Keeping Organised

Sunday 14 June 2015 by

With finding time the constant battle when trying to keep up a writing habit, staying organised is the biggest thing you can do to help yourself find those spare moments.

Writing, Writing desk, Laptop

 

That picture is my actual work desk at the moment. We’re having some work done on the spare room, which means many things that shouldn’t be in my (very small) office space are currently piled up all around me, overflowing on to my desk. I hate it – I’m a big believer in having an inviting work space – but when the Feng Shui goes out of the window, you have to work extra hard to keep yourself on track. And right now, despite the extra furniture in my office space, I’m writing more than I have in months.

There are three tools I use to help me keep on track, and none of them have to be expensive.

1. To Do List Pad

 

Writing pad, Writing

I use this one from Wilkinsons because it’s cheap. It’s not very nice to look at, but it has lots of pages and, conveniently, has exactly 31 lines per page for to-dos. I do not use it for a daily to-do list – this is my monthly blog schedule planner. I write the month at the top of the page and number the to-do lines 1-31 (or 30/28 as appropriate) then fill in my blog schedule. It’s honestly made my bloggy life so much simpler as I know exactly what I’m writing for each day, I can plan ahead. I can see at a glance where I have gaps in the schedule so I can either read extra books or plan something else to fill those slots. Because I’m better organised with my blog, I have more time to write.

2. Reporter’s Notebook

Pukka pad, Reporters notebook, Writing

For my day-to-day to dos, I have a separate notebook. This stemmed from a need to use up all my notebooks (as I talked about in my last post!) but now I don’t know how I did without it.

I’ve always had to-do apps (more on that in a minute) but there are some stupid little jobs that need doing where it would take more time to write it down in a to-do app than it would to just do it. This is where a notebook is perfect. It takes seconds to scribble down a few things – empty dishwasher, post letters, iron work trousers – and you can have it to hand any time, anywhere. Every night, I sit down for five minutes and aim to write a list of ten things to do the next day. Some are on there all the time (review yesterday and complete, write 5 pages etc.) while others are specific to that day. It helps me keep focused with the small chores that I don’t want to be wasting time recording in a to-do app.

Any notebook that’s ring bound at the top of the page will do (get the one pictured here) or any notebook at all, really. I like reporter’s notebooks because they’re small and fit in my handbag.

3. To Do App

And finally, for the longer-term things, the jobs that repeat every two weeks or more, I have my to-do app. Currently I’m using Wunderlist, which is great because it’s very simple, clean and it syncs between your devices. I use it like a calendar, entering in appointments, setting a reminder to back my computer up once a month, using the folder function to create lists of books I need to read each month.

I’ve previously tried to use a to-do list app as a catch all for organisation, but I find it really demotivating when you end up with a backlog of tasks that are every day things. I use the app now to keep on track with the big stuff, and let my paper lists take care of the rest.

You can follow Loralei on Twitter: @LAHaylock

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