Happy New Year! I received some requests that I post a blog about organization. Having once written a speech on the “beauty found within mess” and quoting a study that found mess garnered creativity, I could not help but laugh at the irony. Though I have gathered some strategies over the years to stay on top of my life, I also recruited my good friend, Carissa Suey ( aka the most organized person I know) to share her tips.
Carissa’s love of organization stems from utilitarian benefits such of functionality, and increased speed/efficiency. She also finds it aesthetically pleasing and increases her sense of control in life. I could not agree more. When my home is organized, my schedule maintained, and my to-do list is clearly laid out ( because let’s face it, it never really ends but at least I know what I need to do), I can breathe a sigh of relief and know I am ready to handle whatever curve balls life throws my way.
Annalise: I keep track of my schedule in a small and lightweight agenda book. I like utilizing the full month calendar pages as then I can visualize my commitments and busier days/weeks. As a student, I write all my major projects down at the start of the semester, helping me to never miss a deadline. It allows me to see where I have time to add client work or time with friends and family. I usually use the larger day specific pages to write out my to-do lists for each day. Crossing items off my list is such a satisfying feeling!
For really important events, I usually double up and add alarms in my phone’s calendar. I find it harder to see my holistic schedule on my phone’s calendar so refrain from using it for my day-to-day activities
- Apple Calendar: I like using the calendar on my phone and mac because when I’m really busy it helps me visualize my schedule, and also because it syncs so I don’t have to worry about copying appointments over. I find having everything in one/all places is really helpful. I can just whip out my phone to know where I’m going for classes. (catch me walking into the wrong room every semester until I did this).
- Reminders App: (comes loaded on iphones and mac) I use it like a checklist because I like that you can cross stuff off when it’s done or set due dates or alarms if necessary. You can create multiple lists so for example a grocery list, a school to do list, and a work to do list. It syncs on your phone and mac and I like seeing things disappear when they’re done! Same as above, I like having it on both.
I have a paper agenda but don’t use it as much as I used to (mostly just for assignment due dates but I should really put those in apple calendars anyways). I like having it and until this year I was committed to it and carried it around everywhere instead of the apps. I just found the calendars app helped me visualize my day better.
Carissa takes her closet to the next level, organizing her clothes by colour.
4. Managing Your Money
Annalise: I am far from an expert in this category. However taking advantage of online banking has really helped me. I bank with TD and use two apps on my phone. The first is their standard online banking app. The second is their TD MySpend app. Though not 100% accurate, this app is really great for keeping track of which categories you are spending your money in. They break down your spending into things like transportation ( gas, car share use etc), grocery shopping, eating out, entertainment and much more. They also split up your spending by wants and needs, showing you where you can cut costs. I especially like how they keep track of my spending on a month to month basis, letting me know if I am above or below typical spending habits.
5. Social Media
Annalise: I utilize the free app Plann to organize my instagram grid. Buffer is a great option for pre-scheduling posts and has a free version for individuals. Utilizing a scheduling app is a great strategy because let’s face it, life happens. Why not schedule your posts in your downtime and focus on being present at other times? This is an area I personally can improve on, especially in terms of posting blogs consistently!