Friday, January 7, 2011

How do you stay organized?

With the new year, there's been a lot of chatter around the blogosphere, on TV and in magazines about organization and how to better organize and simplify your life.  I thought I'd offer my take.

By nature I'm a planner.  And with my job, I'm the one woman marketing/PR/fundraising/event planning department of my organization (otherwise known as the Investor Relations/Marketing Director).  Plus, I do some volunteer work in my town and at my church.  This all requires me to stay organized.

I should add a disclaimer on here to emphasize that I am in no way a certified planner, life coach, organization extraordinaire, or anything of the like.  Nor do I always have everything (or anything) fully organized, but I do like to plan and think and discover new (and better) ways of keeping track of what I have going on and what I've done as well as ideas I'd like to remember for the future.

So here it goes:

I can't live without a paper calendar or planner.  I have a MyAgenda that has everything I have going on written down in it from conference calls to board meetings, Junior League to church events (other than Sundays and Wednesdays of course),birthdays and vacations, and dates bills are due.  If I lost it, I'd be lost.  Literally.

One of my favorite bloggers, D.A.R., wrote yesterday about how she keeps track of her workout schedule (and her life).  You guessed it - I use my MyAgenda for that, too.  I don't have a strict "workout this long on these days" schedule that I keep track of, but I do use the bottom portion of each weekly page to list my exercise goals for the week and track them on each day.  There's something about scheduled workout time that turns me off.  I like the "run x miles this week and do x weight training sessions" approach better, but that's just me.

I also keep my to do list for the week on the bottom of the weekly pages as well as any reminders about anything I have going.  For instance, this month, my JL is collecting canned goods for a food bank, so I had a note to take some with me to my meeting last night. 

In addition to my MyAgenda, I use Outlook at work for everything work-related and any important personal things I need to remember I have to do.  Color coding is great for this!  I also have a paper calendar in my office that I can glance up at if I'm on a call scheduling a meeting to see what I have going on.  I'm sure this is all overkill, but I like to know what's going on.

As far as other things go, I have a folder on my laptop where I keep my "Inspiration" photos as well as a flash drive I keep with me that has a folder where I add anything like that if I'm browsing online while I'm eating lunch at my desk.  The same goes for recipes.

A few months ago, I bought two large binders and page protectors.  One is used for recipes I've printed or cut out of magazines and the other is my home inspiration binder with separate sections for different rooms.  I think this has proven to be a great way to keep up with all these kind of things.  Now, if only I could get through my pile of magazines!

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