I might be the most disorganized organized person you will meet. If you glance at my room or on my desk at any given moment you might gape and gasp wondering if anything gets accomplished at all. However, I have to say that I love my systems, and there are a handful that I am dedicated to. I have been sharing glimpses of these processes via Instagram lately and they sparked many a question. Here is my first go at explaining just how my mind works.
When the actual work is happening, Hurricane Bailey sets in. Papers, books, binders, pens, you name it is tossed about as I move from project to project. I like to have everything on and and to bounce back and forth between assignments to keep things fresh and focused. I have a color coding system with pens, stickers, and highlighters that sweep across my classes and extracurriculars.
The Staedtler pens are amazing! I swear by these guys, and I've been eyeing the larger set at Target for my Christmas list. Fine tipped and in their own pretty little package, I can toss this baby into my backpack or purse and be good to go. I've used these almost solely for my Simplified Planner (which you'll read more about below) this year, but for 2015 I am changing to the Pilot Frixion erasable pens. They also come in their own package with an assortment of colors but are erasable. I hate writing in pencil, but it stresses me out to put anything in my calendar in permanent ink. The Frixion pens are more expensive and I had to order mine through Amazon, but they are so worth it. Rumor has it they also offer erasable highlighters. Those may be next on my wish list.
Another system or routine I have found to be immensely helpful is what I call the "Brain Dump". Most of the time this takes place Sunday night or Monday morning, and it is exactly what I sounds like. I throw anything and everything down on paper that needs to be taken care of in the near future. From daily to-do's to upcoming assignments, everything in-between finds its way onto the list. If I am having a hard time falling asleep one night, I'll pull out my notepad and add to it.
Once the list is made, I separate the tasks into groups with different colored highlighters. In the image above, pink indicated what needed to be accomplished today, and blue what had to be taken care of tomorrow. Anything not highlighted are "freebies" or fillers. I might detour and tackle one of the bare bullet points on a break, but they do not hold the urgency of those highlighted in pink or blue.
As you can see in the above list, I have both blog posts and classwork listed, so really anything can make it on there. Sometimes I'll break the page into a grid with a box for each class or area of my life (Theatre History & Theory, Intro to Theatre, Shakespeare, Directing // School, Blogging, Heart, Health). I love this legal pad because it already has holes punched in it, and it works as a catch-all for notes during the day. Class assignments, lecture notes, mid-day memo's, etc. If I don't want to lug my backpack around, I'll throw this pad and my planner into my purse and call it done (Oh, and don't forget my pen pack). I get my love of legal pads and sticky notes from my dad. He likes the classic yellow in both, when I go for standard white paper and neon colors otherwise.
Now onto my Simplified Planner. Man, oh man, I cannot recommend these enough! It is my second year using Emily Ley's planner, and I have my 2015 version waiting patiently on my desk. The daily option is great for breaking down my week ahead of time, blocking out each hour, class, and appointment with the use of her flag stickers. My only complaint is it ends at 7:00pm, and we theatre people are night owls. I've taken to using the "Notes" box to house late night rehearsals, or divvying up the bottom section to note an evening appointment.
Each class has its own color flag sticker which remains consistent throughout the semester, and they coordinate with the dry-erase markers on my assignment board in the graduate student office. There is a box on the bottom right of each page where dinner plans can be made --you can see I splurged for pizza on Monday-- and I often use it to keep a record of my meals and snacks to see where I can do better or what planning needs to be done. The to-do section is great, and I will often transfer items from my Brain Dump list into the planner at the beginning of the day.
While the Simplified Planner is larger than ones I have used previously, and more expensive, it is worth the investment. I carry this guy with me almost everywhere, and it really stores all I need. I will paperclip invitations, separate to-do lists or assignments, and notecards inside as needed, and it has held its shape pretty well. She is almost sold out, so be on the look out for her 40% off sale this weekend! **Correction, the planners will be excluded from the sale, BUT she has plenty of other great products!
----------------> But if you want a shot at winning one, check out my INSTAGRAM for the #bravelove2Kgiveaway where you can enter to win a 2015 Simplified Planner as well as some inspirational prints and a thankfulness journal. Check out the details HERE.
So now you have the basics of my planning + prep process. Let's Get Organized, Volume II will appear in late December as I share tips and tricks for preparing for the New Year. 2015 is just around the corner, but we still have time to finish strong! Let's go for it, shall we?