Plan for Summer Fun

Summer is really here! I love summers. I think this goes partly back to when I was a student and then a teacher and summer was break time. In summer time our schedule usually changes. This may be because kids are home, a vacation is planned, or it is just so hot.
To make this summer really special, let’s come up with a plan.

  1. Start with developing a vision. What is most important to you this summer? How do you want to feel? What do you want to do? Do you want more family time? Do you want more “me” time? Do you want that special vacation or a series of day trips? Have a family meeting to get everyone’s viewpoint, then make your bucket list. Now prioritize it because you probably can’t do it all.
  2. Brainstorm all that has to happen for this summer vision to come true. What family routines will be maintained and what ones can be relaxed? What events need prior reservations? Who will be responsible for the listed tasks? What is the budget?
  3. Sort the tasks on your brainstorm list. Find the ones that are similar. Group those tasks together. For example, if phone calls need to be made to schedule events, write a list of all calls and schedule a time to make them. If outings – to the pool, parks, concerts – are part of your list, put together a basket or container for items needed like beach towels, sunscreen, bug spray, coolers, and summer hats. Have a designated place to keep that container.
  4. Now pull out your calendar. First put in all of the nonnegotiables. Put in all doctor appointments, summer camps, and other prior commitments. Next schedule the fun stuff on your bucket list. Then schedule time to prepare for these fun events. Schedule the time to make calls, pack, shop, etc. Don’t forget that even if you are on a relaxed schedule, you still need some time to clean, shop, cook. Look at the schedule now. Is it too full? Have you allowed some down time just to read a book on the deck? When the calendar is complete, post a copy for everyone to see. If something comes up after the calendar is complete, and it will, have another meeting and decide if the new possibility is worth dropping something already scheduled. Remind all family members that if an event or outing is not on the calendar, It isn’t going to happen.

No matter what your plans are, visualize yourself having fun this summer. Be prepared to be flexible. Celebrate this lovely season.


Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

The Five Biggies When Organizing a Party

 I love to give parties! I try to have at least one or two a year.

When planning a party I look at the date, theme, guest list, menu, and location.

Date: I look for a date when most of my friends will be available. For example, I give a July party but try to avoid the weekend of the 4th. Many people would have conflicts then and have to make a hard choice –  go to Uncle Clyde’s barbecue or go to Jonda’s annual July party.

Theme: The theme of the party will hold everything together. The theme will determine the invitations, the food, the decorations, and any games or activities. I feel a different theme for each party keeps the parties fresh. Regular guests often ask me months ahead if I have decided on a theme yet for the next party.

Guest List: This is an important component. I love to invite a diverse group of people who will enjoy each other’s company. I usually have a core group that I hope will attend every party and then add some new friends that I think everyone will enjoy.

Menu: The menu usually follows the theme. My guest have food preferences and restrictions and because I love my guests, I try to accommodate them. I like to see that everyone has at least a couple of things they can nosh on and drink. My house is small so I don’t have room for sit down affairs. Because of that, my menu consists of easy things to eat if you are standing or sitting with your plate on your lap.

Location:  Usually my parties are at my home but I have had some great ones at other locations. Again, the theme tends to determine the location. When giving a party at my place, I go for “clean enough” so that the board of health won’t be concerned but I do not stress over having the place “party perfect.”

Once I have decided on the five biggies, I put together a timeline. I list every task that mush be done from setting the date and making the guest list to laying out the food table right before the guests arrive. Every task has a “do” date and that is what keeps me sane. I know exactly when I plan to send out the save the date emails, make the actual invites and mail them, put together the shopping lists, and setting the table.

When the date and time arrives, I want to enjoy my party as much as my guests. Did I mention that I love to give parties?

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Using Your Calendar as a Brain Dump

I use my calendar to:
See the current date
Record scheduled events
Remember birthdays and special anniversaries
Plan projects like parties and my home zone plan
Remind myself of standing monthly meetings
Keep up with when I plan to pay annual fees or donations
Remind myself of future tasks that will need scheduling

At the end of every year I look at my calendar for the upcoming year and put all birthdays, anniversaries, and standing appointments into my calendar in red ink. I also put at the top of the page the zone of my house that I plan to work on during that month.

But there are many other ways that I use my calendar so that I don’t have to worry about when tasks should be accomplished. I log in when I need to schedule all doctor appointments and procedures. Often when you have a doctor or dentist appointment they set up the next appointment, but some procedures like eye exams, mammograms, bone density tests, or a colonoscopy you may have to remember to schedule yourself. Some of these procedures are not done every year so choose the month you last had the procedure and make a note to schedule it again in whatever year it will come due.

I also use the calendar to remind myself to renew my driver’s license or passport. Near my birthday I set a note to renew my license and put in the year it will expire. When I had my tankless hot water heater installed, the plumber told me I should schedule a maintenance check in 2015 – so I made a note right away on my calendar.

I use my calendar to keep up with when magazine subscriptions come due and when annual bills will come due. I keep up with when to renew my donations and memberships as well. Often organizations will start to bill months before the due date and often don’t make it easy for you to figure out when your current membership really runs out.

I had a little problem with Social Security a while back. They assured me that they would look into it and call be back within 45 days. I put a reminder on my calendar to call them back after two months if I had not heard from them. (and I hadn’t)

And then I also use my calendar to keep up with benchmarks on projects and my party planning timeline.

The more information that I put on my calendar, the less stress for me. One important tip is to write clearly and use different colored ink for different types of data. I use my notes section for the month or empty calendar blocks to put in considerations for the month that don’t yet have an actual scheduled date. Another important tip is to took at that calendar to see what you have recorded.

Happy Calendaring!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer