Getting Organized 2012: Where does the time go and how can I get more of it?
By Jacki Hollywood-Brown
Do you ever feel defined by your stuff? Do you ever think, "If I could just get my surroundings under control my life would be so much better"?
Is your New Year's Resolution to get organized?
If you've ever felt overwhelmed by clutter, this is the year for you. This year on Ubiquitous, we'll be conquering chaos one step at a time. Every month we'll be choosing a different area of your home or life and getting it back under your control. By breaking our work into smaller chunks we will be able to get more done and do a better job.
Did you notice that I keep saying "we" will be getting more organized? That’s because I will be working right along with you. Even a professional organizer needs to get stuff organized.
So join in the “Conquer Chaos” series as we get our lives back in order. Add your comments right here, join the Facebook group and post your before and after pictures, let us know your challenges and we'll work together.
We've only got a short time left in the January to complete our goal this month: planning!
This month is the month to get a planner. A planner is not a calendar. A calendar shows you what day it is, a planner allows you to schedule important events.
There are two types of planners, paper and electronic. Even though the world is "going digital" this does not mean you need to choose an electronic planner, paper planners work just as well. The important thing is to find a planner you like, you can use and you will use.
Paper planners are inexpensive and easy to use. They don't require batteries or electricity. The disadvantage is that they are bulky and it is time consuming to enter repeating events such as the weekly piano lessons. Although wall calendars make it easy to share information with everyone in the family, people can't take that information with them and must manually transfer the info to their own planners. My favourite paper planner is the Taylor Time Planner. You can also look for paper planners at your local office supply store. Paper planners should allow you to write an adequate amount of information on each day.
If you're using a paper planner, here’s a tip to save you some time with repeating events. Using your computer, print the event information on stickers.Removable labels will allow you to make adjustments in your schedule and I recommend using Avery Removable ID Labels.
Electronic planners require expensive equipment (computers, smart phones) and they aren’t the easiest thing to learn to use. Once you're comfortable with them however, it’s easy to add repeating events, assign each person in your family a different colour and share events among people using the same calendar. Electronic planners require batteries and/or electricity and if you accidentally drop them in the dog's water dish, they may not work at all! Great electronic planners include Outlook Calendar (PC) or iCal (Mac). "Cloud" planners include Google Calendar and Cozi.
Once you've chosen your planner, here are some tips for entering your events:
- Bookend your appointments. If you have an appointment from 10 am to 11 am, don't just add that time in your calendar. Add enough time before and after the event to allow for preparation, travel and clean up where required.
- Add unchangeable events first - If you've got appointments that are difficult (or impossible) to changes such as an appointment with a specialist, a family wedding or job interview, place those in your calendar first and work other events around them.
- Add repetitive events next - If you've got events that are at the same time every day, week or month add those next as they are least likely to change. Remember if you've made a resolution to get fit, this would be the time to book your visits to the gym!
- Add "Me" time - Add some time to work on your own projects. You should schedule an hour or two per week to get some organizing done. You should also schedule time to manage your family finances.
If you're wondering what I use, it’s a combination of Cozi and a wall calendar. Everyone in the family has either an iPhone or iPod Touch so Cozi can be accessed by everyone almost everywhere. Each person can add or modify events and everyone else will know about it. This is essential as my husband works in another city Monday to Friday (yes, we're doing an imposed restriction). We also have a wall calendar so that we can see a month at a time at a glance without turning on one of the "gadgets".
While this works for us, I want to know what type of planner you've chosen and why; but more importantly, how it’s working for you?
Ted and Janie
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