Every fiber of my being wants to write about Pearl Harbor Day today, and circle some of the rather interesting parallels between our world today and our world then, but there was this promise to myself to try to focus more on the JOY in things, at least for this little while.
Today’s reminder to stay on task is thanks to the lovely Andi at Estella’s Revenge, Tanya and Kimberly at Girl XOXO, and Tamara over at Traveling with T. If you haven’t already, you should definitely go see what they’re up to. Especially during this month when everything is merry and bright! Reminding us to stay positive and enjoy the season is no easy task, so please stop by and say gracias por todo lo que hacen!
The topic of today’s #MonthOfFaves is Getting Sh*t Done! And after cackling madly because HAHAHAHA!, I stopped and thought about what exactly it is that I do. Staying organized? I can do that. I can draw pretty lines and make a mean spreadsheet. Actually executing? YOU’RE PRETTY! and also I HAVE A BRIDGE TO SELL YOU!! Aw, man! Okay! Let me wipe away the tears of laughter! Ahem. Okay. Let’s get to it!
My Erin Condren planner gets to lead off the parade of organizational brilliance because it’s my favorite. The colors are bright and cheerful, and I would be sunk without it. I would love to try the bullet journaling that is all the rage right now, but I strongly suspect that I would be a giant ball of rage before long. I simply don’t have the time to both create the space, and fill the space. So I let the lovely Erin Condren make the space for me to fill. It’s one of my favorite Christmas presents to unwrap every year. Last year I let the Gracie-girl in on my
madness secret, and she was just as smitten.
Because “just” having a planner to organize my life isn’t enough, I have a system for organizing my planner, too. Naturally. I actually got the idea from my #MonthOfFaves tour last year, which makes me love the idea even more! For execution, you’ll need colored pens or Sharpies. I haven’t found a pen I adore yet, but the ones I’m using at the moment (because they still work)(and I’m thrifty) are Staedtler triplus rollers. They don’t bleed through the page, which is good, they don’t smear, but they are kind of prickly and not-smooth. So I have the pens, and tape. I like the MT tape because it’s thin, and easily removable. The idea is that everyone gets a color, so I can see at a glance who needs to be somewhere or doing something. The “at a glance” bit comes from my monthly calendar spread. See, I usually use my weekly 2-page calendar where I have more space to write the who, what, where. So how do I get a wider-angle glance without cramming in a whole bunch of words and repeating myself? That’s where the washi tape comes in. On the monthly view, if someone has something going on that day, take a piece of tape in their color and place it on that day. Don’t write any details – if you see a particular color, you know that person has something going on, and you can flip to that day in your weekly view. That way you avoid repeating the details and cluttering the boxes. It’s worked really well for me.
One place I do find repeating myself is worth the effort is my At-a-glance whiteboard in the kitchen. I needed a place where the kids could see what was for dinner (so they could complain sooner), and I could see what I had going on for the week without pulling my planner out and leaving it on the kitchen bar again. I’ve been using my white board for a couple years – it pre-dates my EC planner, even – and it works well for us. One day I’ll find some fine-tipped dry-erase markers that I like, and it will be a masterpiece. But I’m not holding my breath on that one.
Mail! No one likes sorting mail. And who even gets that any more? The odd bill, school notices. Paperwork to the thing that you can’t get rid of yet – everyone has something. I found a classy bucket that dressed up the space around it, and set it out on a kitchen counter. It’s where the paperwork was getting stacked anyway, and this way I got to capture it neatly. When the bucket is full, it’s time to shred or file more permanently. Not a very complicated system, but one that works.
Reading! I’ll just choose a few bookish topics because you KNOW I could talk all day about ways I organize my books, ways I fit in more reading time, ways to track what I do read, and on and on. Yes, I have designated(ish) library time – a good way to avoid spending my entire salary on books. I have a bag for library trips to help keep my library books separate. And un-lost. When I do bring books into my home more permanently, I have a designated shelf for the books to live on until they’ve been read. It bothers me when it’s emptier than the other jam-packed shelves, but let’s be honest – that’s just an invitation to go buy more books, isn’t it?
Once I’ve read the books I’ve bought, borrowed, or stolen (kidding!), I track them in a couple of ways. The most basic is my book journal. I keep a handwritten journal… okay, that’s a lie, but the truth is even more neurotic. I keep two journals, one at work and one at home. That way if one is lost, I’m not missing YEARS worth of data. The journals just list titles, author, and date completed, but they go back to 2008. You can see one of them in the picture with the pens and washi tape. I keep a more detailed spreadsheet in GoogleDocs that lists quite a few categories: title and author; but also date completed; author’s gender and whether s/he is a person of color (to track how diversely I read); publisher; publication year; whether the book was borrowed or bought (and whether used or new); fiction or non-fiction; if the book was re-read; young adult; classic; memoir; and page count. It’s a great tool for shifting my reading patterns – for instance, it’s how I started reading more currently (when I pushed myself to read a new publication each month), reading more classics I had missed out on, reading fewer white guys, and – my current challenge – reading more books written by people of color. Diversifying my reading is a great way to enrich the people I can empathize with. And a great way to find new favorite genres, authors, and stories.
I can’t wait to go see how you all are getting sh*t done – today is one of my favorite days in #monthoffaves because I get some great ideas! Tallyho! Onward and upward! If anyone can help me get my shtuff together, it’s you guys!