(I tried to model my cat for this photo. What did I learn? Some things you just can’t ‘organise’, cats being one of them, even with bribery.)
I have a lot of diaries.
I have so many diaries in fact that one would assume that I was so organised that I organised my organisation.
Unfortunately, that just not the case. Here’s the usual example: it’s the beginning of the year or semester and I decide, ‘Alana, you can’t remember every single thing in your head, so get a journal and write it down. You’re going to be more organised than you were last semester!‘ So, I go out and buy a diary, which is usually the biggest, most-detailed diary I can find, come home, spend hours putting it all together and then spend the evening feeling pretty impressed with myself because I’m now, all of a sudden, an organisational genius. Does it work?
HAHA…no. What usually happens: I spend a week pedantically carrying around this oversized journal and meticulously writing down every possible commitment I may have, until one day I decide it’s too big or too heavy to fit in my bag and so leave it at home. One day diary free becomes 2 days and so on until I eventually stop using it and it gets abandoned in some pile of university work which is called the ‘to-do’ pile, which is in fact the, ‘I don’t feel like doing it now and will probably never do later’ pile. If my parents are reading this, don’t judge, I know you have exact the same piles…we all do. Anyway, that’s a story for another day.
Back to the diary situation. So, once I’ve abandoned my diary, my organisation and record keeping becomes a series of writing things down on whatever piece of paper I happen to have at the time, until I lose them all, forget something and then once again I eventually decide I need another diary, make up another set of excuses and the cycle starts again…Oooft, try saying that sentence all in one breath!
So, what am I doing about it? Well for starters, I’ve moved to an electronic diary. Why? Because I’m 20 and addicted to my phone – trust me, it’s probably an addiction when you respond to your whilst in the shower rather than wait 2 minutes until you’re out like a normal person…I guess I’m not perfect after all. The current diary app I use is the simple, basic apple iCalendar and the free app Wunderlist for all my to-do stuff.
Why these two? I’ve spent more than enough money on my ‘organisation’ and it’s easy and convenient for me and what I do, which is study and keep up with work, university societies and friends, and you can’t exactly get behind in iCalendar, it’s always there. I’ve considered other calendar apps, like Fantastical 2, but for around $80AUD, there’s just no way I can justify spending that much money on something I may never use, but that’s just my opinion! If you have experience with Fantastical 2 or any other great calendar/daily planner tools, please let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts about them?
Okay, so having the apps and whatnot is one thing, but how am I actually making it work? Well I’m doing 4 basic things:
- As soon as I make a plan, I just put it in my phone. I don’t wait till I get home or do it later. I just try and do it asap- because I will forget.
- I don’t make exceptionally long and unrealistic to-do lists. I try to focus on doing only 1-2 things daily, so whatever else I do on top of those feels like a bonus rather than a failure.
- I don’t beat myself up about forgetting something. Okay, so I forgot to write something down, or I got the time wrong, or the place wrong…these things happen and that’s life. C’est la vie!
- I don’t let my diary rule my life. I don’t need a plan for every day, nor do I want to spend a considerable amount of time planning when I can be doing. Also, plans can change and mine often do.
So that’s how I’m trying to improve my organisational and time management skills! Don’t worry, I’m far from perfect and do love my procrastination. In my opinion, embracing a more minimalistic lifestyle isn’t necessarily about cutting heaps of things out of your life and becoming this super organised well-oiled machine, but more about trying to reduce clutter. In this case, it’s not physical clutter I struggle with but mental clutter. Trying to remember everything in your head is hard and stressful and so I’ve found that writing events down in a calendar and having short 1-2 thing to-do lists has really helped me!
Hope you found this interesting, and let me know if you have any organisational tips too!