If you’ve been following me for any amount of time then you know I love me some planners and organization. So today I’m taking you through how I keep things organized, with the help of my new planner for 2020, Kahootie Co., and a new-to-me app, Todoist.
I won’t go into my spiel (had to Google how to spell that) of why planners are SO great, even though it’s 2020 and people are all digital. But — I have gone a little digital with my to-do list. More on that soon. In the meantime, having a trusty, beautiful planner is a great way to start your day, week, month (and even your yearrrrr…OK I’ll stop singing the Friends theme song).
Kahootie‘s planners are a FRESH slate for the year. You literally have to fill them in since they come basically blank. Which yes is extra work, but you can make them your own. Each planner I’ve used I’ve loved, but there was always something I wanted to tweak or add, so with this one, I am able to map out the week (I always pick the weekly version of planners) as I see fit. The company was kind enough to send me extra stickers and I went to town filling in my blank pages. And that’s the fun part — I will go week to week so I can plan my week ahead (ideally Friday afternoons or sometimes over the weekend). Here’s a look at how I planned last week:
I don’t put every part of my schedule into my planner (such as reoccurring weekly meetings) but I do put things like important presentations, meetings I lead, before or after work events and appointments, etc. Every meeting and appointment is also saved digitally on my iPhone (see, I am digital) via Outlook and Google Calendar. I also love putting in my workouts and meals for the week, so I have extra space in my planner to map those out to stay accountable. Very helpful. I also have a space for my social and blog posts, and my new side hustle with Beautycounter.
Getting Digital with Todoist
In addition to my planner, I always wrote my to-do list on a sheet of paper. I still write a lot down on paper (especially things I need to do over the weekend or urgent work items I must remember) but my “master” to-do list was lengthy — like three pages. It contained every work and personal task and things we need to do around the house. Needless to say, I would forget about it, and it took too much time to update.
I was also writing my grocery list down on paper, but then it would be upstairs in my work bag for instance and I’d be down in the kitchen realizing we were out of ketchup or something and I’d type a reminder in my phone to put it on my list later. And, a lot of the time I’d be on my way to the store and realize I forgot my list so I’d have my husband text a picture of it to me. Too much work! (And half the time now I use Instacart to shop — way better.) All that to say, my life changed for the better recently when I implemented Todoist. This handy app is saved on my desktop browser but is also an app on my phone.
Here, I save alllll my work tasks, personal to-dos, future home projects, things I need to remember to buy and my grocery list. Now when I think of something, my phone is usually handy (or my Apple Watch is always on) and I can instantly add it. Plus, once you do something, you can mark it done and it’s so satisfying (kind of like the feeling you get when you can cross something off your paper list). You can also mark things as reoccurring which is nice. Yes, I still handwrite lists because #paperforever, but this app has really helped me remember ALL the things so my brain doesn’t have to when I don’t have my list handy. I have it separated by client for work, too so I can easily toggle between projects. I believe you can add users to this as well. SCORE!
I also still use my iPhone reminders because I am always worried I am going to forget something. Paranoia? Maybe. Peace of mind? Most of the time. Damn you, Type A brain.
Quick Tips For Getting Tasks Organized
- Reward yourself: No, you don’t need to go out and drop $200 on a new pair of jeans for cleaning the bathroom, but you should have your eye on the prize as you’re getting through tasks. For example: get through that daunting PowerPoint deck and then make a cup of tea. Clean the downstairs of your house and then take a 10-minute break to mindlessly scroll Instagram. The Everygirl just shared some work hacks including the Pomodoro Technique, similar to this idea. But you build up to those breaks. The gist is you work for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break and after four pomodoros (that sounds like a cocktail), you give yourself a longer break with 20 minutes. Smart and easy.
- Share your tasks: You don’t need to tell the world your entire to-do list, but if you are working on something, hold yourself accountable by sharing it with someone. Tell a coworker, “I am going to get this done in the next hour” then check in with them then (or ask them to check in with you). You get the idea.
- Don’t let it pile up: Every time I come into work or come home, I have 87 things. From my lunch bag to my work bag, random mail that needs to be sorted, papers that I collected, something I bought at the store or arrived in a box with wayyy too much packaging on it. I feel like I always have too much. But I always, always sort and put away right away. I recycle any papers I don’t need, am always calling and unsubscribing from mailing lists to try and get less, and give every item a place. Once I am cleaned up and ready, then I can get to what I need to do. This also accounts for emails (sort, answer, sort, flag, etc. at least two times a day) and then time entry. If you work for clients and have to bill your time, you are blessed with this fun task (sarcasm; it’s actually the worst) then I highly recommend entering your time more frequently than I currently do. Old habits…This can also account for dishes in the kitchen or laundry to put away. I do it all ASAP.
What other organization tips are you putting to good use in 2020?