"Before you begin a thing, remind yourself that difficulties and delays quite impossible to foresee are ahead. If you could see them clearly, naturally you could do a great deal to get rid of them but you can't. You can only see one thing clearly and that is your goal. Form a mental vision of that and cling to it through thick and thin."
Scarlet O'Hara famously said in Gone With the Wind, "Fiddly dee, I'll worry about that tomorrow!" And if you want to have a hectic morning, then you should definitely try to emulate her. But if you want to have a smooth morning routine, a little planning and prep the night before will help you get organized and ready to be on your way ...
1) Select your clothes. Pick out your clothes for the next day. Iron anything that needs it. Don't forget accessories: jewelry, cuff links, hose, socks, shoes, panties, boxers, scarf, tie, or purse. If you have kids, the same should be done with their outfits.
2) Pack your bags. Fix your lunch, get your gym bag ready, and make sure all necessary items for the next day are tucked into your briefcase, backpack, or purse. Again, if children are in the picture, then their bags should be prepared as well.
3) Check your planner. Look over tomorrow's activities. This will refresh your memory about must-do items or things you need to take with you the next day.
4) Collect your stuff. Place your keys, cell, wallet, purse, laptop, briefcase, etc. in one spot, preferably close by your door. It's a good idea to make this staging ground near an electrical outlet, so battery-powered items can recharge overnight.
5) Get your sleep. Go to bed in time to sleep 8 hours (or whatever your body requires to be rested). Otherwise, you are guaranteed to hit the snooze and sleep later than you should!
Carmen Coker, a former U.S. Air Force officer turned professional organizer, helps individuals clear the clutter that holds them back from living their best life. Claim your FREE copy of "33 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life TODAY" at CarmenCoker.com/free-organizing-gift
Thank you Carmen! I'm pretty good about selecting my clothes the night before, but these other tips will sure be helpful. I'm adding "create a morning routine" to my 2013 goals!
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It's been a while since we've had a serious discussion about planners. With the year coming to a close and another starting fresh, now is the perfect time for a refresher. You'll soon be setting goals for a new year, and using a planner will make reaching those goals a little easier. Here are a few thoughts to help you plan from some of the most organized people we know.
Our CEO, Sarah Merz Devoll:
I am a devoted paper planner user and have been for decades. Over the years, I've developed several special planning approaches that help me make sense of my commitments, goals, and progress toward those goals. Here are just a few examples:
Spatially sort your task list - I list my work tasks from the top down, and my personal tasks from the bottom up. That way, I can easily keep track of progress on both aspects of my life. I try to keep a balance by not letting the bottom list creep up the page faster than the top list creeps down the page, and vice versa.
Create a highlighted day code to track important things - On days when I get a good workout in, I highlight the date with a pink highlighter on the monthly tab. A month full of pink dots is a health month. A month with no dots is embarrassing.
Add pages for big days - About once a month, I have an event that has lots of moving parts. It could be a dinner party, a board meeting, or a project with my husband. I add a blank page in my planner next to that date and keep all my running lists on that page. I always know where my notes are because the date is top-of-mind and when the day arrives, my thoughts are all collected in front of me.
I look forward to learning planning tips from others as well, so I can continue to adapt and make my planner even more helpful.
Steve Shumway, Vice-President, Product Development
I started using a day planner years ago when they were a "must have" for any businessman. I continued to follow the trends and graduated to a PDA and eventually to a smartphone, which I now use in conjunction with my iPad. Still, there is one enduring concept I appreciate now more than ever despite all the advances in technology and the changing trends over the years- I need something to write on!
I use the FranklinCovey Leadership 1-page-per-day planner that fits nicely into a beautiful leather cover. It allows me to capture meeting notes by date along with recording assignments, projects, things I need to remember, and notes to myself. This planner keeps them neatly organized and makes it easy to transfer some of this information to my electronic devices.
I used to be very concerned about fashions and trends. I now concern myself more with practicality. I want to do what works and I find my planner is what works for me. I love my electronic devices but they are only part of the total organizational equation. Still, with a business case, a planner cover, and an iPad cover that are all coordinating, I satisfy my need for style.
I am confident technology will continue to emerge and the next big thing is just around the corner. I am also confident, despite these advancements, my FranklinCovey planner will continue to be the cornerstone of my personal organization.
And from Product Manager, Jennifer Andrews:
I've been using planners for many years, and as technology and my life have changed, so have my planners. In high school (way before cell phones and tablets) I used it for everything. I kept all my phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, calendars, tasks, notes, pictures, and journaling in my planner. It went with me everywhere. As I entered college, my planner became my lifeline to keep on top of homework, project and work schedules. I found it kept me from losing my mind as I had so much going on.
As I entered the working world, my planner came with me, but it changed. As I began to use technology more and more, I found I no longer needed my planner for my calendars and birthdays, as my computer reminded me of them. And my contacts were also now being stored electronically. I tried a few times to keep everything on a smartphone or my computer, but found myself frequently frustrated as I tried to keep track of notes and tasks in meetings and throughout my day. I needed my planner.
I've finally settled on a weekly planner format. I love being able to keep my entire week in front of me at a glance. If I see that I already have a lot of tasks stacked up for Tuesday, but Wednesday's open, I can schedule my own time better. It keeps me from being stressed out when I can see it all laid out in front of me. I also love that I can put a task in the future; even a few months down the road, and know that it will be there. I don't have to worry that a glitch in my computer erased it, or it didn't sync to my iPhone due to a bug in the last update. I wrote it in ink, it's still there.
