Organizing Life

I used to have really great memory. I could remember my grocery lists, to-do’s and people’s birthdays without writing any of it down. Of course occasionally I’d come home and realize I forgot the vanilla extract but for the most part, I had a lot of confidence in my old noggin. But as life got busier and more chaotic, my trusty brain became less trustworthy. I ignore it at first, calling it a brain fart or a slip but soon there were too many brain farts to ignore the smell (ba dum chi!). It wasn’t that my brain wasn’t working the way it used to but I just didn’t have as much time to think and process. After years of trying to make the old way work, I finally gave up and found new ways to adapt. After all, I had things to do, little humans to take care – it was time to maximize efficiency.

Declutter email. Without realizing it, I had developed a routine. Every morning, I would open up my inbox and delete the same emails. Most were marketing emails from sites I had subscribed to but 9 times out of 10, I was deleting them without even opening them. It didn’t take a lot of time to delete these emails but they cluttered up my inbox and cluttered my brain.

The emails were also great distractions. Whenever an email claimed sale, I had to check it out. I would spend precious time checking out the site, putting things into my cart, comparing it against others sites only to leave without buying a thing. It was a huge time waster and draining on the wallet because I would buy things I didn’t need. So I singled out the emails that I read consistently (such as news sites, blog feeds) and edited my shopping sites to the stores I wear now (if its a store that you only buy from 1-2 times a year – ditch it) and unsubscribed from the rest. Its amazing how this little change can boost your productivity.

Maximize your calendar. With four people in the house, its hard to manage everyone’s schedules and make plans without a barrage of back and forth texts. To keep track, we put everything into the calendar on our phones. We have three calendars that we share:  a family calendar for family events such as birthday parties or the kids’ activities and personal calendars for Mike and me for our individuals events such as  work events or a girls night out. So if I’m trying to schedule a dinner with a friend, I can check my calendar to see if Mike has a work event instead of sending Mike a text for available dates, waiting for his reply, then making an angry call asking why he’s not answering my very important text. Additionally, it helps us keep track of our events and a make sure we don’t forget when a class time has changed or the dinner we schedule a few weeks prior.

Write out your grocery list and share it. Mike and I have different lists for different stores (Costco, Wegmans, Home Depot, etc) that we share on our phone. As soon as something runs out, we add it to the list. Not only can I can run in and out of the store without forgetting anything but if Mike makes an impromptu Wegmans run, he can get everything we need without texting me, waiting for my reply then inevitably calling me because I never hear my phone. We do the same with to-do’s around the house or things to pack when we’re going on a trip. It helps to share the daily load and creates a back up system. We use Wunderlist but there are tons of great list-making apps.

Just write everything down. Questions for the doctor, recipes, REI member ID – I put it all in my Notes app that I sync with my gmail which makes it searchable in my inbox. So when I’m buying something from REI online, I can do a quick search in my gmail for REI and there it is. There is an exception to this rule: I do not use it to store my username/password – there are better ways for managing this. But any information that I will need at some future point, I put it in my Notes app.

Slice. Since becoming a parent, I order everything online. No time to go to the mall – no problem. To help track all my packages, I use Slice. Slice will automatically track your packages and notify you when its shipped, out for delivery and when its delivered. It will also notify you if there’s a price drop or a product recall (though I haven’t tested this part yet). Its easy to forget about a delivery (especially with Amazon Prime) but Slice makes sure you get what you paid for.

Are there any apps/tips that you swear by?


3 thoughts on “Organizing Life

  1. i really like the idea of sharing to-do lists and calendars, but it would mean that your spouse has to also be on board, which currently, mine does not want to sync up. maybe this is his way of getting out of extra chores. so for now, we have to push on the old fashion way of calling/texting and waiting around for answers. maybe once the kids occupy our social lives, he will agree to a family calendar. sometimes it’s not that everyone has an “old” noggin, but a HARD, ASS noggin!


  2. i’m definitely going to start using the wunderlist app! i normally use the reminder app that comes with the iphone but it sounds like wunderlist will do a better job for making shopping lists and sharing them. i do have a question about decluttering the inbox. i read somewhere that there is a simple way to globally unsubscribe instead of having to go to every single retailer website. if you do know of this, please do share!!! thanks minsun! i really enjoyed reading this!


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