Word Magnet Schedule

October 26, 2014

You know that disheveled mom you spotted stumbling to the closest coffee shop, sporting a rats nest up do, bloodshot eyes and toddler in tow, well that was probably me.

I have been caught in this vicious circle for the better part of my life that consists of biting off more than I can chew and then sacrificing my very valuable sleep to try to make sure I achieve my dreams. Now couple that with someone who is a fly by their pants type who has a severe lack of organizational skills, toss in a kid and I have become that hot mess. Just for the sake of being honest I have to admit an embarrassing portion of my time is filled with procrastination and an unhealthy amount of watching the latest shared videos. My fiance has come home to me bawling my eyes out just because I watched another dog rescue video....It gets me every time.

You might laugh but my craving for stability hit an all time high yesterday during that stumble to Starbucks. As I carried Eve, who was still in her pajamas, at 2pm in the afternoon, it began to dawn on me that I needed to make some serious changes. After all, it wasn't just me who was suffering but Eve. Here I was trying to kick start my day at 2pm, my kid wasn't even dressed yet and somehow I had managed to throw some jeans on, although I don't remember when so I may have slept in them?


Now I love change, organization and structure or at least the ideas of them. They have always been these elusive, unachievable goals of mine that I know would drastically change my life for the better, but until now have avoided me. For the longest time my concept of not stressing about the small things and focusing on living life in the moment have worked out great for me. However, I'm beginning to understand that lovely lifestyle that I previously thrived in does not work with motherhood. I am exhausted.

Currently my day sort of goes like this:

7:30 am - Feed the kid
8:00 am - Curl up in her bed and play "put mommy to bed"
8:30 am - Convince Eve I am not sleeping, just pretending
9:00 am - Pull myself, somewhat, together and do something productive... perhaps I'll get dressed.
10:00 am - Head outside with Eve otherwise I'll stay in sleep mode, plus they have coffee out there
12:00 pm - Lunch
2:00 pm - Officially wake up and begin being semi-productive
6:00 pm - Create something edible for supper
8:30 pm - Eve goes to bed and it's time to tidy the hurricane of destruction that must have passed through my house today.
9:30 pm - I am fully awake, house is "clean" (Don't look in the closet) and I'm ready to start catching up on painting and correspondence
2:00 am - Realize that once again I am an idiot for staying up so late and have to be up in 5 hours to do a repeat


Clearly I am bound for a massive burn out. It's happened before and let me tell you it wasn't pretty.

Although I have planned to plan to set aside a time to plan to organize a schedule, it has never successfully happened. Our lives are so all over the map since neither of us work 9 - 5's but shift work with odd hours, making it difficult to pin down something stable. However I know that I MUST make this work, not only to be a better mother, fiance and artist but to achieve the most that I can out of life.

I have tried the day planner, I lost it. I tried the table top calendar, that lasted maybe two weeks before it got covered in paint and doodles. I tried the erasable fridge calendar which accidentally got erased once and I forever lost faith in it.

So I sat down and thought about what would work for me.

Remember back in the day those fridge magnet words that were all the rage? You could create all sorts of messages to leave for roommates to discover and make up random stories that made no sense because you ran out of the necessary words, well I loved those. I figured why not find a way to make up my own words and create a custom magnet calendar where I could rearrange whatever I needed to at ease. And so I did.

Word Magnet Schedule

First thing I had to do was find the perfect template. I may be an artist but I lack in the graphic design department especially since I have no program to even begin to create something. So I headed to Etsy to find something I could work with and found the PERFECT template at Nixie Knox Designs.

This was the first template I purchased (only $3.46 CDN!) and after some thought I realized a half hour interval template would probably work better for our lives.

I contacted Sarah, the store owner, and she graciously worked with me to create a custom template in under a day! What is great about this Nixie Knox Designs template is that once purchased you can download it directly to print out at home and don't have to wait for the mail.

Down below is the one she had custom made for me and it is now available in her shop along with some other amazing organizational templates.
Visit her Etsy shop here: NixieKnoxDesigns

I printed this out at home on an 11 x 15 thick paper (I actually used watercolor paper) and it came out gorgeous. Obviously if you are trying this out you can create whatever size works best for you and can always get it professionally printed for larger sizes.
The next day I brought it to Staples and had it laminated for only $3.00.

The next stop was finding magnets.
At our Canadian dollar store, a.k.a Dollarama, I picked up some of their photo magnet sheets measuring 6 inches x 9 inches. (You can usually find them beside the picture frames)
I love these sheet magnets because you can peel off the adhesive backing and lay your paper directly onto the sticky side, no messy gluing!

Once you have your supplies ready go ahead and open up Excel. You want to create a spreadsheet where each column and row height measures a little bit less than each square on your printed out schedule.

You then choose your desired font and start filling in each square with your daily activities. For example, if you want to put "LUNCH" on your schedule make sure to fill in 7 different boxes with the same word. When you feel like you have all the daily tasks you may need go ahead and print!

I skipped changing the font color, but looking back I would suggest getting creative with the font coloring and color coordinate certain tasks.

Cut off any of the excess paper and then carefully lay it down onto the adhesive side of the magnet sheet. You may either use an X-acto knife or a strong pair of scissors to cut out each individual square. This is probably the most tedious part of the process so throw on a good movie, pour a glass of wine and get to work.

Another step I skipped was attaching magnets to the laminated template itself. I decided to just use some DIY animal magnets Eve and I created, although I was worried about how well the magnet words would stay attached it seems to work perfectly.

The best part about laminating the template is that you don't have to worry about creating every single word possible, if some random event is coming up you can just write it in rather than print out the perfect word.

So there it is!

 I absolutely love this concept because it adapts so well to our all over the map schedule. I don't have to rewrite or constantly erase the next day's events, all I have to do is rearrange a few magnets! The above picture is my attempt at a structured schedule, it has a long way to go and plenty of rearranging before I find what works for us.


- Get creative with the font coloring and color coordinate certain tasks.
- Create a word magnet for daily chores and place them at the bottom of each day. For example Sunday night I have "clean the fridge" as the chore because on Monday I know I will do my grocery shopping. 
- Print out your template on regular paper until you get it the size you want, this way you aren't ruining your good paper.
- Measure the row / column box size of your printed out schedule and make sure to edit your EXCEL spreadsheet accordingly before spending your time typing everything in.
- Buy an extra magnet sheet or two, just in case.
- Don't stress about getting it "perfect", the great thing about this is you can go back and print out any missing tasks or activities!
- Pick up some colorful, erasable markers to add some more fun to your calendar, perfect for writing in the dreaded dentist appointment.
- Why stop at making word magnets just for your schedule? Make some for your child to help them learn their letters, shapes and colors... there really is no limit!

Now I know this isn't just going to solve all of my problems, it will definitely take time and for me specifically, lots of time. But at least it is a start and I am excited to see how much more productive I become with some added structure to our lives.  

If you have any questions about the process let me know and I will do my best to answer them :)
Happy creating!

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