organized chaos

Good evening, friends!

This winter has been full of snow, ice, sleet, you name it. Today is cardio day, but since the weather outside is frightful, I thought I’d sip some wine and write up a blog post instead.

A couple people have asked me to write about staying organized/how I stay organized on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. I’ve thought about how I want to approach this and first I have to say, sometimes I have to teach myself to *not* be too organized. I’ve mentioned it before, but planning every moment if your life can become exhausting, and therefore I try to stick to some simple, but effective (for me) ways to stay organized.

At Work: 
I’m staring with work because most everyone in their adult lives spends most of their time at work. Honestly, staying organized largely depends on what kind of job you have. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a project manager at a SaaS company, and quite frankly, my days are hardly ever the same. There are a few things that I do, however, to keep myself in check during the day and throughout the work week.

  • A blank notebook: some people are into daily planners, but this doesn’t work for me at my job. The reason being, it’s hard for me to assign tasks to a specific day of the week. There are days where I am completely derailed and if I don’t get to my “Tuesday” list, well then I feel this stress about being ‘behind’ on my to-dos. Instead, I have a blank notebook, and on each page I write the week’s date range. Example) To Do 3/2-3/9. Instead of writing the date in which I feel I need to ‘do’ the task, I write the day that I need it done by right next to it – it allows me to work through prioritizing tasks at a high level. I couple this with looking at my meetings in Outlook throughout the week and incorporate any prep work into my to-do’s. You might be thinking: You basically have a planner, what’s the difference? But this gives me free reign to plan my time; to push, to move up, to cancel, etc. as needed.

At Home:
I try  to keep my home life rather relaxed, but there are a few areas that I organize for myself to feel accomplished while I’m at home:

  • Goodreads: Goodreads is like Facebook for books. I set a goal for myself to read x number of books during the year (this year is 25!). I can track my progress and also add books to my “to read” list as I find new titles. Bonus: you can see what your friends are reading for future suggestions!
  • Supplement Organizer: I have a Sun-Sat/AM and PM pill organizer. I don’t take many supplements anymore, but I do take some probiotics, vitamin D, and occasionally biotin. I use collagen in my coffee if I make it at home, and I also have a dental probiotic I take in the morning for gum health.
  • #weekendgoals: #weekendgoals is my to-do list I make for myself to accomplish over the weekend. Again, no specific days, but certain tasks that I can do to fill my time. I have a fun notepad that I use and add things and check things off as I go.
  • Meals: This might be a shock to many, because I do post food-prep photos on occasion. HOWEVER, I don’t sit down and plan my meals every week. This is because if I plan out meals too strictly, I end up becoming bored with those meals. Instead, I try to think of incorporating food groups into my diet throughout the week and then I think about what I might want to buy at the store (or truthfully I just browse the store to see if something catches my eye) pertaining to those food groups. For example:
    • Breakfast: Oatmeal (whatever flavor I feel like getting when I’m at the store)
    • Lunch: Foods like soup, salad, some cheese, half of an avocado with Everything but Bagel seasoning (I try to keep lunch low-carb so I don’t crash at work in the afternoon)
    • Dinner: Some kind of protein like fish, chicken, venison, eggs, with whatever side I’m feeling like eating that night. Sides like cheesy-broccoli rice, diced seasoned potatoes, roasted broccoli, etc.
  • Face regimen/routine: I used to be put a lot of thought into what my facial routine should be, but it was too much to think about. I’m not perfect at washing my face every night, but I’ve finally found a routine that is so low maintenance and effective that I actually enjoy washing my face before bed. I should also say, if I don’t feel like doing one of these steps, I don’t. It’s great to have a routine but this is where I just do what I’m feeling like. Sometimes I’ll just do a fun charcoal mask and call it good.
  • Fitness: I keep track of my workouts on Google Sheets. I usually track my workouts when I’m training for a race, which in that case I’ll copy and paste a Hal Higdon training plan into Google Sheets and tweak it to fit my schedule. I have however, been using an app called HabitShare to track how many times I make it to the gym (need that health insurance reimbursement!!) and how many times I go to group fitness classes per month. I set an attainable goal for each ‘Habit’ and then keep track in my phone.

I’m going to end this post by saying, I’ve enjoyed learning to be more relaxed with myself. Making lists is great, however the minute it starts working against me (and I start to feel ‘unsuccessful’) I stop. Keeping track of workouts, to-do’s, writing out health regimens, etc. should motivate you. It shouldn’t feel like homework. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of your lists and ways to organize; consider a) what is the VALUE and b) what are you trying to accomplish:

  • Are you making lists and to-do’s for the sake of organizing? Is it taking more time to organize your thoughts than actually do the tasks?
  • WHY are you tracking your workouts, food, etc.? Are you trying to count macros?Look at daily nutrients percentages? Track calories? What is the goal?
  • Do you really need a planner in addition to your work calendar, Apple calendar or Google calendar, and to-do lists? What is the true value? Is this taking up too much time? Are you repeating yourself?
  • Are you easily overwhelmed by your lists? Does it stress you out to think “wow look how much I have to do this weekend”? If so – remove anything that is a small task. If quantity freaks you out, stick to quality tasks. Conversely, if the larger tasks freak you out, break them out into small tasks so you can see the accomplishments along the way.
    • Large Task = Clean Kitchen: This is open to you and how/what you want to clean in your kitchen. Do you want to tackle the sink and counter tops, and do the floors a different time?
    • Small Tasks = Clean countertops, sweep floor, clean sink, wipe down stove, clean out fridge, etc.

Organized chaos is okay. Not organizing is okay. Intentional organization is okay. Figure out what makes your brain tick and try something new, or get rid of something that isn’t serving you. You’ll know it’s working when you don’t even have to think about it!

xo Karen