6 Tips to Stay Organized

coffee-1276778_1920Things have been fairly busy lately. With sickness running rampant at the office, tasks have been piling up. I’ve been getting ready for my best friend’s wedding later this month. Add workouts and dance classes and catching up with old friends and you have a very busy mix.

I wanted to share a few things I do to stay organized. If you have any suggestions on being more efficient I’d love to hear them too!

1. Make all the lists
Every time you think of something that needs to be done, write it down. This can be done on an actual piece of paper or on your phone/computer. I like to make a giant to-do list, then create separate lists for grocery trips, trip planning, packing lists, etc.

2. Prioritize your tasks
Break down your to-do lists into two parts. Time-sensitive, must-do tasks. And everything else. That way you can focus on the urgent tasks and do the rest when you have the time. It also ensures you don’t forget about something that needs to be done ASAP.

3. Break it down
When approaching a huge task (like planning a vacation), it can easily get overwhelming, especially for an introvert. Write down all the small steps (figuring out accommodations, find flights, car rental, money exchange, etc) that lead to finishing the big task. Then start working on them one at a time. It’s way less stressful.

4. Use a day planner or organizer
Set aside time during the week to fill out a weekly planner. Start by writing down all your daily tasks first (work, food prep, laundry, workouts, etc). Then add all your urgent tasks (like work or personal projects). Extra spaces can be filled with hobbies, social time, or recharge time. My personal favourite is the Passion Planner, but there are tons out there.

5. Stick to it
Follow the schedule you’ve made up. The first few weeks will be full of trial and error. You may need to make adjustments here and there. But stick with it, it’s worth the effort.

6. Reward yourself 
Treat yourself when you’ve been successful in staying on track. Then keep up the good work!

Do you have any other tips or tricks?

Introversion & balance

balance-1842292_1920Balance is elusive. As soon as I think I have a hold of it, it slips through my fingers. I used to be so busy that things would fall through the cracks all the time. But I’ve had to assess my life and differentiate between being busy and being productive.

Most of my week days are the same. I head to work a bit early so I can savour some alone time before everyone else arrives. I’ll sit quietly at my desk with a steaming mug of coffee while I peruse emails and start on paperwork. After work is finished, I’ll head to the gym for a workout, to dance class, or I’ll run any errands that come up. Then I’ll drive back home to heat up some leftovers for dinner and take a quick shower. If I have the time, I’ll go for a short walk to unwind and process the day’s events. My evenings are usually spent in my room with the door closed so I can get some quiet reading in. Then it’s time for bed. I won’t attend social events on a week night but will instead schedule them on the weekend. I find this system works well for me. Having a set schedule keeps me sane.

But in order for this to work, I’ve had to plan out my days and stick to the schedule. I write out a list of things that must get done. Work, workouts, dance class, grocery shopping , meal prep, laundry, cleaning, and quiet time. I use the passion planner but there are lots of options out there. I write in my “wake up” and “go to bed” times then slot in all the must-do tasks. Any open spaces are free time that I can fill with hobbies, walks, or keep them open. It ensures the important things get done and reduces my stress.

How do you find balance?