I love back-to-school season. It always feels like the perfect time to get reorganized and refocused. Granted, you can do this anytime in the year but what better opportunity than mid-August and early September when office supplies and tools for planning and organizing are on sale. You may not be going back to school but that surely doesn't mean you can't take advantage of all the goodies that are launched and showcased during this lovely season.
As I mentioned, this is the perfect time to get organized. Why get organized? Aside from the obvious — keeping bills or important documents from getting lost in the midst of coupons and really old junk mail, some say getting your space organized allows you to keep your mind in order and in turn work more efficiently. True, but in this case, in this post, I don't like the word "efficient" which basically means maximizing productivity. I feel that term is best used for robots or assembly lines and we are neither of those. Of course we don't want to waste time looking for stuff and not getting work done because of time lost, but being efficient isn't always synonymous with quality. You can improve your quality of work and life by minimizing the stress of a messy environment (or mental space). This empowers you to be and do better. So instead of "efficient" I'd like to use the word "empower."
Getting organized empowers you to make better decisions about your work and life and allows you to produce better results. Decreasing clutter and keeping your thoughts, ideas, and inspirations in order will empower you to be better at getting what you need done, create quality outcomes and allow you to enjoy the extra time generated.
I struggle with this everyday. I'm a paper, textile, magazine, businesscard, and to-do list hoarder. (Not like the folks on A&E, though, you will not find a flattened cat or a ten year-old plate of food buried underneath my design books.) All of those things, as well as art supplies, magazine clippings, planners, and books are constantly sprinkled around me in my office. As I prepare my syllabi for the up-coming semester and wrap up design projects for the summer I'm constantly trying to keep it all together.
So here are some wonderful items that I'm hoping will be useful for you and me. Some are purely functional, others are all about fun. I feel it's important to have a healthy mix of both. Quirky, innovative, nicely designed items that inspire beauty and creativity (like the cute elephant paper clips below) are also very important to have around. Of course you can buy a regular pack of No. 2 pencils for 99¢ but who wants those if some pretty patterned ones will make you smile every time you write out your to-do list :).
How do you stay organized? What products do you use? Are you a paper person, or do you use digital tools to keep your schedule and ideas together? Do share.
1. Saarika Boxed Notebook Set - I never have enough notebooks for my ideas, notes, and sketches. I really love the stripes in this set.
2. SusyJack* Pencil Cup - I have so many drawing pens, pencils, and sharpies but can never find them when I need them, so this pretty pencil cup will solve that problem instantly (or you can use old mayonnaise jars which work perfectly as well).
3. Eraser-ing Eraser - ok you don't really need this and it's pretty pricey but it's fun!
5. This Week Paper Mousepad - I have another version of this from the same brand and love it! This paper mousepad helps me map out my tasks for every day of the week. I do wish each line had a checkbox so I didn't have to make my own. (And this version is on sale.)
6. Jumbo Wall Calendar - I'm in need of an academic calendar for my new office at school. I like the kraft paper of this one as well as it's size.
7. Verbatim USB Flash Drive - I'll be going back and forth between my computer at home, the one in my office, and in the classroom, so I'll always need to transfer digital files. Flash drives are perfect because they're small and easy for doing just that.
8. Shredder Scissors - one of the biggest clutter problems are those documents you keep meaning to shred. You can always buy the machine but these cool scissors are another option for getting the job done.
9. Elephant Paperclips - just because.
10. Greenroom File Folders - pretty patterns and perfect for filing away old documents and collections of inspiration.
11. Greenroom Binders - along with storing information for my courses, binders are perfect for organizing inspiration. Someone suggested some time ago to avoid magazine clutter by tearing out pages you like, hole-punching them and placing them in a binder. It was the best organizational advice ever!
12. Arbor Journals - it's always great to have a beautiful journal to flush out and organize your dreams and thoughts.