The $15 That Got Me Organized...And Saved My Sanity

The $15 That Got Me Organized...And Saved My Sanity

There are an endless amount of options to help organize your daily tasks. Whether you are a working professional or simply a procrastinator, we have all felt the suffocating feeling of projects as they slowly begin to pile up. Some folks might be lucky enough to inherit a photographic memory or super human organizational skills, but if you are like me, you possess neither of those. Here is the best $15 I have ever spent to help keep myself organized.

I’ve never been a very organized individual. It has been my cross to bear since I started school years ago, and it haunts me to this day. I think part of the problem might stem from the fact that I am a “big picture” person. I always know the direction I’m headed in and what the final result will be, but trying to remember every individual task that is the key to getting there seems to be where my mind just falls apart.

I’ve tried all sorts of tips and tricks. In fact I recall a younger version of myself enrolled in “Memory Classes”. These were hour long sessions once a week that promised to improve my memory. Of course, I forgot to show up one Saturday, and never went back.

Many years later, I am now the proud owner of a smart phone, and I hoped it would make my life easier. I’ve tried all the apps out there. Any.do, Evernote, Wunderlist, etc, etc, etc. I use it for a day or two, and then I inevitably forget to open up the app and input whatever I was supposed to that day, rendering the app useless by tomorrow when I go to check it and notice my schedule is completely empty.

Of course I could hire someone else to take care of all the admin work for me, or, if I had a supportive significant other I could sweet talk them into helping me out. What if you can’t afford the 30K+ every year on a personal assistant and your only companion is a cat called Fluffy?

In that case you might need a white board.

Photo Organziation

A couple weeks ago I was walking through the maze that is Walmart and came upon one of those magnetic dry erase white boards in the “Back To School” section. I’ve always thought about trying one out, and of course, forget to put that into to one of my many “To Do” apps. There it was in front of me and it was only $15. I added it to the shopping cart and mounted it on my wall as soon as I got back to the office.

I made sure to mount the white board directly above my computer monitors. I would say I spend at least an average of 4 hours each day in front of the computer. That could be sending emails, retouching pictures, or writing articles as I am doing right this moment. By mounting the white board right above my monitors I’ve pretty much forced myself to constantly stare at it. Each time I get an email that requires me to schedule something, there it is. If a client calls to ask about what is on the docket, there it is. If I have a bill to pay, the magnets make sure I can say, there it is.

After 2 solid weeks of use I can say this has been the best system I have ever had and I’ve never stayed on top of my tasks with such efficiency. It’s an extremely visual system, which works for me, and there is an instant reward factor when you go to erase a task off the board! It’s nice to see the board get empty as the day goes on.

As technology advances we tend to look towards new gadgets that can solve our problems, but sometimes the best method can really be as simple as a $15 white board. This may not be the solution for you but if you’ve been struggling with organization and have not tried a white board yet, well, I highly recommend it. It has been the best $15 I have spent in a LONG time, and after all these years of struggle, I finally feel like I might have this organization thing under control.

What organizational tips or tricks have worked for you? I'd love to hear about them all!

Feel free to visit me anytime at Peter House – Commercial Photographer to follow our work. Till next time.

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13 Comments

Walled Alzuhair's picture

Glad to know it's working for you :)

Jeroen Rommelaars's picture

I had a whiteboard, but then I moved into a new place...without one. For about 4 weeks I slowly went mad, but now I got a big one: 2mx1.8m! I feel so much more organised with my board neatly filled with my assignments in different colums according to how far they have progressed. Yay for whiteboards!

There's always www.trello.com - the digital version

I did a similar thing last year. Actually, I have both a white board for organizing miscellaneous stuff (phone numbers, reminders, shopping lists) and a chalkboard wall for brainstorming and as a temp space for organizing whatever current project I am working on.

Also, my computer monitor sits on a box painted with chalkboard paint. Not only does the box raise it to a more comfortable level for working, it is really handy for quickly jotting down hex-codes or pixel coordinates when working on web projects.

Jason Ranalli's picture

This is really the best solution. I find that most people that attempt to use tons of gadgets to keep themselves organized end up just being good at gadgets and technology rather than truly focusing on tasks and getting them done.

I tried that a few years ago. It got filled up with so many things I had to do I quit looking at it.

Now if I can just remember to buy one D:

Unless your super organised, i think ANYTHING digital doesnt compare or work as well as writing something down manually. Just by hand writing something, it makes you remember it anyway.

Im tempted to go with either a large Whiteboard above my desk. Or just get a cork board, but then no doubt ill lose all the pins and forget about it!.

My only worry for me with a whiteboard is that my office is also a corner of my bedroom. And i think a large whiteboard will turn it more Office than Bedroom :/

Glad this worked for you though!

I understand that. I had the office/bedroom thing going for years. The only way for me to survive was to eventually put a screen divider up when I wasn't working (to hide the clutter). If a room divider is too much, you can always hang curtains in front of your board (or a fancy blind, or decorate the back and hang it so it can be flipped).

I actually massively like the idea of printing of some of my photos, or one super large photo and putting it to the back of the board! :)

Actually, I'm kind of digging that idea now, too.

I'm trying to use the "Clear" app to a similar effect. It's working out so far, but we'll see.

I agree! Sticking up notes and white boards have worked the best for me so far.