How I Stay Organized & Plan My Time Effectively

Organization and planning are things that I have only come to embrace in my life during my years in university. See, I was a mess before. I may have used my memory to remember everything but I NEVER, EVER wrote in planners. I remember being in middle school and my grade 8 teacher would check our planners every Thursday. If it wasn't filled out by us and signed by our parents, we would receive consequences. I was the type of student, at the time, who scribbled in stuff late Wednesday night, had my mom sign it and present it to my teacher the next day.

While my 13-year-old self saw that as tedious and time consuming, my 24-year-old self thanks herself for trying to instil something in my life that would become a vital part in it over 10 years later.

Now, I am an organization freak. The desk I am writing from is coordinated to the T. Notebooks and pens to my right, other stationary to my write in a beautifully sectioned off caddy. My iMac there in case I need to hop on and do some work. I have two planners - one is a day planner and one is a weekly planner. I use my weekly planner to plan out my week as an overview while my day planner is used to for specific details. I try not to get upset if I don't follow my schedule 100% but I do try to stay on track. I use sticky notes and notepads. Also, Google Calendar has become the apple of my eye (no joke!). Now if people want to meet up for coffee, they can see my calendar and see when I am free between classes, meetings and other stuff that consumes my time. Now, I can safely say that my life has greatly improved after I stopped being stubborn and dived into the world of organization.

I KEEP IT SIMPLE

While I am one who loves colour, when it comes to my planner, black and white is how I roll. However, if something important needs to be written, I write it in red. I find too many colours distracting when trying to retrieve important dates and information and by having a simple and clean planner, I am able to see what I need to do easier.

GIVING MYSELF SPACE

I like to give myself time to let things naturally happen. While I like to stay on schedule, I feel it's really important for me to give myself some leeway as a buffer. So for example something that would most likely take 1 hour to do, I give myself 1 hour 15 minutes or 1 hour 30 minutes just so I don't need to rush from one task to another. 

I SET SHORT AND LONG TERM GOALS REGULARLY

I am an avid fan of goal-setting. Whether it be for my personal brand, my business, faith or even my career aspirations, I love goal-setting while keeping the present in mind. Something I talked about here before is destination addiction and that is something that can happen when you’re focusing on the future and not at your present. It is great to strive for a better future but if you are not aware of your present and you don’t set realistic goals, you’ll set yourself up for failure. That being said, I find to always exceed my capabilities slightly so I see growth within myself.

I SET PRIORITY LISTS ON A QUARTERLY BASIS

I have a list of different areas in my life that I prioritize. I rank them from 1-5 (or beyond). I set these priority lists so I can have a scope of what I should strive for. It’s super important to help you stay on track

So everyone, tell me how you stay organized. I would love to hear some different ways to perhaps refine my own habits as well. To everyone going back to school and work today, I hope it goes well and that 2019 brings you a year of clarity, success and refinement. 

Resources I have used and loved

1) The Content Planner
I highly recommend it for brand/business planning.

2) The Day Designer
A very detailed (kind of pricey) day planner that changed my life.

Any large whiteboard calendar to write goals and any pocket sized weekly planner to set quick goals.

Beware of Destination Addiction

Destination addiction. I am as guilty of it as most millennials. We dream of our next job, our next home, when we will get married and have children. It is okay to dream these things but when it comes in our way of living in the present moment and experiencing gratitude and contentment, that is when it isn’t healthy.

 

The term “destination addiction” resonated with me when I saw a quote on Twitter: Beware of destination addiction: the idea that happiness is in the next place or job. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, you will never be where you are.

 

 

I shall tell you all a little story. Throughout my late teens and early twenties, I always dreamed of getting married to the love of my life. I was convinced that marriage would be the cure to my battle with mental health issues. I thought it would make me permanently happy. This was so ingrained in my head that, for a few years, I did not do anything proactively to otherwise keep myself content or feeling grateful.  While I am happily married (yes my dream partly came true), my mental health issues have not gone away. I was so preoccupied by a certain event in my life, one I thought would resolve my issues, that I did not build a strong enough foundation for myself. However, there were times when I stopped fixating on the future and focused on my now. One of those times happened when I met my husband.

Beware of destination addiction: the idea that happiness is in the next place or job. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, you will never be where you are.

 See that is what destination addiction does to you. It makes you live in the future and not the present; think about the “what if’s” and not the “what now’s”. It causes more damage than it does good. I am not saying that having dreams is a bad thing, not at all. We should use our aspirations as a means to strive towards improving ourselves and helping those around us. However, when you focus entirely on the future, so much that you stop caring about who and what is around you in the present, you put your relationships and mental health at stake.

 

What we need to do is focus on our present. We should not think tomorrow is guaranteed because frankly our end on this earth is written by Him. We should take one day at a time and set goals that work today but also help you in the future. We should also count our blessings and be grateful; remember there is someone out there wishing they had your life.