Don't forget to visit for Off Topic Tuesdays (posts about anything) and Sunday Flashbacks (revisiting classic planning posts). To learn even more about planners, productivity and time management, feel free to follow me on Pinterest, You Tube or Facebook.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Best Times to Look at Your Planner

There are critical parts of a day when looking at your planner can be most helpful.

The Best Times to Look in Your Planner, planners, time management

TIP: Set an alarm on your phone or laptop when first teaching yourself to look at your planner at these times.


Take just a second and make sure you aren't forgetting anything about today.

TIP: Store your planner by your alarm clock overnight. It will be handy for writing down late night thoughts. Make your first act of the morning checking your planner and moving it to your work tote or purse.


Always make sure you have everything that you need for the day with you by glancing at your schedule and anticipated tasks.


Stay-at-home moms might want to dedicate a particular time as arrival. For me, it's when I make my coffee (for household days) or log onto my work computer (for working an outside job days).


Check on what's happening tomorrow.


Get the dinner out of the freezer to defrost.


Prep for the next day. Put your planner by your alarm clock.

In other words, if there is a transition, check your planner!


P.S. I got creative in my picture (above). Can you guess what is holding up the watch?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

7 Characteristics of Highly Organized People

I blush and protest whenever someone calls me organized.

Me? I'm a disaster of epic proportions!

I lose my glasses - while they are on my head, mind you - at least once a day. I can never find my Nook charger. I forget to send in permission slips or to cook dinner. 

And my house is comfortably messy. "Comfortably messy" is code for shoving everything under the sofa in a mad dash if company is coming over. Do not open the closets without a helmet!

organized, organize, planner

I am on a constant journey to be more organized and I do have an idea of what that looks like.

Organized people are:


Organized people spend time each day doing stuff. No fancy tricks are needed. They simply stand up and do some things that need doing every single day.

TIP: Start with 15 minutes each day. For 15 minutes, walk around your office or your house, doing all the things that catch your attention. Set a timer and feel free to stop (if you want to) when the timer dings.


The people who have a method for marking down what needs doing or appointments in a dedicated place are more organized in other aspects of their lives simply because they know how their time is going to be spent. It doesn't really matter if the planner is electronic or paper.

The use of a planner is the reason people think I am organized.

Silly people! 1 out of 7 characteristics does not make me organized.

TIP: Like Giftie Etcetera on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to get great tips for using planners.


Organized people understand that they cannot do it all alone, and they get friends, living companions, and co-workers involves in the systems that make lives work smoothly.

TIP: Decide on one thing that is a better fit for you to accomplish that someone else is currently doing, and trade with them for something they are better at doing. Both of you will spend less time and misery on the task.

For example, my husband is not good at cooking. I hate helping the kids clean their rooms. So I say, "I'll make your favorite supper while you help our oldest clean his room."


This one is a bit strange. But it's true. Organized people tend to write down things that need remembering, not just as planners of the future, but as recorders of the past.

TIP: Make a running communication log in your planner. Date, people involved, topic, and any notes will come in handy at some point, like when the hospital swears that you didn't pay that bill.


I fail miserably on this one. Miserably.

Organized people know how to use space efficiently and most effectively to keep stuff available and easy to locate.

TIP: Organize one space this week based on actual use, whether it's your bathroom, kitchen, or desk. Daily stuff goes on counter/desktop, weekly stuff goes nearby in cabinets and drawers and shelves. Yearly stuff goes to storage or difficult to access spaces.

For example, my planner (used daily) gets a space on my desk, while my washi tape (used monthly or less often) goes on the high shelf.


Routines make life easier. Instead of thinking about what to do, the brain and body work together almost automatically to do the task.

Some routines that are important are an "entering the house" routine (where one hangs up the purse, puts the receipts in the receipt jar, hangs up the jacket, and puts keys in the little tray) and a "prep the night before" routine (where one sets out food, bags, and coffee cups for in the morning).

TIP: At first, while learning your routines, write them down, post them, and practice them.


This one is a shocker, right? But highly organized people don't freak out because they are organized, so rolling with the punches of sudden emergencies or changes is easy for them.

I am not relaxed.

What characteristic will you be working on this week?


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Getting Everything Done: The Marathon Planner Technique

Sometimes, there is nothing left to do but push through a task list until you run out of steam, time, or open eye lids.

planner, getting things dones

When that happens, I open my planner, do everything I can do from the quickest tasks first to the most time-consuming last, and only stop if I pass out (okay, not literally) or cross the finish line.

TIP: Cross out the completed tasks will a highlighter so everything that is left jumps out at you.

I call this method marathoning. Everything else is just training for marathon days. Only the toughest will survive. Oh, and those with a plan and a planner.