How to Get Organized When You Don't Have A Lot of Time
We've all heard about how even the most organized person can have their world flipped upside down because 'life happens'. And while that can be the case occasionally, I've witnessed it more as an excuse rather than a one-time incident. But with to-do lists out the wazoo, sticky notes on the bathroom mirrors, and reminders set for every 30 minutes, how can we possibly be organized with all that commotion?
Believe me when I say I've tried it all: from the Erin Condren planners to the bullet journals, the white board calendars to the 12 month wall calendars, and the color coding mess to the black and white checklist, I am likely one of the most 'type A' personalities you'll probably ever meet.
But trying all these different types of planning has lead to one pitiful downfall: wasting time.
I'm the first to admit that these various methods have lead me to spend countless hours doodling perfectly imperfect doodles in my bullet journals, copying events from my planner to my Google Calendar, and trying to remember all the various locations to put all the events and happenings in my life.
One thing I have learned though is what I do and what I don't like so here's
Tip #1: if something isn't working for you, trying something else and repeat this process until you find what does work for you.
Being organized is not about aesthetics or '#inspo', it's about what works to keep you organized. In order to have a method to your madness, you need to figure out what your method is. For me, I've loved my bullet journaling experience. It's a stress reliever at the beginning of each month and allows for me to create at my own pace. I love that one page can be my weekly spread and another can be my grocery list. It's whatever I want it to be.
The biggest downfall? It takes a lot of time. If you're a perfectionist like myself (even though I'm working on the whole 'perfection is overrated' mentality), it can take hours to get a monthly spread followed by your habit trackers, expense trackers, weekly spreads, and various other spreads.
However, to counter this downfall, after I'm done with the creation I enjoy seeing what I made not Erin Condren, not another Target brand planner, but me. It makes me happy to see my cute little monthly themes change each month. So that's what works for me.
My roommate on the other hand keeps a planner as well as a journal that serves as a planning/personal mechanisms. Her planner has the general to-dos and her journal may have what she figures out she needs to do for the day on that very day.
Again, what works for you might not work for me and what works for me might not work for you!
Tip #2: Stay focused (broad as well as easier said than done, am I right?)
You might be thinking to yourself, 'really Katya? that's the best advice you've got for me?' Well hold your horses. Staying focused for me has meant learning what kinds of music I should or should not listen to while I'm completing my homework, figuring out I should plan my weeks at the beginning of the week rather than taking it day by day, and dedicating certain days for certain tasks (grocery shopping, laundry, dorm cleaning, etc).
Essentially staying focused is synonyms for creating a schedule. For me, that's the pivotal way I stay organized. As a student, my schedule changes semester by semester so after I have all my classes figured out, I figure out when would be best to do my grocery shopping, laundry, and gym routine.
Tip #3: Make your to-do list the night before or first thing in the morning.
This is, again, on a person by person basis. I prefer making my to-do lists the night before when I know everything I haven't done that day is for the next day. However, maybe part of your morning routine could be grabbing your cup of coffee or tea and eating breakfast over creating your list?
I truly recommend creating this to-do list though because then you'll know exactly what needs to get done. But a sub-tip tip is to organize it in a way that works for you.
For example, I generally try to put my to-do lists in order of what needs to get done first and go from there. However, I know people who create columns that are 'need to get done', 'want to get done', and 'hope to get done' or something of that nature. It allows for you prioritize rather than being overwhelmed with all you need to do.
Tip #4: Keep some sort of future log.
Now depending on what medium you are using for your planning and organization, this can mean different things. For me, at the beginning of my bullet journal I keep a 'future log'. Since my spreads are month by month based, if I find out an event or a task I have to do three months down the road I want to make sure I remember it. However, if you're in a normal planner this can just be putting down events when you find out about them. (Hint: At the beginning of each month it might be beneficial to review what's going on for that month so you have some perspective what you expect in the coming weeks).
Tip #5: Figure out what you're trying to organize
Again, this is a person by person specific. For myself, I like tracking my moods as well as general habits. Similarly, being a student in school, I need to keep track of my homework and readings for each of my classes. However, if you're a parent maybe you need to organize all the kids' activities. Or if you own a pet, you need to schedule their vet appointments or grooming.
That all being said, before jumping into a planning medium, you should try to figure out what you're trying to organize prior to actually organizing anything. Speaking from personal experience, jumping head first can actually induce more stress because you're just writing lists upon lists and feeling like you're not getting anything done.
Tip #6: Keep it Simple
Always remember being organized is for you! If you don't have a few hours a week to spend doodling in a blank notebook, then get a planner because it will get the same job done. The point is to feel productive and be on top of your tasks rather than falling behind.
What are some of your organization tips, I'd love to know!