I have seen probably a million posts on getting and staying organized. Some of them make me laugh in disbelief. This is not because they’re bad articles, but because they are completely impossible for me. I have neither the physical strength, nor the mental clarity, for some of the more intricate organization systems. And I have tried a lot of them!
So how do I stay as organized as possible with this brain fog?
Stay Organized with Arc Notebooks
I stumbled upon these handy little notebooks while I was church secretary, Wednesday night teacher, typesetter, student, and teacher in our college. I loved them! They are customizable in so many ways. I was so busy, and my brain so scattered, that everything I was told immediately left. I forgot so many things. When I bought my first notebook, I could jot notes at church, then check that section when I got to my desk on Monday. If a student asked me for something Sunday, I could flip open to the college section, write it down, and check it when I put on my Dean of Students or Professor’s hat.
I ended up with two of them, gave one away, and recently bought another one. I won’t go back to the beginning, telling you how I used them when I was crazy enough to try to wear so many hats. I’ll just give you a peek at how I use them now.
First, my planner. I already wrote about Planning With Passion. The first thing I do is print my planner and put it in one of my arc notebooks. I love the cover of this one. Because on hard days, when it seems impossible to accomplish anything, it reminds me it’s seemed impossible before, but it still got done. It’s a bit of encouragement every time I open it. After the planner, I use these dividers to give myself extra sections. I keep one for notes and ideas. Often when I’m planning, I have an idea for a blog post, a reminder for something I need to look up, or I start a grocery list in my head. Having a place to write this until I move on with my day has helped me forget less. It also helps me not get distracted by looking for somewhere to write my reminder.
As we are coming to the end of the year, I have printed a yearly calendar for 2018, and put it between my 2017 and 2018 planner. Now as we begin planning the process of renewing our resident permits next year, I can start jotting down things I need to do by a certain time. I am also adding another section in the back to start planning for furlough. There are new prayer cards, display board, video presentation, and more that need to be prepared, in addition to planning what we will take (very little) home with us, and what we will bring back home when we return (books, books, books, and Sunday School material).
When we leave for furlough next year, I’ll remove the used part of the planner (to make it lighter for travel), and add another section. This will be for sermon notes, etc. while we are visiting churches. I will put all to-dos that come up during our meetings (send a thank you, add someone to our mailing list, etc.), in the next week’s to-do section. I will be able to write in the planner what church we were in, the pastor and his wife’s names, where we stayed, what was preached, etc. This helps me remember later, because my Lyme-riddled brain loses a lot of information.
While on furlough, I will probably change to these dividers or these. The pockets will help me keep track of prayer cards, business cards, and notes that are given to us at meetings. I am excited about this, because I misplaced so many things while we were on deputation. These should help me keep track of everything easier.
Other Notebook Uses
When we had students here, I used one of the Arc notebooks to keep me organized. My brain gets overwhelmed easily with the Lyme Disease, especially when there’s a lot of noise and commotion. With five ladies here, there was always noise and commotion! I didn’t think of this solution until near the end of their stay, so I spent the first portion of their time here, searching for notes I had made, and forgetting things. When I remembered my notebook, I got it out and started putting everything in order. I loved it! I wish I had thought of this before they came. However, I’m planning to get it in order for the next set of students we have.
I am planning to pick up a letter sized notebook for this while we are home on furlough. It will have a section for planner & to-do lists, a section for classes I am teaching, a section for menu planning and grocery lists, a section for Bible studies, and a section for notes and ideas. With one notebook, I should stay more organized, which will help me and the students.
I think it will work much better than the smaller size, especially since I don’t need to carry it in my purse. I am looking at this one with these dividers now. Levenger and Arc use the same punches. With this clear cover, I can customize the cover the way I want.
Blog & Websites
My goal is to keep writing here. I also have a site where I am supposed to be writing about life here in Botswana, Myra’s Musings. My plan is to get back to writing there also. Then there is our ministry website, Safari For Souls; and a couple of other sites I’m trying to work on. I have re-purposed my other arc notebook for this. Each website/blog has its own section. I keep a running to-do list for each one, and then I have planning sheets for the blogs. I am just getting this notebook sorted, and I hope to see progress on the sites soon.
The Next Step
That is my organization in that area. Now if I can find a plan that works for keeping my desk organized, I’d be so happy. Do you have any ideas that have helped you keep your office organized? My office is where I keep personal and ministry finances straight, work on planners and blogs, take care of Sunday School preparation, typeset, prepare for Bible studies, deal with correspondence, and so much more. I have a small space, so I’m looking for ideas on how to make it work more efficiently, especially with my physical limitations. If you have any ideas or suggestions (that do not specifically involve the Dollar Tree or other stores we don’t have here), I’d love to hear them! Drop me a line below and share your experience with us.