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organizing your life tips

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i asked a question on insta stories over the holidays that sparked tons of responses - how do you organize your life? i'm a pretty "organized" person but over the past few years have had tons packed into my life in a pretty short amount of time - my kids, my home, my business. and i never got around to figuring out how to manage it all, quite frankly. so i made a promise to myself in 2019 to get better at managing my life, including my always ignored personal life, to feel somewhat more balanced, complete and happy. i'm sharing the suggestions i received below in an effort to find my own balance and who knows, maybe some of these work for you!

  • CALENDAR EVERYTHING

Calendar absolutely everything. Deadlines, to-do's, birthdays, who's cooking dinner. My biggest issue, and this is actually what I realize a life issue, is the fact that I keep things I need to do in my brain a lot and don't hash all of it out on paper. And when you keep things in your brain, it actually feels like you have more to do than you actually have to do and quite honestly, half of it never gets done. So my life basically started to spiral into an out of control hot mess and I blew up and cried (in a nutshell). So here's what I did over the course of, I would say, three days:

Personal Life

  1. First I made an online personal calendar separate and apart from my business calendar. This is the calendar I share with my husband and where family appointments and events live. I also own Emily Ley's weekly planner and everything on my iCAL is written in my planner. Dinner, birthdays, date night, you name it. I'm an old millennial and need to see things on paper. 
  2. Birthdays: I then calendared every single person I care about's birthday and sent invitations to my husband (if the person was of interest to him) - in most cases I actually gave myself an alert a week out so I could purchase them a gift (seriously, how on top of it do i look now?); 
  3. Doctors Visits: I made almost all of my and my kids' doctor and dentist appointments for the next 6 months - fyi, for me this includes facials. 
  4. Appointments: My nail and eyelash appointments are already recurring so thankfully, I don't always look like a hot mess. These happen every two weeks. But I did make my eyebrow appointment way in advance and received fantastic advice from someone to always make your next appointment at the end of your current appointment. That way, you don't forget to schedule. *GENIUS. 
  5. Events: These got calendared the moment the invite came through AND THE GIFTS WERE PURCHASED AT THAT MOMENT AS WELL. You guys, I have 4 kids' party gifts sitting in my garage already wrapped and ready to go. I bought them the moment I received the invitation and RSVP'd because 2018 Melanie was the person that always gifted AFTER THE PARTY and honestly, being the After Party Giftor is really stressful - the gifts stay in my car for about 4 months and really, it just defeats the purpose of even buying a gift in the first place. Note* I also purchased gift bags and wrapping paper at the container store in advance (along with a gift packaging storage that is a God send) and now I don't have to run into CVS 5 minutes before the aforementioned party to purchase a gift bag. 
  6. Trips: The big ones are already on the calendar for the year and flights bought for one. 
  7. Dinner: I'm back to meal planning; HOWEVER, it's what I like to call "laid back meal planning" with max 3 home cooked meals a week and lots of leftovers or meal repurposing. I did get an instant pot over the holidays and it has been a life saver so I'm going to attribute my soon to be successful meal planning streak to that. I also find that for me, the key to meal planning is to plan 2 weeks out (so I get a one week meal planning break). I also made a chart on Evernote that I share with my husband that breaks down the meals per day with a link to the recipe (where applicable) and a note space below for ingredients not living in my pantry that need to be purchased at the grocery store at our sunday visit. see below for a snippet. 

So to recap, here are the tools and software I use: my iCal on my Mac aka Google Calendar, my Emily Ley Planner, Evernote for dinner researching (it's an online notebook with tabs so I can copy and paste recipes, too) and calendaring (I make my own chart), and the FamCal app (which syncs with my calendar and lets me assign tasks to my husband). I know this is a lot, but it's working so far so I'm going with it.

Business

i mean, my employees think 2019 Melanie is nuts but totally necessary. This is a whole other level of organized because we have HUGE GOALS but our entire year is planned to the nines and roles hashed out to meet projections. What we also did differently this year was literally calendar EVERYTHING:

  1. Vacations
  2. Instagram posts
  3. Updating website with flower of the day
  4. Company meetings
  5. Due dates
  6. Events

Literally all of this, plus more, lives on our calendar with reminders while due dates, pending orders, and additional to-do's live on Asana

Calendars recommended by my instagram fam: 

    1. emily ley's simplified planner - i've used this planner over the past 5 years and can vouch for how amazing it is. 
    2. paperchase day a page planner
    3. custom agendio agenda
    4. FamCal App
    5. giant desk calendar
    6. put everything on your calendar - no matter how small
      1. write down birthdays at the beginning of the year
      2. work meetings
      3. doctors appointments
      4. bills due/dates
      5. date nights
      6. blow outs
      7. write anything down as soon as you know about it and color code with highlighters
      8. schedule things ahead of time so you don't postpone them
      9. mold to your schedule!!
      10. schedule as much as you can on weekdays so you have weekends with your family
      11. events calendar for family - kids parties, adult parties, kids day offs, dentist visits
      12. book all of your appointments either at the beginning of the year or at your next appointment!
      13. get into the habit of looking at your planner every day! 
  • SET REMINDERS, TO-DO LISTS AND NOTES

I need to vouch for the reminders app on my iPhone and Evernote because they've helped me organize myself. The reminders app has been amazing to write random things that pop into my mind that I need to do like purchase diapers, add a random something to our 2019 plan or operations manual, etc. Otherwise, my mom brain forgets 5 seconds after it enters my brain. And Evernote is basically an online Five Star Notebook with endless amounts of tabs to organize your life. So I have a Family Notebook with tabs like recipes, dinner schedule, etc. and an HOL Notebook with a To-Do tab for myself. 

Recommended by my instagram fam: 

    1. reminders app in apple iphone
    2. your task list in the notes section
    3. write to-do lists every morning
    4. one-note app
    5. trello
    6. evernote
  • ON PERSONAL TIME & SELF-CARE

Recommended by my instagram fam: 

    1. sleeping in - i laugh because this will never be me but it might work for others!
    2. yoga + lots of water!
    3. take one hour to yourself every day
  • GOAL SET

Getting better at this. The daily and weekly goals are both things I need to work on. I've figured out the yearly goals, now need to set interval goals to get there. 

Recommended by my instagram fam: 

    1. cultivate what matters power sheets for goal setting
    2. set daily goals
  • ON EFFICIENCY

To be quite honest, the below recommendations are all extremely helpful. I already wake up at 5 every morning, but committing to nothing without looking at my calendar is something I need to do and will get into the habit of doing. Also, like I mentioned above, reminders on my calendar (and anything on my calendar, really) is already making a difference. 

Recommended by my instagram fam: 

    1. wake up early
    2. commit to nothing without looking at your calendar
    3. use siri to remind you for everything in 5, 10, 15 minute increments & 1 or 2 weeks out
    4. release personal expectations
    5. intern or assistant (anyone?)
  • ON HOME CARE & DINNER

Meal planning (as indicated above), Trader Joe's frozen meals and insta cart are bffs. Trader Joe's has fantastic frozen ravioli I always keep on standby and their cauliflower rice, cauliflower gnocchi, fried rice, coconut shrimp, and 4 cheese pizza are lifesavers in our house! Re: instacart, I actually enjoy grocery shopping at 8:30am on Sunday (sue me) but insta cart is GREAT if I need to make time for other things and want someone else to grocery shop. 

Recommended by my instagram fam: 

    1. hire a home cleaner
    2. frequent laundry loads
    3. meal plan!
    4. get rid of food variety for kids - only eat a limited selection
    5. sunbasket
    6. trader joe's frozen meals for dinner
    7. insta cart

 

 

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