How a Professional Organizer stays organized, Part 1: Calendars and Lists

Jiliane Patriarca, founder of TheOrgOrg

Jiliane Patriarca, founder of TheOrgOrg

I often get asked how I stay organized. Not in regards to my closet or kitchen - but in my everyday life. I figured it was time to write a few things about that. I’m not perfect and everyone is different. These are the things that work for me and I share them in hopes that they help or inspire at least one other person.

Google Calendar - runs my life.

I feel like there are, in general, two types of people in the world: the ones can who focus for long periods of time on one thing until it gets done and the ones who can’t focus on one thing for too long and like to make small progress on lots of things. I am definitely the latter. And as a small business owner, you have to switch hats often and do many different tasks.

Therefore, I like to do time blocking and in 30, 60, and 90 minute increments. On top of that, I try my best to separate working days into “computer days” and “commute days”. On computer days I try my best not to schedule any in person meetings so that I can focus on administrative tasks and phone calls. On commute days, I schedule client work, meetings, volunteering, or coffee dates. Once I’ve got my blazer on and I’m out the door, that’s it! I’m in the zone and focused on "IRL” (in real life) interactions.

Google calendar helps me organize my time. It also helps me remember what I did and when because I am actually the most forgetful person. I love being able to quickly search “doctor appointment” and see all the times I went. Very handy when you have to fill out paperwork asking when your last physical was.

Todoist - keeps me on track.

I’ve tried several to-do list apps that usually don’t last more than one or two weeks for various reasons. I’ve now been using Todoist for 6 months - the longest an app has ever lasted with me! I like its simple interface, ability to organize, prioritize, and color code projects, and of course check off items (the most fun part). Since you can add dates, it also helps me efficiently organize tasks by due date. The mobile app syncs with the desktop version, so whether I complete a task on the go on sitting on my laptop, everything is in sync.

Todoist helps me organize my tasks. I forget pretty easily, so I like being able to quickly go onto my phone to add a task for 2 days later. This makes prioritizing to-dos much easier. You can forward emails directly to a project so they become a task. I have the premium version which allows for reminders, color corded priorities, templates, and backups. Another thing I love about it is that it helps you celebrate your progress. At the end of 2018, it sent me a really cool annual productivity report. I learned Monday is my most productive day of the week! Try it out and if you like it, use my referral code to get two months of Premium for free. (Not sponsored)

Momentum - keeps me going.

It’s hard to find a work-life balance, so I will take any little bit of zen that I can get. Momentum is a google Chrome extension that “Replaces new tab page with a personal dashboard featuring to-do, weather, and inspiration… gives you a moment of calm and inspires you to be more productive. Get inspired with a daily photo and quote, set a daily focus, and track your to-dos.”

Momentum keeps me motivated. The photos are stunning and often make me stop to say, “wow”.. which is also a nice reminder to breathe during a busy day. And the best part is that it syncs with my Todoist account, helping to keep me organized. If Todoist isn’t for you, it also syncs with Asana, Basecamp, Github, and Trello - just to name a few. Its got a few widgets. I really like the countdown feature, which allows you to pin several countdowns to your new tab page. I prefer to keep those on the fun side versus the work side, so countdowns for any trips I may be taking. Something to look forward to! It’s very customizable

What are your favorite calendar or list tools to keep you organized?
— I'm always open to testing out something new. Let me know in the comments!