I don’t know about you, but back to school time get’s me in an organizing mood. I believe it may be some strange variation of nesting or perhaps just my need for inclusion on school supply shopping (because aren’t fresh school supplies the best? Hello new Trapper Keeper!).
I also confess I was an odd child in that I wanted an office chair (with wheels) and desk for Christmas when I was a second grader. Instead of shopping at Toys R’ Us my parents were at some used office supply store, rummaging through pre-used desks for their little girl. I fancied any paper product that included carbon and seemed official and eventually (I don’t care to admit how old I was) got a real cash register (yes, this was a Christmas gift too). My brother and sister got very tired of my business ventures and being my customer.
I thought certainly I’d end being a businesswoman or becoming some type of boss (according to my siblings I accceled in this roll). But alas, I am a mom of four and a writer.
However, somewhere between childhood and having my own children I was an executive assistant. I had my own desk, computer, forms, phones, etc. and I spent my day organizing executives. I’ve always been a very detailed person and who loves order, but I couldn’t help learning a few tips and tricks, when organizing someone else’ s life is your 8-5, M-F, that have stuck with me through the years.
Currently, I’ve been working to bring some of these practices into my home because keeping track of six people’s schedules (my family) is no joke.
The following are a few products and tips that I promise will help you stay organized!
01 / Use a day planner
It’s all very Franklin Covey (do you remember?) but nothing beats writing things down (like literally with a pen-these are my fave pens, btw). I still keep everything in my iPhone (which also puts it on my computer -so that no matter where I am I’ve got an overview) but I love to look at my day hour by hour and write out my To-Do’s which sits side by side. Wouldn’t you agree that crossing a “To-Do” off the list is really satisfying?
I’m currently using The Day Designer. I did a lot of research and really liked the daily layout (I have the mini, which is plenty big in my opinion). I love having a spot at the top to write out the night’s dinner (I have it written down on my grocery list when I meal plan at the beginning of the week, but often forget what I scheduled for that day) and box at the bottom to write out a daily gratitude.
Emily Ley has a very similar design and lots of beautiful options to choose from. Another brand I’ve got my eye on is Golden Coil. They are brand new, but I love the simple modern design and that you can customize your day planner sheets to fit your needs. I’m thinking I may try them for 2018.
02 / File
So much is digital, so we obviously don’t have to paper file everything these days, but there are some things that need to be kept in a safe spot. I have files for the usual things like insurance, medical information, passports and so forth, but I didn’t have a place to keep my business information. I started making a few files that eventually ended up in piles (piling is my number one organizational problem. I’d like to say this means that it is because everything doesn’t have a place, but it also because I have four kids and not enough hours in the day…but I certainly needed a few more places for important things). And digging through piles of papers is a big waste of time when you need to find something quickly.
My desk, as you can see, only has two small drawers, so I really needed some hidden real estate.
I recently ordered this mint green filing cabinet from CB2 and couldn’t be happier.
One of the best filing tips I learned as an executive assistant was to arrange file tabs in a single line rather than staggering. This keeps everything streamlined and clear and gives your eyes a place to focus when looking for what you need.
03 / Buckets for belongings
This is random, but probably really familiar. Devices everywhere and a million cords and accessories to boot. I wish I had a really posh charging station that was part of each child’s custom built cubby in my spacious mud room. But I don’t (nor do I have a spacious mudroom)….so I bought small containers at Target and labeled them and each night the kids have to put there bits and bobs and devices in the bins. And if they don’t….well, I don’t have to pile them on the desk until the morning… because the containers are in the cabinet and I just check them in, myself.
04 / Sort
The daily sorter (pictured above, right) is something I used in my admin days. It gave me a place to put papers that didn’t need to be filed, but needed action. I decided this might be a great thing to bring into our home life because I just started piling papers into a basket on the desk and lo and behold kids were not taking back permission forms and I was forgetting things left and right. This way I can take a form or document or invitation and stick it behind the day that it is needed. Then you just check the file each day to see if there is anything that needs your attention, that day!
These are just a few things I’m trying to incorporate in my life again. It’s not fool proof but I have a few extra tools that really help me to simplify and sort.
Do you have any favorite tips or products for staying organized in life? I’d love to know!
PS- You can see more on my office area here.
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