How do you keep yourself organised?

I hope you enjoyed my previous post about de-cluttering. I’m really passionate about a few things: personal development, education and organising! I can see that all of these interests are strictly related to my love of books and stationery, so it is not a coincidence.

One of the things that is quite new in this decade compared with how older generations used to store their documents is:

1.    We are apparently more digital because of the Internet and emails so we should use less paper. However, going paperless doesn’t really work well as lots of office workers still produce enormous amounts of paperwork, since we have emails and printers everywhere – we have more bits of paper created, not fewer. Also, nowadays many families have printers at home too!

2.    We get tonnes of leaflets and business cards. And there are so many forms that need printing and completing on paper before they are sent back to schools, doctors and various organisations.

These are only some of the reasons why we get more and more papers to organise.

The author of The Paper Solution said that she likes to use her digital calendar on her phone as it can link with other people’s calendars such as her husband’s, so they can see their plans and appointments easily, for example. It helps her to feel more organised and limits her usage of paper.

Of course, it is a matter of what’s most convenient for everyone. I prefer paper calendars. I tried digital calendars and productivity apps, and apps that should help me to manage my projects but I really feel that paper works better for me for things like tasks. I like to use a pen and I like to handwrite some things.

I have one big calendar on my fridge. Every year I purchase the same one at the end of December. It’s called Do It All Mum Family Planner. It’s brilliant! It has a magnet for the fridge and a pocket where I keep some business cards or pieces of docs such as appointments, and a pen or two. You can see find this great calendar here: https://amzn.to/3nWUE8P

I also print an Excel spread sheet with my working hours and appointments every two weeks as I have a few part-time jobs and some of my working hours are quite flexible and change every week. I do part-time admin, and I’m a photographer. I also teach foreigners English online, and I design and sell T-shirts in my Etsy shop: shorturl.at/fAYZ8

And I also have Instagram and Fb pages called Paper or Scissors – with kids’ activities ❤️

So yes, with so many projects and work, I don’t like to skip from one workbook in Excel to another or from one folder to another although I have to have some folders for my photography work and material for my online student tutorials. I also have one Action plan in Excel but it just didn’t work for me for too long and I don’t like to use it.

I have separate drawers for different jobs and projects but I also have some lists where I jot down all my projects or create a mind map to see where I am, to ensure I don’t forget something important. Doing a lot of different tasks means that you need to be quite organised and have some systems that work well for you. If you tried something and it didn’t work don’t get discouraged. It took me quite a while to learn what sort of calendars and methods and solutions I can and should use. I tried many different types of calendars before. I decided I can’t use a paper calendar in the form of a notebook. It has to be big and clearly visible, on the fridge or on the wall. Such a calendar is great for appointments and important reminders, but it isn’t big enough to cover lists with tasks. There are so many notes in my calendar that no-one except me can read it easily in our home. So that’s way I do the spread sheet which looks as simple as this:

w/c 22.10MonTueWedThursFriSatSun
7am       
8am       
9am       
10am       
11am       
        
Up to 8pm       

I glue it on the wall in the kitchen where we look when we prepare breakfast – it’s so important things are not forgotten so easily! Most days I have exercises booked at 7am but it doesn’t mean it always happens. If I need to sleep longer and my children are still asleep then I listen to my body and sleep for a bit longer (doesn’t happen often though). If my children get up at 6am this means that I probably won’t manage to exercise much that day. So any work that I have to do this week, such as admin, a photo session, or English classes, is in this spread sheet. I also take French lessons with my daughter, so these are always there too. Additionally, I would put there any appointments or meetings, such as visits to the dentist, so my husband will know that I won’t be at home then.

To make it clearer, I highlight all admin work in red, all English lessons as blue and appointments and other important things like that in green or yellow. I’ve tried so many systems and this works just perfectly. It may look like a bit of work but it isn’t, because I save the previous completed spread sheet and only every two weeks make little changes to it. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

And then I have a to-do list that I update as regularly as I can. Sometimes I’d follow the method to write three tasks for each day but then it feels a bit robotic. Some days I feel I want to have more freedom and more free time, because when I don’t have any scheduled work such as admin it’s actually supposed to be… my free time. It is a huge challenge to keep this time entirely FREE because of cleaning, cooking and other responsibilities. I need to remind myself that some of this time has to remain for myself and my family or otherwise I get overworked and frustrated. I think I’m managing pretty well to spend some of this time on family time, reading, exercising, writing or whatever I need and want. There are days it doesn’t work perfectly but at least I have some system and many days I manage to follow it.

