ARTICLE: How I Manage to Keep My Life Organized and My Reading on Track

Chaos.  Pure and utter chaos.

That’s the situation at my house if I don’t somehow attempt to keep everything together and manage the household.  With three little kids, a full time job and a husband who can sometime be as messy as I kids, I rely heavily on a planner of some sort to keep me on track with the coming and goings of our house.  Which is wonderful, except I eventually found myself carrying a planner, a book journal, a notepad for lists, plus a rubberbanded mess of letter and bills that came in the mail and needed handled.  I tried a bullet journal for a few months, and enjoyed it.  However, I needed time to work on it and time isn’t something I have a lot of.

Enter Me And My Big Ideas and the Happy Planner:


Over the past several months, this planner has become my best friend.  I’ve gone from carrying several different notebooks, to just one thing.  I throw it into my computer bag, or my purse (ok, it’s more like a small suitcase, but c’mon, one never knows when they’ll need to provide someone with an ACE bandage…).  Each week, I can document my to dos, track what I’m doing on the blog, and keep all my lists and mail in the same place.

If you’ve stuck with me this long, I’m sure you’re beginning to ask yourself what all this has to do with my reading life.  And don’t worry I’m getting there, I promise.

When we first started the blog, I started signing up for ARCs and it wasn’t long before I realized I needed to track them in a way.  So I created a tracking excel sheet that’s stored on my phone and tablet.  And it’s great.  But I needed something a lot more in my face to make sure I was reading my books on time, and to help me know ahead of time where I needed to be.  This is where my Happy Planner (HP) came into play.  The main thing I love about the HP is the ability to quickly and easily add and remove sheets and pages.  You make the HP conform to you, rather than conforming to a planner.

To help me keep ahead of my ARCs and on track with the blog, I’ve added a half sheet for notes to my weekly spread.  On the sheet I list out my ARCs for the current week, plus any ARCs within the next few weeks.  I also document any posts I’m currently working on, and the books I’d like to finish that week.  These little half sheets have been an absolute life saver.


That’s how I use my planner for my weekly reading, but what about my monthly planning, or my reading statistics?  Can one use the HP for that type of thing you may ask.  And the answer is a resounding yes!

How many of you make monthly To Be Read lists?  Don’t be shy!  Do you write these down in a separate notebook?  Do you mentally keep track?  Do you stack the pile on your night stand and hope it doesn’t fall over and bury you in your sleep?  I’ve done my monthly TBRs all these ways and more.  But now, I keep a special section in the back of my planner for these and all my other fun book stuff.  Does it help me actually complete my TBR?  Well, no but at least it’s organized!


Now comes the really fun part.  Book statistics!  I’m a numbers girl by nature.  When I first started my undergrad, I was dead set on being a math major.  That lasted exactly one semester before I realized that Calculus and I were mortal enemies.  So despite my non math degree, it’s no surprise that I’ve found my niche being a Sr Business Analyst.  And that analysis of numbers has bled over into my reading life.  It’s no longer enough to just know the number of books I’ve read.  I need to know what that number tells me.

At the end of each month, I take the time to create a monthly wrap up.  I track the book title, author, published date, and if it was a physical book or an ebook.  From there, I break it down to the total number of pages read, pages per day, number of authors, number of new to me authors, and the different genres.

4D6F5DC8-F553-42E4-B0E3-4C3A4D11EEEEThen, I keep a rolling YTD listing of the total number of books, total pages, total physical books, total ebooks (including how many were from Kindle Unlimited), total authors, total new to me authors, and then the total number of male and female authors.  I also have running lists of authors names, publication year totals, and genre totals.

There you have it.  My monthly and yearly tracking and how I’ve used my HP to keep it all together and my weekly reading on track.  I figure at this point you’re probably thinking, “WOW, this girl is weird” and it’s ok, because the first time April saw it she cracked up laughing and said I was insane.  And she’s my best friend.  But, I’m hoping, if you’re anything like me, I might have given you a bit of inspiration to track your reading stats in 2018 and help keep your reading life on track!


2 thoughts

  1. Love your planner! I also have my own personal blog/reading bullet journal and its a total lifesaver. Keeps me on track and keeps away the stress. I like how you did a post about it because im sure many people will benefit from it!


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