How I Stay Organized

I’m a planner. Like, borderline OCD planner.

I’m a bit of a control freak, I’ll admit, but I have to be. My parents consistently ask for help with things they can’t manage since they aren’t computer-savvy; as the U.S. citizen in my marriage, I’m responsible for managing insurance, car registration, etc., for my Aussie hubby (who is still learning the ropes over here, and yeah, it’s quite different from Oz). And there is simply no way to remember all the bills, work deadlines, business meetings, personal obligations, birthdays, and blog responsibilities without capturing it all somewhere. Or in a few places:

Filofax A5 and Personal, one hella cracked iPhone 4s, and my requisite writing instruments.
Filofax A5 and Personal, one hella cracked iPhone 4s, and my requisite writing instruments

I’m definitely a gadget girl and a technophile, but when it comes to managing my household and life, I’m a total paper girl. For years I used a Franklin Covey planner, and have since switched to Filofax, and love it. Even though my iPhone spends most of its existence in my hand, I don’t find electronic planning as efficient as paper. I like to see what’s coming up on my calendar, and the more I see things on paper, the more I remember them. I also like to check things off that I have completed.

And you know what? Making a list and checking things off is actually good for you. It reduces stress, and gives you a sense of accomplishment so you feel motivated to stay on track. I know I feel a sense of calm every time I check something off. That’s one less thing for me to focus on or worry about.

I use my iPhone (and Macbook Pro) to manage contacts, social media, personal email, and all blog stuff. For everything else, I use two planners: a large one for work and home, and a smaller one that fits in my handbag.

My must-haves for staying organized:

  • Filofax A5 (a red Finsbury) is what I call my brain. EVERYTHING goes in it. Work schedule, all appointments, invitations and social engagements, bill deadlines, work notes, travel plans, etc. If it’s not in the A5, it doesn’t exist in my world! It goes to work with me, and I refer to it at home daily.
  • Month on two pages, and one-day-per-page refills in the A5.
  • Filofax Personal (black Guildford) for disposable shopping lists and personal appointments or blog notes.
My Personal Filofax is the perfect place for jotting down future blog post ideas.
My Personal Filofax is the perfect place for jotting down future blog post ideas.
  • Week on two pages refill for the Personal, plus ruled paper and transparent envelopes for coupons.
  • Black rollerball pen: Uniball Impact 207 is my current fave. I also have a pink Uniball Vision rollerball at the moment. But rollerball, always.
  • Pentel P205 mechanical pencil with .05, 2B lead (yeah, I’m that particular). All appointments are written in pencil, since work meetings, etc., frequently change.
  • Pentel Clic Eraser.
  • Post-It Flag Highlighter (in pink, of course)!
Filofax Personal transparent envelopes are excellent for organizing coupons.
Filofax Personal transparent envelopes are excellent for organizing coupons.

Are you a planner? How do you stay organized?

PS: The final post in my Seven Deadly Series is coming on Monday. You don’t want to miss it!



  1. I realised a few years back when I had been blogging for about two years, that I was going to need a diary to keep all the days I was blogging in order.

    I use an A5 diary and write down appointments around blogging ideas, around calls to make, things to do and anything else.

    I think we all need a diary/filofax/planner of some description for life in general.

    1. Thanks for your comment! Yeah, you know what I’ve noticed? The people who don’t use a planner of some sort? They’re usually unable to manage their lives properly. They’re always late, miss deadlines, etc. Um, get a plan, people!

  2. In the past I was always a Franklin Covey girl, but have fallen off the paper bandwagon. I actually still believe in it, but just need a new/updated one! I also do use on electronic tool- Evernote…. but I am still getting the hang of it!

    Thanks for sharing your methods!

  3. “my requisite writing instruments” – I about died when I read this. I am such a pen snob. I am a total “planner” too…I have been using the Erin Condren planner, but thinking in 2014 might try out the Jonathan Adler one {I’m a sucker for all things brightly colored and rainbows in general}. His is only $20 vs. the $55 or so I’d spend on a new EC. I like to see things on paper too and constantly have post-its attached to all pages of my planner, lol. And it HAS to be pretty…color-coded, whatever…just as long as it’s pretty! Haha

  4. I’m a planner girl too, and I like to pencil it in as well. I don’t write down as much in planners like I did 7 years ago. I used to buy the black crocodile leather planners from Barnes and Noble. I too find when I write things down I remember them more.

    1. Hi PPP…yeah, I used to write everything down, but not so much now, either. Just appointments and lists., or work meeting notes.

      Thanks for your comment! Haven’t seen one from you in a while.

  5. I used a Filofax in the 80’s and early 90’s. my mother loved them. Later, when Filofax got hard to find (and expensive!) I switched to Franklin covey. I had one of those huge desk ones for years. It stayed around even after I stopped working full time to stay home with my kids. I refused to even think about going digital until I got my first iPhone and discovered the awesome note app. Now I keep all my reminders in there and my icalendar loaded with all my appointments and other events. I don’t know how I’d manage without them! I still use paper for notes and list making, brainstorming ideas for the blog, and other things best enjoyed with pens. All my freelance notes and time cards go into old-fashioned composition books (cheap, simple and to my eye, rather elegant) I’m not so picky about my pens though! I just want them to write.

  6. I keep meaning to order an organizer but there are so many options that I always get discouraged.
    Maybe I need to look into this one.
    I just want something that small enough to be in purse and easy enough to organize my life in 😉

  7. I like the Filofax idea. The open & close notebook prongs seems like it would work much better than the disposable planners that I tend to buy. It’s a hassle trying to get new pages in the cover.
    I’m all for paper too! I have Suri but, I rarely use her to remind me of things that I need to do. I love writing To Do lists and putting things down in my planner. I just purchased one with hourly pages, so I can manage my time even better.

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