Tag Archives: Technology

A NON-Filo Post on Organization – The “Plan to Eat” Menu Planner

As I’ve mentioned in a few posts, our son’s health issues prompted our family to attempt eliminating gluten and dairy from our diets. It’s still too early to say whether this will be effective, but it took a lot of energy to track down meals that would work for our family. I decided to try the 30-day free trial of Plan to Eat, a menu planning website. Since I was starting from scratch, I have only entered recipes that are gluten and dairy free.

Many of the people who use paper planners like organization tips/planning tips in general, so I thought I’d share my experience with a new way of planning our family’s meals. You don’t need to be trying a special diet to make use of this site. Anyone can benefit from meal planning.

I love this site! Its drag-and-drop menu planner is fabulous! I appreciate the ability to create custom grocery lists (including adding/removing additional ingredients and selecting the time frame) and quickly import recipes from websites. I’ve been using this for over two weeks, and I will be subscribing. The “cooking view” for individual recipes was an unexpected bonus, and the tags for recipes are a lovely feature. Sometimes the web importer has difficulty, but it’s a relatively simple process to correct using copy and paste. Because I don’t want to violate author’s copyrights, I mark recipes as “private” when I transfer them from a cookbook I own.

If you’re looking for a good menu planner that is digital rather than in your paper system, you may want to check out Plan to Eat. The video on their site gives a good overview of the features.

*Edited to add: Just used it again to do my weekly shopping…and I was surprised to realize that I can assign different items on my lists to different stores (e.g., Trader Joe’s, Costco, etc.). What a cool feature!

*Note: I am not affiliated with the folks at Plan to Eat, other than as a new user…and I was not asked to post about the site or compensated in any way.

A5 Malden and iPad

I love to plan on paper, so I’ve used an array of planners over the years. For the past two years, however, I’ve been settling into a system that works for me. It evolved into a combination of paper and apps…even a white board, but that’s really intended to communicate an overview of the week with my family…not plan.

In the past two years, I’ve been lurking on blogs that discuss Filofax and other paper planners. Midori. The illustrious Gillio. EC. FC. You name it. From those, I’ve taken away a few things…none of them original, but they have been helpful lessons nonetheless:

1. There is no one correct way to use a planner/calendar. We all have different needs for our systems, and we have different preferences. The best system for you is the one that supports your lifestyle and goals.

2. For me, the use of a planner or “system” is ultimately about function. I adore looking at people’s photos of their gorgeous Filos; they appear to be serving multiple functions: journal, creative outlet, and planner. If it brings you joy and doesn’t get in the way of actually doing what you want to do, I think it’s a beautiful way to record details from your life and express your personality. For me, at this stage in my life, I am not opting to decorate my pages simply because my purpose in using a planner is being able to keep on top of all the details for my family, my work, and my doctoral program. Functionality first…for now. The funny part, of course, is now I’m opting to spend time blogging about my Filofax and organization. That’s my current form of expression, though there is a roll or two of Washi tape around here somewhere.

3. I think better on paper, and the process of writing helps me work things out. The apps I use support my planning, but they complement one another. I love OmniFocus because it allows me to deal with repeating tasks and it syncs with my electronic calendar. I have a paper planner, and there is some redundancy, but it doesn’t take much time now that I have so many tasks and appointments set up to repeat. Since I do a weekly review each Sunday, I haven’t missed items.

4. I love people’s ideas and layouts, especially on youtube. That doesn’t mean I need to change my system when it’s working. Part of the joy the blogs and videos bring me is watching people find their own system…I’m a qualitative researcher, so I derive a lot of pleasure from the way planners are used by different people. They’re glimpses into people’s interests and personalities. Yet I learn about what works best for me by viewing what people do with their own systems.

I’m saving my current set-up for a post when I have more time. Here’s a quick peek to tide you over. I can’t wait to share it with you! I purchased the A5 purple Malden because it holds the iPad mini that I received as an early Christmas present. Steve (of Philofaxy fame) and I chatted via e-mail about what A5 binders would hold the tablet, and this was all the motivation I needed to finally take the Malden plunge! I can’t wait to share it with you.

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