Does Anyone Use FlyLady's Control Journal To Help Manage Life???

cupofkindnessJanuary 14, 2005

Yesterday I spent about a half an hour reading about FlyLady's Control Journal on her web site. What a great idea! She has 19 baby steps to create one's own Control Journal using the tools and guidelines established elsewhere on the site. Have you tried the Control Journal? Does it (or did it) work for you? Any advice on making it, working with it, or tweaking it?

Or, do you have any other suggestions for an overall scheme to organize the tasks of managing a large house and family? Does software exist that might help? I need lots of reminders and an easy program to follow.

I apologize if this issue has been covered in another thread. As a dyed-in-the-wool SHE, if I took the time to research all the threads on this forum, I'd never get around to finding answers. Thanks in advance for your replies.


Here is a link that might be useful: FlyLady's Control Journal Main Page

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Flylady is the best. Who doesn't need a control journal - i.e. a central repository to help one function more efficiently -- whatever it's called.

I would suggest you take her advice to heart in terms of baby steps. She changed my life as I let all her emails and advice flywash me :)

I think she is now selling a Control Journal for flybabies who need help setting one up. I think all her stuff is a great investment.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 9:23AM
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Thanks for your encouraging answer. How do you use your control journal? Do you refer to it constantly?

And I agree with you, I am striving to keep the sink clean and it has a domino effect on the rest of the kitchen. In fact, I think I'll finish the breakfast dishes right now.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 10:17AM
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My control journal is a work in progress...but I have the seven daily routine pages and seven "home blessing pages" facing them. I'm working on the "ZONES" section now.

I live by my control journal. Since I've made my "daily blessing" pages I have not forgotten to take my medications, wash the birds' water dishes daily, feed the fish, water the plants, or plan my supper. Before my control journal, I forgot to take my blood pressure medicine four days in a row. A severe nosebleed reminded me! The control journal reminder is much safer, LOL.

The routines are the best tools to keep things running quickly; the control journal is the best way to remind me to use the routines.

I have a short bookcase at the end of the hallway by my bedroom. The control journal lays flat on top of it where I can open it and look at the day's two facing pages as soon as I walk out of my bedroom.

Just skimming down the lists keeps me going in the right direction.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 10:58AM
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I love the *idea*, and have a control journal that I started a few years ago. But for me, it's still just a great idea...I just don't seem to have the inclination to spend the time it takes to get one fully started, and then refer to it daily. I think part of my problem with it is that it encapsulates so many things - and though I'd love to have one just for reference (ie, if I go out of town and hubby is left in charge or something), I just don't seem to have the energy to put it into play. LOL

So for now I'm focusing on using my planner...I don't have my routines written down in it, or pet care schedules, or my menu plans (those are on the fridge), but just getting myself in the habit of using the planner is enough to deal with right now. Someday I'll get it all into "control journal" form, but not just yet. :-)

Good luck - I really do think it's a great way to keep the days organized, if you can get it up and running!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 3:37PM
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One thing that puts me off about the Control Journal is the size. An open binder is big. I was thinking that a smaller binder, like the size of a planner, would be a more efficient use of space. Plus, it's easier to tote in a purse. But of course, the space that piles and piles of clutter takes up once cleaned would be a good trade off for a Control Journal. Jamie, can you tell me more about your planner? What system do you use there? Thanks!


    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 3:45PM
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Well, I like planners with weekly planning pages, with room enough on each day for scheduling things. I've experimented a *lot* with planners, and I got the most use out of them in college, when I was going to school full time and working 2 jobs to pay for it. No matter how busy I get, I always remind myself of those days when I feel like complaining. LOL

In any case, the planner I have now I got at Hastings - it has both monthly and weekly planning pages, and is pretty thin...not too heavy. Each day has a spot for daily goals, and then slots on the hour for scheduling, each week has places for weekly summaries and other lists.

At the beginning of this month, I went through and wrote in all my reaccuring goals - like writing 1k per day, and daily workouts. I also wrote in monthly "to do" things like "call for dog vacc. appt", "call to make hair appt." and "pay truck license renewal" on the appropriate days. After I called for the appts, I wrote them in right when I scheduled them, etc.

On Sundays, I menu plan - I have a magnetic calendar on the fridge that I write my menu for the week on, and as I plan the menu, I write my grocery list right in my planner for that week (so the menu isn't in my planner - just the grocery list...the menu is only on the fridge). Then later that day when I go to the grocery store, I have my list for that week with me. I also have it for future reference if I decide to use that same week's menu again later (in theory). I also go through on Sundays and write any goals and plans for the next week in there - like if I want to remember to clean the bathroom, or change sheets, or vaccuum on a certain day, I write it down there. Projects I want to work on (crochet projects) also get written down. I have an "events" calendar that hangs on our wall - that's where any parties, dinners, and other invitations or appts. that affect both DH and I are written, so I copy any of those into my planner on Sundays too, and schedule myself to "write card and send" for any upcoming birthdays/anniversaries, etc.

