It’s no secret by now that I am a stationery addict, and I’m also a bit obsessed with Filofaxes, notebooks and the wondrous world of organising – even though I am one of the least naturally organised people ever.

Back in my uni days I kept all my appointments, engagements and deadlines in what my friends affectionately referred to as my Head Diary. I rarely wrote anything down, but never actually missed anything.

Clearly, the addition of a home, two businesses and a day job, not to mention the kitties and the birthdays/weddings/anniversaries of my loved ones, mean that this is no longer possible – most days I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, never mind what I’m meant to be doing in three weeks’ time!

Enter my Organising Kit For 2015. It’s epic, but it works for me.

Planning on paper

planning-on-paper

 

Filofax: Raspberry leather Finsbury A5

A present from my colleagues when I left the library, I’ve updated this with custom sections and planner printouts, and it’s the hub of more or less everything – it has a section for home, day job and each of my businesses, as well as self development, contacts and money, and sheets for meal planning too.

filofax-inner-1

 

Eventually I’d like to split this out into a home planner and a business planner, as it’s getting a bit full, but it’s perfect for now and the colour always makes me smile.

Daybook: Paperblanks Maya blue silver filigree with clasp

The most beautiful notebook in the world, and this year it’s helped me break the habit of buying gorgeous notebooks and then leaving them blank on the shelf.

daybook-side

This one is with me every day, and serves as one of the two places where I capture all my thoughts, ideas, to do lists and things I’m tracking (including my attempts at inbox zero, but more of that later).

daybook

It’s just bigger than A6, and is hardback so survives being bashed around in my handbag. I haven’t left the house without it since I bought it – and I hope it will be a record of 2015 as well as being the way to catch all my thoughts so they don’t run around my head and drive me mad. I borrowed the idea from Annastasia.

daybook-inner

Out-and-about diary: Simon’s Cat mini diary

More of a social diary than a business one, this has short notes of everything I’m doing scribbled in, so that I can schedule in time with friends and family, or slot in new experiences and days out, when I’m with the relevant people, rather than spending ages emailing back and forth afterwards.

everyday-diary

Plus I love Simon’s cat (and think it should be required reading/watching for anyone considering getting a cat of their own…)

Blog planning: mini diary and A6 notebook

This year I’m trying to make sure I get as many of my ideas as possible out into the world, and I’m experimenting with a dedicated blog notebook and diary set to do this. The notebook is a place exclusively for blog scribblings, but isn’t the only place I keep post ideas. It’s really useful for expanding on an initial idea and getting to draft form though.

blogging-books

 

The diary is a week-to-view layout and gives me a better idea of when is a good time to post things – making sure that there’s plenty of fresh posts here, and also that I’m not posting the same subject too often. It helps to plan year-long challenges like the 52 project, and also to make sure any series that I write are evenly spaced out (and that they actually get finished…). I’m still being flexible with exact posting schedules, but so far it’s working well!

Spirituality and knowing wtf the moon is doing: Witches’ Datebook 2015

 

witches-daybook

I’m always subconsciously aware of this stuff anyway, so it’s good to be able to track it – and I’m hoping it might give me some insight into my bizarre up and down energy levels, too. My Saturn return starts in December so I suspect I will be having one of these next year too…

Calendar & wall planner

A calendar in my kitchen has sections for “Life”, “Biz”, “Ink Drops” and “Appointments/Occasions” – meaning I keep up to date with birthdays, Ink Drops post days and the cats’ injections/worming etc. It has a shopping list attached, so I can write down what I run out of immediately, and means I never run out of vital things like cat food, bin bags or chocolate (ahem).

A small wall planner lives on my studio door – it’s less detailed, but means I have an at-a-glance idea of when I’m free and when I can fit things in when I’m Skyping with clients or friends, or writing a sales page or a blog post and trying to work out a deadline.

Digital planning

tech-planning

Google Calendar

A digital version of all the above put together, I have 14 colour coded calendars and every event, phone call, appointment and social gathering goes into it. It syncs across my home and work PCs, my tablet, my phone and my work laptop, and means I am never trying to guess what is happening on a particular day.

Each month, I print out a new version of the next six months and add it to my Filofax. At the same time, I’ll flick through my various reminders and the list of events/shows/trade shows I want to go to, and note the dates of them – I don’t make it to them all, but it helps me plan around them if I do want to go.

I can also set recurring events and reminders – crucial for not forgetting my MOT again!

Evernote

The digital equivalent of my gorgeous daybook, I have Evernote open whenever I’m on a computer. I keep notes, drafts, clippings from the web, pictures, receipts, photos – you name it, it’s probably in there. It’s the digital catch-all for the jumble of thoughts that is always in my brain, and I’ve found it especially useful for holding something interesting or exciting I’ve tripped over during my day job, until I have time to go and look at it properly at home.

The notebook stacks are also brilliant – for someone who has loads of different interests on the go, plus a near-addiction to lists, it’s lovely to be able to organise them all so easily.

{app} Business Calendar for Android

mobile-calendar

This syncs with Google Calendar and is the easiest and most comprehensive calendar app I’ve found – and bizarrely, much more intuitive to use than Google’s own calendar app.

You Need A Budget

I’ve been trying to take my money management more seriously for ages, and as this year I have a lot of outgoings (buying a house!) and am also trying to add to various funds (photography training! coaching! jewellery workshops!) and build up my businesses, I need to track where my day job money vanishes to, and start reversing that process.

Enter YNAB. It’s terrifying to put the figures in in real time (and you can upload your bank statements, so you can’t pretend you haven’t bought things) – but actually, after only a month of using it, it is already making me more aware of my money mindset, and how I don’t actually ever reduce my spending in a category if I overspend in another. Which, of course, is the only way to ensure I don’t go back into my overdraft month after month!

Dropbox

More storage than planning, but I have recently overhauled it to automatically back up my photos from my phone and tablet, which is a weight off my mind, and it is an absolute lifesaver for being able to work on my own stuff at lunchtimes, and for sending big files to friends/clients/colleagues, without trekking endless USB sticks in and out of the office.

I’m also starting to plan my Instagram posts more, and Dropbox is great for that as I can upload direct to Instagram from my phone, even if the original image came from my DLSR and is on my computer.

Dictaphone

I had an old style one for years, and then acquired this one in my final year of uni. It’s brilliant for taking notes while in the car, recording my thoughts out loud and getting a more conversational tone for copywriting (especially for the day job, where I have to do this in really scientific subjects – not my forte!).

dictaphone

Hardware

A non techie friend commented the other day that my studio at home looks a bit like an international newsroom. Currently I rely on:

one 17.5 inch HP laptop
one main Acer monitor with my laptop acting as second monitor
one Samsung mobile phone (Galaxy S4 mini) with SD card
one netbook which technically belongs to my day job but goes everywhere with me
one Samsung 8 inch tablet which is mine, but which doesn’t hold charge as well as I’d like it to
one Canon 70D and various lenses (separate post on my photography kit coming!)
and one Olympus digital voice recorder – which is rather a nice step up from the tape dictaphone I had for years.

That’s more or less it – I have another set of products for recording and journalling life, but I shall share those in another post.

What do you use to organise your life?

 

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