organize

5 ways to instantly become more organized

 

I am addicted to get-organized-quick schemes. When I’m not busy at work, my favorite thing to do is watch webinars on how to best use my iPhone, Outlook, and other tools to be the most productive and organized person in the world that I can be.

After a couple of these webinars, advice from other people, and trying out different things, I found some really helpful tricks that have improved how I do things in my professional and personal life. Now I feel like things don’t fall through the cracks and I can keep up on all my random to-dos – the only thing left is finding the energy to do them….

Image-1

1.Turn off email notifications.

This was a huge one for me. I use Outlook at work, and the majority of the time I’m not so busy that I can’t stop for a second to answer an email, or even just scan the subject line of a new email that would pop up at the corner of my screen. I never thought the notifications were a big deal or that they interrupted anything.

Then I was listening to a webinar and they said to shut it off, and cited studies and all sorts of convincing shit that made me do it. I honestly didn’t think it would make that much of a difference, but it has.

Here’s why: even if the email is not in any way important, I will stop whatever (actually important) thing I’m doing to read it. It was so distracting, and I didn’t even realize it until it was gone. Now, when I start working on a project, I can actually get something done. Even if a super important email comes in while I’m working, can’t it wait 30 minutes to an hour? If it is that urgent, the person in need can just pick up the phone and call me. I’m telling you, it is so much nicer to go into my inbox after completely focusing on a project and seeing 5 emails, rather than checking each one as they come in and feeling like my brain is in 5 places at once.

I never turned my email notifications on on my phone, but it sounds like an awful idea, for the record. I have been hanging out with friends, drinking beers, when their phone makes a noise and all of a sudden they’re depressed because they got a stressful or drama-inducing email and now we’re all bummed.

I say, turn it off! You’ll start spending actual focused time on what you are doing right now, and your time will start to feel like your time, not someone else’s to do what they want with.

2. Set up email folders.

I mean, duh. But – I learned a system from a webinar distributed at work that has saved me from stressing out or losing track of important things during days when I felt like I had 324,785 things to do. I wish I could credit the correct person for this system, but it was months ago! If anyone thinks this looks familiar and knows the origin, please let me know – but it is too good not to share.

Here is how I have it set up:

 

5-23-2016 4-29-31 PM

Seems a little complicated, but I promise it’s not! Let’s start at the top.

  • Inbox

This is only for incoming messages. Weird concept, right? I used to just work out of my inbox entirely and only put things in folders that I was saving for the future. But using this system, the inbox only shows you things you haven’t dealt with yet. Then, once you’ve dealt with everything (not finished everything, but allocated everything to its appropriate place in your folders) your inbox will be empty. It’s a marvelous feeling.

  • Today

These are things you need to deal with today. This is great for when you come in in the morning to a shit ton of emails in your inbox and you just need to go through everything to figure out what is urgent, what isn’t, if any fires are burning the place down, etc. If something needs to be done today, you put it in that folder and make sure everything in there is finished by the time you leave. Simple.

  • Tomorrow

Same deal. Except when you come in the next day, or maybe right before you leave, you shift your tomorrow stuff to today. Sounds like something you’ll forget to do, right? But just try if it sounds like something that could help you – it is way more intuitive than I thought it would be.

  • This week

This is great for having a reminder email in there to just keep up with a project, stay in touch with someone, etc – but it doesn’t have to have a specific deadline.

  • Next week

Same deal. When you come in on Monday, or before you leave Friday, you update your folders. See below on how I never forget to do that with my Monday calendar event.

