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’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 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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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!