If I wake up at night unable to sleep thinking about something I need to do the next day, I grab my planner, write it down and know that task will hit me when it needs to. It keeps me on top of the many hats I wear. My planner is a dear old friend, she keeps me organized, she keeps me sane.
Is your planner a dear friend that keeps you organized and sane? If not, take a closer look at the way you plan. Your planner is waiting to help you make more of your time.
For more help using your planner take a look at this helpful video.
It’s December 31st, the last day of the year. Now is the perfect time to reflect on the year that was and consider the year ahead. It’s time to set some goals. (Let’s not call them resolutions because we tend to break those.) This year, lets not set goals that are too lofty and too generic, like “Get in shape.” My version of being in shape may be different than yours. After all, round is a shape.
Instead, lets set attainable goals. The keys to reaching goals is making them specific, setting a deadline, and breaking them into achievable pieces. So one goal might be to run a 5K on July 4th. (That’s a goal with a deadline.) The smaller goals will be to run a set distance each day. This goal will increase as you get nearer to your deadline. And an even smaller goal would be to go to bed each night at 10:00 so you can be up in time to add exercise to your daily schedule. So the one goal: to run a 5K, is actually 3 or four goals.
That’s why so many resolutions are never realized. We try to jump over important steps along the way to our goals and we stumble and fall flat.
Does your New Year's resolution involve getting organized? Make 2013 the year that you commit to better organization. Don't think of being organized as an elusive, far-off goal. Create routines to help lighten the load and bring the chaos to order today. Here are 5 tips to help get you started:
Structure Your Day When time is unstructured, it can leave you feeling scattered and unaccomplished. Start each day with a clear plan. Make lists of what you need to do and prioritize them. Structure your day around those goals.
Create Habits Small habits of putting away and finishing up what you're doing can have huge benefits in maintaining order. Here are some creative ways to get a new habit to stick.
Do Less. Creating a tight schedule without time to re-group will set you up for failure. Plan ahead for inevitable distractions. If things happen to run smoothly, you can make productive use of that extra time.
Be Charitable Having a good cause to donate to will help get the clutter out, while helping someone else in need (not to mention the tax deduction). Regularly asses what you have and weed out the excess.
Create A Place If you have 15 minutes to straighten up, but don't know where to put anything, that 15 minutes is wasted. Having a place for everything is essential to living organized. Invest in furniture and containers to make maintaining order easier.
Organization doesn't just happen, it is a discipline and a constant process. Commit to making 2013 your most organized year yet!
Thanks, Monica! We know 2013 will be a great year!
To learn more about Monica visit our GO Contributor page, or her website chaostoorder.com. We sure are excited to feature her on the GO Community and can't wait to start utilizing all her organizational advice!
As the end of the year rapidly approaches, you're probably preoccupied with finishing up the details that come with closing out the year - final quarter reports, wrapping up projects, and of course, holiday parties! It's an odd time in that for many of us, it can be both busy and slow at the same time - busy with busywork, slow in that it may not feel like a purposeful time.
If that's true for you, there are few key things you can do with the remainder of the year to be poised for a goal-oriented, streamlined, and more productive 2013. Start with these:
Map out your goals. What do you want to happen in 2013, both on a large scale and on a smaller level? I'm not talking about resolutions like losing weight or getting organized - these are vague goals that typically don't last past the first week in January. Rather, think about how you'd like to end 2013 - what will be different for you? What do you want to have happen during the year? Spend some time thinking about these results, then working backwards, break them down into their components and start mapping out on the calendar when you'd like to target some time for working on the components. This is much more powerful - and actionable - than simply saying "my goal is to XYZ."
Choose your planning tool(s). The end of a year and the beginning of a new one is an ideal time to revisit your organizing and planning tools, determine what's working, what could be better, and make appropriate changes. For instance, if you haven't been crazy about the planner you've been using, this is an opportunity to check out what's new in the FranklinCovey store. Maybe you'd been curious about using your smartphone as a calendar instead of paper - set aside a few minutes to explore the calendar function and see how well you like it. Spend time experimenting with planning tools now, rather than in the midst of the new year when you are getting busy with your commitments.
End the email deluge. Email can be a double-edged sword - it's both is useful for communication, and can be a huge distraction and time-suck. To reduce the amount of time wasted on email, spend a few minutes in your inbox and ruthlessly unsubscribe from any newsletters or email lists that you don't read regularly. Don't worry - you can always re-subscribe to any newsletters that you feel like you're missing out on (I'm positive they'll be happy to welcome you back as a subscriber!). You can also use a service like Unroll.me to consolidate your newsletters and other subscriptions and make this process of organizing and unsubscribing a bit faster and easier.
Review your subscriptions and services. Speaking of services, open your credit card statement and review any recurring charges. Are you being billed for a service you don't really use anymore - like a web-based music subscription service that you don't listen to anymore, or a professional subscription that's no longer relevant? These things have a way of just collecting, and although each one may not be a lot of money on its own, together these services and subscriptions can add up to a big chunk of change either monthly or annually. Take a few minutes to look over what you're using - and what you're not - and eliminate the waste.
Doing the things I just mentioned won't take you much time up front - maybe an hour or two all told - but they can save you a lot of time, and make you more purposeful, productive, and effective.
Excellent advice Josh, thanks for sharing! You can find more pro organizing solutions from Josh at Custom Living Solutions.
Next we have Joel, the tech-guru. He always knows what products are coming out before it even hits the web and he loves unique tech products that you never knew existed. Check out his gift options below.