I’m not the tidiest person, neither in the physical world nor my mental world.
I would like to imagine Kelseyland looks something like the Spongebob Squarepants fine dining episode where all the tiny Spongebobs inside his brain freak out, but with tiny Kelseys instead and there are like 3 slightly more sane tiny Kelseys running around behind them with brooms trying to clean up after them, screaming “Guys, stop it! It’ll be okay!”
With also more pink, glitter, spilled cups of coffee and random bobby pins thrown around on the floor. Probably.
Forgetting an assignment was due until the day of class, or accidentally misplacing an important document was not uncommon for me in college, and is still a bad habit I am trying to work on today. I am queen of the to-do list, and then promptly forgetting I made said list, or meticulously copying things down into a planner, and then leaving my planner in the car during an important meeting.
Some habits are harder to break than others.
However, I have learned, especially since my life has switched from having a library or a designated “work space” during school, to working from home now, that there are a few key things that can increase productivity when you feel overwhelmed.
And, as I’ve learned the past few months, that all starts with getting organized.
1. Designate a workspace.
This one is tricky, because if you are like me at the moment, you may not have a standing workspace. It is my current dream to have a home office space– or even just a desk– that I can set up camp at whenever I need to do CSAC stuff.
If you can, designate a spot that is for work only. Do not take breaks, watch TV, browse the internet, or do non-work things here. Let your mind associate this spot as a “It’s time to get sh*t done” space, and ride that wave. Step away from the spot when you need a break, so when you come back, your mind is wiped fresh and you go right back to getting things done.
Keep this space clear and stocked full of everything you need do your thing. Keeping it cute is a must, but don’t let the style overpower the actual function of the space either.
2. If you don’t have a specific workspace, create one via the “desk-in-a-bag”
This is my current life hack. My most-used workspace is my bed, because it is the only place in my Mother’s house that I feel like I am away from everything (her, the animals) and able to concentrate. This is less than ideal because I do a lot of other things in my bed too, like watch TV, browse the internet, read… basically everything I said not to do in #1. If I can, I will also use the kitchen table, the floor, a table at Panera bread, or anything else to get things done, but usually it’s my bed. Sometimes you gotta get crafty.
I have learned to work around this constant change by keeping anything and everything I’ve ever needed for my work in one bag that I can tote with me to wherever I need. I love my work bag, a black monogramed, convertible tote from a ThirtyOne
party I hosted last year (which, for some reason, I cannot find online anywhere! Sorry!!). It’s the perfect size for me to carry my laptop, chargers, my planner, my notebook, the accordion folder I keep documents in, pens, pencils, stapler, envelopes, stamps, post-its, and anything else I might need. I keep it pretty stocked with my usual supplies, so that I can set up a desk at wherever I need one.
AKA, your adult back-pack.
3. Keep it clean
Avoid clutter wherever you are working. Keeping your space organized will cut down on time used for searching for things, and (if you’re like me) cut down on the time where your brain feels like it’s fried and you’re so overwhelmed by everything around you that you can’t think and you just end up clutching the sides of your face in anguish.
Invest in de-cluttering strategies. I’m a big fan of accordion folders
, plastic organizing containers
, websites like DropBox
to organize virtual storage, and cute little pencil bags to hold things. If everything has a place, you’ll be more likely to put it back in those places and keep your mind cleared.
And, as always, Pinterest is an amazing resource for DIY hacks to organize everything. You should definitely go look at mine
(subtle self promotion, eh?), because lately desks and office spaces have been an obsession of mine. Check the “Future Home” section for sure.
4. Write it all down– before, during, AND after work!
If you are a pen and paper kind of person (like me), or even a tech junkie who prefers the latest app, get into the habit of recording everything. Pick a go-to notebook or app, and stick with it.
Before you start working, set up whatever note-taking tool you desire, and keep it handy.
Create a to-do list before you start, and decide what you are going to get done. But don’t let the list go far, because chances are you’ll come up with new tasks, or new ideas while you’re working. Then, reevaluate the list when you’re done. Transfer items to a planner, if applicable, or to a calendar app on your phone.
Pro Tip: If you are able, copy important things, like syllabus dates if you’re a student, calendars for work, schedules, etc, and not only transfer those dates into your planner of choice, but also stick the actual hard copies all same place in your planner, or other organizational space of choice. Keeping them all in one place (like… say your desk-in-a-bag!) makes them easy to grab and double check things.
The key is to make sure everything important is recorded in the same place, so you always know where to check back to if need be. Learn to reference this spot before and after work to make sure you’re not forgetting anything– like your 60-point nutritional assessment project that you forgot about until 1am on the last day of Fall Break, and pulled an all-nighter to finish it, and then drive 5 hours back to school to go to class. But I’m not talking from experience or anything.
The more organized you are, the more quickly you can get things done, and the sooner you can take a nap (or browse Bloglovin’
). It’s a win-win either way.