Forget “getting ahead,” I just want to “keep up.” My life is hectic. I have too much to do and too little time. Sound familiar?
I realize I can’t solve all my problems with one magic trick, but I can streamline my life to make it easier to navigate.
Clutter in all shapes and sizes, like a badass-army in a science-fiction movie, continually threaten my space. Creative chaos can look artistic, but when I can’t find a pen, and I recently bought seven hundred, it ‘s literally impossible for me to write. As the mess builds, I spend more of my time frantically looking for things and less time writing.
it’s not just about appearances.
Let me tell you a story. After not getting a promotion, I thought I deserved, and watching the supervisory position go to a colleague who I then had to work under, I found myself locked in a really angry headspace. I felt like I had run full speed into a brick wall. I read somewhere that one of the best things you can do for yourself when things feel out of control is to take control of the things you can actually control:) My editor would hate that line, but you know what I mean.
So… I did some serious, retail-therapy at the local mall. Why not? The rest of my life felt mangled. I bought colourful file folders (I deserved them after all), a wire thingy so some of them could sit on my desk (why not?), florescent paper for special projects (because it looked pretty) … I had fun. Check out the picture above. I actually bought one of those twirly things that can hold everything. The result? I cleaned and organized all the bits and pieces in my office area and along the way I started feeling better about the situation and about myself. I noticed the sun kept rising and before long I felt more whole again.
So it’s not just about appearances, it’s about taking control of your life (piece by piece) and feeling good about yourself. Today I thought I’d share my top five tips for organizing my space. I’ll show you mine and I’m hoping you’ll show me yours.
One – 12 Folders
I have one for every month, labelled clearly. They come in handy. For example, when I get a notice of a doctor’s appointment twelve months ahead, I slip it into the appropriate month and forget about it. I take it off my desk and out of my mind. The twelve folders are easily accessible in the top drawer of my filing cabinet.
Yes, I could just mark the appointment on my Google calendar, but some events, such as a specialist’s appointment, come with paperwork and it stores well in an old-fashioned file. Filing important papers by month has been an invaluable strategy for me.
Two – A Planner
Digital or physical? It doesn’t matter, as long as your planner allows you to organize your life. I’m a hybrid, a fence sitter, an indecisive soul who wants the best of both worlds. I use both. My phone is always by my side and my physical planner sits in front of my computer screen. I’d be lost without them.
Three – Organized Hardware
Are your cords linking machines catching your knees? Fix them. You can buy stuff to tie them together, or just use string. Make the space yours.
Do you have the hardware you need to do the jobs you need to get done? Plan to acquire them asap. Every artisan needs her tools.
Four – A Filing System
I have a filing cabinet and more files in a drawer. I need to have my junk (especially tax receipts) organized. When I feel overwhelmed, sorting through my clutter makes me feel like I’m fixing things. I thank myself at tax time.
Five – White Boards and Magnets
… are a writer’s best friend. I have a wrap around desk and three white boards are mounted on the wall to my left. The one at eye-level doubles as a storyboard when I’m drafting a story and a collect-all space for relevant notes such as ISBN numbers when I’m in the publishing phaze. The one above it is divided into twelve sections labelled by month. I put sticky notes of events and goals into each month, so that I can see the year in front of me. The one beside it is covered in magnetic clips which keep my life organized. For example, one holds the schedules for my group blog
I like to be able to reach everything I need in seconds.
That’s it. That’s my five.
Can a Fancy Gold Pen Change Your Life?
I wish. The truth is that no single thing will change your life and give you a one way ticket to Nirvana, but there are things you can do that will make your life feel more your own, and less hectic. Don’t we all want to feel in control? Life is beautiful, but it’s also hard. Be kind to yourself, my friends.
I just reached 30 reviews on Amazon for this book. A milestone for me. It wasn’t that long ago that I couldn’t imagine thirty people reading my book. Exciting times.