I guess according to flylady, Sunday would be my "desk day" - that's when I do all my planning and plotting for the next week. LOL

Every day, I pull my planner out and look at my schedule - writing in my "to do's" so I can check them off at the end of the day. Then I can check in throughout the day - I carry it in my purse with me. I generally look at it once first thing in the morning, again right after lunch, and then one last time in the evening after my workout (so I can check it off my list).

My goal this month is to take my list of christmas gifts I want to *make* for next year, and schedule them in my planner by month throughout the year along with birthday presents and other yearly holiday stuff (like our annual Halloween party and everything that goes with that). I'm hoping that seeing everything already scheduled every month will keep me on track all year, and allow me a more organized fall/December next year. That's the plan, anyways. ;-)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 4:20PM
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Me me me!! Jumping up and down enthusiastically(sp?)!!
I was skeptical about it and didn't do it for a long time and then I put one together. Mine is not exact of flylady's but it works for us(me).I like it and have been using it for about 8 days and the only days I skipped were Monday and Tuesday because I was ill and didn't even function -ha ha.

I have in mine:
DD school calendar and the handbook.She also has a section solely for her. The calendar is in the section and the handbook is in the pocket on the inside of the 3 ring binder.
I have a cleaning section, a running to-do section,and personal section for emergency #,family members #,store by our house # etc...,a "want" section.This is where I put things we want to buy:a new CD or a shelf or new sheets. I put it in there and then when I have extra money I look there first and know where we actually should put the money toward.
And a holiday section.This section includes a sheet for birthday wants:if DH says he wants a new fishing rod then I may get him that on the next holiday.
The cleaning section is broken down into zones,morning and evening routines,detailed cleaning.

I also use a planner but it goes with me and has important phone #,bill account # and addresses.I use my planner very consistently and am getting to the point of using my CJournal like that *in* the house.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 4:37PM
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One of flylady's best teachings is that we organizationally challenged people let our perfectionist ways get in the way of doing anything -- hence doing something for 15 minutes and then stopping.

Same with the control journal -- if you wait until you decide what the perfect control journal is going to be, you will never have one. :)

One of the reasons flylady started selling her control journals was that people were over complicating what the journal should be.

The trick to flylady is not thinking about it too much but just jumping in and starting to do it even if the little bit you do seems meaningless in the scheme of things.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 11:00PM
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I love flylady. I have a control journal. But I cannot seem to get myself to use it! It sits in my dining room and I rarely open it. I don't really know why...I love binders. I have all of my preschool teacher stuff organized in binders! So you'd think I'd love the fact that my routines were in a binder. Nope. I do have my routines printed and posted on my fridge. That seems to help me the most. I also keep a runnning "to do" list on my computer (since I'm here so much!!). Maybe some day I will come to love my control journal, but for now it collects dust. I was never a "Day Planner" kind of person, either, so maybe it's just me. (And, by the way, my control journal is THICK. I followed everything FL says to put in it, but my binder continues to be too thick.)


    Bookmark   January 15, 2005 at 2:22AM
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I have a binder that I guess is a control journal. I have some routines written in the front that I never look at (they're routine, after all!) Then I have some more detailed plans for each room, which I also don't seem to look at too often. The section that really helps is the address/phone number page with doctor/school/important #s and last immunization report & dentist statement and insurance policy #s, etc. which I am always having to look up for some form or other. I also have a plastic sleeve for each of the kids sports teams, field trips, etc. and put all important papers that go with that team/event in that sleeve. It is small enough that I have to go thorough it every time I put a new paper in and get rid of anything redundant or old. New for Christmas time this year, I put in a catalog order page so that I can check out when I have received things. This was a GREAT help - I ordered a lot of stuff online and didn't forget about any of it, and since it was in a plastic sleeve, I had a place to keep the receipts that went with the purchases until they came in. Then in the back, I have some blank pages for want list, want to do etc. Lists that in the past have written and lost because I have no where to put them.

This works most for me as a way to have information that I need often and don't want to store on a bulletin board or in a file cabinet where I'd have to look it all up.

