By: Nicole Gabai, B. Organized!
Do you tend to collect “little papers” throughout the day? (and who doesn’t?) Did you get the phone number for a great photographer or stylist and just don’t remember where you wrote it? I have created a solution that has worked for me for the last 17 years…It’s called “portability.” A term I created to describe a system to remain organized whether at home, in the office or on the road. This includes anything; from being at work all day, while on errands or even during carpools. The first item you’ll want to have at your fingertips is a catch-all notebook, preferably with tab sections so that you may use separate categories for each tab. For example: one tab for each child and member of your household and one each for projects you are working on, i.e. a renovation, decorating ideas or planning an upcoming trip. You might want a section for Health & Doctors with recommendations to keep handy until your next appointment.
The basic idea here is to provide a home for all the notes and papers we accumulate during the day. You can tape in some of this information that might have landed on a handwritten note or any other reminders you want to hang on to. The key here is to categorize, so that you can refer to and retrieve information easily; much more efficient than flipping through pages of random notes. This special notebook I affectionately call the “halfway house,” since the information stored in it is halfway between your ever important “bible” (more on that below) and your permanent files or perhaps it remains as fleeting tidbits of information to live in the “halfway house.” It’s very important to date the notebook in the front, say January 2013 through April 2013 and you’ll want to hang on to these notebooks for approximately 5 years.
So, now the “bible!” The “bible” is a datebook and address book all in one. This very important item can be either electronic or paper. For a paper system, Filofax and the Franklin Planner, as well as other similar brands, are still very popular and every bit as efficient. An iPhone or other electronic device is excellent too, just be sure to think through which one you will commit to and remember to use it religiously.
The bible works together with the halfway house, preferably using the bible to note the time of an appointment and then using the halfway house for all expanded notes about the appointment. Use at least a “day-on-a-page” layout if you’re on a paper system to note appointments in the corresponding time slot, and then refer to it throughout the day. In addition, use the “month-at-a-glance” layout for better planning. This is 2 pages where you can see the whole month at once. Use this to clearly mark, in simple notation, when you have appointments. Now, in one glance, you can see how best to manage your time within the context of the whole month.
In an electronic system, this is easily maintained as you regularly input new entries. For the busier times when quick input isn’t possible, tuck the information away in your “halfway house” until you have more time for updating. Remember to have these 2 items with you at all times. Whenever you leave the house, check to see that you have your “halfway house” and your “bible” with you, just like you would make sure you have your cell phone and wallet with you.
Finally, keeping a current ‘TO DO’ list is essential for your daily tasks, as well as weekly and monthly tasks. These can easily be updated if you store them in your computer. A classic index card is another helpful tool to keep track of daily tasks. Also, make a “CALL LIST” and a “THINGS TO BUY LIST.” As you move through town, frequently check your lists to stay on track. You’ll be breezing through life in an efficient way and you’ll realize how wonderful it is to B. Organized!
Nicole Gabai is the president and founder of B. Organized!, a company specializing in innovative solutions for your home, office (especially paper intensive environments) and children’s rooms. The company also manages moves and temporary relocations and offers expert space planning consulting during the architectural planning phase. She has owned the company for fifteen years and was previously based in New York City. She is now based on Cape Cod, MA, West Hartford, CT and seasonally in Miami, FL. Nicole can be reached at email@example.com or in Miami at 305.460.5717. She also teaches classes on organizing at the Falmouth night school. In addition to working closely with private clients, providing customized solutions, Nicole also presents workshops and seminars to corporate clients on how to get yourself organized and increase productivity. Her work is widely recognized throughout the East coast: from Maine to Miami, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey to Tennessee and internationally in Peru and Mexico. Nicole is fluent in Spanish and French.