organize me, please...

I’ve pretty much decided that my life’s new default setting is going to be “doing too much of everything all at once.” As has been mentioned a few times over the last several months, this summer was insanely busy for me. This fall doesn’t look like it’s going to be slowing down at all, either. The months of September and October are my new busiest time at work, as I take on running the Employee Giving Campaign in addition to my normal job duties, and when you throw football, two more weddings, three work trips, and a long weekend in Boston on top of my already-hectic social calendar, you’ve got a recipe for burnout.

I like to do too much. I love to read, and I’m not happy unless I’ve plowed through half a dozen books in any given month. I'm working on being better about writing regularly both here and offline, but I put a lot of time into that given my perfectionist streak. I’ve been getting up before 5am to get a workout in…and anyone who knows me knows that a wakeup time “in the 5’s,” let alone earlier, is my personal anathema. Managing all of this has turned into a major exercise in organization. A few ways I’m keeping it all together without tearing my hair out:

I’ve used a planner for the last several years. Erin Condren’s “Life Planner” has always been my go-to, but I’m liking the look of the Emily Ley planner more and more as I shop around. I use a planner to track, among other things, my appointments, reservations, and events, not to mention meal plans, workouts completed, and occasionally shopping lists. I also (duh) monitor birthdays, and use the address book in back to keep track of all my girlfriends’ addresses (for spontaneous snail mail, obviously).

As we head into fall, I’ve been working on being better about eating out less. As such, I’ve started meal planning pretty extensively, and although it’s pretty basic in the grand scheme of things, it’s absolutely saved my sanity as things have gotten busier. I’m sure I’ll go into more detail in the future, but suffice it to say tracking what I’ll be packing for lunch and making sure I have dinner options ready to go for like…a week at a time has been amazing.

One of my favorite digital ways to stay on track is using a countdown app. It’s crazy-helpful as I need to plan out vacation time or know how much longer I can put off buying a wedding gift/making a hotel reservation, etcetera (god, that sounds terrible to say). I’m currently using “Dreamdays 365,” which is a pretty, clean interface and allows me to see everything coming up at a glance.

Taking things to the next level tech-wise is on my to-do list, but I have no idea how to do it. I’d call myself a fledgling user of iCal/Google Cal, and my Outlook calendar at work is religiously maintained…but only from a professional standpoint. Hopefully I’ll find/make time to sit down and actually research whether or not there’s a way to sync everything up so I have my work calendar integrated with my personal calendars. Who knows? Might not be the best way for me to do it. I guess we’ll see.

And of course, it wouldn’t be me unless I was tracking absolutely everything via endless to-do lists (not always holiday-colored, but ALWAYS color-coded). Whether they’re in the Notes app of my phone, on my work PC in a massive Excel workbook, or scribbled on a legal pad, I’ve written everything down and loved deleting/crossing off/highlighting something as it’s completed for as long as I can remember. I even throw in social events just to ensure that I’m actually accounting for all of my time…it’s fun to highlight off a happy hour, after all!

Here’s to the busiest fall on record…and to me not losing it and turning into a recluse to compensate this winter!