An Organized Calendar

8 planners that begin in August so you can get organized ASAP

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A new year brings a fresh start — but what if we want a fresh start right now? Don’t worry, because these planners have your back. They all begin in August (and one in July!) because they know that cute organization waits for no one. Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean your life is any less hectic, am I right?

Get your stickerswashi tape, and other planning must-haves ready, because you have a month until total planning domination thanks to these eight 17-month planners from some of our favorite stores:

1. ban.do 17-month large agenda, $32

If you’re looking for something fun and floral.

bando planner

ban.dobando planner 2ban.doBuy here.

2. Kate Spade mega gold dots 17-month agenda, $40

If you’re bold at heart.

kate spade 1Kate Spadekate spade 2Kate Spade

3. Paper Source Colorful Hidden Spiral Planner 2016-2017, $38.95

If you want that summer vibe all year long.

paper source 1Paper Sourcepaper source 2Paper SourceBuy here.

4. Lilly Pulitzer Southern Charm Planner 2016-2017, $30

If you really like floral. No, really.

Lilly Pulitzer 1Paper SourceLilly Pulitzer 2Paper SourceBuy here.

5. Rifle Paper Co. Rosa Academic Planner 2016-2017, $36.95

For the sophisticated planner.

Rifle paper co 1Paper SourceRifle paper co 2Paper SourceBuy here.

6. Paper Source Jumbo Art Planner 2016-2017, $22.95

Simple and bright.

Paper source 3Paper SourcePaper source 4Paper SourceBuy here.

7. Moleskine’s Weekly Planner Notebook XL Soft Black 2016-2017, $25.95

Bonus: This planner starts in July!

Moleskine 1Paper SourceMoleskine 2Paper SourceBuy here.

8. Rifle Paper Co. 2017 Desktop 17-Month Planner, $34

If this doesn’t inspire you to plan, we don’t know what will.

rifle paper co 3Rifle Paper Co.rifle paper co 4

Kathryn Lindsay

Perfection is the enemy of Progress

go

Don’t wait for the right answer and the golden path to present themselves.

This is precisely why you’re stuck. Starting without seeing the end is difficult, so we often wait until we see the end, scanning relentlessly for the right way, the best way and the perfect way.

The way to get unstuck is to start down the wrong path, right now.

Step by step, page by page, interaction by interaction. As you start moving, you can’t help but improve, can’t help but incrementally find yourself getting back toward your north star.

You might not end up with perfect, but it’s significantly more valuable than being stuck.

Don’t just start.
Continue. Ship. Repeat.

Seth Godin

An Organized Vacation / Vacation Sabotage: Don’t Let It Happen to You!

Vacation Sabotage: Don’t Let It Happen to You

By MATT RICHTEL

I’M heading into another vacation, and I’m nervous. I don’t want to kill again.

I pretty much did in my last break, this past March. Not an act of premeditation so much as passion. I got so jacked up. Seven days in Hawaii. It was going to be the best vacation I’d ever had.

And then it started.

Somehow my wife and I had failed to anticipate the effects of a time-zone change on our two toddlers. Then there was the rain. I took refuge in my phone, checking the weather, reading the news. I wondered why I wasn’t relaxed. The pool was too cold. How much were we paying for this? I checked my phone to see if anyone missed me on Facebook. Nope.

I had hoped to return home at peace. Instead I was exhausted, defeated and irritable.

What had I done?

With another break looming, I went seeking professional help. Is there a way to get the most out of a vacation? Or at least not to ruin it? Can one avoid the seven-day trap: three days impatient to be relaxed already, two days actually being relaxed, and then two final days of dread before going back to work?

And can any of this be supported by actual science?

As it turns out, yes. The secret to not killing your vacation revolves around understanding not just your motives, but also your brain and the role it plays in undoing your precious time off.

And so, after a series of conversations with those who seem to understand my brain better than I do — neuroscientists, behavior experts and even business executives — I have a few answers. Herewith, the last Vacation Mental Prep List You’ll Ever Need (made with actual bits of brain science).

Start Now

Picture a sedan tearing down the autobahn, its engine redlining. The driver slams the brakes. The car skids, spins, slams into guardrails and finally stops. This is your brain starting a vacation. People are working at historic intensity, ever-connected and consumed by work. So it’s not surprising that even though your body might be comfortably prone on a beach towel, your brain is still scrolling through to-do lists back home. In fact it is unrealistic, experts say, to expect your thoughts to stop on a dime.

Which is why, said Emma Seppala, the associate director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, letting go is something “you have to practice on a daily basis.”

This, she and others say, entails being deliberate, at some point in each day, about shifting out of work mode and keeping the eternal to-do list at bay.

