April rolls around, I find that I am much busier than I was in the cold winter months. I am always so grateful to open up a fresh notebook, set-up and ready for me to hit the ground running.
In each notebook, I include a table of contents, two future logs and a monthly page for each of the three upcoming months in the quarter. At the end of the notebook, I leave room for a quarterly reflection and my goals for the year. This makes for easy reference. After I number my pages, I am then good to go.
To see me set-up my notebook, step-by-step, be sure to check out my notebook system set-up guide. It is completely free and in 60 minutes or less, you will have created an organizational system that will change your game!
So why do I use a MAP Book? Why is it so awesome? Well first, I never have to worry about forgetting something. If I think of something while I am reading before bed, I grab my notebook off the table next to my bed and write it down. My brain is never trying to remember anything, so I feel less overwhelmed.
The second reason the MAP Book is awesome is because it helps me to be proactive, rather than reactive. I know in January that I need to get Valentines Day plates for my daughter’s class party and that is on my radar. No last minute Target runs for me!
My third reason for using the notebook is it keeps me focused and confident. I am able to identify what I need to do every day and what is a “want to do” versus a “have to do”. I love writing my daily affirmations and gratitude in there too, because it makes it so that I only ever have one notebook that I can always use for reference.
Finally, I love that this is 100% customizable. I use it for work, family, personal growth, coaching, goal-tracking, all of the things.
Finally here are my top 4 best tips for starting a MAP Book.
Once I created this system and began to use it consistently, I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders. I no longer needed to lay in bed awake at night, stressing about all the things I forgot to do during the day.
This system gave me the peace of mind that I wasn’t forgetting anything. I felt more confident, more organized and like a happier, more present mom.
Mama, you can search Pinterest and create a system all on your own. I know you can, because I did it. But, you don’t have to. And honestly, do you want to miss time with your kids to do that, when it’s already been done for you?
If you are ready to create a system to help you go from a reactive mom to a proactive, organized mom, this is your chance. I wish I had this system way before I had kids, I can’t imagine how much I would have accomplished!
All you need is 60 minutes (or less!), a 99¢ notebook and a pen and you’re ready to get started. You can download your notebook system start-up guide here. I promise, you’ll never go back!