Category Archives: Organization

Autumn Rhythm

Oh how I love the carefree summer months. No real schedules to keep, vacations to take, lazy mornings–all of it is such a welcome gift after the long winter months.

Yet, as August comes to an end, I look forward to the routines that come with the autumn months. Perhaps it’s because I was a teacher for many years, but September feels like a new beginning. Perhaps how January is for many people. New goals to set, new routines to aim for–a fresh start.

So, as autumn makes its colourful entrance and the warm days of summer begin to fade, my thoughts return to routines and systems that make life run smoothly where possible. A few years ago I began to reshape my thinking in regards to lists and schedules. The Type A part of me likes to be organized, have a plan, get things done, focus on goals and not waste time. However, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for spontaneity, which I also long for. So, I found that my schedule and my lists were too constricting and I, more often than not, felt like I was failing at them and not having a whole lot of fun. I came to realize that I needed to change the patterns that were no longer serving me. Sometimes a mindshift comes in the form of changing the vocabulary we use. So instead of trying to stick to a schedule, I created a rhythm–something a friend of mine introduced me to. A schedule can be rigid and tends to encompass the whole day. A daily rhythm is more fluid and allows us to enjoy some spontaneity. There are certain things I get done each day of the week and if a Monday task doesn’t get completed then it waits until the next Monday. So, what if I miss a week of dusting. It can wait. Perhaps it was more important to go for a walk with a friend and the dusting didn’t happen.

Here is what my weekly rhythm looks like:

I simply printed it out and posted it by my desk so I can quickly look at it each day.

I’m thinking that someone who follows a daily rhythm wouldn’t necessarily use a daily planner. Or maybe they would? I don’t know, but I do know that my day runs a little more smoothly if I jot some of my daily tasks onto a list or onto a planning page. This is the one I have created and am making changes to as time goes on, to make it more useful for me:

So, yes, it still has a schedule in it and perhaps that ruins the whole ‘rhythm’ idea, but after a few years of having a rhythm, I realized that within a rhythm I still needed a bit of schedule, otherwise things were too wishy-washy for me and I wasn’t making the progress I had hoped for.

On my daily planner page there is a section titled ‘priorities of the day’. This is where I jot down appointments or items on my ‘Brain Dump Page’–a piece of paper I keep on my desk, where I write down all the things that come to mind that I would like to, need to, or should do at one point or another:

The brain dump page is filled with random things and instead of transfering the random items to an organized page, from time to time I highlight items according to the most used categories at the time.

So, there you have it–the rhythm that I have created for myself for this autumn. It will need adjusting as time goes on and I find there are things that aren’t working or things that need to be added. We are 12 days into September and I am feeling a lot more success in these 12 days than I did in the first seven or so months of the year.

What are you finding that works well for you in keeping life organized, productive, and less stressful? Do you have a system? A rhythm? A schedule? I’d love to hear about it.

Would you be interested in a free printable PDF of a daily rhythm, daily plan, and brain dump page? Let me know by voting here:

Organizing Our Lives

Do you have a system in place for organizing your life? I have tried a few different methods over the years and am finally just going to stick with what works for me.

  1. I have an old school family calendar in our kitchen that has birthdays, events, and appointments written on it for all to see.
  2. I also put appointments on a phone calendar that is shared with Jason.
  3. On our fridge I have my daily rhythm (see download below) which includes household tasks that need to be done. We don’t have a ‘house cleaning day’–it just happens all week long. Once in a while (not often at all), I get this feeling where I just want the whole house cleaned all at once, but normally we just clean a little every day and as Olivia grows older, some of these responsibilities also fall on her.
  4. I still like the paper and pencil day timer and dream of having certain ones that are quite pricey and oh so pretty, but this past year I decided that it just wasn’t in our budget to have a fancy expensive day timer that in the end usually lands up not getting used because it’s not custom made for my needs. So, I went on a dollar store mission to find something that worked and it’s amazing what you can find at your local dollar store:
Isn’t this rose gold day timer just so pretty? $4 at Dollarama. #startthecar

5. I don’t love writing daily routine things into my day timer–repetitive, so I took my weekly rhythm list (see #4) and made a label for each day of the week, sticking them into the day timer, leaving plenty of room for my own ‘jottings’:

Here’s a week at a glance in the day timer from the dollar store with the labels I printed off.
A close up of ‘Monday’.

I love it when a system works. Sometimes it takes years to develop it and throw out the things that don’t work, while keeping the ones that do. True, there are many technologically more advanced systems I could use, but I find that in the end I always come back to paper and pencil.

Which system do you use? Do you have a need to write things down or do you fly by the seat of your pants?