Not to brag, but I think I'd say there are a few things that I am capable of doing better than the average person. Which isn't to say that I do them exceptionally well, but probably better than 50% of the population. Or at least, 50% of the people I know. Okay, let's just say I can these things better than Sydney and call it good:
- apply mascara
Although I'm not talented enough to do all of these things at the same time, each thing individually I can manage without too much trouble. The one thing, however, that takes a bit more thought and determination is the area of organization.
I think growing up with a mom who was a professional secretary taught me the importance of organization. My parents gave me filing cabinet when I was still in middle school, and I used it faithfully to organize and file away everything that I thought was worth keeping. School art papers. Old book reports. Articles from magazines that I had found especially interesting (or worth looking at again, like that Seventeen article on Kirk Cameron that I held on to for...much longer than I should have). Saving papers ended up serving me quite well because when I became a teacher I used some of my old high school and college papers and hand-outs as examples.
Even now, we have two massive filing cabinets in our garage that hold all my old teaching materials. I can't exactly imagine myself using them again, but I keep all the lesson plans anyway. In the house, however, I keep all the information that I deem important and necessary. Bills, paper work, employment stuff, etc.
So, when Parent Bloggers Network wanted me to try out an organization system from Dayrunner, I was curious to see what new organizational tricks I could learn. My fingers were crossed that I would get a big, erasable wall calendar that I could post in our kitchen. I had seen one someplace and wanted one with all my organized heart.
I got one.
And I do love it.
Even though there are computerized versions of calendars/organizational systems that people use--ones that I've even reviewed--I find that I am a paper and pen kind of girl when it comes to calendars. I love the one that Dayrunner sent me because (1) at 17" x 24" it's big, (2) I can include notes to myself in the sidebars, and (3) I can look at it and always see 35 days out. For me, this means that it doesn't look like a traditional calendar with day 1 at the top because I'm weekly erasing the old week and inserting the new week that is still four weeks away (sound confusing? just check out the photo here to help clarify). I still use a hanging month-by-month calendar for long term events and appointments, but for more immediate things I have fully switched over to using this one. I still use the other product for my screen saver and email reminders, but Dayrunner is much more my style as far as calendars go.
Even if you don't want to give up your computerized day planner, Dayrunner also helps with the mountains of paperwork that perhaps infiltrate your household like they do mine. SO MUCH PAPER. I'm good about recycling junk mail before it even gets in the house, but still. It's crazy how much paper we collect, and we don't even have kids in school! I try to weekly file away important papers, but there are some papers that need to be out for easy reference.
Enter Dayrunner's color-coded folders and storage boxes. As soon as I got them, Sydney and I assembled a few and put them on top of the filing cabinet. Sydney adopted purple as her personal storage box, and said I could have yellow and Jason could have blue. We don't actually need that many storage boxes because we don't have that many important papers per person, but Sydney does try to put all her art papers in her purple storage box. I mostly make use of the color-coded folders: green for bills, purple for professional, blue for family. Within days of incorporating the color-coded folder system I was able to easily answer Jason's question of: "Where is that professional development paperwork from school?"
"It's in the purple folder on top of the filing cabinet, my sweet." And he found it all by himself. Of course, he's a very capable and intelligent person and might have been able to find it on his own anyway, but the point is now he knows the new system and doesn't have to wonder where I might have filed away some paper of his. He can also file papers into the color-coded folders on his own without worrying that he might mess up my filing system. It only took us 10 years to figure out how to work together on this, but hey, we still have another 60 years ahead of us so better to start now than never.
Finally, the Dayrunner product that deserves points for cuteness and cleverness:
Their designed use is to hang on doors, but I'm not putting a marker at any level Jules can reach. Plus, we always have things hanging on our doors that aren't important so I knew I'd overlook it even if I could magically train the girls not to play with it. Kitchen cabinets at eye level are so much more effective for me: right next to the phone and the keys to the car so I can write both phone messages as well as reminders of things not to forget before heading out the door. The trick is to write the reminders on this little guy otherwise he won't help you out. Like, Tuesday I was supposed to take a few things to the party, but forgot all but one because I hadn't written myself a note.
There are all kinds of uses for organizational systems, but because our family doesn't really have that much going on then I am not at the point where I can fully maximize everything Dayrunner has to offer (like the set up pictured here). However, I can say that what I tried out has helped me keep events, papers, and partial memory-loss in order.