I’ve been called reliable, practical and organised by people over the years. It’s funny, because I don’t really agree with any of those descriptions. I’m a dreamer. I operate on routine, but haphadardly. I am reliable, but I’m a perfectionist, and like Katie, I often struggle to deliver a flawless, finished product – and that frustrates me to no end. BF may think that just because I track/categorise our spending and attempt to plan our meals, I’m organiser extraordinaire. But I wasn’t always this way. To be honest, I often feel like a tower of Uno blocks – struggling to stay upright, teetering on the edge. These tips and tricks help to keep me on top of things:
Gmail. Tags are my holy grail. I tag things religiously, and try to reply to emails immediately. So much of my freelance work is conducted by email, and it’s vital to keep things straight in this regard. I also direct all my blog emails into my main account, so I don’t have to check it separately.
Calendars. I have a phone calendar and a Google calendar. Sometimes they don’t match up. This is where a smartphone would come in handy. Not only does it save my ass personally (think birthdays, errands, appointments) but professionally (events to diary, people to contact, etc).
To do lists. I make lists at work and cross things off. A lot of my duties are basically the same day to day; I probably should just make a master list and be done with it, come to think of it. I also keep a running chart of tasks for my bimonthly freelance gig so I know what I’ve been supplied with and which materials are still outstanding.
Eliminating paperwork. My two most regular bills – power and phone/internet – now come to me electronically. I think Sky TV may be on the brink of introducing online billing, too. Insurance isn’t too much of a hassle, as the bills don’t come very frequently. Oh yeah, and I’m paying bills when I get them, too.
Filing important papers. Of course, you can’t completely cut paper out of your life. But instead of simply chucking important documents in my top drawer (Honestly, that’s how I used to deal with them) I have separate folders for various kinds of papers. It’s still a bit random, but at least I know where to find, say, my credit card statements.
When all else fails, emailing myself. Part of my side job involves compiling a newsletter. When I stumble across cool stuff on the web, I make a note of it and email the link to myself to use later. Aaaand…we’re back to where we started, with the magic of Gmail tags.
Hey, I’m no expert. I still have a lot to learn, and I don’t even lead that busy of a life. I work at least 40 hours a week, plus another 5 or so for the other gig; blog here; write two articles/reviews for an online mag; and every other month, whip up a few short print pieces for my side job. And I sleep 8-10 hours a night. But I don’t have regular commitments, where I know other people have every night of the week scheduled!
So, chime in – I would love to hear your tips on staying organised…