If you are anything like me, then you probably have a slightly unhealthy addiction to all things stationery, notebooks, and planners. I will say, I did not invest in a planner in 2020, but instead utilized the bullet journal because at least I could customize it to my crazy and unpredictable schedule. However, in 2021 I decided to take the plunge and invest in a planner. The way I see it is that if I’m going to invest in something it will be in myself and a tool, I can use to set myself up for success.
I know a lot of people are hesitant to buy a planner or even just plan out their goals for 2021, and I spoke about it in my last post, but with that, I still think it’s important to work towards something or structure the work or job we currently have. With that in mind, I have also included a few online resources that you can utilize that are free, so you don’t have to monetarily invest them. But they still do an excellent job at helping you create an organizational system that works for you and your goals. Without further delay, here are a few of my favourite organizational tools!
A monthly calendar is the number one organizational tool I would recommend to anyone. Whether you use it on your phone, your laptop, or a paper version, using a monthly calendar can set you up for success in the best way possible. First, it forces you to write down important deadlines, events, meetings, or appointments. This makes it easy for you to remember your busy schedule, and generally frees your brains from having to remember every little detail that is on your calendar. Second, it signals to you what needs to be accomplished, what tasks have to be completed and by when. When you utilize your monthly calendar to its fullest extent, you are doing half the work already. You are pre-planning your tasks and prioritizing them without even making a to-do list.
As I mentioned earlier, I did decide to invest in a paper planner. The one I am using is by STIL Classics, and I will say it is a bit pricier. But there are so many places that sell agendas to suit every budget and price range such as Indigo. One of the reasons why I love this planner is because there’s a section called monthly rituals and routines. After the Holidays I have had a tough time creating my morning and night routines. But this planner helped me make a concrete plan or idea of what I want in my mornings and evenings to look like. Another feature that I love about this agenda is that there is a weekly spread where you can write out your to-do list but then on the following page there’s also a weekly spread where you can schedule it out and I find those two together just help me visualize my week and time-block properly.
Having a notebook or notepad on your desk is one of the best ways to free your mind from distractions. Sometimes you get a random thought or idea not related to the work you are doing at that moment, but you still want to remember it. Having a notebook or notepad nearby can help with that. I also find that when I am feeling overwhelmed, just taking a few minutes to jot down my thoughts in this notebook helps me clear my mind and refocus on the task at hand. Another way I use my notebooks is just for to-do lists. In the middle of 2020, I was solely relying on to-do lists in my notebooks to get me through the day and the work that I need to do. It is endlessly customizable and allows you to structure your organizational system however you want.
I am a big stationery lover and have far too many pens and highlighters for one person. Although I do not colour code everything in my life, I find that using colours in my notebooks or bullet journal helps add a bit of life to the page and encourage my creativity to flow more smoothly. Fancy stationery is not essential to your organization system but testing out how you plan with a bit of colour might be more incentivizing for you, or help you plan and organize yourself better.
Here are two online tools that I have used and find extremely useful and are free for those of us who do not want to use any paper or are on a budget. Trello is an amazing online tool that lets you customize the board you are using to organize your work. I used it heavily throughout university and mainly used it because it was easy to reshuffle my to-do lists and tasks, without having to physically change or create a whole new to-do list. Monday.Com I have just recently started using this platform, but it was created in such a way where it keeps you accountable on your deadlines and is amazing if you are working with other people on projects.
I hope these tools will help you create an organizational system that works for you and will help you accomplish whatever you need to do. Soon, I will talk about the organization system I have created and hopefully that can help one of you.
The beauty of organization is that it is truly customizable and at the base of it all you just need a pen and paper (or phone), and the motivation and courage to outline what needs to get done, and the discipline to accomplish it. But that system that you create is entirely yours and can be shaped and formed however you need It to be.
*Please note that none of the links above are sponsored or affiliate links these are just things that I have truly come to love and I’m linking just for people who are interested*