It can mean turning off your phone an hour before bedtime, or not looking at it first thing in the morning. If you are addicted not to the refresh button on your device but to intensity itself, try stepping away from that, too. Take a walk, or put your feet up on your desk and close your eyes for 10 minutes. Best yet, experts say, practice some kind of exercise or meditation designed to slow the mind.

Ms. Seppala has seen its effects. She’s been working with veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, helping them disconnect from the intensity and trauma of war. They use a simple exercise: deep breathing. Even after a few breaths there was a drop in the veterans’ “startle response.” They were less hyped up.

If the vets can come down with some basic breathing, we can, too. And the sooner we start and the more regularly we practice, the better.

Leave Your Context at Home

Habits are formed and reinforced by our physical context. Wake up in the same bed, see the clock, plod to the shower, drive to the office. Repeat. But habits aren’t merely physical; they’re emotional, too. Your physical surroundings reinforce your state of mind, explained Russell Poldrack, a professor of neurobiology at the University of Texas.

“Habits of the mind aren’t easy to break in a few days,” he said. Especially if you don’t change your context.

Which, it seems perhaps too obvious to point out, is why we go on vacation. But these days we are perhaps unaware of just how much of our everyday life we bring along, too. No, not the office or the commuter train, but the phone — that cubicle in your pocket.

Phones and computers fundamentally encourage, even demand, a constant cycle of stimulation and response. Click or swipe, and something happens. And responding to a ping, researchers say, delivers a “dopamine squirt” — a little burst of adrenaline. The brain gets used to this stimulation and then craves it in its absence.

Yes, some people can hit the off button and be done with it. Others can’t, and shouldn’t necessarily have to. (That, researchers say, can provoke stress in its own right.)

But to the extent that you can, make a point to change your relationship with your device. Maybe leave it in one place and refuse to tote it around all day. One Silicon Valley big shot told me he brings his phone but disables e-mail. Whatever you decide, see your gadget for what it is — a copper wire straight into the life you’re trying to escape.

Endure the Boredom

There you are, lying on a chaise by the pool, a book at the ready. But instead of sitting back and reading it, you are getting up every five minutes to see whether the adventure hut is open so you can schedule your water-Pilates instruction. Or you are at the lake house, breezes coming up off the water, and instead of enjoying them you are obsessing about a dinner party you’ve just arranged. What grain goes best with barbecued cod?! This is your brain still whirring, hunting and pecking, scanning for stimulus.

“Don’t put down the phone just to get preoccupied by something else,” said Soren Gordhamer, the organizer of Wisdom 2.0, a growing movement in the Bay Area aimed at helping people find balance in the modern world. “If you’re not careful, the same orientation you have toward your device, you’ll put toward something else.”

What to do?

First, fight through the withdrawal — not just from your device but also from the constant need to be doing something. (If you find this unpleasant, and chances are you will, it doesn’t mean that your vacation is bad or that you hate your family.)

To help your brain along, researchers have a few thoughts. First, plunge into an absorbing but low-stakes activity — hiking, snorkeling, knitting a two-piece. Novel and unfamiliar tasks help tug our brains out of their ruts. Second, if you are up to a slightly higher level of difficulty, just observe your brain as it moves from thing to thing, hunts and pecks. Make a sport of watching it bounce from one thing to the next, a pinball slowly — you hope — losing momentum.

Get Over Yourself

Your workplace will not implode if you’re not there. Please don’t make me prove it to you using math. And the fact that it can keep running in your absence doesn’t mean you’ll return to a pink slip.

Don’t Prepare for Your Own Death

Before I go on vacation, even for a week, I prepare as though I’m headed to the coroner. I empty the in-box, clean the piles on the desk, put away all the laundry, dust.

On the face of it I’m just getting my personal effects in order so that, presuming I survive my vacation, I also spend it worry-free, liberated to enjoy things to the fullest. But in the process, experts say, I am also significantly raising the stakes for my impending trip.

And raising expectations, some research shows, can have great costs. It builds dopamine, for one thing, which can lead to happy feelings. But if expectations aren’t met — if the pool is a bit subpar, say — dopamine levels fall. “This feeling is not pleasant,” said David Rock, director of the NeuroLeadership Institute. “It feels a lot like pain.”

Mr. Rock, who uses principles of brain science to consult with organizations about management and leadership, advises keeping those expectations in check. “Not getting what you expect,” he said, “can create a funk that lasts for days.”

Channel the Three-Day Weekend

Sometimes with breaks, less can feel like more. Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Columbus Day (whenever that is) can seem more relaxing than a full week’s vacation. Why? It helps that on national holidays we are often getting a free day along with a lot of other people we work with. Less guilt. Less anxiety. But we also tend not to prepare for three days off with the same manic intensity as we do when preparing for a week off.

So before you leave, tie up whatever loose ends you can. But no double knots. Your mantra: it’s not a week’s vacation, it’s a series of two three-day weekends, plus a bonus day.

