Monday, October 11, 2010

Organizational Tactics: Staying on Top of Your To-do List Without Losing Your Mind

If your semester is trending in a way that is comparable to mine at all, things are about to get crazy, and I mean, really crazy.  I am a pretty organized person because I like organization.  I need to have everything written down, or else I'll forget and have an unsettled feeling- like I am missing something important.  As the semester enters peak time, I thought I would post on some of my habits for staying organized.

I need an agenda book- the old fashioned paper kind. Electronic organizational tools are great too, but for me, I need paper.  It just helps me to visualize my schedule and everything I have going on. 
On this note, I have a few requirements of a planner:
1. It needs month-at-a-glance views.
2. It must have at least two pages dedicated to each week.  It is best if weeks run Monday-Sunday.
3. All national holidays must be written in already.
4.  The days of the week and the dates must already be written in too. 
All other details are superfluous.  I've had a couple of Vera Bradley planners in college, and for 2010 I use a Lilly Pulitzer planner.  I've used these because the style and layout work for me, being attractive is a plus.

I like the month-at-a-glance views because I like having one calendar that I can write really big, important dates on.  Things like tests, papers, birthdays, and trips go on this calendar (in addition to the LSU football schedule).  This way, I can see clearly the big things that I have coming up.

The individual weeks are for other dates and appointments, and also for recording due dates of smaller assignments.  If I have something due every week, it goes here so my monthly calendar does not get clogged up and unreadable.  Big, important things on the weekly view are highlighted.  Boxes are placed next to projects that are due so that I can check off when they are done.

My to-do list is clipped in my planner each week.  I write this list on Sundays and carry over anything that was not accomplished in the last week.  I cross items off as they are accomplished.  I add items as I think of them.  I've tried other systems before where I prioritize items or put them on different color post-its because they relate to different categories such as school, personal, work, etc., but those systems just don't work for me.  I think the best thing you can do to stay organized is find a system that works for you and stick with it.  

A big calendar in my kitchen is basically a copy of the month-at-a-glance in my smaller agenda.  I like having this around because it allows me to look at things that are coming up easily when I am at home.  I typically look at it in the mornings and evenings as I prepare for the day ahead or the next day. 

What about you?  How do you keep up with all the things you need to get accomplished?


  1. Haha perfect day for this! And as you said above, this IS about to be a crazy time of the semester! BUTTTTT, it's halfway done!

    Ok, so I do very similar things. I have my agenda book. The most important dates go on the monthly view and smaller tasks go in the weekly columns. I make a weekly "to do" list also; however, mine can always be found on the coffee table.Since I conveniently find myself on the couch each evening (without fail), I find it easy to skim over & mark off the tasks that I have completed.I do not have a big calendar for the house though. I have tried that before, and it just did not work for me.

    I find my weekly "to do" lists are the best thing to put my mind at ease- knowing that everything I have to accomplish is right in front of me.

  2. YOOOOO I LOVE TALKING ABOUT MY AGENDA!!!! Hahaha, use the Moleskine Weekly Planner (don't worry, it has month at-a-glance too). It's the same format as the Lilly and Vera planners, but its just black leather. Some perks of it are that it has goodies like a place where you can put your class schedule per semester, it has country code lists and time zones, its got a page marker... and instead of having 7 days on 2 pages, its got a week on one page, and on the page next to it is a lined page for notes! (perfect for my to-do list).

    I also synchronize with my Mac calendar, which is kind of the equivalent of your month by month wall cal, and I sometimes jot down to-dos on the "post it" option on my mac as I think of things. People don't think I'm organized because I'm otherwise a huge mess (clothes and shit everywhere, laundry never done... etc.), but agendas are one thing this lil mama LOVE!!!

    LOVE THIS POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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