Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

How to Organize Your To Do List and Become a Task Master

Monday, August 27th, 2018

‘How to organize your to do list?’ if you’re like myself, is a question you ask yourself daily. You see, I love making to do list and lists in general. I am one of those crazy people that will write something down on my list after I have already completed it. I do this just so I can get the satisfaction of crossing it off my list and receive that feeling of ‘accomplishment’ when I look back at my to do list at the end of the day. Crazy, I know. BUT I also know that I am not alone in this ritual of list making and doing my best to prioritize my day and stay organized.

If you’re here, reading this, you’ve probably tried a million different ways to organize tasks. Like downloading an app that helps manage to do lists, or using an agenda, or even bullet journaling. All of which can be useful, depending on who you are. Today, I am sharing with you five effective ways to help you organize your to do list and become a task master!How-to-Organize-Your-to-do-list

  1. Put your phone away!!! Delete distracting apps, turn off notifications and stop being a slave to technology.

This one is hard, but a game changer forsure. Some folks will find this to be an unrealistic approach and even time wasting in of itself, but hear me out. We are all so attached and dependent on our technological devices, more than we even realize, and waaay more than necessary. And while many of us do depend on our computers and cell phones to do our work (myself included) it is truly the biggest distraction out there. You need to treat yourself like you would a child, and limit that screen time!

Try starting your day without technology and your mind will be more alert, focused and ready to take on the day’s task. Reaching for your phone first thing each morning, looking at your to do list, and checking emails, etc. will have your brain in a frenzy, being pulled a million different directions and all before your feet even hit the floor.

Instead, keep a little pocket notebook or thing of sticky notes on your bedside table, in your car, or everyday bag to jot down those fleeting thoughts and random things ‘you can’t forget to do’. Resist the urge to make a quick note in your phone, or to shoot yourself a reminder email, because distraction will set in! You’ll innocently being typing a reminder note to yourself, then a text, email or notification is sure to come in and distract you for the next five minutes. Five minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time but if you do this 20 times in one day that is almost 2 hours of precious wasted time.

Do the math, two hours a day spent on your phone for an entire month  is two in a half days spent looking at your phone (2hrs x 30days = 60hrs = 2.5 days). In a year, that adds up to over 30 days of wasted time (2.5days x 12 months = 30). A WHOLE MONTH WASTED ON YOUR PHONE! This is no way to live our lives and it certainly can’t be a productive way to live. (If you Google the stats on hand held device usage, 85% of Americans spend on average 4.5 hours a day on their phone. CRAZY to think we spend so much time, wasted, looking at a little screen.)

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picture via Unsplash

  1. Prioritize your time and your tasks and leave room for error

 ‘Well isn’t that why I’m reading this article – to learn how to do this?!’ YES! And I am here to remind you, that you are human, not super-human. Creating a to do list with 50 tasks to complete in one day is only setting yourself up for failure and opening up the door of defeat. Be realistic with yourself and what NEEDS to be done and how long it is going to take you. AND ALWAYS allow yourself more time than you think. Most things are going to need more time than you planned for. Therefore, don’t plan out every minute of your day. Leave room for the task that will take you longer than you think and room for those unexpected things that will pop up and have to be taken care of, because they will- it’s life.

I found, the more detailed a task is on my to do list, the more realistic I can be with planning how long it will take me to complete it. Example, instead of just writing ‘new blog post’ on my to do list, I break it down in to smaller, descriptive task like, ‘research for new blog post, write copy for blog post, take pictures for blog post, edit pictures, edit copy, upload & publish blog post, share blog post on social channels’. That is a lot of little task to complete, and simply writing ‘blog post’ on my to do list isn’t a clear indicator of how vast or time consuming that one task will be.

Use a small notebook like these Moleskine Chapter Journals  or this leather pocket notebook  to write down your top 3-5 tasks to complete that day. Using a big list or notebook will give you too much space to fill it up. A good rule is, if your to do list can’t fit on a sticky note, you’re probably not going to make it through that entire list in one day.

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  1. Batch tasks

Create your daily to do list, but also look at the bigger picture, and batch task together what could be done in the same time frame to be more efficient with your time. If you’re having a lunch meeting with a client, use the time on your way to or from that meeting to also run other business related errands, like stopping by the post office.

