A Kinda Christmas Fashion Tale

Extreme List Making: How I Organize Our Life

I am sitting here on a Thursday night, leisurely sipping (gulping?) my glass of red and enjoying the benefits of being productive after two weeks of crazy.  2 weeks ago I had to take a step back from life as I was having panic attacks just thinking about all the things that need to be accomplished before the end of a school year.  And thusly, I want to share with you today how Extreme list making got me all caught up and ahead of my goals for the most part.  Here you go, you are getting a look at how I organize our life.  So when Leslie asked us this week how we stayed organized, I thought it would be a good day to celebrate how organization helped me accomplish all of the things and I believe she is running a post today too on the findings of her research.  You can visit her blog here.

Things I do in a week:


Teach 2 classes in a high school.  If you have a teacher in your life, then you understand that also means prepping and correcting those classes which is an exponential amount of time.

Teach (Facilitate?) Cyber the other half-time which I can do at any point from anywhere during the week.  I usually put in 10-15 hours a week for that. This has been a huge blessing in my life.

I do drop off and pick up of kids from school as well as supper prep and then bringing them to sports in the evening (currently Monday-Thursday).  I do laundry on Thursdays and Sundays and clean the house on weekends. Obviously husband helps out, but he also travels so the majority of the work is controlled by me. 

I maintain my personal blog which is currently about 5-10 hours a week and I also run the Blended Blog (scheduling, email answering, link up organizing) which is maybe 1-2 hours a week.

I have been going to the gym 2 times a week to do weights and then another 2 or 3 days of cardio which can be anywhere.

This month at school, I will be presenting how I use Backwards by Design  in my planning of units in French, so I thought it would be neat to show you how I organize my life (loosely) using the principles of Backwards by Design, which, if you don't want to read the link...although, my teacher friends, I think you should... to summarize you specify your end goal and then break it down into smaller learning (doing, in this case) objectives that bring you to the goal.

[Tweet "How I organize our life using my favourite Erin Condren planner and some Backward by Design planning."]

STEP ONE: THE BIG PICTURE


At the end of each month in my Erin Condren planner (best.investment.ever) there is blank page where I map out my goals for the month.  They are usually divided into the three categories that I cover: my blog, life and school.  These goals are (usually) listed in order of importance.  When I think of more things I want to accomplish, I add them to the list.


STEP TWO: ORGANIZE MY WEEK


Sunday nights are my favourite because I get to map out my goals for the week (okay, really because Outlander is on).  I add in all my appointments (the gym gets added as an appointment so it won't be missed), sporting events, school calendar events and birthdays.  I also keep a running tab of the posts that will appear on my blog and the Blended Blog at the bottom (planning for these is an entirely different post- I do it all on the weekends...on a good week).  I then create a reasonable to-do list based on my monthly goals- these are listed under the To-Do on the left.  As my week progresses, I will add my goals for each night and put them in the evening portion of the calendar.  These are very specific goals like "send out Lucia's bday invites"  Anything that doesn't get accomplished in a week gets moved to the next week.  The absolutely essential GET DONE REGARDLESS, even if that means putting off blogging.  Work pays the bills, y'all, so it must get done. The only thing I refuse to sacrifice is my time with my friends. But that's also another post entitled: how I take care of me.




STEP THREE: EXTREME (CHECK) LISTING AND BEYOND!


Time for the good part: crossing off the things I accomplish, which always makes me feel awesome.  There should be a superhero cap with a bigass checkmark on it.  Yup, totally making that for myself.  Want one? As you can see in this picture, I have my very specific goals in the afternoon and evening portion of the day...I also add in the workout I actually accomplished in the top portion of my day- I'd give myself a medal too if I could. (But a glass of wine will suffice).  Working out deserves a celebration in itself.  I do have to say that I'm not usually this productive in a week, all the things got done because of 4 nights of rained out ball games, so I was very quick benefit from that and use every last minute.  And I did see a few snowflakes today, that was unnecessary and slightly dramatic, Mother Nature.





My planner goes everywhere with me, here she is sitting happily on my desk at work, waiting for me to add more and more to my never-ending to-do lists.  It is crazy that just 2 weeks ago I was freaking the eff out over all the things that were needing to be done, and with just a little bit of organization, I was able to reign in the crazy, prioritize and knock those to-dos off like a crazy extreme check-listing person that I am.  Somewhat like what I would do when I'm unit planning: I look at my big goals, I figure out how I'm reasonably going to get there, I make smaller goals and constantly check my ressources (time) and then get things done to get to my end goal.  And what is my end goal? Getting enough accomplished to feel comfortable that life is running at capacity and therefore having the ability to take an hour at night to blog or watch a show with the husband.



So tell me, what are some of your favourite organizational tips?  Have a great weekend!

Comments

  1. This is the post I've been waiting for because you are a master organizer. Thanks for the peek into your planner.

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  2. This is WONDERFUL! I've learnt so much and now I want to invest in a planner!

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  3. I still find it so amazing how many of you are paper planners. I am purely digital. My lists, my calendar, everything. So interesting.

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  4. I would be straight up lost and a hot mess without my planner. I've tried using my phone but there is no point. I'm totally a paper planner gal.



    And what is this Blended Blog you speak of?

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  5. I am such an organizer and I LOVE my planner. I hear good things about Erin Condren but I just invested in a Day Designer and I can't wait to start using it in June.

