I’ve written about my planner obsession a few times on the blog before so this post may seem contradictory. Although I enjoy using a paper planner to stay organized, it may not be ideal for all needs and lifestyles. For one, planners can be bulky and an extra item to bring on your commute. They also require more upkeep than some people have time for. Also, most planners lack a flexible format so they work better for people who commit to using it daily. (That’s why I’m looking forward to starting a bullet journal in 2018!)
For anyone who is seeking ways to staying organized without using a planner, here are a few methods I think will be helpful!
Use sticky notes.
I use sticky notes daily whether it’s at my work desk or at home. The best thing about using sticky notes is they’re very low maintenance. You can scrap them when you’re done or move them around easily. This is particularly useful if you need some help staying organized around your home. The number one gripe with planners is usually how much upkeep they can be. (Decorating, drawing out bullet journal layouts, etc.)
One way I use these at home is for tasks that are time sensitive, such as packing my phone charger and toothbrush for a trip. If I’m leaving at 6am in the morning, I’ll put a sticky note on my bathroom mirror so there’s pretty much no way I’ll forget it. Another example is if you need an extra reminder to grab your work badge in the morning, stick a note on your front door or next to your car keys.
Try the “one touch” method.
The idea is that you finish anything you’ve “touched”. So if you’ve started a task, you try to finish it immediately. I’m trying to be better about this myself, especially when it comes to physical organization and tidying up around the house. I know I’m not the only one who tosses their clothes onto a chair that eventually piles up. Now, I try to make a conscious effort to hang things up right away. You’ll have to hang it up eventually, so why not cut it down to one step? It works with my blogging or work tasks too. If I start something that’s not a large scale project, I try to complete it immediately and it saves me time in the long run.
Set recurring calendar events.
Although the calendar in your phone or Google Calendar can be a great way to remember events and meetings, I don’t think it’s that great for daily tasks. The danger of having your to do list on a device is that there are so many distractions nearby. When Instagram is just a click away, how easy is it to start scrolling through pictures instead of checking for your to do list?
A better way to utilize the calendar on your phone is to set recurring events for cyclical tasks. You could do this for bills that you don’t have auto-pay options for, to remind yourself to make appointments, and even anniversaries in case you’re a forgetful person :)
Keep a weekly to-do list.
This is probably the closest method to a planner but it gives you flexibility for all sorts of organization needs. For one, notepads like this one from Sentiment Supply can be used for any date. I like that it’s open ended and versatile. Notepads like this work well for people who don’t need a planner for their whole life but perhaps need it for one specific thing. Maybe you need it just for your side hustle, just at work, or to plan out your fitness routines. You can use it solely for busy weeks since the date field is blank too! I always feel guilty when I don’t use all the pages in a traditional planner. Anyone else?
Just a few ways to use a notepad like this one from Sentiment Supply:
What are your favorite ways to stay organized if you’re not into using a planner? I actually use these methods from time to time because my paper planner doesn’t always fit my needs either. You can’t always stick to one method to keep your life organized, it turns out. Regardless of the method, I think everyone should find what works for them because organization can improve your life so much. It saves time, reduces stress, and can up your quality of life!