After posting my 'about me' page. I got the following question (via facebook) from a good friend/faithful blog reader:
So, I'm quite interested in how your organization works. I'm figuring out the best system for me and so far, haven't been successful. Any tips or resources you can suggest?
Most of my friends shy away from allowing me to voice my freakish opinions about organization - so thanks for asking Lisa. I think being organized it like being on a weight loss plan, you have to find what works for you. Example: I was a horrible, miserable, chubby failure at Weight Watchers but I am a crazy good calorie counter. Really, they're similar but one just fits me and one was off. In other words, my disclaimer for this entry is that what works for me may not be the perfect fit for you but it might help you find what does work for you.
The first step and maybe the hardest/most obvious is that to be organized you also have to be disciplined. Anyone can make a plan, it's sticking with it that hangs people up. So while I can give you some helpful hints, the trick will be you really being committed to being organized.
1. Have a good planner. As previously mentioned I use a Coach planner but there are certainly cheaper versions. Mine is laid out similar to this:
This refill by Franklin Covey found here is $12.95 per year and you can pick whatever fabulous outside you want. With Coach the planners (the size I have) are about 200 bucks ( I bought mine when I worked there so I had a REALLY good discount) but the inserts are $20 bucks per year.
Here's the key to keeping up your planner well. Force yourself to write everything you commit to into your planner. Even if it's 'I'm going to spend 2 hours on Saturday studying' - go to Saturday pick your two hour window and right it in. The other thing that's REALLY upped the helpfulness of my planner is that I color coordinate it with highlighters. Here's my key:
Orange - important! aka: bills, due dates, doctors appointments,etc.
Yellow - work. aka: meetings, travel dates, plane flights and confirmations, work parties, etc.
Pink - fun stuff. aka: dates, girls nights, facials - the stuff I plan just because I want to do it.
Green - church. Because I'm in leadership at my church I have a lot of church things in a given month. My small group, which meets weekly. My leadership meetings (once a month). Volunteer commitments. And I even highlight when I plan out my times to prep for some of the aforementioned items.
Blue - blue for me is blog stuff. Because I have so many crazy things happening with the blog right now, it gets a color as well. This helps me remember when my book reviews are due. When I promised to review events or products. You get the idea.
For you Lisa, you may want to have orange, yellow, and pink the same as mine but change out green and blue for school & ______. Whatever you find yourself needing to keep track of the most.
I also schedule my workouts so that I really get them done!
2. Don't leave all your cleaning for when someone's coming over. I was SO guilty of this. Seriously, I'd reek havoc on my condo and then when I knew I was having company I'd stress myself out trying to get it all done before they came over. This is a crappy way to keep you house clean AND it's murder for your nerves. Turns out a clean house helps you keep a clean mind and stay low stress.
I know for Lisa, my reader who wrote it, you have ...2 dogs is it? AND a husband. Boys are dirty, I know these things. This probably makes it even harder to keep a clean house.
Here's my nerdy organized way of dealing with this.I keep an excel sheet that gives me a couple chores per day but divides up both the chores that need to be done every week - changing the sheets, cleaning the bathroom, etc. and the ones that need to be done (in my case) every 2-4 weeks: mopping my hardwoods and tiles, vacuum my staircases, sweeping out the garage, etc.
Plan it out so it works with your schedule though. For example, Thursdays are a CRAZY day for me because after work, I have company til 9:30pm (my bible study) and I'm frequently packing that night to head out of town early Friday morning. So Thursdays are NOT the day for mopping or vacuuming the whole house. Thursdays are dishes. I run the dishwasher and empty it every Thursday while I'm brewing coffee and setting things up for my bible study. Tuesdays are my night at home - so these are a good day for some harder, more involved chores.
You get the idea.
These are my two main things that keep my calender working and my house in working order. If you've got some other problem areas you want me to comment on, get at me. I'll happily look into it. : ]