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  6. Thanks for showing us your breakdown...I like how you start big (the month) and break it down into weeks and days. That makes a lot of sense to me and feels like it would really work. Love this! XO -Kim
    www.thethirtysomethinglife.com

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  7. That's awesome! I think you need this sort of thing once you have kids. I see some girls with planners planning when they are going to take naps and watch tv. WTF??

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  8. The planner is giving me teaching flashbacks but I don't know why I don't actively use one at home. I need to start viewing life in the same way as a job during this stage. You are amazing!!

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  9. And I love you even more for your mad organization skills. Happy weekend friend!

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  10. Love it! I love our google calendar. So nice that Hugh and I can both put stuff on it. I particularly like that it has made him more accountable for what is happening in our lives. I don't feel like I am always reminding him what's going on. You get some serious stuff done. I watch TV in the evenings. You are inspiring!

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  11. Oh wow how I wish I could be this organized!! I keep hearing about these Erin Condren planner and after reading this I'm thinking I really need to get one!
    Marta
    www.sweatersstripesandsweets.com

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  12. I think you need to teach a class on organization. I thought I was organized---until now :)

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  13. I also do digital but not to this extend. I completely forgot to cover this

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  14. You would love the Erin Condren!

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  15. Starting a new agenda is one of life's greatest thrills.

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  16. Agreed- I'm paper all the way. www.theblendedblog.com is a collective blog a bunch of us started when we were collabing often- we will have to get you featured!

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  17. bahahah, I wish that was the only thing I had to schedule.

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  18. It's been working so far. My approach changes in the summer when I'm off work. Have a great weekend!

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  19. We have a joint Google Calendar too, which apparently isn't as pretty as yours. You can teach me when we'Re at your cabin this summer.

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  20. Muahahahaha- have a great weekend, too!

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  21. It certainly helps with the overwhelmed feeling - gives you more control!

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  22. I will do that only if we can have wine.

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  23. Definitely worth investigating! I also like the Pierre Belvedere collection that they sell at Indigo.

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  24. I envy your organizational skills!!! After Leslie was asking about it the other day, I've tried to get a little more organized and am using my planner more... it's not nearly at intricate or detailed as yours but I'm using different coloured pens so that's fun lol

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  25. OooOoO, coloured pens, that would be fun! FYI- I miss you.

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  26. I love making lists but I don't do them in my planner. I use Wunderlist on my phone and laptop or I make an actual list in a list notebook, like planning Timothy's graduation party.
    ~Sheila

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  27. You're the queen. I'm usually pretty organized, but lately I've been a disaster in that area. You've inspired me to get my act together this weekend!

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  28. Can like a quarter of your organizational skills rub off on me? I have yet to figure out what actually works for me. One of these days. Also, Mother Nature can stick it. We haven't heard the S word around here, but it is almost cold enough for it.

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  29. You are so organised, thanks for sharing your method! :)

    I have a little notepad next to my computer I scribble my to do list down on, as well as having the big family calendar on the wall with events/appointments/places to be. Otherwise I'd forget half of what I have to do, haha!

    Having a list next to the computer helps so that when I'm on it I see what I need to do first right away. Means bills get paid on time hehe!

    Away From The Blue Blog

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  30. This was so informative! Since having my third baby and starting my blog (simultaneously) I've been seriously lacking in the organization department. I'm a list maker, too, but they are scattered across the house. Thanks for the inspiration - I'm amazed at all that you do!

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  31. Good organization system... very goal oriented!!! Every few days or every week I re-write a list of things "to do" and "things to buy/pay for." It's great to work in list form, definitely helps with structure and organization, and feels good when you can cross off an item!


    Amber
    All the Cute 🎀

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  32. Behind the scenes posts are my favorite kinds of posts!! You are one busy lady!! There is something to be said about still using pen and paper to schedule things!

    Xox Dana Ivy // www.iadorewhatilove.com

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  33. A list by the computer is a great idea!

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  34. I like being a disaster too. Then it's fun to organize yourself out of the mess.

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  35. I will have to check out that app!

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  36. I agree...can't go wrong with that!

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  37. YES! Love crossing things off!

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  38. It can be chaotic, but when you chunk it and divide it up, it becomes less overwhelming.

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  39. Damn! This is so impressive! I need to take my list making up a notch because I am loving how organized you are and have everything written down!

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  40. Thanks for the shout out. And look - I am on your to-do list. No, that doesn't sound right. But you know what I mean. We need to teach me how to Google form, right? We, nothing, I need to be taught by you. There. Great tips here. And now I know what the ruler is for in my planner. Ha! I thought, why do I need a ruler? I also just vomit my list of to-dos along the margin of my week. No bueno. I will start categorizing them. Como tu! Thank you for teaching this old dog...

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  41. Katie Mitchell21 May, 2016 02:50

    Holy Busy Woman!! Love that you cross things off your list!! Great post!!

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  42. […] Make lists: This way I feel on top of everything and at night when I can’t sleep and my mind is racing, I simply write it down.  You can read my post earlier this month on my extreme checklisting strategies. […]

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  43. […] detailed post on how I stay uber-organized and juggle all the everythings of life.  You can read it here- I even let you look inside my agenda which is practically like letting you read my diary. Kinda. […]

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  44. Okay, you've sold me. Off I go to buy a planner. I love the goal setting, the daily checklist and reminder. I need this for my life. (don't tell but I am breaking my no shopping in Jan. if I go buy one of those planners you recommended from Indigo---I blame you) :)

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Have a lovely day!