I was once introduced to my best friends new girlfriend, as ‘organised and always with snacks’. I was pretty pleased with that description as it pretty damn accurately sums me up, being told all my life that I am the organised one. I don’t put too much weight on star signs – but I am a stereotypical Virgo through and through; clean, organised and an over-the-top perfectionist. Oh yes, if I was a Friends character I’d be Monica.
Being organised is both a gift and a curse, it can be quite maddening having to be prepared for every possible scenario, organising life to the tiniest little detail. Yet I know that being organised is a skill that many people would like to have. I have had multiple friends and family wonder how I am able to stay so organised, so I thought I’d put together a little list of how I manage to keep so organised, and perhaps it could help you, dear reader, get a little bit more organised in your life!
To do list, by the day
Of course, most people have a to-do list, but I organise mine by the day instead of writing just one long list. I find that this is a lot easier to manage, rather than staring at a great big long list and getting overwhelmed by all the tasks.
At the start of the week, in the notes folder in my phone, I write out all the days of the week and work out when I can slot things in on my to-do list. For example, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays are when I work all day, so for those days, I would only put small, manageable tasks on the to-do list (e.g do laundry, write one blog post). Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays I have the daytime off, so the majority of the week’s tasks fall on those days (e.g clean the house, write a meal plan, write blog posts etc). As I only get Sundays off with the boyfriend, I always reserve that day as completely free – no tasks go on that day unless really urgent.
Another little trick I have found is creating a ‘not so urgent’ to-do list. This is the stuff that isn’t so important that you need to get done straight away but for the stuff that does need to be done. By keeping the two separate, I know that if I finish my tasks and still have free time spare, I can tick something off of the not so urgent list!
My life would be nowhere near organised if I didn’t have the help from Google. Primarily I use Google Drive and Google Calander, two absolute god-sends.
I was introduced to Google Drive when I was at university, as it was a great way for me to record my lecture notes. Now, I use it to record any information, from blogging ideas, travel packing lists, meal planner and all of my recipes.
All you need to do is sign up using an email address (doesn’t have to be a Gmail account!), and you can access Google Drive from anything with an internet connection. This is so much better than saving things in Word, on your computer or trying to keep tons of notes the old fashioned way, using a pen and paper. You can also add users too, useful for my boyfriend who wants to cook a recipe but doesn’t know what cookbook to look in – he just searches on my drive and he can access it too!
Now, this isn’t particularly groundbreaking, but it amazes me how many people I know that do not have a diary of any kind. I used to have a paper diary, but for the past couple of years I have found having my diary on my phone is much more practical. Google Calander is better than your regular phone calendar as you can colour code (colour code!!), and link it to your Google account.
I have Google Calendar as a widget on one of my home-screens so I can easily see what I am doing on that day. It is also really useful for making appointments when you are out and about – all you do is input it onto your phone straight away. Plus, you can add reminders – setting an alarm to go off for when you need yano, reminding.
Another way I am able to stay so organised is that I have turned all push notifications off of my phone. Literally all. The only time I get a notification is when I am in the app itself, aside from messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (although I have muted all group conversations I am apart of as that also would drive me crazy!). Therefore, it is quite rare that I am on my phone as I am not endless checking each notification that comes through. This way, I don’t get distracted and end up in a Twitter black hole, and I am able to get more stuff done during the day.
Oh, the spreadsheet, the holy grail for all those organised folk out there. Google Drive also has its own version of Excel, so I can store all my spreadsheets on there. I have a spreadsheet for bills, blog content, meal ideas, shopping lists, travel destinations and at Christmas time I use a spreadsheet for present ideas.
If you want to become more organised, you will need to embrace the spreadsheet, my friend.
I mentioned that I used a spreadsheet for meal ideas, which is something that I could not do without and is probably the most important sheet I have. I am a big foodie and love keeping on track of what meals I want to make.
I have organised my sheets into breakfast, lunch, dinner and baking – so whenever I come across a new recipe from the internet, magazine or cookbook I make a note of what it is in my spreadsheet, and link to it or write what cookbook it is from.
This is a useful tool for meal planning – something that David and I sit down to write each week. I go to my spreadsheet for inspiration and we look at what meals most appeal to us that week. We also have a ‘tried and tested’ section, a repertoire of recipes we have accumulated so we don’t forget what our favourite recipes are. Having a meal plan to stick to each week means we don’t have any food wastage, and we are not stuck for ideas of what to cook after a long day at work.
Bookmarks and Folders
I’m sure most people do this, but on my laptop, I rely heavily on my bookmarks bar. I have them organised them into folders; bills, blog, email, recipes, shopping, social media, travel, TV and work. I then save the relevant links into those folders, rather than having links all over the shop.
I also have a specific ‘to read’ folder, where I save any links, blog posts or articles that I don’t have time to read at that moment. This is useful, as I always see links to read when I’m scrolling through my phone waiting for a bus or something, and this way I don’t lose them.
Finally, I actually READ MY EMAILS. My god, it horrifies me when I see people with about 200 unread emails in their inbox. I, once again, organise my emails into folders; bills, important documents, travel etc and for the stuff that I do not have the time to reply to, I leave in my ‘urgent’ folder.
I also hate anything related to spam, so I always make sure to untick that box if I sign up to something, however, sometimes you do get signed up to mailing lists for emails you just don’t’ want to receive. The website UnRoll Me, unsubscribes you from mailing lists, which is such a quick way to delete the junk clogging up your inbox. You’ll soon have a clutter-free inbox in no time!
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