The Workhorse of the Binder: Your Daily Docket

I feel I should explain, that while I am very excited to share this series with you and do feel bad for leaving you hanging so long between posts, my post last week was very convicting to ME, resulting in some re-shifting of my time. Fact is, a few things come before blogging in my life, and finally, this week, I started to live like that was true. Yeah, it hurts to limit my computer time. To lay aside certain pleasures or lesser goals to take a shot at my highest priorities, but I gotta tell you – it’s totally worth it.

I’ve read books this week – to my kids,  and to myself. I’ve sorted my closet. I’ve spent time with my man. It’s been good.

But don’t worry – you ARE on the list. Right there, on Monday and Tuesday afternoons, when I’ve decided to ‘Work On Content For the Blog’. Whatever I get written on those two days will be scheduled and posted in the coming week or month. Just for you. ‘Cause I love ya’ll. And I want to share what the Lord has been so gracious to give to me that has brought rest and fulfillment to my days.

My Daily Docket in action

Today I want to introduce you to the wonderful, the fabulous, the amazing, the inspiring – the workhorse of your home management binder –  the Daily Docket! This is your daily ‘to-do list’. Just that day’s goals, sifted and carefully chosen from the broader vision that is the rest of your binder.

The Impetus
I created mine when I realized that I was writing the same type of lists every day on the white-board in my kitchen. A list of stuff to cook…A list of friends to call or email or otherwise connect with…A list of the housework that needed doing that day…A list of what to do on the computer…it was the same categories every day.

Once I saw the pattern, I made a page in my binder for these daily lists. And it’s become the most used, most helpful part of the book. The majority of my binder is for occasional reference, but my Daily Docket is my constant companion.  It’s here that I jot down what I have to do today to reach my weekly, monthly, and long-range goals. A daily docket is where you turn your goals into reality. (tweet this quote!)

How it works…
I printed two week’s worth of daily dockets and slid them into page protectors at the very beginning of my binder. Now all the ‘plan ahead’ thoughts I have can be jotted down on the correct day. Like “company’s coming Thursday – I better vacuum Wednesday”, or “Pot roast will work good on Sunday – gotta thaw the meat Saturday”. In the past when I had these great, think-ahead thoughts, I had no where to jot them. Now everything has a place.

At least a week’s worth of daily dockets is especially nice when leading up to a significant outing or event, like a ski trip or holiday. I had just started using my daily docket in November and it allowed me to plan out all the food prep for two family get-togethers so that it didn’t overwhelm me AND I avoided last-minute runs to the store during that crazy shopping week. Score!!!

I use a wet erase marker to jot stuff down – such a quick, smooth tool. At the end of two weeks I sit down (like I did this morning in the few minutes I had before the kids woke up) and wipe down all the pages with a damp, microfiber cleaning cloth. I usually fill in each day either the night before or by breakfast the day of, and I jot down anything else that comes to me throughout the day.

My Guiding Light
My binder lives on my kitchen peninsula between the diningroom and kitchen where I walk by it 40-50 times a day. Even when this surface is piled high with clutter (its frequent state of late) I keep dragging the binder to the top, because it’s what gets me through the day.

I’m lazy, people. And easily distracted. Given a chance, I’ll waltz right out of a filthy kitchen after fixing a meal and slump down on the couch with the laptop to browse pinterest. Without the guiding light of my daily docket which is based solidly on the foundation of priorities listed in the rest of the binder, I’d never make any progress in life. Sure, I’d eventually get the dishes done. But rise above the mundane? Learn to love managing my home ’cause I’ve found a system that works? Ever have time to pursue greater passions than empty laundry hampers? I think not. Not without my guiding light.

Not only does my Daily Docket help me get my work done, it also helps me schedule rest. If I can see that housework will get done between 9 and 10 and 3 and 4 today, then I’m going to actually sit down and read a book while the kids are resting between 1 and 2. So I write down “read” in that slot, and you know what? Often, just by the power of choosing in advance, it happens. Sometimes not, but often enough that I’d encourage you to try it.

