Organizational Tools 101 (Productivity Series)

January 11, 2021

Editor’s Note: Happy New Year! Have you ever looked at an organized woman and thought, “How does she do that!” The Together Blog is here to answer that question in our 3-part productivity series. We’ve asked some of our most organized, efficient ladies to share their secrets with us so that we can invest the moments God gives us as wisely as possible. We hope you glean some great ideas from these articles!    

God has given us each different strengths and weaknesses, forming the beautiful picture of the body of Christ where each of us is unique. But regardless of whether we feel that organizing our lives is a strength for us, we all have to do it!  As a wife and mom, there is much to keep up with in the family. I’ve got a lot to remember, and I’m likely not going to! You may have a different life situation, but it most likely involves moving parts that you need to track. Over the past few years, I’ve found several tools that have helped me keep it all straight. Maybe one of them will help you too.

Bullet Journal
Keeping a bullet journal has helped me organize daily and monthly tasks. If you google bullet journal you’ll find a zillion ideas for how to keep one. I personally use the journal as a primary place to track “to-do’s,” but I also take message notes in it, use it for meal planning, vacation packing lists, and other lists. Each year I purchase a new notebook similar to this. I have a few pages dedicated to notes for each month. These include birthdays, important dates, and any month-specific tasks I want to remember like the sale at my favorite store and reminders to schedule doctor appointments. I also use the journal daily to list what I want or need to accomplish that day. I list tasks like “call a friend,” “set up a playdate,” “make muffins for tomorrow’s breakfast” or “fold the laundry.” Anything that needs to be done gets written down. Each morning I review the previous day’s items and transfer any that weren’t done to today’s list. 

Wall Calendar
Keeping a wall calendar has helped me organize the family’s schedule. I have three wipe-off board calendars like these mounted on the wall in the kitchen. They show the current month plus the next two. This “big picture” of the family calendar helps us know what’s going on and spot busy times when we shouldn’t add more events. The calendars help me make quicker decisions on what we can and can’t do. I often find my husband referring to them as well. As the month progresses, I try to keep the calendars current as events and appointments are added. I do keep a google calendar but make sure the wall is current too.

AnyList App 
Using the app AnyList has helped me keep up with lists. There are tons of apps out there, but this is the one that I’ve found works for me, and it helps that there is a free version. I primarily use this app for shopping lists. I have a grocery list, a Target list, a BJs list, etc. Basically, I keep a list for each store I go to with any degree of frequency. I aim to be disciplined to use that app to track what is needed at those stores. When I open the last package of soap, “bar soap” goes on the Target list. When I notice mustard is low in the fridge it goes on the grocery list. The key is to have the lists set up and get in the habit of adding to them the moment I realize I need something. Then, I don’t have to keep remembering it (because most likely, I won’t!)

Recipes and Meal Planning
Finally, I use an app called Paprika for my recipe database and meal planning needs. Given how much I use it, it’s been $5 well-spent! This is the only place I keep recipes. Most of the ones I use these days come from the many food blogs I follow, and Paprika lets me transfer the recipe from the blog post directly into the app. I also use it each week to plan meals, adding my plan into the calendar, and then from there creating a grocery list, pulled automatically based on the things needed for all my meals.

Organization does require some thought, but it is well worth the effort in providing a smoother, more efficient life. Perhaps one of these tools will help you as it has helped me.

If you’re interested in learning more about Charity’s meal planning, we’re posting a bonus article tomorrow with more info on that.

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