Towards the end of every month, I sit down and plan for the upcoming month and holidays … I love to plan (maybe more than I love actually doing all the things) – but here we go. For this installment, I’m planning out November and making some plans for Christmas too.
We use a big calendar that’s kept on the refrigerator as our central calendar hub. This is where all our trips and outings go. This month –
- 2 swim meet weekends
- my son’s birthday. He’s a November baby and will be 16 this year – of course he added his birthday to the calendar at the beginning of the year! He wants to do a laser tag event – so I add to my “ToDay” note in the Google Keep App on my phone to schedule the event, and to order a cake (see How I Use Google Keep Notes for Organization).
- Hospital outpatient procedure *boo* but also *yay*
- No work trips scheduled … which means I need to last minute try and get 2 booked. Note to self to work on that!
- Wedding – invite came to me but it’s for the family, so I put it on the calendar.
$$$ – MONEY
I mentioned in #PlanWithMe 2019 All the Planners, Apps and Spreadsheets that I’ve been using a paper calendar to track my recurring expenses – I like to see a month at a glance. My last planner ended in July, so I’m now using a small monthly calendar by Day Designer (bought at Target) – to keep track of paydays and my recurring monthly expenses – like Scribd subscription.
So I put down …
- all the paydays for November and December
- all the cards and bills that come out of my account for November. WIN -> less debt than at the beginning of the year. LOSS -> still have 3 cards working on paying off – 1 of which is because I bought a new laptop a few weeks ago.
- any major money moves for November – laser tag birthday party for my youngest with 8 teenagers
- “Away” swim meet the first weekend of November (which means overnight hotel stay)
I also updated the family Reoccurring Household (E)xpenses Shared Google Spreadsheet … which shows the phone bill was way too high in October due to a lot of international calls. I need to go back to strictly using WhatsApp for international calls. And I also needed to set up new cable service, since we switched from Dish to Xfinity.
HOLIDAYS & EVENTS
Holidays in November -> Thanksgiving (Nov. 28) | Event Days -> Black Friday and Cyber Monday / Weekend
- As usual, to take advantage of Black Friday sales and get gifts for friends and family early, I start a Google Keep Note on my phone called Gifts – and start writing down ideas … same thing I did last year -> Fall Get Your Shit Together (GYST) Day.
- I also start a note called Black Friday – for anything I might want to get during the sales. Only thing on there so far is the EcoBee 3 Lite Smart Thermostat (we already have one in another part pf the house and love it – want one for our room which is run separately from the rest of the house).
While I’m on my phone – I change out my phone screen from the Halloween background to something reppin’ Fall … same to my laptop and tablet
This weekend, I’m packing up all our Halloween decor (see This Is Halloween [The 2019 Edition]) and putting up some more Fall decor.
During the early part of November, I’ll start prepping for Christmas (my favorite time of year) – I add another item to my “ToDay” note in the Google Keep app to schedule our usual guys to come put the Christmas lights on our house and note that I need to replace some candy cane lights we also put out along our driveway which were destroyed by the snow plow last year.
BLOGGING & SOCIAL MEDIA
Kim and I Use Evernote as our Blogging Calendar, so, for planning, it’s just going to that month and adding blog topic ideas on posting days (M, W, F). We’re working on November and December at the moment. December is relatively easy because we co-host #AMonthofFaves every year, so we’re bringing back most of the previous topics this year.
For November, we also have some regular features such as our annual Master List of Reading Challenges, an update on the Major Book Awards Calendar for this year and our picks from the Goodreads Awards finalists. Both Kim and I decided on a theme of Fall for November, so I also spend some time brainstorming ideas for this theme – and also looking at the holidays for inspiration- and we manage to plan out all our blog posts for the month. That just leaves writing them! We also manage to knockout post ideas for January – we are rocking!
OUT OF | TO BUY
On the Google Keep Notes app on my phone, there is a “Out of | To Buy” list, which mostly consists of items to buy online. This month there’s just a few things …
- try a Fall and Winter scented candle from Yankee candle
- Try the Tea Forte Warming Joy Sampler for winter teas
- buy a work planner for next year – same Moleskin Two-Go Notebook I’ve been using for most of the year … maybe a different color
I also have a “To Buy” folder on the Bookmarks Folder of my browser, where I keep links to things I might want to try. To myAmazon cart, I add some really boring stuff like the Green Gobbler Bio-Flow Drain Strips and Wool Dryer Balls by Homestek.
BOOKS | READING
I like to save 2 or 3 books in Scribd that are must reads for the month. My next few reads are
- For November Monthly Motif Challenge – The Stranger, Albert Camus (audiobook) – just started.
- For the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge – “read a book from the backlist of a fave author.” I have 1 more to go for Liane Moriarty, so I’m reading Three Wishes. About half-way in and loving it.
- I also need to read a book on something I’m interested in – and I finally figured it out and chose Atomic Habits, James Clear – which I haven’t started yet.
November and December are my favorite months to organize, plan and work on developing new routines. What’s your favorite thing about November? How far in advance do you choose the books you want to read? How do you keep track of you should be reading next?