Stop Flirting With Work

Jonathan Schooler, a psychology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, offered a cautionary tale. A recent family trip to Norway intended for relaxation became an exercise in frustration instead because he thought he could fit in a little work along the way. He’d take out his laptop, fiddle, not get much done or just think about the work he’d promised himself he’d do. But he didn’t do it. And he never fully relaxed either.

Of all people, he said, he should know better. Really. His research has shown that creativity incubates when people let their minds wander or do only mildly engaging mental tasks. People sense it might be true, he said, but in a wired world we often only pay lip service to the idea that we need to disconnect.

“Part of the problem is that we don’t really believe in the value of incubation and the value of mind wandering,” he said, adding with a laugh, “I’m still ruining vacations by taking work with me, trying to get stuff done.”

He thinks people do this for two reasons: we persuade ourselves that we can’t afford to do otherwise, and we actually believe we can be productive in these spurts on vacation.

In reality, he believes, working during a break doesn’t just interfere with your vacation; it can also prevent you from fully filling your creative tank before your return.

Don’t Worry About Re-Entry; Most of It’s Spam

“Who wants to come back from vacation to 1,000 e-mails?” asked Sylvia Allegretto, an economist at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California at Berkeley. No one wants to feel so buried that they’d wish they’d stayed home.

Ms. Allegretto has not always loved her solution to this problem: keeping up with e-mail on vacation, not wanting to fall behind. She feels as though she’s never fully relaxed.

Something good happened, though, on a recent trip home to visit her family in rural Pennsylvania. She found herself in a nail salon, getting a pedicure in the middle of the day, surrounded by old friends, drinking a beer.“It’s how life used to be,” she said.

After that, she got lost in her hometown, a place both new and familiar. She stopped checking e-mail, partly because the town has poor cellphone reception. She really relaxed. She returned to hundreds of e-mails, but not only did she survive, so did her vacation.

Mine will, too, presuming you all follow me on Facebook and “like” my poolside updates. Does anyone know what goes with barbecued cod?

7 Powerful Ways To Maintain Momentum After Decluttering

Note: This is a guest post from Anthony Ongaro of Break the Twitch.

momentum

“One quick question: why are we all working so hard for stuff we don’t need, just so you can ‘tidy up’ and give it all way…?” —Carl Richards

It’s no secret that removing excess can create an incredible amount of freedom. With fewer things to organize, less financial stress, and more time to pursue things that matter, minimalism creates the opportunity to design a life aligned with your values.

Once you’re in the swing of things, it feels great to donate and declutter items from your home. At a certain point, you’ll reach a place of equilibrium where you’ll simply have to maintain the work you’ve done. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to continue building upon the progress you’ve made.

Here are seven ways to create new opportunities and take additional steps in your intentional living journey.

1. Start a blog. Starting a blog is one of the most important things I’ve done for my intentional living journey. A blog provides personal accountability, a record of learnings over the years, and a place online where people can connect with you. I’ve found it incredibly rewarding to connect with other bloggers and creators who are making things they’re passionate about. Many of these connections would have never happened had I not started putting my ideas out into the world online.

2. Take better care of your things. If you’ve pared down your belongings in a significant way, you should be left with the things that you love most. A little bit of extra care can preserve them for much longer than typical lifecycles. For example, using a dryer is one of the most damaging things you can do to your clothes. With fewer clothing items, hang-drying is quick, easy, and preserves the quality of the clothing. I’ve learned to enjoy doing laundry, and thanks to this method, I have many shirts that still look brand new despite being worn every week for the last two years. I use a folding rack that can be easily stored when not in use.

3. Travel somewhere new. Going to a new, unfamiliar place can be perspective-changing, and incredibly powerful. Try visiting a place that is outside of your comfort zone, perhaps somewhere less economically fortunate than where you live. There are very happy people all over the world living on a fraction of the income that an average first world resident earns. Traveling to such places will change the way you think about money, and the power of what it can accomplish when used effectively.

4. Donate money. When we commit to live with less, the money we require each month decreases. As debt gets paid off and spending lessens, you can choose to leverage your resources to change the world for the better. There are organizations doing amazing work, putting 100% of donated funds towards projects that make a direct and immediate difference in people’s lives. Not only do you get the freedom that comes with choosing to live with less, but it’s incredibly rewarding to know that you’re making a difference in people’s lives.

5. Volunteer time. It feels great to serve others, but connecting with other volunteers can be just as rewarding. It’s empowering and uplifting to be around people who help others actively take steps to do so. Spend some time connecting with people in the spirit of giving and you will find your own life filled with joy and gratitude. Find an organization with a mission that aligns with your values, then register to volunteer with them.

