The Post Office Shop challenged me and three other home and interiors bloggers – Becky from Thrifty Home, Amanda from The Ana Mum Diary and Jen from Love Chic Living – to come up with clever ways to use your home printer. Knowing the others would come up with some amazingly creative, stylish and heartfelt ideas – do check them out via their links above – I have attempted to wrack my brains for a slightly different tack. I want to share some stylish organisation ideas.
I’ve been trying to get myself and our home more organised, those who now me know that that perfectionism/procrastination combination can be a killer. One thing I have really been focussing on, and reading up on, is time management. I was getting tired of seeing the same of things still on my to do list, and of feeling like my goals, dreams and plans to really move me where I want to be, kept getting put on a back burner. If you recognise any of those feelings, you might like some of these tools, plus they look stylish too.
To do lists
Making a really huge to do list is cathartic, getting it down on paper helps. But…you need to break that list down somehow, or it overwhelms you. A distant, but gorgeous relative of mine happens to be a designer with a whole collection of gorgeous printable planning tools, finding her printable shop has really helped me organise different areas of my life.
I use Alexia Claire’s printables to plan the content for my blogs and my daily to do list. I do a monthly plan for the blog and then look at it each Monday to work out what posts need writing and when. The family planner set is great for anyone who has more than one project or person to juggle! having a planner with multiple columns for each day is great for me when I am planning content over more than one blog or over social media.
Start the day with 20 minutes planning
The time you spend planning your day at the beginning of each day, or at the end of the previous day is well worth it. If your brain knows what it is doing when, it doesn’t waste energy panicking, worrying and stays more focussed. Although, I am trying to allow some less scheduled time too, as I also know I am a rebel who gets bored of a schedule!
Take the day holistically, think positives!
When I need to be really on task I like a daily planner, with lots of room to focus. Alexia’s Daily Planner takes the day holistically – including exercise, food, three positive things (at the bottom so cut out of the pic below) as well as a to do list. It’s also great for reminding you that health is important. Plus it looks great!
Analyse your to do list
If I don’t look at the tasks on my long to do list objectively, then I just end up leaping from one to the next and worrying about things which actually aren’t important, while spending ages on things that really don’t help me get where I need to be at the end of the day. To do this I am trying to use the Urgent Important Matrix…
Urgent or Important?
Look at the tasks you have to do objectively using the matrix below.
If something is urgent and important, we get it done, but It is very easy to get bogged down in urgent not important tasks i.e. people interrupting you to do stuff for them, and even non urgent, not important tasks i.e. procrastination, checking facebook, leaving the tasks that are important, but not urgent for another day. Sadly often these are important but not urgent tasks are the ones that involve meeting our dreams and goals, or truly moving us forward.
Sometimes I divide my tasks up like this, but what I find quickest, is to have this printed out and near my desk as a reminder. Then when I am ordering my to do list into daily chunks, I can allocate set amounts of time to things.
I am hoping the number of urgent things will fall as I get more organised, leaving me more time to crack on with the more important things in life. Reading a book in the sunshine over my lunch break?
Take a break
Even though my working days are short, because I pick up the kids at 3.30, I am trying to take a break at lunch. Your brain needs that time. I do some of my exercise during this time too or walk the dog – some of my best ideas come to me while running, having a shower or walking the dog. It helps to prompt your brain though, so I try to do my to do list first thing, so my brain can solve problems while I am doing other things.
Alexia does weekly meal plans (for when I am really on fire) and I like the addition of the shopping list so you can keep track of things as they run out through the week, ready for next week’s plan. For the minimalists, OllieBird also has a very simple but lovely kitchen themed meal planner here, which you could frame and then use with a dry wipe marker.
Health and Fitness Planning
My exercise always goes in my diary too as a plan. If I miss a slot then I try not to beat myself up, but instead I replan the slot I missed somewhere else in the week. Exercise makes me work faster and better, so I remind myself of that when I feel guilty for not being sat at my desk.
I’m currently embarking on my training for a half marathon, so I have also been looking at Alexia’s Health and Fitness planner.
Food diaries can be really useful tools when you are trying a new way of eating or trying to control what you eat. I like this food diary and often print out several copies to stick on the fridge.
Making your favourite printables reusable
Once you find a printable you like, you start to worry about wasting paper, which is why I like the idea of framing some of my favourite tried and tested printables to use with a dry wipe marker. It doesn’t work for everything, sometimes you need the paper to hand. But it worked well for the Olliebird meal planner, and now I just need to find a friend with a laminator, to laminate Alexia’s daily planner.