How I'm Staying Organized Both Online and Off
My maternity leave officially starts today and it’s kinda weird. I mean, when was the last time you had off just to do whatever you need to? I mean, I’ve taken mental health days here and there which help get me in order. But right now I have two-ish weeks to myself…as long as baby doesn’t make her debut early!
On Sunday night I sat down and got myself organized. With the whirlwind of prepping for my leave, it’s been awhile since I spent some one-on-one time with my planner. It was much needed. Ever since I entered my late twenties and started my career as a teacher, I crave organization. To do lists, planners, labelled file folders, binders, I love them all.
It took me a long time to get to this place. In fact, if you ask my parents, my being organized is a complete surprised. My fourth grade teacher had to call home because I wasn’t writing down assignments in my agenda and kept forgetting my homework (oh the irony).
I won’t say I’m perfect and completely organized at all times. Some of my teacher friends would definitely put me to shame. But I have developed a few favorite tools, both online and on paper, to keep me organized. With 2019 fresh and new, it’s definitely time to put those tools to work.
My favorite ways to stay organized both online and off
Ever since that awful afternoon that my teacher called home and I got in trouble about my homework, there has been some sort of agenda or planner in my life. It’s a catch-all for deadlines, plans with friends and family, to-do lists, and everything that needs to be scheduled. It’s been a lifesaver the past nine months since this is the most doctor’s appointments and planning I’ve ever had to do.
I think planners are very personal and it can take awhile to find what works for you. For many years I was a Filofax devotee and loved purchasing new pages every December. Then the pages started to feel too cramped so the search was on. I tried everything from those cheap ones with vinyl covers to all sorts of freebies to jumping on the ban.do planner bandwagon. Now I’m using a Happy Planner for the second year in a row. They’re found at Michael’s and really affordable. I like that I can customize it, the patterns are cute, and there’s both daily pages and monthly layouts. If you think you’re not a planner person, sometimes it just takes finding the right one for you.
The perfect online catch-all tool has got to be Google Keep. I’m a big believer in the brain dump because otherwise I’ll go crazy trying to remember everything for work, for my blog, and for my everyday life. Google Keep is basically like the Notes app on an iPhone but it syncs across your phone and your computer. It’s a great place to store links and images. It also has the capability to create checklists. My favorite features have to be the color-coding of notes (I live for color-coding to stay organized) and being able to share notes with other people who also use Google. This was really great when Nick and I were planning our big summer road trip so that we could both add ideas to our list even when we weren’t together.
Another favorite online tool is, of course, another Google app: Google Drive. Since my classroom has one-to-one chromebooks for the students, I got used to using Drive really quickly and fell in love. I guess I would characterizing it as a better functioning and user-friendly hard drive. But again, I love that I can have it as an app on my phone and on my computer to keep everything I need with me at all times. The sharing feature is another big bonus since I share between my teaching account and my personal account. It’s probably my favorite tool for organizing my online life.
A chalkboard or cork board
Now we’re going really old-fashioned with cork boards and chalkboards but honestly, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Of course I write down reminders and to-do’s in my planner but some things are better left out in the open. We have a big chalkboard wall in our kitchen which I added a calendar to. When I have something I need to remember that doesn’t fit in my planner, like remembering to buy something at the grocery store, it gets scribbled on the wall. I’m also looking into getting a cork board for our shared office to keep little notes, bills, and other scraps of paper that I don’t want to hide away.
Papermate flair pens
I don’t think I could talk about staying organized without talking about my love for Papermate flair pens. These take my love of color-coding to the next level. Different areas of my life get a different color and it helps my planner and notes make sense with a quick scan. Plus it’s just pretty this way!