6. Do nothing. Just because you have more time and energy to do something, doesn’t always mean you should. It’s easy to fall back into the “busy” trap and let unproductive things fill the space created by decluttering. One of the best things you can do for yourself is leave some room to breathe, relax, or simply catch up. Put the smartphone away, sit, and gaze out the window for a while. It may feel unproductive, but rest assured: you’re sharpening the axe instead of chopping with a dull blade.

7. Establish a new daily habit. In order to enhance the positive changes you’ve created through decluttering, implement a few daily habits into your life. Start with just one thing and do it every day for a week; then add on another thing each week. These habits can be anything from a 10 minute walk to spending a few minutes learning new Spanish vocabulary words. Start small, build up as you go, and commit to at least 60 consecutive days.

Intentional living is a lifelong pursuit, and doesn’t stop once the decluttering is done. There are many ways to spend your time and energy that add substantial value, opportunity and joy for yourself and the people you love.

***

Anthony Ongaro writes at Break the Twitch and helps others explore ways to live a more intentional life. You can also find him on Facebookand YouTube.

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#organizedspaces #beautifullyorganized #stayingorganized

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Life Gets Organized Magazine: New, Improved and fabulous!

A few years ago, An Organized Life was published in Getting Organized Magazine – and now the magazine is getting a new name and great new brand.  Check it out!

Life gets organized

In the summer of 2015, we stopped publishing new issues of Getting Organized magazine (you can still get digital copies of our past issues here.) Since then we have been sharing all of our great content here on our website, but the name was a bit confusing to some of our followers.  To better reflect our new blog, and all the amazing organizing tips we offer, we thought it best to update our name and re-brand our site.

Some of our old blog posts and materials will have our old name/logo, but as we move forward, you will see everything from Life Gets Organized.

We will be posting organizing solutions here on our blog as often as we can that will include blog postsvideoschecklistsebooks and more!  So take a moment to look through the website – you may have missed some of our recent updates.

As best we can tell everything is updated and things are working, but if you can’t access something on our site, let us know.

We love to hear from you- our readers- if you have a tip, space or product you would like to share we would love to hear from you!

Thanks for your continued support!

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We Have a New Name!

 

Organized Packing for An Organized Life

Let’s get your packing organized!

Step 1: Gather all the garments you anticipate needing. Then put half of them back. Select clothes in the same color family, packing more tops than bottoms. For a five-day trip, you’ll likely need five shirts, two pairs of slacks or jeans, and one skirt.  The average 22-inch check-in bag fits roughly two pairs of jeans, three sweaters, two dresses, and five shirts.

 Step 2: Choose knits, wools, and cottons.These fabrics tend to resist wrinkles and are versatile (some garments can do double duty, like yoga pants that moonlight as pajamas).

Step 3: Roll softer garments and fold stiffer ones. Underwear, T-shirts, jeans, cotton pants, and knitwear won’t wrinkle when rolled tightly, says Judy Gilford, author of The Packing Book ($13, amazon.com). Stiffer fabrics, such as starched cotton shirts, blazers, dressy pants, and skirts, should be carefully folded.

Step 4: Arrange rolled items in the bottom of the bag. Think of your suitcase as a three-layer cake. The suitcase is the icing; the rolled items make up the first layer.

Step 5: Place folded garments next. For your (cream filling) middle layer, start with the longest items, like skirts and slacks. Stack the garments on top of each other, alternating waists with hems. Position the pile flush with the suitcase, draping leftover fabric over the opposite end. (This conserves space since thick waistbands won’t be piled on top of one another.) Wrap the draping ends of the pile into the center. Next, lay collars of shorter items, like shirts, at the hinge with the ends over the handles. Fold the collars and ends over once and fold the arms in.

Step 6: Cover the pile with a dry-cleaning bag. It’s like Botox for your clothes. Because of the bag’s slippery surface, folded clothes don’t stay in one place long enough for creases to set. Easy upgrade: Place a bag between each layer of clothing. To get to a certain layer easily, simply pull the ends of the bag up on either side.

Step 7: Top the pile with the clothes you’ll need first. Anything goes with your top layer―a bathing suit or pajamas.

Step 8: Snake belts around the perimeter of the bag. This cradles your three layers.

–Real Simple, Theresa O’Rourke reprint

#getorganized #organizedlilfe #anorganizedlife #habit #routine #stayorganized #organizedspaces #beautifullyorganized #stayingorganized #organizesimply #iloveorganizing #loveorganizing #simplyorganized #organizedcloset #closet #beautifulcloset #beautifullyorganizedcloset #organizedclothes #organizedclothing #professionalorganizer #professionalorganizing #personalorganizer #organizemyday #howtoorganizemyday #organizemydayforproductity #productivity #organizedday #organizedhome #personalorganizing #personalorganizer

#icanfindit #notamess