26 October 2007

How to organize your life in 3 easy steps.

I have gathered my organizational techniques into an easy three-step program for you, my readers. There's nothing to it really, it's like color-by-numbers, but much, much easier. Don't worry, you're going to do just fine. Relax, and follow the steps below for a direct path to a life of stress-free, worry-free, anxiety-free, frustration-free living.

Guaranteed to work - or your money back!*

Step 1:

Make lists.

As many as possible.

Preferably on small, individual pieces of paper.

Like this:

Feeling overwhelmed? Don't know what kind of lists you should write? Don't worry, I'm here to help.

There are of course the traditional kinds of lists, to-do lists, shopping lists, etc. But there are also many more, lesser known types of lists, such as those listed below...

Other Types of Lists

Type A: The important list broken down onto more then one small piece of paper.

Yes, it's true, sometimes important lists must be spread out onto more than one tiny little scrap of paper. This is okay, encouraged even.

Type B: Cryptic "lists."

While it might not look like a list per say, it is of the utmost importance that you write down important dates, times, and places, with no other explanatory information. This is one of the important pieces that will transform your list making from pure function, into an art form.

Type C: The helpful assistant list.

Now, in the beginning, you may be tempted to try to do all of these lists yourself, but this is not necessary. Go ahead and allow you assistant to make one of two lists. It's actually best if they can add their input to an existing list, but often they prefer to make their own.

Type D: The Combo List.

This one is very simple to put together, just take an important reminder (school event or half day reminders work great) and write a list on it! Yes, it's really that easy! Just make sure to use a reminder that is still valid, and then take the list with you when you leave the house.

Type E: The Ancient History List.

The list shown here is a little blurry, but it is a grocery list from the spring of 2006! Always keep your lists. you never know when you might need them. (This one is actually a combination of several types of list, making it very rare and valuable in the list collector market.)

Step 2:

Create a diagram.

You've done the hard part, now all you have to do is gather all of your lists and sort them into categories using the following super easy chart. (Click to enlarge- you know you want to.)

Simply enter all of your lists into the chart and then proceed to step three - you're almost done!

A few helpful hints:
  • When it comes to lists, the truth is, you simply can't be too organized! The more time and energy you put into the painstaking details now, the better off you'll be down the road!

  • Use different colored pens to mark the importance of your lists. Here are a few standard colors and common meanings to get you started:

  • Red = Very Important
  • Blue = No One Will Die If You Don't Get To It
  • Yellow = Not Important
  • Chartreuse = Do This One ASAP
  • Violet = Leave Under Your Pillow
  • Lilac Sateen Enamel = Designate to Husband and/or Children
  • Matte Midnight Blue = Set Alarm To Do In the A.M.
  • Mustard = Life or Death (Many people choose to draw a little skull and crossbones on this one as well, as an extra reminder.)

  • Add a number code as a back-up system of keeping track of lists. (To ensure that no one else understands your system, use random numbers that only you will be able to put into any kind of logical order.)

  • Keep special boxes with labels co-ordinated to your chart around the house for stashing lists so you won't worry about misplacing them. Remember, the goal is stress-free living!

Side note: First designed by Joy Assmunch in 1982, as a part of her doctoral dissertation, this chart has been used by such celebrities as Arsenio Hall, Ally Sheedy and The Jackson Five!**

Step 3:


Yes, it really is that easy! I bet you didn't think you could do it, but just look at you now! Even from the other side of the blogosphere I can tell that the transformation is amazing! No, no, don't thank me, it was my pleasure.

* You didn't give my any money. Ha!
** This statement is in no way based in any kind of factual reality and is, in fact, patently untrue.


Jenn said...

Ah hah! You have successfully pointed out why I am so disorganized. My little post-it notes live on my computer monitor and stuck to various places around my work area...I need to move them and get them into an actual diagram.

Thank you!

Candace said...

that's what the inside of my brain looks like. plus there is a hockey game in there too!
that was a great post.

Ewokmama said...

I already use this method (and you thought you invented it, eh?). Except I like to confuse myself by using the same colors of post-its and being really vague with my directions to myself.

Rimarama said...

Oh, I love this post! I thought I had the monopoly on list-making neuroses, but you, my friend, take the cake.

Cathy said...

I have lists everywhere! Work, home, weird little mentions of something-or-other in my planner...

So glad to know someone is actually endorsing my practices.

The cryptic is a particular favorite of mine, just so I can lose my mind once a week trying to figure out where I'm supposed to be. With whom.

Heather, Queen of Shake-Shake said...

I'm a list whore drop out. I'm sorry to have disappointed you.

Blue Momma said...

My brain looks like a crumpled piece of paper these days. I don't even have a pretense of organization.

For instance, now, on my mental list, I am folding a load of clothes and have already cleaned the kitchen.

In real life? Commenting on your blog.

I need help. Someone?

Mamma said...

My mom is always recommending lists. I'll have to tell her she had it right this whole time!

Avery Gray said...

Wow! I never knew it could be so easy! Thank you, Nell, for enlightening me! ;o)

Maureen said...

Hah! I make lists ALL the time... but they are simply Post-Its I tack onto my Palm Pilot (too lazy to actually enter INTO my Palm Pilot).

I once had a clearance of my little lists; I copied them all into my journal which previously sat empty for months (it was too nice to write in!)

Mrs. Mustard said...

Your organizational skillz are hilarious! Mine are equally ridiculous, but they work for me. Now, where did I put my keys...

andi said...

We're twins! Jason always makes fun of me for all the scraps of paper I have scattered all over the place. Half the time when I go back over them and try to make sense of them I have no idea what they even mean.

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

It's possible we were separated at birth. I love the way you think, love your diagram, love that you love lists, too.

Shauna Loves Chocolate said...

I'm a list maker. I used to live and die by my planner. Now, it's all about the PalmPilot, baby. Best thing: Everything is backed up. Worst thing: Nowhere to attach your postits.