Organization and productivity are, I think, essential to getting things done and staying sane- especially in your craft room/hobby room/drawer of crafty things/sewing kit/fabric drawers/scrapbooking paper boxes/she-shed... I’m always looking for new tools and tips, so I’m going to share a few of my own.
Hi y’all! Today’s post really has nothing to do with crafts or markets or anything “fun,” but it does have a bit to do with business and basically life in general. Today I wanted to share some tools and tips on getting organized and staying productive. These are things I’m always looking up, so I thought I could share what I’ve learned works best for me. Like the Internet needs more information.
I have always been an organized person: to-do lists, color-coded closets, bed made every morning. The whole nine yards, okay?
If I do have a mess or get scatter-brained, it’s because I’ve got so many projects going on. A pile of scrapbook paper here, a can of spray paint without the lid there, my hot glue gun heating up elsewhere, while my iron is still too hot to put back up.
So hopefully we can all get out S*** together, together. 🙂
Ideas for sorting out what needs to be done:
- To-Do lists with pen and paper
Everyone is so digital these days. Hell, I am pretty digital myself. I’ve also got an old soul that loves the feeling of putting pen to paper, physically organizing my thoughts, and literally crossing them out of my day. I feel accomplished that way. If you’re a tactile person like me, make lists, follow the lists, and kick that list’s ass.
This is one of my to-do lists, complete with homework, work schedule, bills that need to be paid, and around-the-house things.
- Momentum dash
Digital. Some of us are into that, and sometimes, as I said, I can be, which is why I downloaded Momentum Dash. It’s a browser setting that basically keeps you on top of things with its to-do lists and inspirational quotes that pop up every time you open up a new tab. I keep all of my computer to-dos on Momentum, for obvious reasons, but you can keep everything on there, if you’re looking at your screen a lot. With it’s constant presence, there’s no escaping your tasks.
This is a screenshot of my own dash. I didn’t enter in a main focus for the day, but I did have a running to-do list of all my online things: homework, things to print, etc.
- Planner (actual paper)
Welcome paper back to the scene. I live by my planner(s). I have my planner that I keep in my backpack. It is marked with different colored pens and markers, stickers, highlights, boxes and circles, arrows, sticky notes, and folded up lists, as well as notes in the margins. Everything is there. Then I have a baby pocket planner for my business. I use it to mark down making days, market days, tax deadlines, and to record ideas for the month. I also have a separate list for my business to-dos and ideas. Lastly, I have a big calendar on my wall, which is mostly to lay out big-picture things, keep track of the day, and add a little something to my kitchen. My calendar for 2017 is Peanuts!
- Calendar on my phone WITH alerts
If it’s important, like very important, it goes in my iPhone’s calendar. It doesn’t just go in, either; it gets two alerts. Some events get a two-hours before and day-before, some get day-before and week-before. Doesn’t matter- I must get reminded, even if I already remember.
- Notes on my phone
Back to digital again. I use notes on my phone all the time, but not for super serious things. I utilize it in emergencies (as in I have an idea and have to get it written) or for lists that never end (such as my wishlist). Of course, you’ve got to back it up. Apple can really piss me off and confuse me, but that iCloud can be a blessing. Use it!!
Notice the random notes: Grocery list, class schedule, Christmas ideas for the family, business to-do’s, and some amount of money that I either owed or spent and needed to write into my budget.
The trick is just to make sure they all match up. Because then you’ve just got an even bigger mess.
So now everything you need to do has a place on a list, on a day. Next it’s just organizing all the crap.
- Clear boxes (preferably with labels), filled by category
If you have a lot of something, it needs a rightful place. For me, that was all my scrapbooking stuff. I have a lot of paper, stickers, and more, so to keep it all together, I got it its own box from Dollar General. It’s clear, so I can see what’s in it, and it’s also as small as possible, so that it’s easy to store.
- Baskets/Crates with sections (for utensils and whatnot)
These help keep little things separate from one another. I use mine to separate my sticky notes from my paper clips from my pens/pencils from my markers. They are all things I use almost daily, but prevent me from having a big ugly box of crayons, you know?
- Labeled baggies for loose objects
I use Ziplocs to organize my scrapbooking stickers. I have categorized by theme: letters/numbers, special occasions, holidays, quotes. etc. Like the dividing baskets, it keeps things separate so that buttons don’t get lost in the marbles, and alphabet stickers don’t get stuck to the Christmas ones.