And what about you? Do you prefer a paper or digital calendar? Do you have a system that helps you with your to-do lists and tasks

2020: New book releases in the field of productivity and personal development

Let’s have a look at a few new books releases that seem really interesting: 

1. 10 Days to Overcome Procrastination Addiction: Take Action & Get More Done by A. Andrews

10 Days To Overcome Procrastination Addiction: Take Action & Get More Done by [Alexander Andrews]

This book was published this month. I think sometimes there may be a fine line between recharging your batteries and procrastination. However, even procrastination can sometimes be quite good for you and, according to scientists, it is a natural and normal developmental stage in teenage years. It can lead to creativity and make our life better as we can find solutions to problems more easily, re-consider our goals, and so on. Of course too much procrastination isn’t good for us. 

In January this year 1,000 people participated in an online Google survey. Nearly 30% admitted that they procrastinate sometimes … which seems fine, right? A little over 22% said they do it often and approximately 20% of people do it every day. That’s a bit more than we would like, I guess. 

What’s interesting is that around 22,500 people a month ask Google ‘How to stop procrastinating?‘. There are many others who look for answers in books or perhaps ask for advice from a friend or family member. It is a common thing, nothing to be too ashamed about but as with everything else we need a healthy balance. If we feel like we procrastinate too often, this book may be very helpful. 

2. Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything by Bj Fogg.

See the source image

It’s true, isn’t it? Many of us know that small changes can make a huge impact in our lives. This book will take you through various topics such as motivation, ability, emotions and other aspects that have an impact on creating habits. The emphasis in this book is on the word ‘tiny’ so it seems doable and not overwhelming. 

Most authors agree that we need 30-60 days to create new habits; however, it’s worth remembering that according to scientific studies (e.g. P. Lally) it can even take up to 254 days! I’m not saying this to discourage you, but rather so you bear in mind that quitting shouldn’t be the best solution if the new habit doesn’t seem to be formed within a month or so. We may give up for a day or two as it may be hard to continue doing something that is new to us. However, if it is important for us, we should re-consider if there are any other ways of doing things (maybe instead of running 30min every day it would be better to start with 3-4 x a week?).

3. The Declutter Challenge: A Guided Journal for Getting your Home Organized in 30 Quick Steps (Home Organization and Storage Guided Journal for Making Space Clutter-Free) by C. Aarsen

The Declutter Challenge: A Guided Journal for Getting your Home Organized in 30 Quick Steps (Home Organization and Storage Guided Journal for Making Space Clutter-Free) by [Cassandra Aarssen]

I’ve included this book in the list, because having an organised space and environment around you makes life so much simpler and work so much more productive that it can reduce your housework by… 40%! If you can’t find things you need, and you feel like you have a million things at home and many don’t have their proper dedicated space, then it will draw lots of your energy and you will often feel frustrated, angry, guilty, anxious and stressed! Organised space can make you feel much calmer and more energised. Think of all the extra time you’d have for your family, projects, hobbies, work or simply for yourself, your personal growth perhaps. This book by C. Aarsen is out since 14th May. 

4. TimeCrafting: A Better Way to Get the Right Things Done by M.Vardy

The author promises that time-management does not have to be complicated and complex. He offers a method focusing on Mindset, Method and Mastery. The book is filled with real life examples so it may be easier to identify with some of the scenarios and see how the method can best work for us. The title will be released on 30th July and it will cost £16.95; however, if you’d like to see what the author has to offer you can also check out his e-books which are only £0.99 (Beyond Trying and (Pre)Productivityism). 

Do you feel you may find one of these books useful? What topic in personal growth and productivity fields interests you most?

* Sources: organizedinteriors.com, amazon.co.uk, microbizmag.co.uk