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Organizing

Inspiring Tidbits, Organizing

Where Hours Go

Clock hung above a diner counter in charming Pescadero, CA

Greetings from beneath the rubble of yet another crunch week, dear readers! That’s right: not only am I quite literally covered in plaster dust and concrete rubble from a messy kitchen remodel as I write this, but I’m getting the feeling that I’m also juggling a bunch of creative balls in the air that are about to come crashing down in my face if I’m not careful. And so, I’m at least trying to be really careful…I’m writing to-do lists left and right, being brutal about my priorities, and letting go of all things that aren’t absolutely necessary or time-sensitive. I’m hoping that these prioritizing tactics will help me meet deadlines and keep all the hours in the day from slipping away – haven’t you noticed that time seems to run amok when we don’t hold ourselves accountable and actively work toward our goals in this way?

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Inspiring Tidbits, Organizing

One Pretty Thing

Tulip pens from Amsterdam in an Ikea vase

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”

As someone who spends far more hours at her desk than are conceivably healthy, I am very sensitive to my work environment (which, for me, is my home). This means my recent move has presented quite the challenge, because whenever I look up from my computer I see the construction zone that is our kitchen, or the stacks of boxes that need unpacking/sorting/shredding. The perfectionist-come-procrastinator in me wants to shoot up out of my desk chair and spend a whole week getting everything in my surroundings just so, but I somehow manage to fight this urge by reminding myself of what a friend told me a few weeks back, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” (I eventually Googled this phrase and learned it is from The Book of Ecclesiastes – who knew, right?)

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Inspiring Tidbits, Organizing

Check Boxes

Printable calendar perfect for the checkbox obsessed.

My husband and I close escrow on our house this week (fingers crossed, we collect the keys on Wednesday), so we spent the whole weekend packing up our apartment and doing taxes in an attempt to get a leg up on the 5,000-plus tasks that will likely come our way in the crazy month ahead. As such, my life has felt a bit overrun by boxes (of both the cardboard and check-box varieties), and I can’t help thinking about how easy it is for us mere mortals to slip into this way of existence even when we’re not facing a huge life change like a move. Personally, I know that there are several times every year in which I catch myself turning my entire life into a series of check boxes. I think this tends to happen when I’m feeling overwhelmed by work or family obligations – a.k.a, times when to-do lists are the only possible means of self preservation. Although I used to worry that these compartmentalizing phases of life were something I had to change, I’ve since realized that sometimes writing lists of all my worries and then filing them away into veritable boxes really is the best way to cope with a too-full plate…

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Inspiring Tidbits, Organizing

Get It Done

Essentially my new organization system illustrated by the Oh So Lovely Blog

Putting inspiration into action can be tricky, because there’s just so darn much that has to happen between the inception of an idea and the glorious moment when you have a finished product on the page, computer screen, or airwaves. As a creative professional who’s her own boss, I find this particularly challenging seeing as I have to balance being both taskmaster and practitioner. As you may have guessed from last week’s post about priorities, I’ve been struggling with this balancing act a bit more than usual of late; however, after taking a step back, I discovered one proactive thing I can do to feel in control of my time and tasks. What’s this simple thing? Restructuring my to-do lists, of course. You see, my to-do lists were getting too far gone to even be considered “out of control.” They were becoming so sprawling that I had to scroll through several pages of text just to get a handle on my schedule for any given day, and as a result I wasn’t accomplishing half the things on my daily to-do lists and was going to sleep each night with a discouraged feeling of under achievement. Here’s how I’m attempting to fix my task-list sprawl…

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Organizing, Sweet Nothings

Creative Clutter

Shrine for Steve Jobs in front of the Apple Store in Santa Monica, CA – I bet his mind was a lot less cluttered than this homage

My weekend was a quiet one all about reading, watching bad movies, and doing lots of tiny housekeeping tasks that have been nagging at me. Chief among these pesky to-do items was the job of finally cleaning out and coating my new dresser drawers in polyurethane, which means my clothes no longer live in big, plastic moving bins. It’s amazing how little things like this can clutter both our living spaces and minds when they go untended to week after week. I usually only realize how much these tasks weigh on me after they are finally done, though, and right now is no exception. I’m feeling so much lighter as I enter the week, as though my synapses are firing at record-high speeds, and I’m ready to tackle all the challenges of my current writing projects with a fresh perspective. In case you need a little extra push to get your brilliant brain going in a similar way on this lovely Monday, I figured I would share a few images of some quirky, creative souls I spotted while strolling through Santa Monica yesterday…

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Inspiring Tidbits, Organizing