Now It’s Your Turn…
If you’re aware of your daily rhythm you can create your own fill-in-the-blank daily docket with a ruler and pen (like I did) or with the computer (like I, a non-geek, could not!). Or you can download any of these great dockets and try them on for size:

If you’ve built a binder in the past, but never felt it actually did anything but take up space on the bookshelf, it may be you were missing this most essential element. If you hate making lists or planning ahead, you may actually enjoy the inspiring spaces of a daily docket that invites you to merely fill in the blanks. If you’re overwhelmed by all you want to do, and don’t see it all fitting in a day, use your daily docket to map it out, face reality, and sift priorities until you have a realistic plan for your day. Then you may be as addicted to yours as I am to mine!

Do you have a daily docket? A favorite source for great printables? I’ll be waxing poetic on my love of printables in an upcoming post and would love for you to share ones you love in the comments. Thanks!

8 responses to “The Workhorse of the Binder: Your Daily Docket”

  1. Stefanie Brown Avatar

    What great organizational tools. I chose the “Life Your Way Daily To-Do”. Going to give it a try.

    Thank you, sweet friend!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Great, Stefanie! Would love to hear how it works for you!

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Trina ! I laughed right out loud when I got to the part about “I'm lazy, people. And easily distracted. Given a chance, I'll waltz right out of a filthy kitchen after fixing a meal and slump down on the couch with the laptop to browse pinterest.” Because that is exactly where I was (only on your blog instead) !!! So bye for now, I going back out to the kitchen to clean up ! : )
    Thanks for the great chat, and the lovely visit to your blog. I'll be back in just a little ….
    KarieLee : )

  3. Katie Avatar

    When I put my binder together, I used printables from I also loosely follow the cleaning schedule at, so I printed some of the cleaning lists from that website.

  4. flowershopgirl Avatar

    I can relate to your comments about scheduling time to relax. I'm not a full time house manager :)but my schedule is pretty jam packed between working two jobs and cooking and cleaning, etc. I LOVE to be organized and can't stand to be behind on anything so I schedule myself on EVERYTHING from when I'm working where to when I'm grocery shopping, when I'm cleaning, cooking, working on hobbies, reading, etc.
    Right now my schedule is all in my head and on my phone, but I'm thinking a binder could be a great thing too. Maybe it would help me to feel like my certain parts of my schedule (like personal hobbies)are just as important as others. I am too easily sidetracked by WORK that needs to be done, but I find that I'm not as stressed at the end of the day if I make sure and give myself some time to do what I like doing. It's therapeutic! 🙂

  5. Mandy Avatar

    Thanks for the post! I will have to see how this works for me. I honestly have it all in my head and wonder if having it on paper will help or not…guess we'll see!

  6. Traci Avatar

    Great ideas Trina! I myself have found that the easiest way for me to shorten my internet time is to only pay attention to the “important” internet.. in other words the very few blogs I subscribe to, the personal/business emails and the personal messages on facebook. The best part is that I receive all of this in my email, so in a ten minute email check I can take orders and touch base with my friends… the rest of the stuff I can skip or I can browse pinterest while in a dr office waiting room or during a boring movie in the evening… or not at all… but the daily email check truly gives me everything I need to know without having to click farther. It's just nice to remember that I can stay “in touch” without venturing beyond. Of course my evenings are spent with lesson planning these days so most of my optional internet time involves educational research, lol.

    Do you have a finance section of your binder? The one part of my binder that I've managed to stick to without ever abandoning it is the home finance section. I've wondered how others set their bill paying into action. I actually keep a home account ledger for our budget and while it works well I've pondered streamlining it. Curious what others do to “tie theirs together”

  7. Rachel Avatar

    Love these ideas Trina :). I need to make my home binder more workable for sure, bc it is sitting dusty on my night stand and has been for awhile. You made me laugh in your first paragraph :). There are definitely more rewarding things then blogging, and we do experience so much more joy when we put first things first! Also a side bonus is time to blog guilt-free bc everything important has been seen too. Have a great day!

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