Printable 2017 Quarterly Calendar

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

Near the end of 2015, I made a post about time management, which included free downloads to help you get organized for the new year, including a Gantt Chart Excel template and a printable blank quarterly calendar.

Plan a Month’s Worth of Projects with a Gantt chart

Here’s what the Gantt Chart template looks like:

gantt chart

Click to download the Excel Template

Track your progress AND plan out your month so you know which tasks you should work on each day.

Plan Several Months at Once with a Quarterly Calendar

I’ve been using this quarterly calendar since 2015 as a family planner, color-coding events and appointments for each family member. We can see the whole year at a glance, and I use it daily! It also works really well for planning out projects. You could use highlighters to create Gantt Charts on your calendar.

The new calendar spans January to December, 2017, and this time I added a color version.

Continue reading

Time Management (& Printable 2015-2016 Quarterly Calendar)

One of my goals for October is to get more organized and be better at time management. The problem with being a work-at-home mom is that I’m always working and I’m always a mom! I’m all for being holistic, but nobody should be working all the time!

I’ll start with my calendar management, and then I’ll share the app I use to schedule my days.

Calendar Management

I took a class at my university called Writing for Organizations, and during that, I was taught how to use Gantt Charts to map out projects. I’m a visual person, so I really enjoyed it. But I haven’t applied that chart since! I created a template in Excel so that I can start using it to plan out individual months.

gantt chart

Download the Excel Template

I also created a quarterly calendar, originally for our family so we could see the whole year at a glance, but then I decided it would work really well for planning out my projects, too. In fact, you could use highlighters to create Gantt Charts on your calendar.



Day Management

First I downloaded a Pomodoro app. The Pomodoro Technique is to set a timer for 25 minutes, work that entire time, take a 5-minute break, and then repeat two more times. After three or four “pomodoros” you get a longer break.

I picked 30/30 because I liked the graphics and the ability to color code.


You can modify your ratios between work and break. I generally split the hours up this way: 40 minutes doing something I like (like editing). 5-minute break, 10 minutes doing something I dread (like answering emails or doing dishes), and another 5-minute break.

I also schedule in leisure time, food prep, and play time with my kids. Having the day mapped out with this app helps me to see that I DO have time for everything. 30/30 is especially recommended for people with ADD/ADHD.


If you’re struggling with motivation, I recommend the Coach.Me app. You can also try Habitica for an RPG-inspired app.

What are your favorite methods for time management? Share in the comments.

Mother Writers


Well, in a week I’ll be finished with my last design project for a while. This won’t be a complete sabbatical, since I’ll design some stuff for my Etsy shop, I’m sure, but it is a break from commissioned work, which is rewarding, but also very, very time- and brain-consuming.

I’m also giving birth in the next month(ish), so that will take up quite a bit of time and brain power. However, I would like to take this opportunity to get back to writing, even if it’s slow going.

How & when do mothers write?

That’s something I’m trying to figure out. Apparently there’s a book on the subject? (If you’ve got tips, please share.) The more I read about writers, the more I see a pattern—if they are women, they aren’t publishing while raising very small children. But I think they are still writing and reading, and I should be writing and reading, too, even with a toddler, puppy, and soon-to-be howling, hungry infant.

The baby steps are these:

  1. Read one literary novel each month
  2. Read short fiction and poetry once a week
  3. Create and execute one writing assignment biweekly or weekly
  4. Finish one poem or flash fiction piece per month

Eventually, the idea is I’ll get up to writing 1,000 words per day (excluding blogging and status updates), and then work my way up to 2,000 words per day.

That last one could take about ten years, or until the last of our brood is of school-age. We are well on our way to becoming brunette, American Weasleys over here.

Read one literary novel per month

I’ve got a book club going, and we are working through the Newbery (US) and Carnegie (UK) Medal Winners for juvenile fiction. They are short, simple reads that are deemed literary by librarians. Good place to start.

Read short fiction and poetry each week

The idea is to get as many contemporary voices into my head as possible. The Newbery and Carnegie medals are awarded each year, so 90% of the winners aren’t contemporary writers. I probably won’t blog on these a bunch, because that will soak up my writing time, but I’ll post recommended readings (what I liked) to my Facebook page. Feel free to share your own recommended readings for short fiction and poetry there, too! I’ll also post recommended readings on my blog under the Reading and Poetry tabs. (I just added one there this morning—check out Amy McCann’s “Human Climate” via Revolver)

Writing assignments and finishing poems

In an attempt to write more poetry and short fiction, I’ll be posting weekly or biweekly writing assignments here on the blog and then completing them for myself. The idea is that by the end of the month, I’ll have at least one I can turn into something more polished. I’m calling these short assignments “Fifteen Blinks,” the idea being that, whether the piece yields poetry or prose, you could read it in about 3 minutes.

If you want to join me on these assignments, please let me know! If I know other people are participating, I’m much more likely to stick to it and keep generating writing exercises. It’s an accountability thing.

I honestly have no idea what day of the week I’ll be posting Fifteen Blinks. Mondays I’m going to try to devote to motivational works and Author Chats. It’s going to be irregular at best, so your best bet is to subscribe to WriteLaraWrite via email (see right column for sign up) or follow me on Facebook.