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Getting My Sh*t Together

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So as I’ve said many times September, is my favourite.

I don’t know if it is because my Birthday is sometime during the month, or because the seasons start to change again. Sandals get packed away and I start to take stock furiously writing lists in various notebooks and diaries. I use this pre-Christmas time essentially to gather my thoughts, planning for the more fraught times ahead, making to most of the calm before the storm.

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I’m a list writer, a date crosser-offer and a planner. I am like this because I know that somewhere in the dark November days I may start to lose my sh*t. The orders don’t stop (I’m not complaining), there aren’t enough hours in any one day to get everything done and we don’t want to run out of packaging supplies, have an empty freezer and no clean pants.

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This list writing business started back when I was at Uni, I worked in Birmingham as a freelance designer the whole way through my degree. They were tough times but as I had chosen to self finance my education it was imperative I quickly honed a pretty good system for staying focused, getting all my work done whilst managing a trip to the Union for a pint or six of Banks’. So every Sunday night, on a big piece of paper I wrote down every single thing I needed to achieve over the month (or weekly when it was dissertation time). Next I worked out the most important jobs and devised a grid with the days of the week. I wrote each of the tasks in the relevant day, ensuring I didn’t pile too much in any one box, although I do have a tendency to add a few extra tasks early in the week just for extra smug points.

life-planner-4Anyway going forward in this way, I got a decent degree and I bagged a swish design job before I even found out what grade I had passed with. But I couldn’t have done it without the lists.

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Fast forward 15 years and I’m still a list writer, but it’s no longer on big sheets of paper. I use a Life Planner.

I was a little skeptical about using this format as I like to write EVERYTHING down that needs to be done, I was bit concerned there wouldn’t be enough space and these planners include no dates, you have to write your own in, but actually that turned out to be a bonus as due to my skepticism I didn’t start using it right away so the planner can start whenever you like, mine won’t run out until next Spring.

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I like to use some fancy Pentium felt tips for planning and now colour code the tasks Green is Blog stuff, Work is blue etc. it helps me see at a glance what the balance is like. There is also a landscape planner in the front (I don’t really use that bit). For really busy times I also use a notebook alongside to meal plan and write down anything else that I won’t remember/lose sleep over or just generally needs a bit of structure.

This is how I get through this crazy life, it’s a process that hasn’t evolved or changed much in 15 years it’ just the tasks that have changed. I do sometimes wonder if I’ll ever have a quiet life, or ever feel less anxiety about not getting everything done.

I doubt it very much!

I’d love to hear what you do to stay organised.

 

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4 Comment

  1. I am my dear friend, very much the same, my nickname was once post it note! as they were everywhere! now i’m down to a school year diary (I live my life from august to july) and a notebook or 3! each one for a separate task in life/work
    I’m slowly finding the balance
    I’m loving that your finally using your planner and those pens are awesome! never thought to colour code, that’s now on my to-do list! x

    1. Alright Post-It Note!!! That’s a brilliant nick name (and by pure coincidence I have just ordered myself a bumper pack of them)! I love an academic diary too, in my mind all things start in September, continue until Christmas and the rest of the year should be one big holiday!

      Good luck colour coding, please apologise to the family on my behalf! x

  2. If life ever does quieten down, can you please do a seminar on how to get ones sh*t together… And then keep it together? I am so disorganised and it drives me nuts! My problem is not knowing where to start. This seminar could happen over tea in your lounge… Love reading your blog. Very proud to call you my friend!

    1. I certianly will Kati anytime!!! I am not sure I will be any help as I’m only holding together my own sh*t by a very fine thread, but it would be lovely to tea-up with you some time very soon. I’m very proud to call you my friend too!

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