But for getting things done daily, I just sit down first thing with a blank piece of paper and write down what needs to get done, with most important on top. I carry over from yesterday's page what didn't get done there and cross things off and add things as I go through my day. This works best for me, I don't forget to do things, and it is always RIGHT THERE on the table, not in a book that is on the shelf (out of sight, out of mind).

    Bookmark   January 15, 2005 at 8:49AM
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I don't use my binder that much. It's in the kitchen cupboard. In it are flylady's zones, the daily reminders, the home blessing list, family emergency phone numbers, my co-worker's home and cell phones and addresses, dd's school schedule by period, a time list that shows when each period starts and ends (for making dr appts etc), and menu lists.

Here's when I use it:
During home blessing I take it out and cross off each item as we finish with it (dry erase marker).
When I'm making the menu plan for the week and don't have any ideas I look at the menu list.
When there is an ice storm or something of that nature I can call co-workers from that list.

But for everyday stuff I don't really look at it, I just use the email reminders.

I need to finish up my binder though. Still need to put in our insurance info and prescription info so it will be good to "grab and go" if need be.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2005 at 4:43PM
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I read the request for a software application to "organize the tasks of managing a large house and family". I have an interest in developing such an application. One that would help not only to expedite and simplify the creation of a control journal that could be tailored to different needs, but also create some new interesting ways to set up and use reminders, using email and text messaging. If there is more interest in such an application please send an email to Any suggestions to what other aspects might help to make such an application more useful are also welcome.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 10:55AM
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CupOf~ I have a type of control journal, but I'm calling mine a Kitchen Binder or Household Binder. I actually got the idea from Fly Lady, but then found info on the net about kitchen binders & turned my "control journal" into a "kitchen binder". I got the Fly Lady's emails for a few weeks, but found them to be annoying rather than helpful.

Anyway, I recently posted a thread about my kitchen binder... I've included the link so you can see what I've got in mine. I've only been using it for a little while, but I can tell that it kind of motivates me to go, go, go! :) Please feel free to email me if you have any ?'s about my binder. Good luck w/ yours!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen Binder link

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 10:24PM
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I've used mine for the past 6 years. It's pretty much exactly how I set it up originally. It's a three ring binder which sits in the same spot--open at all times.

My daily list is printed out about 24 at a time. On the left side of the sheet is the same daily chores and on the right side of the sheet is room to write what I need to do that day, calls to make and what's for supper. I cross off with a marker and rip the sheet out at the end of the day. The family knows to write stuff there if they need my attention and since I have a couple of weeks worth, you can turn ahead and jot something down.

I have my zone jobs all listed on one sheet. I refer to the sheet, but since they remain the same, it is more just to keep me focused. It would also allow someone to know what day the trash needs to get out, etc. if an emergency came up and someone needed to take care of the kids. Other sections are phone numbers and who to call (and their relationships to us) in an emergency.

That's all I use and it works fine for me. I don't want to carry the thing around. The purpose for me is to organize my time, not a full planner.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 2:57AM
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I used to have a sort of Control Journal (CJ) but not as refined as FlyLady. About 6 years ago, I set up one like she suggested. There was a lot of good things about it, but lots of things that didn't work well for me. So, over the years I've modified and refined to make it more useful for me. The biggest change is that I bought a notebook computer years ago so the computer became a more useful tool in implementing the intentions of a CJ.

Some of the modifications I made:

Set up a separate "Bill Minder" for paying bills. I had it set up in a small binder, with a calculator, the bills, records, checkbook, envelopes, stamps, pens, etc. Everything I needed to pay bills. Then once a month I'd sit down and in a matter of minutes all bills were paid, logged and filed. But alas, it's no longer used, since I pay virtually everything online so that part is now obsolete, replaced by the computer.

The chore lists are all in the computer. I print them out and use a small clipboard as I'm using them. I usually keep a copy of each of the lists in the CJ.

The computer now is my calendar, address book, price book, etc. Reminder programs remind me of important events and I'm on the computer virtually daily so it works for me as an electronic CJ for many things. Most all that I used to do with pen & paper or on a form is now electronic. I still liked my form I developed but it's not as practical anymore. I had the common chores listed on the left of the page with room to add things to do sometime underneath and on the right half it split down into 7 days so I had a weekly calendar. Check off as I went. Continue onto next week and as the lists grew anything left could continue on or be transferred. I even put certain reminders right onto the day (e.g. put out garbage on Wed night). But again, the computer gives me reminders now.

I still use the CJ binder for holding things like vehicle titles, insurance policies, Social Security Card and quite a few other important papers. This way I know where to find them and in case of fire or emergency I can grab the binder and the computer and head out. Also have Credit Card info, important numbers, extra set of car/house keys and things like that in there along with major purchase info, receipts, etc. I don't save receipts and books for little things, unless it's needed for operation.

