As I am preparing to start my new job, tackle a Master’s Degree program, tutor students for the summer, and still try to find time to relax with my family and friends, I am finding it increasingly difficult to manage my time. Thankfully, I’m pretty good at it in general, so I still seem pretty good at time management to an outside viewer right now. But in my brain… I’m all a jumbled mess. This feeling has brought me to my idea for today’s blog. There is nothing wrong with being an organization freak!
The ability to be organized has always made me a good candidate for job positions, teacher’s helpers, etc. I’m very proud of my organization abilities and love to teach others about how to become more organized so that they can keep their lives in control.
Unfortunately there are critics in every aspect of our lives, and some people think I worry too much about my organization, but if this is something that I do to make my life happier, then it doesn’t matter what others say.
Staying organized is something that most people must decide to do on their own. Being forced (especially as a student) to fill out daily agendas and have people monitor your note-taking skills can be an extremely annoying thing. You have to decide to be organized for yourself, or your kids, or for something in life. You want to have more time for your family? Plan it! You want to stop forgetting things at work and getting in trouble for it? Write it down! Once you decide to get organized, all you have to do is create your own personal methods of organization and tracking. The methods that you utilize will depend on exactly what you are trying to accomplish.
What sorts of organization methods have been helpful for me?
Since I am an extremely organized person, I use multiple methods of organization in my life. Some suit better for different personality types, while others are best for different purposes. Here are some that I highly suggest you try when seeking a new organization method.
- Sticky Notes on your PC- Windows 7 and higher offers a free program that comes downloaded onto your computer when it is bought new. Using this program (simply called Notes), you can create multiple post-it notes on your screen. The notes can stay posted in the background as you complete any kind of work on your computer! I have found these to be especially useful for: tracking school assignments to complete, emails to send, schedules, and lists of To-do’s. The notes can be changed to different colors and stacked on top of one another to keep your desktop looking neat and organized while you work. When you’re done with them, simply hit the X button and close the window. Or, as you complete each task, click on the note and erase the portion you have completed!
- A monthly calendar- I suggest that everyone hang a monthly calendar in their room, on their fridge, or in another place where it can be viewed easily and often. I find it best to write the more important things (appointments, dates, and meetings) on this calendar. By simply taking a second to glance at the calendar each day, you can determine whether you have anything you have to do or not. A piece of advice: When utilizing one of these calendars, don’t include To-do lists on them; they will become too cluttered and difficult to read if you add too much information. Piece of advice #2: Try highlighting different kinds of events in different colors (birthdays in blue, meetings in green, kids’ play dates in orange, etc.) for even easier viewing. Look for Walmart’s yearly desk calendar if you participate in a lot of events, have a large family, or write extra large; they are fairly cheap and have big blocks!
- Use a daily agenda- Yes, exactly like the ones that we used in school. Luckily, I am a teacher so I get one yearly, but you can purchase a fairly cheap one for yourself at Walmart, the Dollar Store, or any other store that sells school supplies. Make sure that you preview the agenda before buying it- I prefer one that has a monthly calendar and then daily pages (a two-page span shows one set of Monday-Friday so I have plenty of space to write). On the monthly calendar, I copy events from the monthly calendar that I use (see bullet above). This gives myself easy access when I am scheduling new events and am out of the house. The daily pages get filled with my To-Do lists. I especially like the extra space to use for check marks or arrows, depending on whether I finish a task or need to move it to the next day.
- For bills and other important paperwork, try a paper organizer. I made one for myself the other year out of manila envelopes and some cardboard. I actually love it (and should try to find a picture to post for you!) Anyway, I labelled each folder with separate categories: Car Insurance, Healthcare, Paycheck Stubs, etc. depending on what I receive paperwork for that I need to keep for a lengthy amount of time. As soon as your receive a bill (and pay it), place it in the appropriate folder for safe keeping and easy storage. I also need to keep my paperwork organized for tax season, so once or twice a year I go through the folders and organized papers by date. To save yourself this little stress, use manila envelopes and careful place papers (always in the back) so that they stay in the appropriate order. I just throw mine in and deal with the dates later! If you aren’t into the craftiness of creating your own organized, buy an accordion folder, use a file drawer with file folders, or find some similar method of organization that can be put in a safe, convenient spot.
- For those of us who struggle with money, try a ledger. You can buy these at staples or other business supply stores. Again, they come in many different forms, so choose whichever one works best for you. Depending on how organized you want to be, record everything that you spend, or the major bills and expenses at least. I believe it would also be helpful to note down any monetary moves (as from a savings account to cash or vice versa) in order to understand where your money is located. This can be a lengthy process, especially if you aren’t used to it. If you don’t have the time to stop every time you purchase something and write down the expense, try collecting receipts in a folder, bin, or other container. Each month, week, or other allotted time period, go through the receipts and enter all expenses at once. It’s a lot of hard work this one, but I don’t think that you’ll regret it. Note to those who put lots of information in their ledgers: Be sure to store in a safe, hidden place so no one can access your money and private information when you aren’t around.
I need to run now (busy, busy, busy) but let me know what you think about organization! If you would like to know tips for other types of organization or products that you can use to stay more organized, let me know below and I will include more in an update of this post! Thanks for reading!!