I’m always on the lookout for new and better organization tools.
Over the years, I have learned about lots of different tools. Some have stuck with me and some have been discarded. I’ve modified some to make them work for my particular needs and I’ve accidentally invented some methods out of necessity.
Here are some of the organization tools I use:
Thank God for online banking! I used to sit down on Sunday evenings and write checks for every bill that was due during the upcoming week. The envelopes, the stamps, the checkbook balancing – it was sheer torture! Now, once a week, I schedule any bills that have come in to be paid. I receive most of those bills online. I even deposit physical checks online! I can check the account balance whenever I want without balancing a paper checkbook.
The one paper tool I use for my finances is a spiral notebook. In the left margin I write all my monthly bills – water, cable, power, etc. I draw lines down the page to make monthly columns. As I pay each bill I write in the amount. This way I can keep track of which bills are still outstanding without turning on my computer. It’s also easy to glance at the page to compare the amounts from month to month.
I’m sure you could use a spreadsheet to do the same thing; I just personally like my notebook!
There are chores that have to be done to keep a house running smoothly and keep it relatively clean. I’m not big on doing certain chores on specific days just because my work routine changes unexpectedly from day to day. It helps me to have a list of chores such as cleaning bathrooms, dusting the den, and washing sheets. I make a Word document list of every chore I’d like to get done during a week, print it, and put it in a page protector. When I realize I have a free block of time, I figure out what chore I could do during that time block. When finished, I cross the item off my list. Because I’m marking on the page protector (using a vis-a-vis marker) rather than directly on the paper, when the list is finished I can just wipe the marks off with a damp paper towel and use it again!
I use a similar tool for my work tasks. First I create a document for each day of the week and list the specific tasks that I do on that day every week. Then I add some blank lines. I put the daily lists in their page protectors into a 3-ring binder and use the blank lines to add tasks to be done on that specific day.
Since I’ve saved these documents, it’s easy to modify the chore and task lists as needed. Just be sure to use vis-a-vis markers when checking off your items. A sharpie won’t wash off the page protector!
I use the notepad function on my phone to list things I need to buy when I’m out and about. Whether it’s groceries, office supplies, or whatever, I add it to the same list. I always have my phone with me so wherever I am I also have my list. Seeing “printer ink” next to “peanut butter” also reminds me that I need to go to the office supply store!
What organization tools do you use? Please share your ideas in the comments below. Thanks!