Monday, January 10, 2011

Brain Book, hooray!

2011-01-10 Brain Book I got my new brain book all done last Friday, hooray! I can’t tell you how many things I wanted to write down in a safe place last week and had nowhere to do so. Several people have expressed interest in my files, etc, so here goes.
What is a brain book?
My brain book is all the daily/weekly/monthly information that I would otherwise either attempt to store in my head or write down on a scrap of paper and then proceed to lose the paper. They’re called many things by many people: household notebook, daily planner, etc. I call it my brain because that’s what I think of it as. With this bad boy, I don’t have to remember all that stuff, I have a safe place to keep it all. I use it to “brain dump” before I go to bed, too, so that all that stuff I’m supposed to do tomorrow doesn’t keep me from sleeping (as it has in the past)
That’s great, but what kind of things are actually in your brain book??
Of course, mine is tailored exactly to me. This is the second one that I’ve put together in this format, and I *love* it! I got this idea from Life As Mom about 6 months ago, so I used quite a bit from her site. I even purchased her Organizing Life As MOM e-book so that I wouldn’t have to recreate everything she’s already done. She also has some other great free printables that I’ve used here and here. I did create several sheets that are exactly what I wanted, but you don’t have to if that’s what’s stopping you from having some type of book. Part of the reason I ended up doing that is because I wanted mine to be 5 1/2” by 8 1/2” (which is 1/2 a sheet of paper, not a whole one) so that it would fit in my purse instead of always getting left behind. Also, this one that I just made covers 6 months because more than that is too much and less than that is too much work to make a new one.
Okay, the nitty-gritty
Here’s the sections I have in my current brain book:
  1. To Do
  2. Calendar
  3. Errands
  4. $$$
  5. Shopping (code name for mystery shopping)
  6. SVCC Preschool
  7. Blog
  8. Food
  9. Paper
To Do:
This is my daily to do list. I printed enough to use about one every other or every 3rd day. I really only need one on a day that’s not the normal routine of things, like when I have errands to run or other things going on. You could also just laminate one and wipe it off every day, which I might try in July.
Bubble Planner
Back to the list
The calendar section actually has the most parts to it. First, I have a weekly calendar on the left side and a household chores/weekly to do on the right side. After the weeklies, I have monthly calendars because sometimes it’s nice to have it all laid out like that. I don’t have much on there, but you could put in birthdays, holidays, etc. I put all that stuff on my weekly calendar since I’m going to be looking at the weekly a lot more often. At the end of this section, I also have a year-at-a-glance, mostly for things that occur after June that I don’t have a calendar for in this book.
I got the monthly calendars from Organizing Life As MOM e-book. She already had them set up as two pages per month, and in the e-book, they’re fill-ins, so I *could* put info in them if I wanted to before printing.
2011 Weekly Calendar Part 1
2011 Calendar
Back to the list
My friend and I came up with this one. It’s just a basic list for when you know you will be going to a store, but not necessarily right away. Simply has the date you think you’ll be going (or are planning to go) and the name of the store, then a place for your list. I hate getting to a store and forgetting half my list because I didn’t write it down or because it was two weeks ago when I thought of something I needed to get there.
Back to the list
I’m not always good at writing down my spending when I get home. We have a big white board on the wall in the stairwell for our expenses, but after I go to the store, I usually forget. So, since this will be going everywhere with me, maybe this will work! Again, we went for simplicity. Date, name of store, description of purchase, and amount.
 Monthly Expenses
Back to the list
Obviously, mystery shopping is something that is specific to a very few people. BUT it’s something that I must keep track of, so I put it in here. I also took a manila envelope and cut it down to size to keep my receipts in it. If you want my tracking sheets for some reason, let me know and I’ll send them to you.
Back to the list
SVCC Preschool:
Another section very specific to me. I coordinate the preschool room at our church for Sunday school, so I needed a small place to keep track of my volunteers and any action items I have for the classroom.
Back to the list
I like to have a plan. I don’t always follow the plan, but if I didn’t have one, then I wouldn’t do anything at all! Besides “the plan” I also have a few to do lists and a few pieces of lined paper (they’re at the end of this post).
Blog Schedule
Back to the list
Another section with several parts. I started out with a weekly menu plan as I’ve been doing for Menu Plan Monday. On the back of that, I have meal ideas that fit within each of my categories. Then I have two pages for recipes to try. I like finding new recipes, but I hate it when I lose them or forget all about them. Next, I have a grocery list that I’ve broken into 9 categories that relate to how my grocery store is organized. Last I have my master Costco list. We go to Costco about every 6 weeks because the closest one is an hour away, so when I run out of something or know I need to get it next time, I’ll just add it to the list.
What's for Dinner
Meal Ideas
Grocery List
Back to the list
The last section just has lined paper and blank to do lists. You never know when you might just need a piece of paper :)
Lined Paper
To Do List
Back to the list
So that’s it! I printed it all out (which takes some thinking to get it all double sided the way I want) and took it to OfficeMax to have them bind it. I had them put a clear cover on it too, but I made the *fancy* cover with a few pieces of scrapbook paper :) The binding was only $3.50, and the paper was free for me since I have a ton and I have a laser printer now too. Pretty neat, eh??
If you really want one, but putting together your own seems terribly overwhelming, I would be happy to help! I can put together a custom one for you for $15. Also, I’m happy to share my publisher files (that’s how I do most of them), just email me at theyoungns at
Off to make some more to do lists! ;-)


LFenske said...

That's really cool! (Once upon a time)/(Back in my day), these used to be called day planners, but yours is personalized instead of purchased.

Eileen Rhoadarmer said...

Your organiziness makes me want to gag. Actually, no, I'm pretty organized too, and I'll bet you had more fun making this than you will filling it in (organizational projects are like that, aren't they?) It's the frequency with which you clean your house that makes me want to gag. All that stuff every week? You're nuts! (But I still love you!)

Sela said...

Are you kidding? The reason I have the list is so that I remember to clean {something} in my house! I like having it weekly so that I can at least remember how long it’s been since I did actually clean that area (wait, it’s been how long since I cleaned the bathroom?? Gross!)

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