  • Waiting For

THIS IS HUGE. This, my friends, is how I become a magical sorceress who never – I mean, never – lets anything slip through the cracks. Here’s how it works – you reply to someone asking a question, or you email someone needing something in return. After you send it, go to your send folder, and plop that baby in Waiting For. Then, you can regularly check back and follow up with people if they don’t get back to you. When someone gets back to you, you delete it from the folder. (If you are in Outlook, make sure to sort your messages by conversation so everything stays together – that way, it’s easy to see that someone got back to you even when you’re only looking in the Waiting For folder – their reply will be right there with your request.) This is great for covering your ass – you have proof right there that you were waiting on someone else, and you can politely follow up with them in a reasonable time frame so things can get resolved. I am absolutely obsessed with this one – if you do nothing else that I say in this post, but you want to try one thing, do this.

Then I have just helpful folders below – that RANDY/KAREN folder is titled “RANDY/KAREN NO ACTION” (I put it in all caps so it stands out from the other system/default folders). Randy and Karen are colleagues I work with, and they cc me on a lot of stuff that I sometimes need to do nothing about. So I put them in here, so I have them on hand when they bring it up, but it isn’t clogging up my inbox or to-do folders.

The other ones are just helpful folders to save emails that describe processes I need to follow, or a place to put emails relating to the systems we use, etc. The only other one I want to touch on is the Yay Me folder. This is great for work emails – you throw in any email where someone is like, “Hey, you organized-as-hell sorceress, you are amazing at your job and I really appreciate that hard thing you did for me today via email” into this folder. Then when you’re having a bad day, or you are trying to get the nerve up to ask for a raise, or whatever, you look at this stuff and you’re like “How did I forget for one SECOND how amazing I am”. I love it.

3. Set up calendar appointments to start your week off right.

To be honest, I need to do this with my personal life – sit down every Sunday with Anthony and look at the week ahead – decide when we will go grocery shopping, when he has rehearsals, etc. The only headway I’ve made here is getting a joint Google calendar on our phones so we don’t double-book ourselves and nothing sneaks up on us (Anthony’s idea). But the last thing I want to do on a Sunday is sit down and talk about the upcoming week, so this is a work in progress.

But the system that I have grown to love and use consistently is the calendar appointment I make for myself on Monday mornings for work. I’ve actually stuck with this one, and it helps me feel more prepared for the week ahead, and less like I’m being shot out of a cannon.

5-24-2016 3-55-16 PM

It gets those email folders taken care of and updated, plus if I have any early meetings that week I can make sure to pay attention and re-set my alarm so I don’t sleep through it.

4. Get Evernote (or something like it)

This just keeps everything in my brain in one place. Little notes, phone numbers, email responses I can copy/paste that I send a lot, blog post ideas, instructions, you name it. I use it on my phone and it syncs to my desktop. It’s simple but can hold a ton of information that doesn’t end up getting lost or forgotten – and everything is searchable. Thank god.

5. Get Wunderlist (or something like it)

I was using Todoist for a while, and then tried Wunderlist after hearing everyone highly recommending it. I just like it. I think I switched because Todoist didn’t have the capability to share lists, which was essential because I want Anthony and I to be able to both add things and check them off. Now I share a grocery list and chores list with Anthony, plus all my other lists are in the same place. There is a desktop and mobile version, and you can set up ongoing reminders for tasks, which I couldn’t figure out how to do in Todoist – that’s huge for me since I need weekly and daily reminders (mostly to not kill my plants).

photo-1463320898484-cdee8141c787

Alright ya’ll – you now have my secret weapons. Go forth into a more organized life – one with more time for beer and friends. :)

 

What are your secret weapons for staying organized?

 

 

Neat Sheets


You guys – work has been insane. The holidays, then work travel, then an insane work load has made me a little on edge – and I find myself stress cleaning everything. The break room kitchen at work, a handle of one of our pots that could be just…a little…cleaner….

So I thought I would share a little trick that is making me so happy lately. I don’t know about you, but my linen closet has always stressed me out a bit. How can I make it so the sheets and towels aren’t constantly toppling into each other and making me crazy? Everything always seems to mush together and there’s always one pillowcase unaccounted for.

