Friday, November 11, 2011

How I Do It: Organize Myself

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The best way to be able to accomplish what you want to in a day is to organize yourself somehow. There are many facets to organizing. I love to organize and I am definitely an organized person. The problem for me in conveying how I organize to other people is that it is such a part of who I am, I find it hard to explain how I do things. My husband often makes comments in marvel about something I do to organize myself, and it isn't something I have ever thought twice about. So it kind of feels to me like trying to explain to people how to know how often to blink. Or trying to explain to non-English speakers how to use the articles A, An, and The appropriately. I managed to jump that hurdle in college, so hopefully I can work something out here.

Lists, Lists, Lists!
A very important thing for me and my organization is to create lists. I have so much to keep track of that I need to put it down somewhere so I don't have a head explosion trying to keep it all straight.

I used to do this, of course, on paper. I just had a little notebook that I wrote a list of things I needed to do. It worked well. I also had a calendar that I wrote every appointment on to remember.

Today I am high-tech and loving it. I use my iPhone. I have lists in my phone under my phone is always with me, so as soon as I think of something, I add to it. I really like this and find it so much easier. However, I did manage to survive just fine before I had this phone--I have only had it for six months. So organization definitely can happen without the help of technology.

Break Down
When I have a project I need to do, I like to break it down in my head (or on paper) and create a list of smaller steps. Right now we are remodeling our kitchen, so I will use that as an example. There are lots of steps to remodeling. I think through and list everything that needs to happen--each step. I then order it. Certain things need to happen before other things can happen. Do that with your own organizing of your day. What needs to happen? What order does it need to happen in? Write it out. 

I have a white board in my office that I write down our set-in-stone weekly appointments. Dance class, piano lessons, time school starts, time school gets out...I don't always need it, but I literally leave it there all school year long.

I used to consult the hard-copy calendar for our appointments, but now I also put them all in my phone. And the best part is that I set my phone to give me reminders for things so I don't forget about them. I love my reminders. 

I have created several books to keep myself organized in various areas. I have told you about my Emergency Preparedness Binder and Menu Planner. I have also made a Cleaning Book and a Project Planner. I love using these resources to help keep myself organized.

Shopping Lists
I used to keep my shopping lists for groceries and non-food items in my kitchen hanging on my refrigerator with those list pads you can buy for a dollar at lots of stores (one is Target). Worked great most of the time (except for when I would leave the list hanging on my fridge). 

Now I, of course, have my lists on my phone. I know, my phone is getting annoying, right? It is solving too many of my problems. 

This Blog
Organizing this blog is really a huge feat in my head. There is a lot to keep straight for me with the blog, questions, Google group, Facebook, and Twitter (I know, I am sorely lacking in my tweeting. Once I get perfect control of everything else, I hope to be a better bird). 

I currently use a small calendar. At the end of one month, I write out every post I am going to write for the next month on its respective days. I keep a running list of post ideas on that calendar, also (I also have a Word document with lots of ideas saved). I do write things in pencil so I can move things around if needed. 

Think Ahead
I have a running list of everything I can think of that I need to get done. I also have a list of things "To Do Today." These are things that MUST happen that day, then things I would like to get done and think I can accomplish given what I must do. 

Each night, I evaluate my list for the next day. I decide what needs to get done and what I need to try to get done. I kind of visualize myself throughout the day. I know what I will do and how long it will take me to do it, then fill in the gaps where possible. I know visualizing is cliche, but it works. 

I have to share my current favorite app for organizing. I think I have, but I will again. It is Cozi and it is free. You can set it up to sync among family members. My husband and I can both add events, things to shopping lists, and things to do. We are both on the same page and I LOVE it. 

That is the basics for how I organize myself. This is just organizing myself to be able to accomplish the things I need to accomplish. 

Please share how you organize. What are your tips? Any favorite resources?

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Kelly Ford said...

I'm an organize freak, also and am asking for an iphone for Christmas. Glad to know its been so helpful for you :-) Hope it will do the same for me! I struggle right now w/ keeping up w/ my lists... i think in my desire to clean up i end up chunking them from time to time :-( My clean freak self is in trouble w/ my organization self! HA!

Rachel Stella said...

I'm a pretty organized person but you gave me a couple new ideas, thanks. I am starting to use my phone for things (following the nagging of my husband) but I am having a hard time saying goodbye to my note pads.

Reminders is another great app for the phone. You can even get a reminder by location (ie you get a reminder when you leave your house or arrive at a certain place)

Plowmanators said...

Kelly you will love it! It took me several months to really convert over. I have several lists on my phone that I then funnel down into a To Do list and then into a list of things that need to be done that day. So I have a "sewing" list and then I choose one to focus on and put it in my To Do list. So say PJs. Then on my To Do Today list I will have "cut out PJs"--so I break it down into step by step goals for each day. I love it.

Plowmanators said...

Cool Rachel--I will look into reminders! Thanks for the idea! You guys should look into Cozi.

Plowmanators said...

Hey Rachel--i looked into reminders and couldn't find one just called "Reminders." Is that the exact name?

Rachel Stella said...

After some investigation I've figured out that I never bought it (it isn't recorded in my app store as bought) so I think it came with the phone or was some upgrade of some sort.

Plowmanators said...

Lame :)

maria smith said...

I am always trying to keep up with my daily life. Lists, apps, to-dos, it's endless. Taking an hour or so at the beginning of the week to plan is my saving grace. I find that a good cleaning service every once in a while makes a huge difference.


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