With the launch of my book, The Positively Present Guide to Life (yay!), I've had a lot going on the past few weeks. Not only have I been keeping up with regular blogger/writer duties, but I've also been writing tons of promotional articles and materials, speaking at local events, and working my hardest to sell my book to anyone and everyone. (Don't have a copy yet? You can buy it here!) It's been a dream-come-true to be promoting my very own book (and, even better, seeing it in the bookstores!), but it sure hasn't been easy staying on top of all the new to-do list items!
Organization has always been important to me, but never more so than it is right now. When you add a new element to your life (like promoting a new project at work or having a new addition to the family at home), you have an entirely new set of tasks to deal with in addition to whatever was already on your plate. To make sure nothing slips through the cracks or gets neglected, it's useful to make use of whatever organization you can. The more organized you are, the easier life becomes.
I know, I know, some of you are probably cringing at the word "organized," but hear me out — organizing doesn't have to be a stress-inducing situation! I love organizing, but totally I get that not everyone has the heart-eyes-emoji-feeling I do when they think about arranging and ordering their lives. Here are some of the easy-to-do tricks I've been using lately to keep everything (including all of my new book promo tasks!) in line.
HAVE A FIXED PLACE FOR EVERYTHING.
I know this can be tough if you're not the naturally organized type, but having a designated spot for all of your things (or at least the important things that you use often) is so essential for streamlining your day-to-day tasks. When everything has a place and you know exactly where to find it, you save yourself tons of time and aggravation spent looking for things. If you don't already have everything in a set spot, it can take some time to create a system (and, if you live with others, to get them on board), but once you do this, I promise, you'll have so much less stress in your life. One of the things that's saved my mental state over the past few weeks is knowing exactly where things are when I need them. Knowing exactly where I can find my business cards or extra copies of my book or promotional materials has been a lifesaver when I had to quickly put things together. (Side note: this "everything in a place" doesn't apply only to tangible things — having designated spots for all of your files, images, and links is so essential for keeping everything together and saving yourself time.)
SET UP A SPOT FOR SHORT-TERM STUFF.
Because I love having a spot for everything and find it so helpful when it comes to keeping everything orderly, it's tough for me when something short-term comes up. For example, I now have lots of promotional materials for my book and extra boxes of books. Because I'm working a lot with these things right now, I need them often and can't tuck them neatly away like I'd like to do. So I've set up a short-term spot on my dresser where I keep everything new-book-related (pens for signing books, stamps and notecards for sending off bookplates, business cards, promotional bookmarks, etc.) at the ready. I won't deny that it drives me a little nuts having all of this stuff out in the open, looking as if it's waiting to be put away properly, but it's been a huge help having everything right there when I need it. This tactic is great if you have an upcoming work/school project, a big event coming up, or anything else that might require items to accessible in the short-term.
MASTER THE FINE ART OF DELEGATION.
Delegation is not my favorite. I like to think I can (and try to) do everything myself. Most of the time this is fine, but when it comes to big events — like the launch of a book! — it's important to learn how to ask for help and to delegate some of the to-do list tasks. (Even if you're not facing a big or unusual event, delegation can save a lot of time and greatly reduce your stress level.) Though it was hard for me to ask for help, I reached out to those around me (especially my amazingly helpful mom!) to assist me with tasks like sending out packets or spreading the word about the book launch. While I would have loved to do everything myself, delegating some of the tasks made it easier for me to focus on the things that only I could do (like signing books). It's useful exercise to ponder what tasks only you can do and what tasks you might be able to ask a partner, child, or colleague to help with. A reminder for all of you DIYers like me: asking for help doesn't mean you're not doing your job.
MAKE GOOD USE OF YOUR DOWN TIME.
I'm certainly not going to advise you spend all of your time organizing your life (I couldn't live without my reading time or Netflix binges!), but I will say that it helps to spend a little bit of your down time preparing for the tasks to come. I'm a big preparer — I plan my outfits days before I wear them, I determine blog post topics weeks in advance, and I love making plans well in advance — but I know that not everyone is neurotic forward-thinking as I am. You don't have to worry about every little detail, but it does help if you can do one thing during your down time to help make the next day easier on you. For example, while watching TV, make a to-do list for the next day or use commercial breaks to choose your outfit or pack your lunch for the next day. When I was sending out promotional materials for my book, I wrote out envelopes and cards while watching TV. This made me feel productive, but I was still (sort of) relaxing. It really helped me see that doing little things when you have down time now can make things easier on your future self.
WRITE IT DOWN IMMEDIATELY. LIKE, NOW.
I've saved the best (and most essential!) for last. When it comes to keeping things together, the most important thing you can do is write it down. Whether it's a task you need get done (add it to your to-do list), a brilliant idea you have at 2am (keep paper by your bed), or notes from an important phone call (keep paper everywhere), write it down as soon as it happens. There are two reasons for this: (1) you don't have to keep thinking about it if you put it on paper and (2) you're likely to have more accurate information if you put it in writing rather than relying on your memory. Particularly if you have a lot of things going on at once (and who doesn't?), writing things down is one of the best ways to keep it together (literally and emotionally). I have notebooks everywhere and I also have two important tools that I couldn't live without: the Every Day Matters planner and The Spark Notebook. I helped design both of these so they work really well for my needs. Regardless of what method or notebook you prefer, find a way to write things down because, I swear, it's the absolute best way to keep it all together.