How A Downloadable Planner Did Not Magically Transform My Life

I started with the perfect curriculum, and a less than perfect first day, but ultimately felt that this would be the fall I would not have a melt down. And then I lost nursing care for my more severely disabled son. But, I’m not panicking, too much. In the past, I couldn’t set priorities or use a downloadable planner designed by someone else because I felt it all had to get done a certain way (i.e. by me and right now.) Of course nothing got finished to my satisfaction which added to my exasperation. But now, for some reason, I’ve been able to set aside activities, curricula and projects that I accept can’t happen, even if I love them, and moved on. (It’s not you Sequential Spelling, it’s me! I just can’t commit!)

Discovering the Docket

But I still needed a plan of action, a list, planner or Venn diagram-something! to help arrange my day. Hopefully, you’re all familiar with Simple  Mom, and it’s sister site Simple Homeschooling. Good stuff all around. Tsh from Simple Mom designed a downloadable planner she dubbed, the Daily Docket. I read about her updated version, Daily Docket 2.0 and downloaded a copy in my quest for the Holy Grail of organization. Wow. It was so…..inspiring. There was a place to track health goals, write in an inspiration quote, menu ideas; and I could fill out a new one everyday!!! There’s really only a small amount of sarcasm here folks. If I didn’t already post a school schedule on the wall, keep a lesson plan book and update a Mac calendar and laminated kitchen calendar, I could adopt this- seriously maybe.

Given out families current situation, I did not think for one iota that I could devote myself entirely to the Docket. But, just for fun, I thought I would print it out and try to crow bar my day onto the Docket’s blank canvas. Below is the result. (Disclaimer: No children were harmed during the use of this Docket. Your results may vary.)

My Day In One Painful Glance


Do I really have such ugly handwriting? Seeing this is like hearing my own voice in a movie. Ugh. Anyway, I wanted to fill in the sections with my goals for the day, but I had this nagging feeling once I committed anything hopeful to the page, the chance of it materializing instantly became zilch. Plus, I’m pretty sure Teddy’s crying got louder the more words I wrote.

Here’s a glance at the upper left corner. I honestly like Tsh’s choice of fonts and page layout. If I didn’t write on it, the Docket would look great hanging on my wall. Just possessing this downloadable planner seems to suggest  ‘hip mom with her act together.’ And I really want to be hip.

Under “Today’s Most Important Things”, she’s written “If I get these done, everything else is gravy.” Well, I didn’t die, but I didn’t complete my phone calls so no gravy here. Which is probably for the best since the roast chicken never made it out of the garage freezer and a Domino’s rescue team had to be called in.

I’m Motivated…I Guess?

Immediately to the right is a space for “Inspiration, Motivation and Encouragement”. I should have just scribbled down ‘the quiet peace of the grave’ but seeing as one of my goals was to not die, I entered a quote from Andrew Carnegie. I would be content with mediocrity, as I could not motivate myself to do much, including the entry under “How Else Will I Take Care Of Myself Today?”. But that was only partially my fault: Saturday Kelly hung clothes in the closet she thought were clean only for Tuesday Kelly to discover, after wearing them out in public, that there were indeed stains all over the front. How about the cute water checklist? I counted caffeinated, carbonated and fermented water just to be on the safe side.

The middle section contains Today’s Docket and Work Details. As these two areas are generally covered by other planner or calendars I didn’t concentrate on them too much. The Docket side notes “Write only ten things-why try to do more? You’ll be discouraged.”  Our hour and a half at the library discouraged me for the rest of the day, which is why bowling didn’t happen, even through everyone remembered socks for the first time ever. Naps did happen, which is the key reason I succeeded in not dying. (Which Tony greatly appreciated.)

When I Realized I’m Not A Hip Organized Mom

If you don’t need to write weekly reminders to yourself to shave your legs, I commend you. I won’t comment on whether that ever got accomplished except to say I’m glad it got cold enough to start wearing knee highs. Next to “Tomorrow”, Tsh wrote, “Sometimes things for today get pushed to tomorrow. Totally okay.” Deep exhale. That’s been my mantra  since last Tuesday. Tsh kicks Andrew Carnegie’s butt.

