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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Two For Tuesday: Two Things That Keep Me (Somewhat) Organized And A Giveaway!


Today I thought I'd share two things that help keep me organized: my master to-do list notebook and my daily mini legal pad where I "assign" myself things to do, using my master to-do list notebook.

I use the master to-do list to keep track of everything-- kid stuff, writing stuff, business stuff, house stuff, medical stuff... you name it! If it needs doing, it goes in there. But you can't get it all done in one day, right? So that's why I needed one place to put it all. My notebook is one I found at Office Max-- nothing fancy, just a 5X7 size business notebook.

I then use the lists from my master notebook to create daily lists, assigning myself a certain amount for each day according to the day I've got ahead of me. If I'm going to be gone all day, then I know the list needs to be short. If I'm home with time on my hands, the list can be longer. I've gotten a feel for what I can accomplish after years of trial and error. And if it doesn't all get done? Well, that just means it goes on the next day's list. No biggie.

I don't remember when I started this system-- it's been years ago and it still works well. If it goes in the master notebook, it generally gets done. The master list is a big picture list-- I usually make a page a week, sometimes a page a month depending on what I have going on. I take time regularly to sit down with my emails and add items to the notebook using saved emails as reminders. Several times a week I glance over that week's list and make sure I've assigned stuff that needs doing-- thereby spreading out the tasks in a doable way. If I focus on the master list too much I am prone to hyperventilate. That's where the daily lists come in handy. When I break it down, I can handle life. I can get 'er done.

So today I am doing a great giveaway! I'm giving away a master to-do notebook like I use, a small legal pad, AND two organizational books-- Glynnis Whitwer's inspiring new book I Used To Be So Organized and Laura Wittman's Clutter Rehab! The winner of this giveaway is sure to get a handle on life!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO ALL WHO LEFT A COMMENT!
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57 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would love to win, because I am in dire need of orgainization at this time in my life. We are a homeschooling family in the depths of a relocation. Organization is a must at this time. It gives me hope and makes me smile to imagine my family living a more simple and organized life. Thank you for your posts--you are an encouragement to me.

sdeacon

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. It was very practical. I am a recovering messy, really not messy but disorganized. This is an area I have begun working on in the last two months and would really benefit from the wisdom in those books.
However, even without the books I am taking your notebook idea and putting it to use. Thanks for sharing it!
Sarah Gillaspie

Anonymous said...

I would love to win because I could use a little(who am I kidding?!) a lot of organization help. My schedule has recently changed and I feel like I do not have enough hours in the day. Thanks for this great giveaway! Have a beautiful day :)
Janet

Angela Hinson said...

I really need to win. I need to get organized. I have two teenagers and a husband. I also work many $ making jobs at home. I need to get a good system so I can stay ahead on house work, etc. I always plan to do better, but of course I fail each and every time.

Shelia said...

i am constantly making lists and then forgetting where i put those lists. Usually just scrap pieces of paper. I love making lists so I can mark them off...it gives me a sense of accomplishment. Crazy huh!?! I love your blog and it is the first one I check daily.

Shelley Gallamore said...

I recently moved back to a paper calendar in an effort to keep things all in one place - notes, lists and events. It seems to be helping, but with 4 teens, 2 part time jobs and a speaking ministry - things get busy. I would love to win - I have wanted to read both of those books.

Deb said...

I Used to Be Organized--what an awesome title! That should be my theme. I also used to be clean, sane, and...teehee. But each season of life brings new strengths, right? I'm ready for organization to make it back to my strengths list in this season! Please please please choose me :)

Anonymous said...

I feel like I am drowning. I could use any help available to put my feet back on solid ground. I would love to win, but I covet your prayers more.

Dot

Marty said...

I have little notepads scattered about the house/office. Work stuff, house stuff, kid stuff, etc. One of them is today's list, i'm sure... if I can find it.

Dori said...

I would love to win this because I have tried everything and nothing seems to work. Maybe I'm making it too hard. This sounds easy and doable!

Blessings,
Dori

Marybeth said...

Marty, that's why I went to the notebook-- to stop the little pieces of scattered paper from happening. I kept losing 'em! This way everything is in one place.

And Dori, yes, I think the same of some "systems." They're just too complicated to really work. This system is basic, but I'm a pretty basic girl. :)

Mary said...

I use a "system" like yours but would love to learn some new tips. I keep a spiral notebook at my desk and write everything I need to do for the day on that list. I even write the trival things like check air in the car's tires. If it is not written down, it probably will not get done. I am also the calendar keeper for my husband and 2 teenage daughters - a lot goes on my list!

Anonymous said...

Great post and a great reminder Marybeth. Thank you for being open with all of us so that we can learn from "your" mistakes! Sitting down with my new "Master List" now. Thanks, Mark C

The M&M's of Life said...

I need this like no other. My life is so unorganized. Thank you for this post!

Julie said...

I would love to win this because I have a husband, a full-time job and two very active kids who keep us hopping from activity to activity. The house becomes just a place for a pit stop. I have tried several things, but nothing works long term.

Karen said...