- Distinct bags/boxes for projects currently underway
This can get kinda messy, but if you do it right, it makes a world of difference. I use cute canvas bags to organize projects. I have one that holds my scrapbooking supplies for one scrapbook, one for business stuff (for example, it holds my zip ties, whole punch, price tag paper, receipt book, etc.), and one that hangs out for default projects. I keep them under my table or in a cabinet, but they could essentially be hung or stored anywhere. A cute box would work, too!
Of course all of this only works if you put everything back where it’s supposed to go.
Other ways to keep it together, crafting or not:
- Planning meals
I don’t map out every meal and snack for the entire month on a calendar. That’s too hardcore for me (kudos to you if that’s how you roll), but I do plan out what I can eat for the week. I look at my pantry and freezer to first see what I have already. I try to figure out two or three dishes with food that I already have stocked up, which reminds me: every so often (say, month or two), stock up on everything: broths, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, soups, spices, pasta, sauces, baking supplies, meat, etc. That way, when you’re in a pinch, you can whip something together. Once you have an idea of what you can make for the week, you can either make-ahead or write out when you’ll cook it. I recommend cooking back-to-back, then alternating leftovers for the rest of the week.
- As-you-go grocery (or supplies!) list
As things go missing, write them down. There are few things worse than going to the store and forgetting something you need because you forgot to write it down. I use a notepad in my kitchen to keep track of things as I run out. As soon as I drink that last glass of milk, I write it down. Once it gets long enough, I rearrange it in the order that I’d get it at the store (too much maybe?) and then go shopping- probably every two weeks.
Run out of hot glue? A certain color of yarn? Write it down asap.
Tip: Use Ibotta! Ibotta is a cashback app that my cousin recommended to me. You browse the app looking for rebates, click on the ones you want, and then redeem them by scanning your receipt after your grocery trip. I’ve collected over $40 in rebates! Don’t forget coupons, either. I particularly like HEB’s digital coupons.
Use referral code: fkertsn
- Making the bed
Make your bed every morning, folks. Some people think it’s stupid, but I don’t. It helps establish routine. It keeps things tidy. If you don’t do a damn thing that day, you can at least say your bed is made. It’s like a domino effect: you make your bed, then you leave on time. You leave on time, you feel good, and you do more work. You get more work done during the day, and your evening is free. You use that time to make a kick-ass supper. You’re so proud you don’t mind the dishes. Then at the end of the day, you’re happily exhausted and get a great night’s sleep in your nicely made bed. Repeat.
- Setting out the next day’s clothes
It’s simple- one less thing to think about when you wake up the next morning. You aren’t spending time figuring it out either. Less fuss in the morning is always a good thing.
- Monthly budget
There are so many ways to track your spending, like making a spreadsheet or doing the priority chart. I’m not here to tell you how to do it. I am telling you to just do it. It’s so important to know the state of your finances. You should know how much you’re spending a month, how much you need to spend, how much income you’re bringing in, what that ratio is, and if/how you’re saving. That last one is the most important. As humans, we’re good at figuring out the immediate future, but we have a difficult time envisioning the long-term. That’s why it’s so important to save, save, save. You may not know what your future holds, but at least you’ll have the money to pay for it, right? Retirement, travel, education, a new house… they all could be in our futures (whether we know it or not), and they all cost money- you can bank on that.
Not very good if you’re going to Hobby Lobby though…
I keep my budget in my planner because it’s one place that I check everyday. It doesn’t replace checking my actual bank account, but it helps keep me on point.
- Working Out
Don’t groan on me. I’m not saying the secret to productivity is running a marathon. The secret is staying healthy, strong, and energized. You can achieve health, strength, and energy by exercising regularly. I balance running (when I’m not training), strength training, yoga, and outdoor activities like hiking.
Don’t believe me? Here are some interesting articles on exercise and productivity:
The last tools I want to touch on are ones I have never used before, which is why they weren’t on my list, but that I want to use because I have heard great things. These are for my fellow crafty friends who make money on their own. Y’all might be interested!
The first is Freshbooks. It’s an accounting software for small businesses and entrepreneurs. I want to use it eventually, as my business grows a bit more.
The second is Asana, a scheduling program. It’s more for teams, I think, but many people use it like I use pen and paper.
All of this is information is to find what works for you, so I hope I could have been a little bit of a help!
Thank you and many blessings to all,