Do you ever have those days when you feel completely unorganized? The ones when you wish you could just stop time for a day, get your act together, then resume business as usual? It’s an awful feeling and one I like to nip in the bud as soon as it starts to creep up.
I specifically remember a day like this a few months ago. My to-do’s for the day included two projects to wrap up and send over to clients, a handful of very important emails to return and a bunch of print orders to package/ship. It’s a doable list for any given day, but everything I did felt like walking through quicksand to get it done. That’s when it dawned on me, the root of the problem was that everything felt unorganized and disheveled. I needed to regroup.
While I didn’t have the time to spend hours organizing/labeling/washi-taping everything in sight, I knew if I tackled just a few minor things, it would make me feel better, and I could accomplish what I needed to more efficiently. Over the past few months, I’ve found a “formula” of small tasks that instantly make me feel more organized. These tasks aren’t ultra-complicated or revolutionary, but when grouped together, it’s an instant solution to feeling more in charge, at peace with your surroundings and ultimately more productive.
01 // Clean out and organize your purse. This is a simple one, but you’d be surprised at how much this step helps you feel a bit more organized during your day-to-day activities. Go ahead and throw away (or file) old receipts, trash the gum wrappers, be sure to check all of the little zipper pockets and put the random dog toy back in the toy box. I actually did this earlier today and found one of our missing cordless house phones. I also like rearranging my wallet from time to time to make it more convenient (like moving the Starbucks gift card up towards the front so I’ll remember to use it, and throwing away used/expired gift cards, debit cards, coupons, etc). 98% of our readers are gals, but if any of you guys are out there, apply the same principle to your work bag, car glovebox or wallet.
02 // Tidy up your computer files and desktop. Especially when I have a lot of projects going on at one time, my computer desktop can get rather crazy. If I need to clean everything up in an instant, I make a folder called “Stuff” and throw everything in there and plan on going through and organizing things later. When this is done, it feels so good. Once you’re all finished, change your desktop image. This (along with the organizing action) will make your computer feel new and refreshed. At the moment, I’m sporting this lovely one. Obviously, if you’re a tablet- or phone-only user, you can apply the same idea there.
03 // Organize the junk drawer. Truth be told, every house probably has more than one junk drawer (we have two at the moment), but take about 10 minutes and tackle the most commonly used junk drawer. Throw away expired coupons, put the birthday candles back where they belong and divide the pens from the notepads. If you don’t have any dividers on hand, use a few small shallow dishes or Rubbermaid containers until you have time to get to the store and buy one. Check out my latest junk drawer makeover here.
04 // Update your phone contacts. Updating and organizing the contacts in your cell phone can make a day out running errands go so much smoother – especially if you use your phone often as I do. To start off, go through your phone and delete the contacts you don’t need/want anymore. This is basically the phone’s equivalent to throwing away gum wrappers in your purse. Next, organize the contacts. This is something I’ve been doing for a long time and I love the handiness of it. What I do is group numbers for take-out places, medical-related places/people, shops, florists, and such together in their respective categories. So, for our florists, I add “Flowers | ” before the name of the florist. So, when flipping through my phone, the contact would read “Flowers | Strange’s (West Broad)” and all of the florist-related numbers would be grouped together. If there are multiple locations (like our favorite florist), I add the location after the name in parentheses.
05 // Organize your social media pages. This can pertain to everything from Facebook to Tumblr, but I’m going to specifically mention Pinterest. For the longest time, I had a Pinterest board called “House Candy”, where I just stuck everything house-decorating-related. A few weeks ago, I went to my Pinterest board to find a photo of a specific bathroom I remember pinning a while back. It took forever to go through the entire “House Candy” board just to find that one photo. That’s when I made a note to set aside some time to organize my Pinterest boards. I decided to go through and re-categorize everything until there wasn’t anything left in the “House Candy” board. I think it took about a little under an hour total to organize all of my Pins, but it was totally worth it. Now, my boards are all categorized and it makes inspiration that much more easily accessible.
06 // Make a meal plan for the rest of the week. The question, “What are we having for dinner?” always seems to pop up around 3:30 or 4:00. Normally, that’s also the time of day where I’m trying to wrap things up, answer the last few emails, etc. Taking a few minutes to map out what you and your family are going to be eating over the next few days can smooth things out nicely. I don’t have a fancy meal planning calendar or anything. I just jot down “D:” on the last line of each day on my weekly planner page in my binder and write what’s for dinner. On the menu tonight, we’re having chicken and spaghetti squash and watching Frozen. When it comes time for the big question, “What’s for dinner?”, it’s right there at my fingertips.
07 // Start a “Thought Notebook”. I have what I call my “Get It Done Binder” that lives on my desk and I use everyday. I love it, like, a lot. I also have a small spiral notebook that I carry with me everywhere I go. I use it to jot down post/print/project ideas, websites to check out, grocery lists, notes I take while I’m on phone meetings, random doodles of dogs… yeah, pretty much everything. Since doing this, the sticky note collection on my desk has been cut down tremendously, so my desk looks and feels much tidier. Having a designated place to write any thought or idea that comes in my head is oh so nice and in a weird way, freeing. Basically, it just keeps me sane. For these “Thought Notebooks”, I love using Staples’ Sustainable Earth notebooks (photographed above and available in store) and Poppin’s medium spiral notebooks.
Hopefully this list helps you regroup and refresh on “those days”. Do you have any helpful tips to add to the list? Anything that makes you instantly feel more “together” and easier to be productive? Be sure to share them with us in the comments.
By the way… Check back tomorrow for my ramblings about our new dining room table!