Getting Organized: 4 Ways To Methodize Your Madness
Okay. Getting organized. Let’s talk about it.
I actually secretly love organization. Chaos equals stress and when my schedule and surroundings are out of whack for too long, I get anxious. When everything has a place, or a time slot, or a destination— that’s when I get to relax. I'm not a type A personality by any means, but I still need a solid game plan to keep my head above the water. I guess what organization really is, is making time and space work for you.
Turns out, you can actually accumulate more free time by investing a little of it first. I’ve learned that’s kind of how everything works. If you give a little and make it count, you often get a lot back. That means you should definitely donate to your friends Go Fund Me today, and also call your mom– two things I'm awful at but hey, there's always tomorrow.
The good news is that unlike money, time is free and you are currently a millionaire in it.
Time is infinite in a woah-dude-epic kind of a way, but if you don’t know how to properly spend it, it becomes a big stress headache and you end up blowing most of it on cheap crap which is also a metaphor for how money works. The good news is that unlike money, time is free and you are currently a millionaire in it. If you learn to organize your time right, you can spend all the free hours you'll accumulate fanning yourself with your time stacks like the time baller you are.
Below are four of my favorite ways to do my time a solid. Try them out and if you don’t like them, you can send them back for a time refund (JK, time is non refundable so spend it wisely from now on, okay?):
Paper beats rock
Paper is your spiral-bound desk planner. Rock is your smart phone. Look, I thought was a lifetime Google Calendar user until a couple months back when I swapped over to an old fashioned paper planner. The one major downside has been having to lug it around (my tote bag-carrying shoulder is a grocery-load away from quitting on me). But here’s my argument for penning your plans—
Phones are distracting. Raise your hand if you reward yourself every time you cross a task off your digital to do list by surfing social media? Raise your other hand if you checked your social media on the way to opening your calendar app. Levitate into the air like a procrastination banshee if you forgot to even open your calendar app because you got distracted by a notification, landed on an astrology meme page, and you’ve barely blinked in the past 10 minutes. Yeah I thought so...
My paper planner gets straight to the point– PLANNING, which means I spend more time crafting my plans while wasting less time taking detours. Plus it's cute! I couldn't resist this one from Ban.do. Getting serious about your schedule doesn't need to feel serious. If you want to have a fun life, you just have to plan for it– and you should have fun while doing it!
I love a to do list. I approach organizing my schedule the way I approach organizing my home, which means I sometimes have to just dump everything into a pile before I can visualize where it all fits. That's what my lists do. Before I drop things onto the pages of my planner, I make a big monthly to do list with all the micro to medium-sized goals I want to accomplish that month. For instance, here's a snippet of my July list:
- Complete new capsule collection designs
- See the David Bowie Is exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum
- Have my dad and stepmom over for dinner
- Find a dermatologist
- Buy a plane ticket to Seattle for August
Some of these goals are purely for fun, while others are important stepping stone goals toward larger ones such as completing my new designs so I can move forward with my business plan, or attending my best friend's wedding next month. Now that I know what's on the menu I can assign these tasks to dates as I go, making my to-do's a little less overwhelming and a little more yum.
Are you a color person like me? I see everything in colors first and foremost, which is why I often mix up apps because the icons are the same shade of blue. My intuition apparently sees everything in rainbow blobs before my mind processes the information, so if I can color code something, I'm guaranteed to find it much faster. I use different markers to create a rainbow of bullet points to categorize my tasks. I use pink for my business, and green is chores/errands (laundry, weekly vacuuming, taxes, and dental appointments are just a few of the tasks that fall under "green'). Yellow is my fun label– think beach day, lunch with a friend, a birthday party, or even just the 30 minute walk I intend to take on days where I'm inside all day. Finally, any side hustles get their own color too (I like red).
Choose your favorite colors and try color coding! If it doesn't make your schedule easier to read, it will at the very least, make it more fun to look at.
Now that you've planned out your tasks, it's time to take action– with minimal distraction, that is. I'm a classic victim of staying out with friends an hour later than I planned, or binging one more episode during Netflix & Dinner-On-The-Couch long after I've finished eating.
If you have a busy day (trust me, you do), set a time goal for each task (1 hour neighborhood errands, 3 hours writing, 30 minutes paying bills, and 2 hours coffee with a friend in town is a nice example of a Saturday afternoon if you ask me. Here's the big challenge– don't fall into distraction while you're on the clock! Set your phone timer and then put it on airplane mode. The notifications will be waiting for you after your hours are up, and if you got all your work done you're more than deserving of some mindless feed scrolling. Timing ourselves helps to keep us present and productive, two things we could all benefit from.
How do you keep yourself organized? Are you inspired to tackle your chaotic schedule like a champ? Let me know here.