Let’s Get Organized in 2016- Part 1

Hi everyone!  For all those who have been following our blog, it is no surprise that I am the most organized sister of the three.  I proudly accept this title and do my best to help Carrie, and really Katie, develop some organizational skills.  Organization and I go way back to my childhood.  My mom loves to tell the story of how I would line up my shoes perfectly at the age of 2, or color coordinate my school books using highlighters, while my twin Katie had toys, shoes, homework, and clothes thrown everywhere.  I believe people are born with certain personality traits that either develop into organized personality type A’s (me), more laid back, disorganized personality type B’s (Katie) , and the in between personality type C’s (Carrie).  Katie and I definitely provide plenty of proof for that theory.  For some people organization just comes naturally, and others it’s very hard work.  Having said that, I feel there are some basic organizational skills that anyone (personality type A or B or C) can work on to make their life easier.  Today I am going to go over some basic organization skills that help keep my life less chaotic and more relaxed when I have some free time.  Some may seem obvious, and some may work for me and not others, but one small change and a little effort can make a huge difference.

  • OLD SCHOOL PLANNER. Ok I am not going to lie, I get made fun of with this one on the regular.  With iPhones, e-calendars, and everything else, I still use a tangible old school planner. Why you ask?  Because I can see everything laid out in front of me more clearly.  For a few years, I used my iPhone calendar.  I just recently went back to my planner and wow what a difference it makes.  I found that on the phone I could not see the entire week or month before me.  I like to know what my week looks like in advance so that I am not surprised by an upcoming meeting, due date, birthday party, or “to do” task.  I stay even more organized by reviewing my planner on Sunday evening so that I know what my schedule looks like for the week ahead.  This helps prevent the “OMG I forgot” freak out sessions and unnecessary stress.

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  • NOTEPAD. I love this function on my iPhone. Its most useful for storing usernames, passwords and addresses.  With all the online accounts, wireless networks, email accounts, and everything else, this makes it easier to have all the information stored in one place and easily accessible.  Same concept with addresses!  Remember if you are going to have private information on your phone, make sure to use a security code. I recommend using your notepad to remember things like restaurants, places, products, and recipes you like, and also for New Year’s resolutions.  I love looking back to see what resolutions I actually accomplished or to remember an old restaurant I wanted to revisit but forgot about.

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  • LISTS. This is a great one.  I always have a random list sitting on my desk with things I need to do.  I recommend placing one of these on your desk, in the laundry room, or on your refrigerator, in a place you always look and where you can easily jot down notes.  I am not sure about you, but thoughts always comes to mind throughout the day, and if I don’t write it down, I usually forget.  My lists have solved that problem. I put anything on that list that comes to mind (need paper towels, coffee, followup with a colleague, create a puppy pack for clients, try out that new sippy cup, look into preschool, etc.).  This list is just a backup to my weekly planner, and its sometimes more readily available.

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  • AMAZON. This has been the biggest game changer for me. I recommend everyone set themselves up with an Amazon Prime account. My goal in life is to never have to run errands.  My sisters make fun of me because its seems that when I am not at work, I am usually being a homebody and never running errands.  And they are right..so laugh away Katie and Carrie.  I order everything on Amazon- toilet paper, cleaning products, diapers, shampoo, wipes, sip cups, makeup, presents…okay, you get the point.  This has allowed me to not waste my time running to Target, Walgreens, or Home Depot, but rather spend that valuable time at the park with my son, Luke, at a play date, relaxing by watching TV or spending time with my husband, having lunch with a friend, or working out. If you have not checked out Amazon Prime Now App, it’s an extension of Amazon that guarantees anything you need will be delivered to you within the hour.  The service has yet to come to my zip code yet, but everyday I check obsessively, make a few phone calls, and write a few too many emails inquiring when it will be here.  I cannot wait until Amazon Prime Now is in my area. AMAZING!
  • PLAN YOUR WEEKNIGHT MEALS, AND MAKE ONE TRIP ON SUNDAY TO THE THE GROCERY STORE.  This is another game changer for me.  About 5 years ago, I started doing this and it significantly reduced my trips to the grocery store.  Even better if you can get your significant other to perform this chore!  My husband Rob has taken on this task and enjoys his weekend trips to the grocery store with Luke.  So make one master list on Sunday with meals and supplies for the week, and send your hubby to the store or order it for delivery.  Pepperplate has been huge in organizing my weeknight meals, lists, and preparing me for the week.

I think the key to balance in life is having “on time” and “off time”.  By no means have I mastered balance, and continually work on it daily (it’s usually on my New Years’s resolutions notes every year). For me, owning and running an animal hospital, writing and working on growing Forever Freckled, and most importantly being a mom and wife affords me very little “off time”.  So when I do have some extra time, I want to make sure I am not running errands, writing blogs, or tied up with business.  I have found over the years, as life has gotten crazier and busier, that doing everything well in advance and being 3 steps ahead has given me the ability to hang with Luke and my husband, workout, watch TV, take naps, and relax when I have some “off time”.

But stay tuned!  Since I am majorly into this whole organization thing, I have even more tips and ideas.  Stay tuned for Friday’s blog, Let’s Get Organized in 2016- Part 2.  Oh yes, there is a Part 2!  And Katie, make sure you are taking a lot of notes…and stop laughing.  See you Friday!

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