If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that I’m a pro at staying organized. I would love to say that it’s because I truly enjoy color coding and note-taking, but unfortunately, it’s not as exciting as that. The reality is that I have a horrible memory and a very busy mind. That combination makes for a lot of forgotten tasks and appointments! I learned about this inconvenient trait early on in my life and have kept at least planner very close by my side ever since.
My organizational skills have risen to a new level since I started working from home. I create my own schedule and I am in charge of my daily tasks, so I have no choice but to keep everything in line. This experience has given me some helpful tips that I can share with you to get organized in a pinch, from keeping a planner to note-taking to setting goals. Let’s dive in!
Tips for Keeping a Planner
The best way to get organized and stay organized is to make it as easy and fun as possible. One of my favorite ways to go about doing this is to keep a planner. Sure, it helps me log appointments, events, and daily to-do’s but it’s also super fun to put together!
There are tons of planners on the market these days (shown here is The Happy Planner from Michaels) so it’s just a matter of finding one that works for you. Some are made specifically for entrepreneurs, moms, or health-conscious people, and some are empty and ready for you to fill them up with your daily intentions. Whichever planner you decide to use, here are my tips for keeping it:
- Decide on your planner’s purpose. Will you put your everyday tasks in it, or just notes to remember? Will it be the place where you write your goals and plans? Will you combine your personal and professional tasks or will you keep them in separate planners? Try not to mix and mingle different ideas all over the place. Decide on your planner’s purpose and stick with it.
- Pick one that works for you. When I was in college, I used the planner that you see pictured above. It was very large, but it was perfect for fitting in all of my assignment deadlines and internship duties. Once I graduated and started working in an office, I didn’t need one that was so large anymore, so I downsized. Now, I’m back to a large planner since I started working from home. The number of tasks or notes you have will determine which planner is best for you.
- Make it pretty! This is where the fun comes in. Get some cute stickers and colorful markers to dress up your planner and make it work for you.
Taking notes shouldn’t stop the minute you graduate college! It’s important to keep logs and lists to free up space in your mind and have everything recorded in a safe place. Here are my pieces of advice for note-taking:
- Create your own formatting system and stick with it. Decide exactly how your notes are going to look, from bulleted lists or outlines to color coding and varying fonts. Sticking to one format will keep everything aligned and easy to read.
- Keep one notebook for records and one for scribbles. This has played a huge role in helping me get organized! I keep one notebook for everything I need to remember and refer back to (i.e. list of my blog collaborations, blog post ideas, branding notes, etc.). Then, I have another notebook strictly for scribbles, quick note-taking, and anything that’s not important. This keeps everything separate and super easy to find.
- Keep it neat. This may be a struggle for some, but it’s so important. Take your time when you’re writing notes! Try to write as neatly as possible, take a stab at color-coding, and categorize topics as much as possible.
How to Create a Daily Schedule
Ever since I started working from home, I have had to practice some extreme self-discipline with creating my daily schedule (luckily, I love the work I do so self-discipline doesn’t equal self-torture for me). I have found that logging my time and sticking to a strict schedule has helped my productivity and goal achievements. Here’s how you can do it:
- Decide on the medium you’ll use for your calendar. There are tons of great digital and physical calendars out there so pick one that works for you. I like to use the digital calendar in my Zoho Mail account because it’s easy to switch tasks around and there’s color coding, which I love!
- Start with the things you have to do every day. Add in your lunch breaks, daily calls, and whatever you know occurs on a daily or weekly basis first. Then, base everything else around them.
- Begin to log your time. An important part of building a strong daily schedule is knowing how much time you need for each task. Pay special attention to this and start to record how much time it takes for you to do each thing. Reflect on what you spend most of your time doing and if it really is worth so much of your day. Challenge yourself by shortening time blocks as necessary. When you start to log your time, you’ll spot areas of improvement and catch where you most often procrastinate.
- Try to stay consistent. Getting into a routine and keeping a somewhat consistent daily schedule will help you get stuff done and reduce the feeling of chaos and overwhelm.
Setting goals every day is also a major part of staying organized. It’s so easy to get caught up in tedious and unimportant tasks but when you have direct intentions, you’re more likely to do really productive work. Here are some of my goal-setting tips:
- Take time every week to set goals. Make your success a priority!
- Write them down. You’re more likely to achieve your goals if they’re written on paper.
- Create a detailed master plan for accomplishing them.
- Give yourself a reasonable deadline and hold yourself accountable to it.
If you’re having trouble effectively setting and achieving goals, my Get Your Goals, Girl! Worksheet breaks down this process even more and is a great guide to keep handy.
Maintaining organization takes patience, time, and, effort so making it a priority is very important. It’s beneficial for productivity and work success but it will also help you keep your sanity! When you can find things you’re looking for, have your day planned out ahead of you, and set clear intentions, you will feel more relaxed and optimistic about the work you do. Welcoming organization into your life may be difficult if you’ve struggled with it in the past, but I promise you that your life and career will change for the better!
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