Then a few months back, we bought new sheets. And I thought, aw, look at how nice these sheets look all folded in this plastic thing made specifically for sheets. Then I thought, this should never end. They should always look this neat tucked in this plastic pouch. So I started collecting them.

Okay, I’m just gonna stop you right there and say I KNOW. This is a complete grandma moment. Once you are hoarding plastic packaging for some future but not yet realized purpose, you may need to check in and reevaluate things. HOWEVER. This turned out to be awesome.

FullSizeRender (49)

(Sorry for the ugly pictures, but this is some behind the scenes important shit.)

They all stack so nicely. And you don’t have to be like Martha Stewart about folding them to be able to fit them in there, either. You just throw the pillow cases in there with everything, and then every set has it’s own space and they are separate and neat and I love it.

FullSizeRender (48)

(Anthony calls these the “wifi sheets”.)

We have a curtain over our linen closet, so I’m not at all concerned with how things look aesthetically – I just want to open it and be like YES this shit is clean and organized. Grandma style or not.

 

But maybe you came up with a way to do this in a non-grandma way? If so, please share!

I have so many things to tell you all and so little time! Since when has work actually taken up my full-time schedule? Rude.

So, more to come – but please, in the meantime, tell me what organizational trick has been making you feel happy lately!

 

 

Things that make me feel like I have my shit together

I have two categories in my head:

  1. Things that I can buy for myself often (aka fun things to shop for)
  2. Things that are too fancy/frivolous/boring for me to buy

This means things like sheets, socks, underwear, tupperware and anything practical are never purchased, and self-inflicted guilt trips are triggered when I get my nails done or buy something over $50.

But – as an adult, I have realized a few things.

  1. I can buy whatever the hell I want because it’s my money.
  2. I can treat myself with a shopping spree or night out with friends, but things like a mani/pedi that costs the same amount is just over the top indulgent…? That makes no sense.
  3. Certain things that I never think of/want to buy make me feel so happy after I buy them.

So I need to make a list of these things and a) tell myself they are important and don’t count as frivolous or b) tell myself that even though that’s a boring thing to buy and you would rather spend it on beer, you need grown up basic things, dammit.

So, without further ado:

Things that make me feel like I have my shit together

  • Having enough sheets

I can’t tell you how awesome it is to change my sheets and not be like “UGH I have to use these UGLY sheets now until I have the energy to do laundry!” Why did I think that one pair of sheets that I love and match my bedroom is enough until this point? I need to stop torturing myself.

IMG_4595

(Script pillow DIY)

  • Getting my nails done

This used to just not be a big deal for me since I painted my nails at home all the time. But now I just…don’t. Every time I’m at home I think about doing it, but I’m just too lazy 90% of the time. But I love having my nails painted. And there’s just something about that manicured look that I can’t get at home. Plus I feel SO fancy and rich when I go (even though it’s not that expensive). I basically feel like a gossip girl in the upper east side.

IMG_6232

(If you’re not lazy, try leopard nails for dummies)

  • Having enough new(ish) underwear

I need to just set a calendar event on my phone or something to just go buy 5 new pairs of underwear every 6 months. That would make my life so much better. I don’t know about you, but I have a mental block when it comes to underwear shopping – it should be fun, but it’s so expensive and I always put it off. But when I have underwear that doesn’t look like I’ve had it since high school, I feel like the SHIT. Especially when they match a bra or two.

(Side note: I also learned that I need to STOP buying underwear with the lace waistband. I know, so comfortable and cute – but it always just comes apart and tears from pulling on it so much….

Maybe this problem would be solved if I just buy new ones more often and stop wearing rags? …I’ll try that and report back.)

  • Pretty iPhone case

I don’t know why, but having a super cute, trendy iPhone case just makes me feel like one of the popular girls. And it’s not a huge investment. I’ve had mine for forever and I still feel like the coolest person ever when I’m ignoring people for Instagram – totally worth paying for one that makes me swoon.

