Do you have a hard time keeping your life organized? (raise of hands??)
Are you well intentioned with goal-setting, but at the end of the day (or month) you look back and realize you’ve achieved next to nothing? (mmm-hmmm)
Maybe you’re like me and you have a million brilliant ideas going through your head every day but have a hard time capturing them all or organizing them in a way that helps you achieve them.
I was in your shoes not long ago–until I implemented 3 easy steps to stay organized, capture my ideas, and achieve my goals.
Everyone always asks me, “How do you get so much done?” As a busy mom to three children, wife to a full-time working husband, and running a part-time business from home, I’ve had to manage my life in a way different from most. My situation has forced me to figure out the best way to help me focus, be productive and achieve the things most important to me.
No matter if you’re a stay-at-home mom organizing your kids schedules and brainstorming your daughter’s 5th birthday bash, or if you’re a lady-boss CEO running your own lifestyle business, we ALL have difficulties staying organized, capturing those great ideas, and achieving our goals and dreams.
Today, I’m sharing with you the 3 easy steps I use which has helped me become successful in achieving more than I thought possible:
Step 1: Use Your Phone to Capture Ideas or Schedule Things on The Run
It’s obvious, right? We are NEVER without our phone these days. So, what better way to capture ideas or schedule things than when you’re on the run than having a place for them on your phone?
This can be done in a number of ways.
For ideas, I tend to like using Cortana which can connect with OneNote for Microsoft users. (Or, another good option I’ve heard of is Evernote.) You can simply speak to Cortana and she will bring up your tasks for the day, reschedule and schedule events, and she does a host of other cool things just by voice command. It’s connected to my Google calendar, which is helpful to schedule things when I’m on-the-go so I don’t forget later, or keep me from losing it on a random scrap of paper (you too?).
I also use a simple ColorNote app which is a basic notepad on my phone that enables me to make lists (type out or speak) of quick ideas as they come to mind. Then, as those become captured, I transfer them into my brainstorming journal later for more thorough brainstorming, which brings me to the next step.
Step 2: The Power of Journals
We have become such a digital culture, writing anything down has become a thing of the past. But, studies show that when we write things down, like a list of to-do’s or goals, we are more likely to remember them, as well as implement them into our life.
I have three journals I use: one for personal, one for brainstorming ideas, one for tasks/goals/events.
I like the 6×8 size–not too big, not too small. My personal journal is where I tend to voice all my emotions or thoughts to God. Counselors attest that those who still write out their thoughts in a personal journal are more emotionally stable and successful than those who don’t. It may seem like this doesn’t have anything to do with staying more organized, capturing ideas, or achieving goals but I feel I can do more when I write out personal thoughts that sometimes take up too much cloud space in my mind. Not to mention there are huge emotional benefits to writing my personal thoughts (especially as a writer). Any lined journal will do, but I tend to like these types of journals best:
This is similar to the journal I use – Eccolo World Traveler 6×8
I hope this helps you as you write out what needs to be purged from your thoughts, or what you need prayer for, or what you need affirmation of (positive affirmations). Write out your struggles, your joys, your celebrations, basically anything that you feel like. I believe this will empower you to think clearer and understand yourself better if you do.
This is my favorite type of journal by far. I LOVE LOVE LOVE mapping out my dreams in this journal – She Believed She Could So She Did
I use a larger (8.5×11) journal for this type of note-taking, and I tend to gravitate toward those with grid or dot patterns (easier for me to make nice check-off boxes when I need them).
I usually take a 30-minute session once per week to look over the notes in my phone and then write out the one’s that seem more relevant or are at the forefront of my mind in this journal. Then, I start brainstorming these ideas and expanding the possibilities. If it’s a book idea, I start webbing out key chapter points. If it’s a coaching course, I map out the possible weekly lessons as they come to mind. If it’s a family project around the house, I list out each room and what needs to get done. Nothing is off limits in this journal, because it’s not set in stone. That’s what makes this book so fun! I can write out ANY crazy dream or thought or passion that I want! No matter how absurd the idea seems, I will write it out, pray over it and see what comes from it (and believe me, a TON of amazing things have come true from this little journal of mine).
Once my brainstorming ideas start to become clearer and I’m ready to make them happen, action steps are created by putting them in my bullet journal.
Okay, fair warning. There are a MILLION little ways to create and map out a bullet journal. Some look crazy overwhelming to me. I tend to be on the more minimalistic and streamlined side when it comes to what I put in my bullet journal. Let me take you page by page through the one that works for me.
First, I love this leather Bullet Journal for Busy Mom’s.
