I can’t remember when it exactly started or how it came about, but my love for organization started at a young age. I would organize my Barbies just so, line up my baby dolls in age order, & had notebooks with color coded tabs for every subject under the sun. I’d like to think that I’m a pretty organized person. It’s a gift that I’m so grateful for in my life. Strip me away from my apps, planners, & lists and I’m just a hot mess in a dress! In fact, one time in college, I lost my iPod Touch for a week & I had a complete and total meltdown because I didn’t know what was next on my to-do list. I was lost without it. Maybe I was being a bit over dramatic, but the emotions were real!
My friends are always asking me how I organize my day, wanting to know my tricks of the trade, & get “on my level” (lol jk). So today, I want to share my process & a few tools I use to keep my day organized.
Designing My Day
At the beginning of each day, I design my day in my little Day Designer planner. I used to have the big Whitney English Day Designer, but she just came out with a Target line & you already know I had to nab that. And I absolutely love it! “But what does ‘designing your day’ mean, Lauren?” you ask. Designing your day pretty much means planning out your day so that you can be the most productive and efficient you can be.
I juggle a lot of plates, therefore I have a lot of different things I need to do at different times. First things first when designing my day, I have to know what I need to get done that day & allot time for each thing that needs to get done in categories. In the pic below you’ll see what I mean!
Going from one activity to another helps massage my brain & makes the day go by faster because I’m not getting bored with just one thing. With my categories, I try to stay as broad as possible, labeling them like blogging, design work, Campus work (the church that I work at), education, etc. Designing my day is different from writing down my to-do’s. I’ll talk more about to-do’s later! When I’m designing my day, I’m just planning out when I’m going to actually get started on the many to-do’s that are on my list. Make sense?
Designing my day really helps me stay focused & on track. It gives me a purpose to get things done & keeps me motivated to make things happen!
BONUS TIP: If you’re a visual person, use washi tape and colored pens to design your day! I haven’t done it in this particular planner; but in my other planners, doing this really made me happy & eager to rock my day.
Tools of the Trade
I’m an appoholic! I’m always checking for the latest & greatest apps to help my life run more smoothly. The following apps are what I use on a daily basis to help keep my day organized:
This is by far my favorite #1 go-to to-do app! I’ll be upfront with you, it’s pretty pricey for an app. It’s $14.99, but right now they have it 55% off, making it $6.99. In my opinion, any cost is totally worth it; that’s how much I love this app! I have the ability to schedule all my daily & weekly to-do’s on the app and set them on repeat so it becomes a routine. I also schedule all my to-do’s that I need to do for the week at the beginning of each week. On Monday mornings, I allot time to just sit down and go through all that I need to get done that week & think out all the to-do’s that it will take to get everything executed well and schedule what days I need to do them. I have different lists for the different categories of to-do’s I have in my life such as: blogging, design work, Campus work, general tasks, etc. What’s especially helpful is that I can jot down & schedule to-do’s that I know I need to get done in the future. For example, I’ll need to send out invitations for a party in 4 weeks, so I’ll jot down “Send out invitations,” put it in the “general tasks” list, & schedule to be done 4 weeks from now.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Evernote, but for the super duper, type A organized person, I think OneNote is the way to go. You can make unlimited Notebooks, and tabs in the notebooks, and pages in the tabs in the notebooks! I use it to do my weekly blog planning, work on my brand design, make lists, and mind map. But for quick notes & sharing, I most definitely use Evernote. SIDE NOTE: I’ll admit, when I don’t have to be super organized about things, a cute notebook and colorful pens still puts me in a happy place. But sometimes it is best to go digital because it’s like having a never ending notebook always at your disposal, plus you don’t have to do a lot of searching when you’re looking for that one particular note.
Plain and simple! It automatically comes on my iPhone, iPad, & Mac, syncs seamlessly, & I can color code my calendars/calendar categories so that things stay organized. One key tip I have about calendaring is that when a date pops up, get into the habit of immediately jotting the date down on your calendar or else you’ll forget it. I know I will!
These are all social media scheduling apps. I use CoSchedule to schedule my Twitter, Facebook, Google+, & blog posts. Publish is for scheduling my Instagram posts & Ahalogy is for scheduling my pins on Pinterest. Scheduling is my best friend. I can just schedule all my posts to go out in advance & not have to worry about all the social media posts until next scheduling period. A lot of these scheduling apps will even post at the best time I will get the most views. It’s just one more thing that get’s taken off my plate during the week & I’m so grateful for apps like these.
A Few Quick Tips
I could talk your ear off about how to organize your day but I’m sure you’ve got a to-do list that needs tackling, but before you go, let me leave you with a few quick tips:
Keep a running t0-do list
Whether you use 2Do or a pen & paper, when you know you need to do something, write it down on your to-do list with a date for when you need to do it.
Get things done sooner rather than later
It’s best to have more time in the end rather than being pressed for time at the last minute trying to get everything done. In short, don’t procrastinate! People always ask me “Isn’t it a bit early to be working on that?” and I say “No!” Because two days before the actual deadline, I’m chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool while everyone else is all in a tizzy trying to make deadline!
As much as I’d love for my beautifully designed day to flow just as I planned, it doesn’t. Stuff happens! Choose to be flexible rather than getting your panties in a wad because things aren’t going according as planned. That’s why I design my day in pencil, because I know something’s bond to pop up, so I utilize that little eraser at the end of my pencil and adjust accordingly.
Just do it!
It’s so tempting to blow off your to-do list because you’d rather just mindlessly peruse through social media or binge on Netflix. But don’t. It’s not healthy & it’s not going to make your to-do list go away. Push through the temptation to be lazy & get things done!!