I don't want to win. I just want you to come out and have coffee with me. Miss you!

Anonymous said...

I love trying to keep things organized but with 4 boys and their sports etc. I always have ways to improve. I have enjoyed all the tips you have shared on your blog and have implemented many of them. Thanx so much for being willing to share!!! Nicole

Melissa Tagg said...

I saw a link to this post on Facebook and clicked in a milli-second. I'm in dire need of organization. I've been trying to use Evernote, but I'm finding I'm having just as much trouble keeping track of my digital notes as my post-it notes. LOL! Going to have to try your notebook system. :) Thanks for the opportunity to enter the giveaway, but even more for the organizational tips...

Cindi D. said...

I too went back to a paper calendar last year. My family knows it is my "brain" and if it isn't written in there it isn't going to happen. Reminders often go on the "white board" (also known as the oven). If I made a list of what needs done I too would hyperventilate---wayyy too long. I like the idea of daily/weekly assignments. That would keep me away from the "oooo shiny" moments where I get distracted!

Sue said...

I would love to win this! I am already a list maker but I've never thought to have a master list in one notebook! This excites me and I must try it! Such a simple but powerful idea!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Marybeth for this opportunity and your wisdom. I find myself needing to capture thoughts/list of books I want to read or long term projects that I would like to do and if I don't write them down I forget them. The notebooks would be a great resource to help me.

Cheryl
caa24@hotmail.com

Caroline said...

Good tips on having both a master list and a more immediate to-do list.

And thank you for offering such useful resources today!

I can be quite organized, but those systems sometimes don't last! I have some organization in different areas - job, toddler activities, homeschool - but it's keeping it all together that can be tough. And keep our home uncluttered is VERY tough! These resources sound great! (I love Glynnis' organizational helps.)

Thank you for this kind opportunity!

Velma said...

I am a teacher, and I am always lookig for ideas to make my life easier. I would love to have these books!
donvelma@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I would love to win this because I'm just living life! With responsibilities at home, caring and loving my husband and kids ... my time is much more effieciently spent if I can be organized. And my family appreciates it too!
--Roxanne :]

LuAnn in Iowa said...

I would love to win this because right now I could use more than a little help staying on top of things. Between my 2 part time jobs and helping my husband & son run our own welding & repair shop, as well as other comitments. I meet my self coming and going. Also I'm the chief go to person for my elderly father who had a stroke a year ago and now lives in a care center near my home. I manage his doctor's appointments and his finances as well. So I could really use a personal assistant or any other help you could send my way!! :o)

Thanks!
LuAnn

Gillian Sharp said...

I so need help getting organised!

Mansion Moms said...

I love the post. I feel like "I used to be so organized" until my second baby was born. Now, I feel like I cannot accomplish anything! I have been in prayer to be more organized since doing the 10 day optimistic challenge from Tracie Miles. I do not want to complain about not being organized, I want to be in prayer and actively seeking to be better! Thanks for the to-do list example and entry chance!

Jennifer said...

I am a home schooling mom of 11 who is back in college full time.HELP!!!!

Martha T. said...

The notebook and list(for each day)sounds great! Enter me into your contest and then pick me! :)
Martha T.
CRPrairie1@imonmail.com

Anonymous said...

I'd like to win it because I am a substitute teacher and never really know when I am going to work which makes me not get a lot done because why start something I may not finish. I do make lists and try to get some stuff done but I can get called as late as 8:30 am to come in for a sick teacher and I just feel like some days I am a bit ambivalent on my to do list.
Thanks for the ideas!!!
Dee

Angela Fisher said...

Those are very specific suggestions that are very helpful. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the thoughts in my head of things I need to do. The notebook and lists seem to be a solution. Thanks!

Paula said...

I just retried. I need help

Holly said...

1 husband, 11 children, 2 dogs, one cat, one hamster....one me. Nuff said :o)

Shawna said...

I would love to win. I recently had to start homeschooling my youngest (14) due to Crohn's disease. Between Dr's Appts, full time job, kids, husband, blah blah blah...I can't keep up with my thoughts much less everything else..lol

valerie said...

I am not sure if this posted before but I am recently divorced and I am still adjusting to handling the kids,job,car,house and everything alone. I need some help getting organized.

Marianne said...

In the past month i have lost - my aircard (i needed to buy another one to stay in touch with everyone) my favorite travelmug, my ereader (i did find this one, in the last place i looked) and i am feeling anxious. i know it's just because i need to be organized...and you promise! it will help. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com

Suzanne said...

Thank you for this suggestion!
I am always wanting to get more organized.
What to keep??? What to throw away?? What to shred???
Piles of paperwork...
Things to do...
Help!! I need something to help me get more organized....

Caryn said...

I love to be organized but I am not good at it. I always have good intentions, but they don't get carried out like they should. I would love to win these tools.

Anonymous said...

Your suggestions on a "master list" and then breaking it down to daily tasks was very thought provoking. I am trying to use my time wisely and find that my organizational skills are lacking. Any help in dealing with all the large and small chores would be amazing. Thank you for your sharing these suggestions. May the Lord continue to use your writing to encourage others in Christ.