2015-03-01_TwoHappyLambsPhotography-07

(Photo by Two Happy Lambs Photography)

  •  Phone holder for my car

Anthony got me this AWESOME phone holder thingy for my new car and it is amazing. It’s about as big as a silver dollar (or if you’ve never seen a silver dollar, because why, just guess), and it sticks in your air vent. Then you put a thin magnetic strip in your phone case and it just sticks there. I don’t know if I can explain why this is awesome unless you’re with me in my car or buy one- but there wasn’t a place for my phone to sit so I kept putting it on my lap and it would slide everywhere and it was a mess. Now I just – boop – put it on there and grab it when I leave and it’s in the perfect place. Here is a similar one if you’re interested in figuring out what I’m rambling about.

  • Pretty desk things at work

I spend 40 hours a week at work, so why not get just as excited about decorating that space as I do with my house? I want it to make me happy because working sucks sometimes and I want to feel like the place I spend so much time in reflects my personality. Plus it’s a great way display a bunch of girly stuff that doesn’t have a place in my shared home with the boyfriend.

My mug, mouse pad, fake plant, blingy pen holder, and “hustle” print are my favorites and make me feel like I’m straight out of a RomCom and work at some women’s magazine with Matthew McConaughey Ryan Gosling as my love interest.

IMG_6702

Check out this awesome article with more things that will make you feel like you have your shit together.

 

What’s on your list? Please share so I can become even more of a badass and start buying grown up things. :)

 

 

 

 

Monthly Mélange

It’s the end of my birthday month (wah), but to cheer all of us up I wanted to do a roundup of what we chatted about this month in case you missed anything, plus some oldies but goodies to get you in the mood for fall. Enjoy!

Instead of spring cleaning, I did some pre-fall cleaning and purging of my closet – great timing if you want to archive your summer wardrobe to make more room for fluffy fall things like I recommend in the post!

5 Ways to Revamp Your Closet

FullSizeRender (8)

We kept the revampin’ vibe goin with How to Revamp Your Social Life – don’t let the cooler temperatures (which we have yet to see in Cali) prevent you from having a nice cold beer with some new friends.

2015-03-01_TwoHappyLambsPhotography-09

I celebrated turning Twenty Seven and reflected on some of the adulting I’ve been doing lately…

IMG_7071

We also dissected The Suede Trend  – if you haven’t joined the debate in the comments or on Facebook, you’re missing out.

16cf0c55f792987a79da7587d1c31fca

And finally, I started a new series, Mélange à trois, so we can talk about relationships, style, and any question that you want to chew on with us. I’m so excited to discuss this stuff with you – if you have anything juicy to talk about, email me!

IMG_7076

Now to get you in a fall-y mood, here are some oldies we can look back on…

Hello, my name is…: Want to get your pantry organized and adorable just in time for a baking craze? (I don’t bake, but if you do, send me some.) Check out Amy’s awesome DIY that you can do in minutes.

Photo Feb 07, 12 27 25

Halloween: My yearly struggle to be all at once crafty, original, adorable and attractive: I am still trying to decide what to be for Halloween. What do you have in mind? Once again, the panic is setting in and I need ideas! This one is still pretty cute…

0950cea3b24d6692aa94007e201426fb

 

The Easiest Bun: 3 Ways: I am missing my long hair, you guys. And throwing it up in a bun and running out the door. A bun is the best accessory for fall outfits, and I miss it. If you want some bun-spiration (that was weird), check out this post I did a while back with longer locks – it has some pretty entertaining facial expressions.

2014-04-22_0003

 

Now if only the weather would stop being 85 degrees constantly. Before you yell at me for being ungrateful, imagine months of that with no air conditioning in a tiny apartment that has no air flow. Anyway – I am ready for fall people! Hopefully I can join you and the rest of the world soon with my scarves and tights and pumpkin spice lattes.

 

 

 

1 2 3

%d bloggers like this: