How I Stay Organised

I’m feeling stressed today.

Here’s proof:

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 12.32.20

I’ve got so much to do and so little time. Things my brain is trying to manage all at once:

  • Maintaining my video and blog upload schedule
  • About 4 different brand deals to work on over the next couple months
  • Preparing content to upload whilst I’m in LA
  • Packing for LA
  • Writing speeches for a couple events I’m doing
  • Secret project thing (I wouldn’t be a YouTuber if I didn’t have a secret project)
  • Thinking about the EU Referendum
  • MOVING BLOODY HOUSE (this is causing everything to be more stressful because it means I have limited time)

Anyway, I’m planning on making a video on how to deal with stress and maybe I can take some of my own advice. One of my tips is get organised! and I love talking organisation so thought I’d write blog just about that. I realise that I’m a very organised person so a lot of this stuff comes naturally to me and I really enjoy it. But I’d thought I’d share with you how organise my life and maybe you can take just one thing from it that helps you.

  1. To-do Lists
    I love lists. Who doesn’t? Let’s be real, lists are amazing and give me such satisfaction. First of all, they help me organise my thoughts when I’ve got a million things to do and they’re all whizzing around my brain, writing them down helps me focus. And then of course there’s the delicious feeling of crossing something off when you’ve completed it. I personally use Google Docs for my lists, that way I have access to it on my laptop and my phone and I can edit and move things around easily. I write the days and then bullet point underneath things I need to do that day. Everything from ‘edit that video’ to ‘change bed sheets’. If it’s not on my list, it’s not getting done.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 12.58.38
  2. Inbox Zero
    If you haven’t heard of this, ‘inbox zero’ is basically a way of managing your emails so your inbox is empty or almost empty at all times. Seeing people with 13,475 unread emails makes me feel physically sick. That’s not my jam. I have folders for different things in my work and personal email and once an email is dealt with it goes in the corresponding folder. It brings me great joy having a tidy inbox and helps me keep on top of emails.
  3. Calendars
    I will admit that using technology to organise my life means that I have no idea what I’m doing until I look at my calendar or to-do list for the day. There’s not much stored up in my head anymore. If the internet ever breaks I’m screwed. But with that in mind, I love calendars! I use 3 calendars in iCal – personal, business and family – these tell me where to be and when. Then I use a google calendar to organise video uploads and blog posts. These often get moved around but I need an upload schedule otherwise I wouldn’t make anything. Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 13.19.15
  4. Brain splurge
    I realise my techniques so far are very digital and many people prefer the traditional pen and paper approach. And don’t get me wrong I own so many notebooks with various lists, scribbles and thoughts in them. One thing that helps me organise my work is doing a spider diagram of everything I’ve got going on at that time so I can see it all clearly in one place. It definitely helps to physically write things down.
  5. Tidy tidy
    I am not a clean person but I am tidy. Everything I own is in its place but covered with a layer of dust. Having a tidy work space really helps me be organised and productive. Then my brain isn’t thinking about how messy it is but instead focusing on the task at hand. And I tend to tidy up as I go along instead of waiting until there’s a massive mess and doing a big sort out. As soon as a little mess appears, I get stressed.

So that’s how I stay organised. Now you know the tricks behind all my magic! If you needed any help getting organised then I hope this has given you some inspiration. If you have any other techniques, please leave them in the comments – different things work for different people so I think it’d be useful for all!

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  1. Love the blog! I use OneNote too! It’s a good all rounder, also I like how it’s organised like a regular notebook haha. Wunderlist is a great app for ticking off small daily tasks with a satisfying ping!

  2. I use a bullet journal, which is pretty fantastic. The drawback is that it’s a physical notebook, but you could absolutely apply the techniques in an online format. The key to bullet journaling is that you have a big monthly to-do list that you refer to, but then each day you give yourself daily tasks. At the end of the day you look over your daily list and move the things you did not finish to the next day, then add the other things you need to get done. Monthly lists are too overwhelming and it’s easy to feel icky about a To-Do list you feel you’re not making progress on. Bullet Journaling helps me feel like each day is a fresh start.

  3. I am usually a very untidy and messy person, and I have tried so many times before to find the perfect method to help me out, and I found it – the bullet journal. This method is amazing because it is super simple and doesn’t leave me feeling overwhelmed, like using a planner used to. Plus, all you need is just a notebook and a pen, nothing fancy. I highly recommend it if you haven’t yet 🙂

    Also, love your blog and your videos 😀

  4. The way I stay organized is to have an every day schedule with times of the day for doing what I plan to do and to memorize it. I prefer writing things down and committing them to memory over a digital approach, because it allows me to have a map of what my week is going to be like stored in my head as I’m doing them. I schedule my day in a way that allows me to better naturally transition from one activity to another so the previous activity serves as a “warm up” for the next. For example, I schedule my work outs just before I go out to promote my work or sell it to galleries and shops because both of them require me to be physically active. Then, I schedule my carving right after because when I get home after a long day of promotion and talking to people, I just want to be alone and relax, two needs which carving my puppets fills. I also organize my work space so that all of the tools and materials I use are within reach and I always put everything back in the same place when I’m done with it. I also have a vaccum, a compost bin for the wood shavings, and sandpaper and other materials placed strategically around my work table. My computer is placed right next to my work table so I can turn it over and look for references and my sleep settings are “never” so I can keep my reference pictures up on my screen at all times.

    Another tip I also use is to maximize efficiency for everything I do by being productive. Being busy is working hard, being productive is working hard and smart. I always like to figure out how I can get the most out of my day by doing the least amount of moves for the most amount of results and this is usually by integrating or overlapping activities into each other. For example, as a puppet maker I always need ideas but I also have to use public transport a lot to get around to various galleries and shops. While on public transport or waiting for it, I look at what’s around me and put random things I see together in order to come up with new string puppet ideas. I also pack my sketchbook with me to sketch the ideas out when I finalize them in concept. Most recently I was waiting on line at a local bagel shop and came up with 3 puppet ideas just by looking at some of the silly drawings they had on their menus. The strategy of finding inspiration while I’m out and about allows me to make the most of my day by using time that would’ve otherwise been wasted. If I didn’t do things this way I would have to dedicate time in the day just to come up with ideas and then put them into practice. However, with this method more time can be put into making string puppets because by the time I get back to the workshop I already have all of the ideas I need.

    Another tip I use is to schedule in my free time. It may sound unnecessary, but it works for me and has worked for others. Don’t assume that any time you don’t have scheduled is free time. Schedule in your free time and you may find that there is more that you can be doing throughout your day by filling them into the slots that you assumed were “free time,” but were really just “time slots you didn’t manage.”

    As a man I have less complicated clothing logic than women, so while I feel for you, I believe that I should share my tips for getting ready just to give perspective. I only have 6 pairs of professional pants in different colors and shades and 48 shirts that I wear interchangeably to make it look like I’m wearing a new outfit every day. All of my sox and even my clothes hangers are identical to each other. This keeps getting dressed consistent and I also cut my hair really short so I don’t need to style it.

    Systemizing my work also helps significantly. When I carve puppets by hand, I have an exact step-by-step format that is simple, practical, and user-friendly that I can use it to adapt to my intended design. I don’t use templates and bandsaws like every other modern puppet maker, everything is carved by hand from wooden blocks. I’m still working on keeping my tools sharp, largely because I’m practically addicted to art (okay, I am addicted to art) and I have trouble pulling myself away when I begin carving.

    Another tip I use is to dedicate an entire day of the week to one activity. In my case, this activity is fitness. I began breakdancing at my junior college in 2004 and I loved it once I went through the uphill training to be able to do it! It’s so fun and made me feel so free. Sadly, I’ve allowed my career pursuits to dominate me to the point where my body, though still very strong and agile, is not in the condition to do what it used to be able to and that really bothered me when I figured it out. I train my body everyday, but there are days in the week where it’s all I do. Currently, I’m training to get my airflares, windmills, and handhops back the experience of doing them is amazing! It’s like being your own carnival ride.

    I have many, many more tips that have worked for me. My career in sales and marketing started at the young age of 17 and as a result, so did my need to be organized. However, I think that’s enough for now.

  5. Haha, being super tidy and organized makes my brain go insane. I’ve discovered that I work best with a deadline and controlled chaos. The funny thing is that it’s only chaos to everyone else – it’s controlled to me. I will admit that I love lists as well…I write them for basically everything, I just don’t follow them very often. 😛

    I hope that your move goes well, and I cannot wait to what the secret project turns out to be.

  6. I’m just going to add which I use for all sorts of lists. It is very simple (both in design and use), there are categories to pick from and you can make both private and public lists.
    Thank you for this post btw, as a chronically disorganised person I’m going to try to implement at least some of the tips 🙂

  7. #2, definitely! A friend asked me once how many emails I had in my inbox. I’d just cleared it that day, so I said 4 (just the ones I still needed to respond to but needed to find info for them first). He was shocked I didn’t have thousands waiting to be read. I do the folder thing too to sort and manage my emails. 🙂

    I do have unusually high organizational skills that my manager at my current job marvels at, but I don’t really need to apply those skills to my own life because it’s pretty calm. Most of my needs are met by maintaining a daily routine. I try to take my meds and vitamins around the same time each day, eat around the same time each day, go to bed at roughly the same time each night, etc. When I get out of my routine, I will literally forget to eat, or end up staying up all night, so routine helps me the most with managing my life.

    You’re doing a great job organizing your hectic life, Hannah! Kudos!! 🙂

  8. Great post Hannah and great tips! I personally have really, REALLY got into using Trello recently. It’s this really cool organisational app/system/website which lets you create different boards to organiser different projects/areas of your life. It’s sort of like virtual corkboards and then you can create separate lists within the boards too. I love it, and it helps me get everything out of my brain and into some sort of order!

    I also love tidying up, like I can’t stand to have a messy desk. At the moment my bf and I are living in a room which means there’s a LOT of clutter and it drives me mad. We’re moving soon, so I will be feeling you on the moving stress, but it’ll be a lot better once we have more space! I tend to just work in coffee shops most of the time as it’s a clear and also productive environment. Not the best for my bank balance though xD

    Good luck with moving!

    Have a great day,

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