Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Getting Organized


In all of my perusing and pinning on Pinterest, I've become somewhat obsessed with the idea of getting organized. I've done things similar in years passed for my photography business and I've also kept a lock box of important personal paperwork and documents (pay stubs, past taxes, contracts, and the like). With the baby coming soon and so much happening in our lives over the next 6+ months I think it's really important for me to stay on top of everything, so I decided to get "set up for success" now. Some of my goals in this are lofty, I know, and if I need to adapt them then I will when the time comes.
I've been thinking a lot about my business in regards to marketing and planning for the new year. There are so many transitions that will be taking place personally in the coming months and sacrifices that will have to be made. I am anxious and excited to see how everything plays out - so many great things ahead! 

Yesterday I went to Target to pick up a few things for my organization project. I plan to use this "DO WHAT U LOVE TO DO" notebook to jot down my many ideas and goals. I have divided the pages and tabbed them "photography", "design", "home", "blog", and "goals". Pictured below that is my 2013 day planner. For the last several years I've used an academic planner from Barnes & Noble. It measured 6 x 9 or so and was spiral bound with two pockets to stick random papers. I was very happy with it. Then, this year, I got this planner. It isn't spiral bound so it doesn't lie flat but the writing spaces are large which I like. I mostly just bought it because it was pink and gold. ;) I am partial to paper planners and don't imagine that changing anytime soon. I actually do enjoy carrying my planner around and writing in it. 

For my 2013 planner I bought the 2013 Fiona Weekly/Monthly CYO Planner 8.5 x 11 from Target. It's larger than I normally use but I needed it to serve two purposes. First, I wanted a planner with the full month view to use as a "blog planner" and second, I wanted each month broken down by weeks for my day to day scheduling. I really liked this blog planning idea on The Dainty Squid and think it will work well for me. I like the flexibility of writing post themes/ideas/titles on individual post-its and laying them out a month or so at a time. I have a lot of ideas for my blog which will include more consistent posting (yes, I realize I'll also have a newborn) and regular post themes. I'm very excited!
I recently came across this Home Management Binder by A Bowl Full of Lemons and I love it! It's something I can definitely imagine putting together for my family sometime next year. For now I wanted to use the same idea to create a binder that would help me organize a very important and currently discombobulated area of my life - my finances. It's hard to tell in that first photo but for the last two months I've been compiling important paperwork and bills all together in one giant plastic envelope. It's making it very difficult for me to see the big picture and to keep track of even the little things. Having no system just isn't working for me anymore!
At Target I found this binder on clearance for $2.50. Can't beat that! I also purchased this pink see-through zipper pouch, dividers, and sticky tabs that can be labeled. To do this project you also need a 3 ring hole punch, label maker (optional), and pens. My favorites are Le Pen and can be found at Paper Source. (A big thank you to my love for buying me a bunch of new ones and sending them to me last week!) You can use any pens but I love the fine felt tip these have, the colors, and that they last a long time even if you write a lot, which I do!
The first thing I did was figure out what I wanted in the different sections and created labels for them to put on the dividers. The first section is titled "trackers", the second, "bills", and so on. The set I bought came with 5 dividers and I will most likely need to get more in the future. For the time being, if it isn't a frequently used/needed section I've filed those away in my lock box. I purchased the Budget & Bill Pay Kit from CleanMamaPrintables on Etsy and put each of those under "trackers". I have yet to fill them out and get started with them but am really looking forward to. The kit provides a monthly budget worksheet, receipt tracker (something I've never kept track of. Shame, shame.), debt tracker, monthly savings tracker, and two separate bill and payment checklists. In the second section, "bills" I've used the sticky tabs to label all the different bills that I have, both per month and one time in the case of certain medical bills.

I'm really happy with the way this binder is coming together. There are still a few things I would like to add. I will need to add another zipper pouch for current month receipts before filing them away. I also need to pickup a pack of baseball card sheets to hold important business and contact cards. I need to create a sheet of important numbers/contacts regarding my bills and/or benefits as well as call sheets for each of them. I've realized how easy it is to get overwhelmed with it all and that wires get crossed all the time. I know that I need to start keeping better track of communications regarding these important matters.
I feel like things are starting to come together in a way that will make some of these transitions a little bit easier on us. I've been keeping a running list of reminders on my iPhone and have diligently been working down it for the last several weeks. Any tips on staying organized? Seen any great printables out there for either the contact or call sheets?