From my research, it seems like many wannabe-organizing junkies search for a secret to organizing their entire lives. Posts and pins abound on the subject, but there’s no clear definition (that I’ve found) that describes just what “life” entails [yes, internet, what is the meaning of “life?”].
My dictionary says, “life, n. pl., lives. quality of being alive; period during which things exist; person’s history; vitality; prison sentence; course of living
Hmm… “Prison sentence” is awfully accurate at times.
For now, though, we’ll still with “period during which things exist.” And by “things,” we’ll focus primarily activities, commitments, etc., plus some basic “stuff” (great English here today, guys). Without further ado, here are my strategies for organizing “life:”
secret not-so-secret weapons:
I use file folders (these come in packs of three with different designs, from Wal-Mart!) to organize my miscellaneous non-school papers: takeout menus, maps, brochures, official documents, and more!
I’ve currently got eight main file folders: Curriculum (course checklists, major booklets, etc.), Financial (mainly bank statements), Local (maps, brochures, and menus for off-campus [plus the bus schedule!]), Manuals (these things accumulate quickly!), College (non-curriculum college things), Receipts (for the big [usually online purchase-based] pages that won’t fit in the small organizer), Official (the actual important stuff), and Mementos (ticket stubs, programs, and the like). I’ve got a few more folders hanging around for when the categories need to expand!
My planner is truly my best friend when it comes to organizing two jobs, a plethora of extracurriculars, and something that resembles a social life!
My life is crazy busy 99.9% of the time. The only way I manage to manage that is by utilizing my planner to the fullest extent.
On the monthly page, I use color-coded check marks, for example, a light blue check for the date I changed the filter in my Brita pitcher.
On the weekly pages, I fill in my activities, social events, and obligations— color-coded once more. Obligatory (usually school-based) events are red, extracurriculars are primarily pink, purely social events are green, and so on.
I use sticky notes for everything and anything: bookmarks, reminders, motivational quotes…. There is never not a need for sticky notes, preferably of fun shape or color.
A plethora of sticky notes is always helpful: always.
When I have a million little tasks to accomplish— not major enough to make it into the planner, but too much for a sticky note reminder, this notepad comes in. Depending on what needs to be accomplished, I’ll sometimes use the “do it later” section as schoolwork and the “do it now” as misc. tasks (which may or may not contribute slightly to my procrastination).
This little notepad has been a lifesaver— I get more anxious than usual when I can’t write things down! Get your own here!
Birthdays and budgets and bargains, oh my! My Life Binder is quite often my saving grace when it comes to sanity. When is so-and-so’s birthday? Check the binder. What day of the week is this date? Check the binder. What do I need from the grocery store? Check the binder.
This is the inside cover of my amazing Life Binder. This one truly deserves its own post (soon to come) to fully cover all it has to offer!
As an incredibly anxious person, I like to cover all of my bases. Is it likely that I’ll need a Dunkin’ Donuts receipt ever in the future? Probably not. But is it possible. Sure. For that reason, I keep my receipts in this fun little organizer, categorized into Banking (atm deposits and the like), Bookstore (I work in the on-campus bookstore and may or may not spend half of my paycheck in the process at times), Coffee (vital), Fast Food (a necessary evil at times (plus Dunkin’), and Shopping (groceries, clothes, books, and whatnot).
“Would you like your receipt?” Why yes, yes I would. From there, I will store it in the proper category within my lovely receipt organizer ($1 at Dollar Tree, then labelled)!
A few unpictured tools have also been deemed essential:
On the side of my micro-fridge, facing my desk, is an ornate dry-erase calendar (also color-coordinated). Filling it out each month is almost therapeutic, and it allows me to quickly view my month at a glance!
As you can tell, I do a lot of color-coordination. For this, my multi-colored pens, sticky tabs, and highlighters are crucial!
In addition, what I cannot stress enough is a need for paper clips. They seem like a rather mundane office supply, but I absolutely adore them. Pile of related papers? BAM, they’re conveniently combined with a pretty little clip (because, of course, mine are multi-colored, to fit in!).
So there you have it folks, my basic secrets to maintaining what my friends consider to be the world’s busiest schedule!