24 October 2011

October Post: And you thought you were busy before

This week's October posts will be dedicated to the current state of affairs in my household: BUSY! I know that I've been having a tough time fitting it all in and as we start creeping up on those big family holidays (Halloween - especially for those with kids, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's), work and shopping and cooking and cleaning and cards and every last thing that you never wanted to worry about at the same time will all start coming together.

Breathe folks! Don't let that above paragraph give you anxiety. This week's going to be about keeping it all under control, setting some goals for ourselves and keeping a master plan. The thing to do isn't to try to organize your life in one swift go - it's to start by making small parts of your life organized and then starting to organize outward.

The first resource I'm going to talk about is an entire website getting and staying organized. The ladies at Get Buttoned Up are some serious planning people! They have lists for reducing your lists - which is meta-listing. That's how serious these women get.

But you don't have to be that serious (or even have obsessive compulsive tendencies) to use some of the fabulous resources that these ladies make available for free on their Free Tools and Downloads page. Here's my favorite list that I've started using:

I started using this for midterm goals (a few months) and I've found that it really worked for me. It's great to be able to break a project down into small pieces and set deadlines for yourself. I created this chart and found that I actually got ahead on the first three tasks, so I had time to do the last two at a slower, more reasonable pace. This could be used for holiday planning, your Christmas list, cooking for Thanksgiving, arranging a party, or just getting a project done around the house. 

Another great resource that I don't think people use enough is a calendar. When I think of calendar use, I tend to think of the one calendar at my parents house on which the birthdays get written every year. Once a month (usually) my parents sit down and write general plans that they know about on the calendar and then it hangs on the wall... never to be touched again. Or at least not usually. 

Personally, I've taken to using a weekly planner, which helps me keep my job and master's work in order - gotta keep those deadlines straight! There are, however, dozens of ways to make calendars more accessible and useful:
-Set up a dry erase board weekly calendar on your fridge. Use it to remember which nights you or the kids have events and activities, plan meals for the week, remind yourself that there's a birthday you really shouldn't miss on Thursday and that Wednesday is the day you're husband/roommate/live in occupational therapist has a late deadline, so you're only cooking for one. 
- Find a nice planner that you feel comfortable writing down goals and making plans in.
- Create your own holiday planner, complete with calendar and lists of to dos on a manageable schedule (MORE ON THIS FRIDAY).

Get free calendars from sites like Calendar Labs where you can find free printable calendars of all kinds, or even your own gmail or microsoft outlook. People forget all the attachments these great accounts - and they appear right in your inbox. 

So tell me, folks. How do you organize? Or, maybe more interestingly, how do you go nuts in the fall preparing for the holidays?

Please leave me a comment and to let me know you stopped by! Also consider stopping by lovelinks, where I've submitted this post.

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