It’s good quality (will last) and feminine enough without it being overly girly. As you can see, it’s filled with blank pages—the beauty of bullet journaling (making it customized to YOU!)
An index is basically what is actually in your Bullet Journal. You write out the titles and page numbers associated. This is helpful to refer back if you need to and doesn’t take long to write in.
- Future Log
I find it helpful to have a place where upcoming important projects or events can be seen here in this journal because it’s not always easy to view everything coming up on my phone when there are multiple events or things going on in one day.
- Year At-A-Glance (Year long goals)
I highly recommend sitting down and determining what your year long goals are, no matter what month you are in. If you’re not sure how to categorize goals, I would recommend setting goals in these 5 categories—Spiritual, Intellectual, Personal, Physical, Social (S.I.P.P.S) and no more than 2 goals per category (otherwise it gets overwhelming and is less likely for you to achieve them). As you can see, I start to fill in the boxes as they get closer to them being achieved. I like this method because it shows my progress towards things.
- Month Daily (*Optional – I don’t use anymore, use my phone calendar exclusively now for my schedule, but you can see the example of it below in the picture on the left hand side)
If you want to exclusively use this as your calendar system, write out each day of the month with space between each day to write in the tasks you want to complete or events/appointments you have scheduled. Then, I cross out each day when it’s completed. I use one page per week (Monday to Sunday) and then on the opposite page write my Weekly Goals list (#5 below) that I want to achieve.
- Weekly Goals
For my weekly goals, I write in a rectangular box and then the goal next to it. As I work toward completing the goal, I fill in the box. Some days it’s only a quarter completed, but by the end of that week, my goal is to have it completely filled in. If it’s not filled in I use the “arrow through” symbol which tells me to transfer this goal onto the next weeks list since I didn’t have it completed. These weekly goals are typically derived from my overall yearly goals list, just broken down more into manageable tasks.
You can search for more ways to do Bullet Journaling online or figure out what works best for you by exploring it yourself. But I would highly recommend to keep it simple, otherwise it will get to be too much and too time consuming to do.
P.S. These are my FAVORITE pens to use:
Pen for Brainstorming Journal = Uni-ball 207 Impact Gel (love how flowable this pen is, however it may bleed depending on paper, medium thickness)
Pen for Bullet Journal = Pilot Precise V5RT
Step 3: The Power of THREE With one Mr. Sticky
Some people can get a little crazy with sticky notes. Or some are probably rolling their eyes at me thinking, “Really, you use sticky notes?”
Don’t underestimate the power of one sticky.
Again, as someone who is more on the minimalist side, I only use ONE sticky note per day for tasks I want to have accomplished. Some people can get a little overboard and they have them all over the house, for every little thing (if this works for you, great!) To me, this clutters my brain and would overwhelm me seeing all the sticky notes of my list of to-do’s around the house (not to mention, my kids would probably steal all my notes, doing me no good!)
Enter the power of THREE with ONE Mr. Sticky – 3×3 Stickies
What’s the power of three?
Every evening before going to bed I write three manageable tasks or mini-goals on a sticky note that I want to complete the next day (ok, let’s be real… it’s not every evening but ideally when I want to get stuff done the next day without distraction or overwhelm, this works).
Manageable will look different between you and I and the friend next door. For you, your THREE tasks for the day could be: 1) dropping off a package at the post office 2) putting away the dishes 3) spend one hour creating content for your blog. If you get those three things completed that day, you need to know YOU ARE AWESOME! Focus on just getting those 3 tasks completed for the day. Anything extra that you have on your to-do list is bonus if you get them completed as well. But focus on those THREE things first. And as a tip, I would highly recommend you write down and accomplish one task each day you’ve been dreading or that you keep putting off (trust me, it’s empowering when you decide to do this).
You will be amazed at how much more motivated you feel as you check off THREE manageable things on your to-do list and how much more you get done weekly just by the power of three with one Mr. Sticky.
This is what mine looks like today:
Here’s another example of what it looked like another day:
As you can see, my priorities vary each day depending on what season of life I’m in, if the kids are sick, and how much time I actually have work on these things.
Personally, I love these colored sticky notes that you can buy on Amazon – 3×3 Stickies
So there you have it! 1. Use your phone to capture ideas on the run. 2. Use journals to make goals, generate ideas, and grow stronger personally as a person. 3. Use the power of three with one Mr. Sticky.
As a creative business owner and mompreneur, this easy 3-step system has become my secret sauce to getting things done and creating meaningful work while having enough time to nurture my family in the process.
What do you do to stay organized, capture ideas, and achieve your goals?