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Back to the Basics

As I stated in a previous post, I’m coming off a season of slacking a bit in the organization area. So this week, to get myself back in gear, I’m getting back to my to-do lists.  I don’t really like to-do lists; I don’t like feeling beholden to a little piece of paper. Yet, much as I hate to admit it, I really do stay focused on and actually remember what I need to do when I write things down. It has to stay. This week I’ve been making mine on a little yellow note pad and plopping it down on the first flat surface (my little “easy-going” rebellion – I may have to use a list, but I don’t always have to know where it is).  As I studied other’s use of the to-do lists, hyper-organized types suggest listing items in the order in which they should be completed. Some even insist on listing the hours at which items should be completed. But since I am a reluctant to-do list-er, I just list things quickly the night before, review it in the morning to add or delete, then do things in any order I wish – my “easy-going” compromise. See my rules for the to-do list here.

Another item I’ve revisited this week is the Master Schedule. This is a little on the hyper-organized side, but it really is helpful for me, and of course, I add my “easy-going” touch.  The idea of the “Master Schedule” comes to me from Marcia Ramsland’s book Simplify Your Life, Get Organized and Stay That Way. The idea behind it is to have clearly laid out your weekly routine – schedules and things that need to get done at the same time or the same day each week. I started out by taking my trusty yellow notepad and simply listing everything my family and I  have scheduled and everything that must be accomplish week after week. Next I borrowed a cute little print-out from iheartOrganizing and started plugging things into the calendar.

Master Schedule

I started with the things that have definite times. Then I added the things that had to get done on a particular day. My easy-going twist is that I didn’t assign this second group of items a particular time. I like knowing what I have to do each day while having the freedom to get it done in my own time. I’m feeling more organized already.

 

 

Project Updates

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It’s Monday. Did you create a Monday “Master List”? I did! There are a couple resources I like for creating schedules or calendars. For a digital/online version I like to use Google Calendar.   It is a calendar that can be personally modified.  I was even able to type recipes for my menu items and make them click-able (only appeared when clicking on said menu item). One of my favorite features is the capability to share with those you choose — make it sharable with your hubby and he can add his schedule to yours! And of course you can sync it with phones and tablets. If you prefer a hard copy you can write on, I love this one from iHeart Organizing.

Find the free download here. This was a perfect “Master List” form for me with my over-view of the week, a spot for a master to-do list and even a place for my menu. I filled it out and added it to my home-management binder for easy access.

I also have an update on my recipe binder.

I can’t say it is completely finished because it is one of those things that will remain a work-in-progress.  Here is an over-view of my layout:

At the front of my binder I placed my favorite meals list.  This is a list, described in an earlier post is my quick reference for meal planning and a guide for finding a favorite recipe.

I used binder dividers to create the following recipe categories:

1 – Breakfast

2 – Lunch/Kid-Friendly Meals

3 – Beef/Pork

4 – Poultry

6 – Meatless/Fish

7 – Vegetables/Sides

8 – Breads

9 – Snacks/Appetizers

10 – Dessert

11 – Cookies ( I love cookies so they have their own spot rather than being added to dessert)

Within each section I added two pieces of colored card-stock — one blue and one yellow.  Behind the blue card-stock I added our favorite recipes that are worth repeating. Behind the yellow card-stock I placed recipes that I have collected and want to try.  After I try the recipe I will either add it to our favorites or toss it. I won’t keep a recipe we won’t eat!

  

I slid recipes cut from newspapers or magazines, printed from the Internet or even written on recipe cards into page and photo-protectors.

   

Currently, it all fits in one binder. Eventually I will have to add more binders as I add recipes.

The next couple weeks are exceptionally busy for me, so my organizing theme will be organizing projects to be completed in 30 minutes or less.  I’ll post my first project tomorrow. I have some ideas, but I’d love to hear from you . . . what organizing task can you complete in 30 minutes or less?

A Well-Timed Email

One of my favorite organizers is Marcia Ramsland. I have subscribed to receive her organizing tips via email. They only come once a week and they are always sooo good, so I pay attention when I see it in my inbox. Today’s happened to be a time-management tip, which is my theme this week. One tip is to use “A Monday ‘Master List'”. This is basically an ultra-to-do list of real things you have to do.  She explains, “A Master List is a categorized list of Actions you need to take that are more than things that can be accomplished in one day. It is a list that you create to clear a desktop of paperwork or to clear your mind when you feel overwhelmed.” Her suggestion is to create it on Monday because we are “most creative and ambitious at the beginning or the week. . .”, and to make it a priority to get through it by the end of the week.

I say this email was well-timed, because I had just begun to create my own sort of “master list” today, which was starting to get a little to detailed and complex. I like this approach — it’s simple, straight-forward, and easy-going — just my style. I’m going to try to pick up a new habit this week — the Master List habit. (Check out the complete article here).