Wishing and Planning

"A goal without a plan is just a wish" print

As I settle into my home and recalibrate my limbs to the novel sensation of typing without a five year old swinging from them, I realize it’s about time to start setting goals for the remainder of the year. There really could be no better moment to do this than now, because all my recent travel (and the human-jungle-gym status that comes with the territory of family visits) has me feeling a bit off kilter. Getting in touch with my goals and the things that are very intentionally mine within my life is just what I need in order to stay on track and wipe away the somewhat helpless feeling that comes from foreign time zones/unpredictable work hours, though. In fact, as I sketch out my new master plan I’m finding that the more specific I am about all the various steps ahead of me on the path toward achieving my goals, the more empowered and happy I feel about this day that started out with a case of the blahs. It’s amazing what a little focus and scheming can do, am I right?

Specificity has truly been the most important ingredient in this blah-banishing elixir, and the way my morning planning session has suddenly made my goals feel within reach reminds me of this print via Pinterest. I hope this image inspires you to make your dreams anything but wishy-washy today, and if you find yourself needing a little extra focus to stay on track you might want to refer to my tip-filled guides about setting goals and resetting/fine-tuning goals. Do you agree with this Antoine de Saint-Exupery quote that “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” or do you find that all you need do in order to achieve greatness is set a goal and tape it to your fridge? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment.

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Inspiring Tidbits, Organizing

Mid-Year Goals

Because, why not cover your sofa in #goals?

As the last week of June stretches out before us and the first half of 2011 slithers away, I figure now is the perfect time to set goals for the remainder of this year. One good way to kick start this process might be to take a look at your New Years goals and assess what you accomplished, what you’re still hoping to accomplish and what just doesn’t matter to you anymore. Even if you only achieved one or two of the goals you set at the beginning of the year, take a hot second to bask in this huge victory right now why dontcha? After all, accomplishing even a single thing that’s important to you is damn amazing. Once you’re done patting yourself on the back and sipping a victory cappuccino, however, let’s get down to work…

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Inspiring Tidbits, Organizing

Anything and Everything

“You Can Do Anything But Not Everything” print

While the first step toward accomplishing anything is simply believing you can do it, I’d say a close second is setting priorities. Sure, I cling firmly to the idea that neither artists nor entrepreneurs would ever get anything done without carefree, childlike moments of viewing the world as a place brimming over with pure possibility, but this boundless world would be dizzying without a calendar and a realistic set of goals. This is why I absolutely adore David Allen’s quote, “You can do anything but not everything.” Yes, this dude is a self-help author and I apologize profusely if the thought of self-help books makes you gag, but that doesn’t change the fact that something about this concept really rings true. We live in an age of multitasking and “You can do it” landscape posters on every office wall, but none of this amounts to much unless we’re cognizant of what we really care about accomplishing and what we can live without. This is because – with the exception of Sanjay Gupta – no one can do everything and we all have to pick our battles, which can mean something as simple as choosing between running errands and making dinner or something as complex as deciding between having a career and raising kids.

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Organizing, Sweet Nothings

Fabu-Tired

Blinged-out tire in front of an automotive shop in Austin, TX

Do you ever have those weekends that just zip by, leaving no traces of where they ran off to? You know, the weekends you enter with the best intentions of catching up on sleep, errands and all the responsible things an adult should do, yet the kinds you find yourself and your carpets on the other side of feeling just as un-rested and un-vacuumed as ever? I just experienced one such blur of a Saturday/Sunday, but miraculously went into auto pilot today and reverted to a little productivity trick I learned a few years back. This recipe for making lemonade out of the most sour of Mondays is quite simple: it involves equal parts of one (1) giant thermos of coffee and one (1) tuna melt. Perhaps the power this combo has over me is associative or maybe it’s due to the rush of caffeine and protein, but all I know is that my friends Albacore and Jo helped me meet a deadline on four hours of sleep today. This ain’t too shabby even if I say so myself, and my day of making proverbial lemonade out of groggy lemons has got me thinking about the important life lesson we all eventually learn…The lesson of how to make the best of imperfect situations.

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Movies and TV, Organizing

On With Her Head

Jean Marsh as Princess Mombi holding one of her 31 heads in “Return to Oz” (1985), courtesy of Walt Disney

Do you remember the character Princess Mombi from “Return to Oz” (yup, I’m talking about the movie and L. Frank Baum book)? Do you also recall how this dark witch kept the heads of 30 beautiful women in a cabinet so she could change them out with her own on a whim? While this was purely an aesthetic dalliance for Princess Mombi, today I’ve been wondering what it would be like not only to change the physical appearance of our heads but also to switch out the brains inside them. I know this sounds like a ludicrous sci-fi fantasy, but hear me out and this just might yield a useful positive-thinking tip…

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