5 tips on how to stay organized
As Women’s History Month 2017 comes to an end, we close our series about women in networking with some tips on how to stay organized in a fast-paced, technological world. We hope you’ve enjoyed the series!
When I started at Hyland, I quickly learned that the organization really encourages employees to have a work-life balance and it does what it can to help with this, which I LOVE.
I’m involved in a variety of things outside Hyland that ultimately contribute to my overall happiness. This includes being a part-time wedding planner and running a custom cookie business out of my home. Outside of the work aspect, it’s important for me to be able to eat semi-healthy meals during the week and work out at least two to four times a week so I can allow myself to “indulge” on the weekends and not feel guilty. (I’m a true foodie at heart and working out just isn’t that fun to me on the weekends.)
It’s also important for me to make time for my significant other, family and friends each week. So it’s essential for me – and my sanity – to be very organized and proactive when it comes to preparing for the week and months ahead. It’s truly amazing what a little organization and planning ahead can do!
So, here are my five tips on how I stay organized to help enhance my work-life balance.
1. Buy a planner (and actually use it)!
There’s something invigorating to me about physically crossing off an item on my to-do list. If you don’t have a planner and do not use your mobile device for organizing your life, I HIGHLY recommend one. And when you purchase it, actually use it! I write EVERYTHING down and even sketch out timelines for days I know I need to get a lot of things done in a small period of time. It may seem a bit crazy, but I find myself feeling much more relaxed when I need to tackle a crazy day if I plan ahead accordingly.
Things I like to jot down in my planner:
- Meals for the week. What days I will be able to make dinner at home versus grabbing something on the go. And if I plan to make the meals at home, I ask myself if I need to make a trip to the grocery store so I’m ready for that day (and then sketch in the day that works best to make a quick trip to the store).
- Outline the days I know I have time to get to the gym. Choosing a gym or workout routine that fits for your style is important. I want to be in and out of the gym in an hour and make sure I get a good sweat in.
- Payment dates for monthly bills.
- Birthdays of family and friends.
There are some great websites where you can purchase an awesome planner (Target has really great inexpensive options as well):
- Simplified Planner (I also HIGHLY recommend the book by the founder of the Simplified Planner, Emily Ley, Grace Not Perfection)
- May Designs
- Erin Condren
An alternative: Time Tree is a wonderful mobile app, if you’d rather have these details on your smart phone. You’re even able to share a calendar with your spouse so you’re all on the same page.
2. Plan ahead!
I like to use my Sundays to get organized. I try to not leave cleaning the entire house and doing all of the laundry until Sunday night. If I do this, I know I’ll be tired and exhausted on Monday morning before my work week has even started.
I look at my calendar and planner for the upcoming week and plan ahead. I also pick out my clothes for the week. It sounds absurd, I know, but try it sometime. I guarantee it will save yourself A LOT of time during the morning! This eliminates me having to sort through my packed closet with all my clothes and gives me only five options to choose from on Monday. I’m super indecisive and this definitely helps with that!
Make sure you save time Sunday evening to try to relax a bit before the week ahead. Do whatever makes you happy during this time – cook a meal, read a book, watch a movie – whatever is going to take your mind off work and all the things you will have to do in the upcoming week.
3. Make the most of your time!
Take advantage of any benefits offered at work. Hyland offers everything from on-site fitness amenities to a nail salon. When you’re at work, also take advantage of close-by amenities, like: grocery stores, gas stations, banks, etc. When I have a to-do list I need to tackle, I figure out what tasks I can lump together to be the most efficient.
Do yourself a favor, plan ahead. I promise you’ll thank yourself later! For example, I like running to get gas down the street from Hyland on my 20-minute break instead of waiting until 5 p.m. when I leave work and the gas station is packed and the traffic is insane. I’m also lucky because I can buy stamps on site and mail my packages right from the front desk and have it taken out of my next paycheck. It is a HUGE time saver that I do not have to go to the post office to mail my letters or packages. I love that.
Use mobile apps and online offerings. Paying my bills with automatic deductions saves me tons of time and stress. Life gets busy, if I didn’t have automatic deduction hooked up for some of my bills, I guarantee I would be late on them! Now that I can deposit a check online through my mobile banking app, I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve physically been to a bank. That’s saving me a TON of time, considering each trip would be at least 30 minutes with driving taken into consideration.
Also, try to remove yourself from social media on the days you know you need to be very productive. I’m sure you’ve all been there. You have a hefty to-do list but realize you’ve been sitting on Facebook or Instagram. Save that for a day you don’t have anything to do!
4. Make time for YOU every day!
Even if it’s a quick 20 minutes to read a book you enjoy or giving one of your close friends a call to catch up, make sure you set aside that time in your day to do something you enjoy so you actually make it happen. After a week or so, it will begin to become routine and you’ll start to look forward these 20 minutes for yourself every day.
A site I find very inspiring and motivational that I like to check out every now and again in my free time: The Everygirl. You can sign up for emails or just follow on your social media outlets!
5. Ask for help and don’t be afraid to take it when it’s offered!
This one especially goes for all the moms out there. You can’t always be super mom! It’s okay to not do everything! Just one example, I’ve hired someone to come in and clean my house every two to three weeks. Because it’s only about twice a month, it’s fairly inexpensive, but makes me so happy coming home to a clean house and not having to give up one of my free weekend mornings to get everything done.
So don’t be afraid to ask for help or allow yourself to spend a little extra money a month to implement something into your family member’s lives that is going to contribute to your overall happiness and organization.
Above everything else, try to go with the flow and be flexible when possible if things don’t work the way you planned! My tips above are obviously ideal state, there a weeks that go by that I feel flustered and swamped, but just aim to get myself back on track the next week.
Have grace with yourself, and constantly remind yourself: you’re doing an awesome job!