I enjoy getting organized and having something personalized to do it with is all the better.
A few months ago I received my May Designs notebook (photo below). I’ve been using this notebook for some time now, on a daily basis to document my ideas, thoughts, and projects. As a Social Media and Brand Partnerships Manager it is important that I stay organized, which is something I always worry about when it comes to my planning systems. I need a planning system that is not only functional but one that I can take with me when on the go ー and if it’s as beautiful as this one even better.
What I love most about May Designs is that you can design your own notebook. You can choose the cover design, add a monogram or name, and you choose which package of pages that you want. You can get plain notebook pages, a monthly planner, a monthly and weekly planner, graph paper, etc. The choice is yours. The pages I chose were the grid paper because I think it’s really versatile and I am not restricted to a particular format.
7 Habits of Highly Productive Women
With so many daily demands, it is easy to feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all that we need to do and lose control. Although we may know what’s really important, we still need a few practical suggestions to assist us in organizing our time more effectively. Especially, if you’re an entrepreneur. Here are my tips and advice for staying productive and organized:
1. Get a Head Start.
Start by planning ahead. I typically plan on Saturday mornings. This allows me to have the rest of the weekend to spend with my family. Most importantly, though, it allows me to have my plans ready for the start of the workweek.
2. Write Things Down and Put It on Paper.
Outlining your issues, tasks, ideas, and projects on paper is going to assist you in sorting it all out. Create a list of all possible solutions to accomplish those things. Identify the steps you need to take to accomplish each task. Get those thoughts out of your head and onto paper. I am using the bullet journal method.
3. Schedule the Most Important Tasks First.
If you take the time to accomplish your most critical tasks first, you’ll be able to complete those noncritical tasks with less pressure. You will then have additional time to complete those tasks that do not require top priority.
4. Track Your Time and Turn Off Distractions.
Many times we can become easily distracted by unimportant tasks and we lose time and focus. We must turn off distractions and start tracking our time. For example, schedule tasks with specific times such as social media for 1 hour on Mondays and Wednesday, housework on Tuesdays for 1 hour and emails for 30 mins daily, etc. If you track what you are doing each day of the week; you’ll be able to not only see where your time is going but also where your distractions are coming from. Then, you’ll be able to come up with solutions to get rid of those time-wasting tasks.
Some solutions may be to block off parts of your day where you’ll have no distractions until you complete your tasks. I recommend turning off your phone if possible and turning off social media notifications and any other reminders that may cause you to lose focus.
5. Schedule Less.
We can become overwhelmed, frustrated, and discouraged if we have too many things on our schedule. You have to be realistic when it comes to your planning and what you schedule each day. You can’t have an appointment 12pm and then another at 1pm when it takes 45 mins to get there or a phone conference at 9am and another at 10am when it’s going to take you some time to gather your information. Be reasonable with yourself, know your limits. Remember, it takes baby steps.
6. Take Occasional Breaks.
This may be one of the most important tips. Remember that after 45 minutes, our ability to focus starts to taper off. Take at least 10-15 minutes to stretch, get something to drink, take a quick walk; anything that can shift your focus for just a moment. Those 10-15 minutes can bring about new ideas and you’ll be better prepared to continue your tasks.
7. Sync All Calendars and Batch All Processes.
As professionals or entrepreneurs, we may have multiple calendars. If you happen to have multiple calendars such as, on your computer, a daily planner, and on your phone, all of them must be synced and say the same thing. Be aware that having too many calendars can cause confusion and stress; too many to manage at one time. Try to stick with 1 or 2 that work the best and be sure they are synchronized.
How to Design Your May Book
Interested in designing your our May Book just like I did? Here’s how to design your own book: Visit MayDesigns.com. Select “notebooks” and begin selecting your elements.
You’ll begin by selecting your print. There are over 200 patterns to choose from. Once you have chosen your cover pattern, you’ll be taken to a new page where you can customize the remaining parts of your notebook.
You’ll be directed to customize your monogram if you choose to do so. If so, choose the text you would like on the cover, the background shape and the color you would like for it, and the font style and color.
Then you’ll be directed to choose the layout of the inside pages. There are six standard options, eight agenda options, eight lists options, and four specialty options (like an adult and kids’ coloring books and a calligraphy practice book, just for fun). You can also preview each one so you know what they look like.
My favorites are the organizational options which include: 40 days of prayer & gratitude, an address book, an agenda in quite a few different formats, an academic option, a menu planner, a health & fitness planner, and a wedding planner. Not to mention a variety of basic options: lined pages, graph/grid pages, dot pages, black pages, and lined pages.
How do you stay organized and productive? Share your tips in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Photo credit: MayDesigns.com
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