This has been a month dedicated to improving my organization. I’ve always been a decently organized person without having to do much about it. Recently, however, I find myself having too much on my mind, too many projects I’m working on, and having too much to think of at work and at home. The result was that I started forgetting things or getting stressed. Add my ever-growing frustration that I feel I don’t get as much done as I’d like, and you know that I needed an action plan.
DIY Planner + ToDo Lists
I’ve never really been a planner person, that’s for sure. I’ve tried it, bought some bigger calendars and ended up never writing much in them. I have a tiny calendar with two weeks on a double page where the most important dates go in and that’s it.
The main problem I have with store-bought planners is that I seem to work in a very different way than the people designing these planners.
So, I was naturally excited when, at the end of last month, I ran into basically a whole community on the web designing their own DIY planners. And I decided to make my own. There are awesome templates out there. But again, I felt that I needed to do my own VERY PERSONALIZED thing if I was ever going to use this.
Therefore, most of my month was spent planning, designing, and putting together this planner. I just started using it last week, so I can’t tell how well it works for me yet.
I’d like to use this planner for bigger projects and organization, like blog post due dates, Halloween meal planning, birthday present planning, budget planning, and this kind of stuff. I know I’m not going to carry it around with me.
Thus, this does not tackle my other problem: Many, many tiny errands that need to be remembered. Which is why, a few days ago, I decided to in addition to the planner try out a couple of to do list apps on my iPad. That really goes with me everywhere, so it is the ideal place for this kind of thing.
It might not be an utterly creative task to add errands and shopping lists to an app and I find it quite time consuming. However, it does take away the pressure of having to bear these little things in mind all the time and to deal with cluttersome paper notes that get lost or forgotten half the time anyway. Once I have written it down, I can forget it and think about fun stuff—as long as I remember to look at the to do list regularly.
I’ve finished another photo book on our last holiday trip. I’m still amazed at the possibility to take your very own photos and make a professionally printed book out of it! It is so easy, yet time consuming. I had just too many pictures for this trip, so I ended up with two photo books.
I generally like working with photo book software as it is usually quite easy and intuitive to use. However, as I get more ambitious with what I try to do, I find that it is really helpful to have a decent picture editing program. If a simpler software doesn’t allow for transparent boxes behind a text, for example, I can go straight to my picture editing software and create the layout I want there. Just open a new document that has the size of your page and start designing!
Adding Blog Pages
I was also not satisfied with the organization of my blog. I originally chose the blog format in favor of the website because I don’t have to worry about design and functionality much and have more time for the actual content.
But at some point I had to admit to myself that I’m just not a big fan of the category widget. As a blog grows, it keeps adding posts on one topic. So much so good. But there is no particular order to it other than the date. And the latest post is not necessarily the one you’d like people to read first.
And if a post fits more than one topic, it pops up several times when people browse through the categories. I always hate that when browsing other people’s blogs.
So I decided to go for pages. I started doing one page for each larger topic and am adding posts to it with a picture that links to the post. It gives a nice overview what there is to read on one topic. I’ll be doing this for a few more categories in the future.
Halloween Planning 😉
I know it seems a bit early since it is still 4 months to go, but the realization that the year is almost half over again already reminded me that I had so many ideas and plans for Halloween that I’ll need time for to prepare. Though I never actually stop looking for good Halloween ideas, this month I increasingly started looking for food and decoration ideas.
Not least because I’m also already preparing the class I’ll be teaching in October, which requires a lot of preparation and will be taking up a lot of my time in October as well. But I’m really looking forward to both events.