Kitchen related items (recipes, conversion charts, etc) have been split off into another binder. It's not a critical item in case of emergency so I thought there was no need to keep it in the CJ.

Eventually, I'll do another full house inventory for insurance purposes. Photograph the rooms, and valuable items, log serial #s, etc. I tried to start logging these in the CJ as I'd get them, but haven't been too successful at implementing it.

Two other important parts of my organizational plan: 1) Always carry a pen and paper for notes; and 2) An electronic recorder for taking notes while I'm driving or going around the house and need to make a note of something to do, buy, repair or whatever.

My "system" is more complicated than Flylady's I guess, but it works better for me and I utilize freebie programs. I am much better at taking my vitamins, getting housework done, cleaning the litter box, etc. It also works better for long-range planning. The paper served its purpose and got me started. I guess this is just a natural progression in these times.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 3:10PM
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It was fun to check in with this forum for the first time in quite a while and see this thread on the first page. I appreciate all of the comments, especially the newest ones. So let me share what I've been doing about organzing my lifef. I have been struggling with the "control journal" concept since I posted this thread over three years ago! for starters, I dislike the name, "control journal." The system seems inflexible. And something that I don't care for about Flylady is that there is a high level of emotionality in that system. But I will admit that she is spot-on about many things and I appreciate all of the insights that I've gained from that system. But back to "control journal" I prefer kitchen binder or household binder. Maybe I'll call my the household binder. But that's not the point. I do have a white 1/2" binder with all of my zones and lists in it... it just looking at that binder every day that is a huge challenge for me. I have seven children and my days seem to bring me such a variety of things, many unanticipated, that it's hard to keep everything on track. Plus, I'm a lazy soul, so it's hard to get me moving. But of course, if I'm not going to work the program then it won't work for me!

Just a last week I found a Franklin Covey planner on clearance at Target, so I finally took the plunge to organize my time better. This is a smallish size #4 planner in a six-ring binder, so it doesn't give an hour-by-hour breakdown of the day, but it does provide two pages to a week, a two-page spread for the entire month, and then lots of other forms for a lot of different purposes. Before, I've just used the fridge calendar to keep track of activities. That was hit or miss (things didn't always get recorded). Plus, it's inconvenient to take the enormous calendar off of the fridge door and write things down in front of the computer (we get so much schedule info via email). Now, when I'm going through email, I take my planner with me. That makes it so much easier. And rather than writing things on post-it notes and sticking them to my microwave door, my coffee maker (the really urgent reminders go there), or my key ring (see how zany I was) I jot things down in the planner. So for the first time in the 20 years that I've been a wife and mother, everything is being written in one place. However, we still put notes on the coffee maker when something is very, very important.

I make myself read the planner while I drink my coffee in the morning. And now I feel so guilty about not using my control journal *household binder* in three years that I will take that binder with me and my planner and my cup of coffee every morning. Something else that I also do with my *household binder* is put paperwork that needs immediate attention into it so that this stuff doesn't get lost. I noticed on the Franklin Covey website that you can buy "Forms Wizard" which is software to create personalized planner forms. I would love to take my Flylady zone lists and make forms to fit into my planner. By the way, I am a stay-at-home mother and my planner doesn't leave the house. both binders stay on my microwave oven during the day.

I read Julie Morgenstern and liked her notion that time is like a closet that you fill with tasks, rather than a real closet that you fill with stuff. It helps me to see my time more concretely.

Something else I'm learning is the importance of goal setting. That seems to be a Franklin Covey focus as well. I personally have had such a difficult time (throughout the years of raising my seven children) of actually accomplishing anything for myself, that I really just gave up trying. But about a year ago I decide that the extra weight had to go. So I have lost 55 pounds. That has been my focus in life. But now I can shift back to the household since one of the most important issues in my own life is finally being dealt with successfully. I need to revisit Flylady, I'm sure she's added new ideas to her program. I will check back to the forum for more advice and encouragement on how to get it together and become more organized. Thank you for your posts, I appreciate reading anyone's story, even if it's still in process, of how they created a system to manage time better.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 3:38PM
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cupofkindness, I was one of 7 kids and grew up in complete and utter chaos. I begged to be sent to boarding school. LOL. My poor Mom, she really did give all of us lots of individual attention and Dad worked long hours. So I am really impressed with your accomplishments, especially with losing 55 pounds. If they don't already, I'm sure your kids will be bragging about how you did such an amazing job of holding the household together.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 3:54PM
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