Emily Christian said...

I would love to win this because I love organizing and staying that way. I also like to have a working list of things that need to be done so that life doesn't get overwhelming.

Jenn said...

I would love to win! I am 9 months pregnant and I have a 2.5 year old. I am also a full time employee and wife. I am in great need of getting things organized and trying to figure out life a little better without all the clutter! There seems to be no time to do anything and I want my family to come first, so the clutter just continues to build up and being the "clean and tidy" woman I am at heart, it gets hard to look at. I can be contacted at Mrsfootball79@yahoo.com. Thanks for a chance to win!

Susie said...

What a great blog!! I am so about being SIMPLE!! Thanks for sharing with us!! I would LOVE to know what it is that you use!! Thank YOU again!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Marybeth!
This organizing kit is timely for me... I've got it all planned in my brain but need help w/ the execution!

And thank you for your gift of writing. Just finished "She Makes It Look So Easy." I am so picky about what fiction I will read. Can't wait for your next!

Blessings,
Maria in CT
mariazematis@gmail.com

Lori said...

Ahh. . . the thought of being rescued gives me strength for today. I've tried the "to do" list in the past and often feel overwhelmed by the massive content. I never considered making two lists. . . what a great idea to not have to look at the master list each day. I have often wrote down everything I planned to accomplish in one day-- just to be able to check it off! :) I would love to win this giveaway so that I can be on my way to a more organized me. God has blessed me with a terrific family and I would love to set an example of time management for them by using these tools. And yes, I know they will notice when I seem less stressed about my daily tasks and have extra time to spend with them in the end!! Thanks for sharing such practical insigt. It just amazes me how God fits into each part of our daily lives when we allow him. . . even our busyness.

shanda said...

I just read your blog from Tuesday
and love your idea about the 2 notebooks. I've gotten so overwhelmed with "to do list's"; that I've stopped making them and life has gotten chaotic. All I can seem to take care of is work and the kids. Nothing extra. There is no balance and I realize this is not how God intended for us to be living.
I'd love to enter your giveaway and change the course that I am on. Thank you for your inspiration!

Nicole said...

A mentor recently pointed out to me that my family should be my first and most important ministry and that I need to remember that serving them is the same as serving the Lord. I never asked or wanted to be a housewife/house manager but that's what I am and I'm determined to do it with a joyfull heart and to the best of my ability. Now if the Lord could morph me into someone who is organized and doesn't just fly by the seat of her pants..........LOL

Heidi J said...

Three teenagers, husband, lots of pets. The books are in my (mental) wish list. Thanks for the tips.

kim said...

hmmmmm... these books would would help me greatly!

Carol said...

Thanks for the tips! I am a list maker, but not a list follower if that makes sense. I get all involced making the lists, long lists but don't carry through very well on getting the things done.

Shannon said...

Good morning Marybeth. God has prompted me and really put it on my heart that I really need to be more organized. I have five young children, homeschool, and organization really is a must. I try (or maybe it's striving) but often feel like a car with it's wheels spinning in the mud. :) The funny thing is that I find myself thinking that "I Used To Be So Organized." May God bless you for all you do to encourage other woman.

Marla D said...

I like the sound of your system...basic...I think I have made it to complicated. Even if I don't win you have encouraged me to go back to "basic".

Christina said...

I've been trying to get my house organized but boy do I need some help. I'm not very efficent at dealing with clutter. My husband gets upset with me for being disorganized and forgetting things. Most days I just feel like I have to much on my mind to remember everything! Thanks for the reminder to make lists...I used to be a great lists maker but lately have let even that slide because I feel like I don't have time to even make the lists. Thanks for the opportunity for the great giveaway.
Christina

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great post on how you have 2 lists! I used to do lists all the time, but it dropped by the wayside when it was too discouraging to not have enough on the list done! I'll have to try this 2 list system! Thanks for telling us about the good books! Even if I don't win, now I know a couple of good books to look for! Maybe I'll have to put them on my list to read! :) God bless you!

Vonnie said...

I would Love to Win the giveaways!Especially the Books in ebook form please if possible.I used to be so organized before my accident and just getting around now takes alot out of me.I can at least write & read now but trying to keep up with technology keeps me at a slower learning stage.I guess God wanted me to slow down.....

Mom of 3 boys said...

I would love to win these supplies and books - God has definitely laid it on my heart as a homeschooling mom of 3 boys who works part time from home that I need to get organized - we need our space, our time, and tasks organized and it sounds as though these resources could help! What an amazing thought to think our home could be like it was (prekids) - organized and pleasing to our Heavenly Father - master of order and organization

Sheri said...

Your system sounds great. I cannot seem to find a system that works for me and am so tired of all the little papers all over the place. Please help us!!! (P.S. Forgive me if I have numerous posts. I keep getting a failure and am not sure ifmy comments are really going through). Also, would love to "see" pictures and more detailed info on your system.

Thanks!

Marybeth said...

The winner has been chosen and it's Julie, who was number 15 to comment! Congrats and thanks to all of you who took the time to enter.