20/10/2017 10:02 BST

8 Printable Templates To Help You Plan Like A Ninja

Keep your life on track the simple, paper-and-pencil way.

We all love making a plan and feeling like we’re winning at life organisation. While poring over Excel spreadsheets and setting mobile reminders are all very well, nothing beats the satisfaction of printing out and checking over a real life paper to-do list, whether it’s stuck to the fridge as a daily aide memoire or on the back of the front door to stop you in your tracks.

We’ve scoured the internet to bring you the best low-fi, print-out-and-keep plans to help you feel on top of life.

  • 1Never forget a birthday again
    Never forget a birthday again
    Facebook birthday reminders aren't fail-safe. Sure, you can send anodyne 'happy birthday' messages to your former work colleagues you'll never see again, but what about your tech-refusenik granddad, hordes of nephews, nieces and friends' children or that particular friend who thinks it's hilarious to put up the wrong birthday as an identity theft safeguard (but really, you suspect, as a true friendship test)? Once you've filled in your friends and family birthday calendar and printed it out, you're one smug step closer to never missing another birthday with no more gut dropping feelings of 'aargh, it's Mum's birthday tomorrow'.
  • 2Commit to that workout plan
    Commit to that workout plan
    How many times have you planned a vague 'I'll go for a run sometime this week' and ended up gritty drama-gorging on the sofa instead? Whatever your goal, whether it's toning up your wobbly bits for a special occasion or rekindling that adrenaline kick from exercise, by printing out an exercise planner, you're making a real commitment. Think about what you really love doing, for example, calming yoga after work or a lunchtime run with a friend, and what's realistic. Fill out the planner - and don't forget to write in what you did, so you can see real progress.
  • 3Plan a perfect wedding
    Plan a perfect wedding
    Organising a wedding can be stressy. Even if you're planning on a low-key event, you still have to book the venue, order drinks and food and invite your favourite people. If you're going for a full-on bridezilla event, your head will be a whirl of to-do lists. To minimise the chance of you sitting bolt upright in the middle of the night, panic-thinking 'gah, bridesmaids' shoes', we've found this site that has every sort of wedding template you never knew you needed until now, from invited guests to song lists. Download and print these and you'll be one calm bride.
  • 4Finesse your finances
    Finesse your finances
    Budgeting might sound like a big snore, but there's nothing like seeing how your flat white habit could translate into a mini-break to wake you up to the importance of managing your money. Print out a budget sheet and you'll see how writing down income and outgoings (rent and bills first), then necessities like food and travel and finally the spendy fun things helps to really concentrate your mind on balancing income and outgoings. Staying on top of your finances will help you work to live, not the wrong way round.
  • 5Never have an empty fridge again
    Never have an empty fridge again
    Hand-in-hand with keeping tabs on your finances comes planning your meals. There's nothing more depressing than getting home when you are bone tired to discover one can of chickpeas and a shrivelled onion. And almost as annoying is throwing away the wet bag of salad and past-its-date chicken - quite literally throwing money away. Keeping a printable template of meals for the week alongside your weekly shopping list is a sure way to eat better and spend less.
  • 6Track who's doing what and when
    Track who's doing what and when
    SamOsborneStore, Etsy
    You might have thought your children would be joined to your hip forever, but suddenly their social lives are more exciting than yours. It starts with occasional weekend party invitations and before long you're picking up and collecting one child from after school judo/street dance/guitar while playing 'I owe you' to the parents delivering your other child to piano/football/drama. It gets complicated. Really complicated. That's why a weekly family planner is essential, so you can swerve the calendar clashes in good time and barter with your partner/relatives/friends.
  • 7Organise your kids with a chore chart
    Organise your kids with a chore chart
    Kids love a chore chart (especially when you add in gold stars and an end-of-the-week reward). Give each child their own responsibilities for the week, matched to their age and abilities. For little ones it could be as simple as 'tidy up toys' and 'lay the table', while older children could be introduced to bathroom cleaning and the laundry. Make sure you mix it up every week so no one feels they get the short straw. You can also find lots of inspiration for age-appropriate daily help around the home on the same site.
  • 8Plan big - and make it happen
    Plan big - and make it happen
    You don't have to wait for New Year to resolve to  make something you've always wanted to do actually happen. Print off a goal-setting template, focus your mind by writing down your goals or wish list and start planning. If it's a country you've always dreamed of visiting, break it down into manageable sections (cost and timescale to save, best time of the year to go, then dates and all the planning around the trip). If it's taking up a new interest or activity, write down where you'll do it and research start dates and costs. The key thing is to make sure these are SMART goals (specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based). There are tons of inspirational templates to print off on Pinterest from '100 things to do before I die' to working out what makes you happy and proud - and doing more of it.