The Daily Docket is a great place to start if you’ve never kept a schedule or used a downloadable planner before. If you’re only homeschooling a couple small children, you could probably use the page as a daily planner / lesson plan all in one. I can also imagine it being laminated and resused daily ( with an extra fine tipped marker.) Tsh reports getting lots of emails about her Docket from readers, so it must work. Hip organized moms really do exist! Go be one and tell me what it feels like please!

I’m back to just checking off items from a legal pad. There’s just no such thing as a normal day around here so meeting goals of all varieties is done in sudden bursts when the opportunity arises. Totally not hip.

How do you manage your household (and homeschooling if applicable) when life throws you a curve ball?

downloadable planner


  1. This is hilarious. I have to go check out that planner. I realized the other day that I hadn’t taken a shower in like four days. Then the hot water started running out way too early so shaving the legs is going to be pushed to tomorrow or next week. Not sure the husband agrees that it’s “totally okay.”

    1. I’m still trying to convine my husband the Amazon or European o’natural look is sexy. He’s not buying it. Even when I told him all the money we could save if I didn’t buy razors. Whatever.

  2. I think what I’m looking for in household planners and housekeeping tips is someone to come and do it all for me, which tragically doesn’t happen, no matter how shiny the planner.

    1. Erm, somehow that came across as more bitter than I meant it to. I just get all excited when I see something that will definitely simplify my life, and then experience this sudden wave of realism that says, “No matter how much fun they make dusting look, they’re still not offering to do it for me. Rats”.

      1. Not bitter; just honest. I’m reminded of how quickly consumers snapped up Swiffer products. It’s still dusting people, even if the lady in the commercial is smiling!
        Just like you still need to organize your own day, even with that swank, tricked out Covey planner.
        I like this Docket download because it’s free, so there’s much less guilt associated with the failure to use it for more than three hours.

  3. I try and try to be as organized as possible, and like you and so many others, get tossed a curve ball over and over again, so many days there are lots of things written down on the memo pad, because all other planners seemed to not fit our need, many things get pushed off til tomorrow…and to be honest many days I do write down things that are necessary so I can feel accomplished, ie: feed children breakfast :). thankfully we started homeschooling early this year so lots of holiday “stuff” can attempt to get done on time (maybe) and we know we have actually done some work before then. Having a houseful of people with ADD or ADHD doesn’t help much so I’m left to keep everyone else on task, dh included, or else someone may lose their head.

    1. So perhaps “not beheading anyone” is something you could add to your planner? That’s something to feel good about at the end of the day!

      1. Our usual goal for the evening is to have all the children alive, meaning: not killed by either of us. ‘Not beheading anyone’ could be added to the list, and then we’d have two things to feel proud of at the end of the day. We didn’t kill them, and we CERTAINLY didn’t kill them by beheading.

  4. “Do I really have such ugly handwriting? Seeing this is like hearing my own voice in a movie.” I hate the way I sound in a recording…it sounds so much lovelier in my on head. My daughter actually cried when she heard a recording I made of her singing. “Do I really sound like that?” she wailed. And unfortunately, she really does. It wasn’t long after that that she decided she no longer wanted to be a professional singer.

    I came here from Conversion Diary and just added you to my reader. You are a hoot!

    I will be praying for your son and your nursing situation.

  5. Bwahahaha!!!!!! This is my favorite thing ever!!!!! I was trying not to laugh and wake up my little nursling next to me but I am DYING. That is exactly what my water ticker would look like…..4 cups of coffee then onto the wine. And mine are too young to homeschool yet! Oy.

    1. I’m still figuring out how to sketch in an Irish coffee. I figure, if I can’t draw it properly, it’s either time to drink actual water or go to bed.

  6. We are best friends now. We’ll have to meet sometime in person! 🙂
    Love, Margaret (HS mom of five – unschooling or whatever!) No one ever want to do what they are supposed to anyway, including me!

  7. I’m not a mom (well, not yet, at least…) but have been considering adopting a personal “daily docket” of-sorts, loosely based around simplemom’s — when I came across this post. You had me laughing-out-loud (LITERALLY) in a campus computer lab. Thanks so much for that!!! 🙂 Your blog may just go on my docket reading list for this post alone! …But as a sidenote, your kitchen looks AMAZING!

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