Last week, I was putting myself together for the year. By that, I mean I was compiling the tools I use that keep me organized and on track with the responsibilities of my job. Some of the items I replenish as I run out and some I need earlier than the new year, but all keep me organized in my mind. By not having the tools we know help us stay successful, we can become more distracted and unbalanced and tasks can take longer than they should to complete as we try to invent a new way.

Here are the things that keep me organized throughout the year:

1.      3 wall calendars: I have 1 at my desk at home and one at the studio (I use these more as quick refence while I’m working at my computer). I also order one for the kitchen that Levi and I use to record different things together and make plans. I jot down studio events, vacations or days off, he will add work functions or football games he wants to watch. In addition to birthdays and other fun things. Levi is the one that often takes the calendar down and updates it while I make dinner. I know it helps him have an overview of the month at home.  

Why not use a digital calendar? We do have a shared digital calendar, but he can’t share his work calendar with me and my schedule often confuses him and he doesn’t see the things that actually pertain to our life together.

Is it a lot of calendars for 2 people. Yup. I hate to tell you, we all now live in the Matrix. Instead of code, it’s calendars.

2.      A spiral notebook: Something smaller than a notebook used for school, I have been using hardback notebooks like these to begin my week for about ten years. I start a new one each year and often get close to getting all the way through it. I record notes from my meetings and often go back to remember what we discussed. In some ways, I like to think of it as a diary of my work. I will write ideas and inspiration and enjoy going back to older books to rediscover old ideas. It can be very grounding.

3.      My meal planner: if you’ve spent any amount of time with me, you know I live and die by my meal planner. An honest discovery that came out of Levi and I needing to live very frugally in the early parts of our relationship. We discovered grocery shopping before the weekend prevented us from eating out so we cooked consistently and have leftovers on nights early in the week when we might be less inclined to cook. You know you’re going to eat every day, why not simplify the process and make it easier to go about your week? It takes me less than half an hour to meal plan each week. That’s less time than it usually takes to decide on a restaurant once!

4.      A monthly calendar: I know, I know, ANOTHER CALENDAR??!?!? This one is for studio events, social media and programming. It helps me map out my time. By having a designated calendar for this, it doesn’t clutter my regular calendar. I use post-its for event ideas or tentative programs and colored markers to organize by theme.

5.      Other fluff: with taxes coming up, I like to have backup ink cartridges ready to go and a case of paper on hand to get me through the year. You might like to have a new set of pins, washi tape or post-its. All things I grab as I need throughout the year, but these things keep me feeling on top of things from day one.

I didn’t set out to have 6 calendars (really, 2 are just for quick reference), and I know there are other ways to organize, but I came to this process naturally. If I had all the calendars in the same place, it would take a lot for me to see what I needed to see from the page I was looking at. This way, I ‘bulk process’ my tasks. I will sit down with the calendars as I need to and work off of them without getting distracted by the rest.

I’d love to hear what things help you feel successful and organized.

Let’s make space for our minds,