I consider myself an organized person. Am I somebody who plans every waking hour of every single day? Absolutely not. But I do genuinely enjoy taking out my planner, brightly-colored pens in hand, and making memos of the things that I need to get done during the day, week and weekend. There’s something relatively calming about planning your time and staying organized, especially because things will pop up at any given moment of the week and kind of derail your expectations for the things that you wanted to get done. I’ve slowly learned a semi-perfect plan I do on Sundays: to keep myself organized and to make my week the most productive. Feel free to take this advice and completely make it your own, but one thing I will fully say is that embracing organization and time management this way will help you SO MUCH. It will keep you focused, on track and it’s also fun to scratch off the things you’ve completed once you’re done. That sense of accomplishment is the nerdiest high, but it’s totally worth it. Also, who doesn’t love a good set of stickers?
1. Make yourself a nice cup/pot of coffee to start your morning:
It’s not embarrassing or shameful to say that sometimes (most times) you need coffee to function. Yes, caffeine is great and all, but there’s something so enjoyable about prepping your favorite mug with the creamer of your choice and pouring that dark, liquid gold into it for your consumption. A great cup of coffee will genuinely make your day THAT. MUCH. BETTER. Not a coffee drinker? No problem! Make a cup of tea or chug some water, just get something into your body that will jump-start your morning.
2. Have a delicious and SATISFYING breakfast:
Remember, this is a day that is going to set the foundation for your week ahead, so it’s vital that you eat something that’s going to give you a sufficient amount of energy.
3. Spend some time in front of your computer/laptop.
It’s so easy to forget to clear our inbox. Physical mail is so much easier to toss because we look through it as we get it, but our email accounts are just as important to maintain. I’m guilty of letting my inbox grow and grow until it becomes too overwhelming to start deleting things (horrible, I know). At one point I had unread emails from 2013 in there, LOL. I’ve made it a point to dedicate about 2 hours to inbox etiquette. Respond to emails that you need to respond to, save emails in designated folders if you have any (bill receipts, school information, important upcoming appointments) and try to get that inbox number as small as you can before it fills up all over again because let’s be real, a week from now you’ll probably have the same amount of emails to sort through all over again.
4. Physically write down things you know you need to do:
Time to bust out that planner or calendar! Even if you have a notebook or Post-Its handy that you use to keep track of To-Do’s, USE IT. Start in order of most importance, because those are the things that will need our most intricate attention, especially things that we know we need to get done at work. Look at the days of the week in front of you and start jotting down projects, meetings and deadlines you either want to start, finish or be sure to remember through the workweek.
I recently purchased my second planner from Purple Trail and I am absolutely in love with it. It’s an 18-month planner and one of the best things about them is that you can customize EVERYTHINGS. Your planner theme, cover material, photos, inside content. It’s great. I love that I’ll get to use my planner for a year-and-a-half, so it’s a nice commitment to making sure I use it as often as I can since I’m going to have it for a while.
5. Prep your meals:
It doesn’t matter if you’re following a diet regime, or whatever your dietary restrictions/preferences might be! Get a nice set of Tupperware dishes, preferably glass, and prepare and pack your lunch for the work week/school week. I like to pack dinner as well because it saves so much time for me once I get home from work. I also like to plan out my breakfast so that I can just really quickly reheat something in the morning and eat it before I head out the door. One of my favorite breakfast recipes is a 3-ingredient pancake (1/4 cup of dry oats, 1 egg, 1 banana and 1 scoop of protein + add a splash of water for consistency) that you literally just mix up in a blender and make like you would a regular pancake. I make 5 or 6 of them on Sunday afternoon and have my breakfast ready for the week. It really is that easy!
6. Get your wardrobe right:
Nothing takes more time in the morning than deciding on your outfit when you could’ve done it the day before. Check what the weather is going to be, open your closet door(s), pick something that makes you feel professional and confident and set it aside for the morning.
7. Read something:
A novel, a magazine, a blog post, anything that will get your brain working. I like to take some time every weekend to learn something completely out of my comfort zone, or something that I never knew before. It’s fun, adds a conversation starter to your rhetoric and you just genuinely can’t go wrong when you open a book.
8. Write down your affirmations to yourself:
You are your biggest fan, your biggest motivator, and your best friend. Write down reminders to yourself that will continually remind you that you are capable of not only rocking your week but rocking your month, your year, your LIFE. No negativity allowed here. This is the time to write a letter to yourself, messages to yourself, reminders to yourself, whatever. Just do it.
I hope these steps make a difference in your routine and bring some calm to your chaos. Remember, we’re all different and what works for me might not work for you, or anybody else for that matter. The important thing is to find what helps you and run with it.