As the head of the household, you have a tough job keeping everyone and everything in your life organized. I see it every time I work with a family. Mom is running around feeding the kids, keeping the dog in check, and getting Dad out the door. She barely has time to get herself ready before I arrive for her shoot. In fact, she usually needs a good 10 minutes before she can join the rest of us. If this sounds a lot like you, take this moment to breathe a big sigh of relief. It doesn’t need to be like this. In fact, I have compiled a short list of tools I use which will help you do some serious family and home organization this year.
This list is full of time, mind, and money savers. And you can use these ideas and inspiration to get your whole family on the same page for the new year.
How To Get Organized
I myself started my journey to get organized for 2018 at the beginning of November. I’ll undertake dozens of marketing projects in one calendar year as a small business owner. And that doesn’t include working directly with potential clients, existing clients, shooting, and editing. It was a lofty goal but is paying off already by freeing up a lot of brain space.
I dedicated one full work day to organizing my to-do list. It might sound like an easy task, but let me tell you it was not! In fact, you can see what my todo list looked like before and after in the show notes. A lot got culled.
I use a number of tools to keep my todo list, my business, and personal life organized. I’ve picked out a number of them which you can actually use to systematize your family and household.
Let’s start with some apps that organize.
Last week I myself embarked on the journey to get organized for 2018. I’ll undertake dozens of marketing projects in one calendar year as a small business owner. And that doesn’t include working directly with potential clients, existing clients, shooting, and editing. It was a lofty goal but is paying off already by freeing up a lot of brain space.
I dedicated my Thursday to organizing my to-do list. It might sound like an easy task, but let me tell you it was not! Just take a look at this graphic below. On the left was my project list before my organizational spree, and the right is after. As you can see from the graphic a lot got culled. You can’t even see all of the projects in the before column.
Organize Your Files
Where do you store your important files? Are they on an external hard drive? Are they on your home computer or your laptop? Can you access them from your phone if you have to? If you had to share them with someone would it be easy? Do you even know where they are?
I use Dropbox for a few purposes. First, it serves as an incredible backup for important files. Second, it saves those important files across all of my computers and mobile devices. And third, it makes sharing those important files outrageously easy. All I have to do is copy and paste a link, or share a folder with someone. In fact, it makes recording my other podcast (Double Exposure Show) much easier. Because Petro and I live in different places we record over Skype and at the end of our session he Dropboxes his audio for editing.
Organize Your Projects
OmniFocus is a project management tool. I use it to systematize both my business and my personal life. This might sound a little bit Type A, and it might be, but I find that I am so much more productive when I follow a consistent routine.
The graphic above is OmniFocus. As you can see, during my Great Organizing of 2017 I added a folder of rituals. In this folder I included both a morning routine and a morning routine for travel. The latter came in incredibly helpful when I was out of town for a full week visiting friends. It ensured that I still woke up at 6am, but took into account that I wouldn’t be going to gym. This way I kept my normal sleep schedule, made sure I was taking my vitamins, and that my routine didn’t get thrown out of whack.
Organize Your Family
Trello is a visual platform for managing projects, and I’ve just recently started using it. I use it to record podcast topic ideas, guest inspiration, and track the progress of various related projects.
At first glance it might seem a bit overwhelming. So here are a few ways you might use it to organize your family:
- Create chore boards for your kids and each week review them and their progress with your kids
- Create a weekly calendar to keep track of who needs to be where and when
- Build a family holiday board and fill it with tasks for yourself and your partner
A bride might create boards and share them with her family and wedding party for the following:
- Working with the photographer
- Venue set up and decor
- Wedding dress progress including alterations
- Bridesmaids dress search search and fitting progress
- Groom and groomsmen suit search and fitting progress
How To Save Time
Once you have your life in order you might be thinking you don’t have enough time to get all of those things done! Never fear! Sophia is here, and I have a few more tools for you to help you save time. Especially this time of year.
Save Time Budgeting
Wave is THE place to manage your finances. I cannot say this enough. We all do taxes, and each year it is a pain to track down all of our receipts and files. But Wave let’s you easily keep track of all of your expenses throughout the year. With it’s handy-dandy smartphone app you can quickly snap a picture of any receipt and save it to the cloud for later. Not only that, but the personal tab in Wave will let you keep track of where you are spending your money, how much money is on your home credit line, credit cards, and in your bank accounts, and easily maintain a household budget. When it’s time to compile all of those expenses for your accountant at tax time, just send them an income statement with the full breakdown and send along a downloaded file of all of your receipts. Easy, peasy!
Save Time Grocery Shopping
You might know that I am a huge advocate for eating locally. Eat Local Grey Bruce is a big part of how I do that. Each week I order a seasonal box of vegetables. You can also stock your freezer with beef, pork, lamb, and chicken; fill up on baked goods, loose leaf tea, and cheese; and get your local honey, herbs, ice cream, and, yes, chocolate! All from local producers. And this list barely scratches the surface.
This is one of my favourite weekly time savers. Every Thursday I stop on my way home from Collingwood at a farm just around the corner from mine, where impressively polite children bring my bags to my car. On top of that delight, I know exactly where my produce is coming from. And they have dogs.
Save Time and Do Good
I use CanadaHelps.org it each year in my business to donate to a local charity for the holiday season.
This might sound counterintuitive at first, but you can use CanadaHelps.org to save money and spread some warm fuzzy feelings for the holiday season. Rather than buying little gifts that clutter homes for people you aren’t particularly close with, you might use it to make a donation to a charity you love. You can then send a handwritten card to those folks letting them know that, in lieu of gifts, you’ve made a donation to a charity.
OK! You now have some of the tools I use to organize my personal life and save time. Now go! Have a look at each of them and try them out. I can’t wait to hear what you find most useful. Here are all those necessary links again:
- Organize your files with Dropbox
- Use OmniFocus to get a handle on your to do list
- Collaborate on family projects with Trello
- Wave goodbye to stressful accounting
- Eat local with Eat Local Grey Bruce
- Canada Helps will help you manage gifting
- Use The Picture Perfect Guide to prepare for your next family photo session
- Join the Ridiculously Happy Ppl Facebook Community