Obvious to most folks, but think about where you can infuse this logic into other parts of your work day/week. For example, being a content creator, I have found that I like to take pictures for the entire week in one day. Then, another day I will spend time editing or writing the copy to go along with those images, rather than taking photos and writing day by day.

Everyone is different, but for most people getting started (on any task) is the hardest part. Once you start whatever is that you’ve got to do, you will get ‘in the zone’ and you need to capitalize on this ‘zone’ while you’re in it. Starting and stopping a task is hard for anyone, batching tasks and ‘getting in the zone’ will help you maintain your focus and get what you’ve got to get done faster.

Using a planner (not your phone or Google calendar) to look at ‘the big picture’ will help you figure out where you can best batch tasks monthly, weekly and daily. I like using the Moglea Weekly Jotter because it is undated (allowing me to write in my own dates) and it provides space for note taking too. This Moleskine Folio Notebook is also a great option for big picture planning, with different tabs and sections for various projects. However, if you prefer a more traditional calendar for planning, try this leather pocket planner.

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  1. Visualize and plan your day the night before

 And I don’t exactly mean sit in your bed and plan your (next) day out, you would probably get stressed and lay awake all night long thinking about all you’ve got to do.

Rather, at the end of each work day take some time to review your to do list. Evaluate what needs more work, what got accomplished, and what you need to carry over to the next day. Thinking about what you have going on the following day isn’t to stress you out, but rather to help you be prepared for what’s next and keep you on track with your goals.

With busy schedules and long to do lists, it’s easy to let things fall through the cracks. Taking five minutes to recap and shift tasks around at the end of each day will truly make a difference the next morning. I picked up this habit when I was a teacher. At the end of the day I would be so exhausted, but taking time to prepare my classroom and reviewing what I needed to cover the next day made my mornings so much smoother. I didn’t wake up with a frantic feeling of having to hurry up and get to work to figure out what all I had to do that day. Reviewing your to do list at the end of each day and creating a new one for the following day allows you to leave your work behind, feeling accomplished about what you did complete on your list and knowing that you have a plan for the things that didn’t get crossed off yet.

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pic via Unsplash

  1. Do your hardest task first

Like the great Mark Twian said, “Eat the Frog”.

When you look at your to do list each morning choose to do the ‘hardest’ thing first, or, at least the task you want to do the least first. Getting your most daunting task out of the way, no matter how grueling it maybe, once done will have you feeling like you can accomplish it all that day! Getting your most important or hardest task done before you even have lunch will most likely free up some time in your day for other things, too. Time you otherwise would have spent procrastinating to avoid said task.

The struggle is real and the hustle is glorified, but I hope we all can keep it real with ourselves and find a healthy way to manage our time and to do lists better. If you have any tips on being a task master and hammering through your to do list, please share with us in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Emblem Examples You can Add to A Blue Sky Papers Book

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Below are emblem examples that you can add to any one of our Blue Sky Papers’ books. Adding an emblem to your book is a great way to add your own personal touch.

With over 50 emblem options to choose from, combined with numerous book and material options, you can create a one of a kind book by adding an emblem to its cover. Personalizing your Blue Sky Papers’ journals, sketchbooks, albums and guest books with a line of name personalization in addition to an emblem will truly give you a unique book!

Adding one of our emblems to your book, will give it a semi-custom feel. However, you also have the option of having a custom metal die made for your book. This process requires a little more work on your end, and a little more time on ours, but it is totally worth the attention to detail!

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Guest Book Emblem Examples

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When it comes to guest books, you can keep it classic and go with anyone of our traditional ‘guests’ emblems, available in Serif, Modern or script and in a variety of foil options. Or you can choose something more cheeky, like ‘welcome’ or ‘Mi Casa’, perfect for a guest house or vacation property.

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Celebration Emblem Examples:

Celebrate the milestone with a semi-custom guest book! Choose your emblem, and add a line of personalization to remember the good times and who was there to celebrate with you!

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Nature Emblem Examples

We offer a variety of  nature emblems that are great options to tie in details of your event and/or environment. The mountain range emblem is perfect for a cabin guest book or vow book for a wedding in the hills!

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Gold Foil Tree — Gold Foil Butterfly — Copper Foil Antlers — Mountain Range Emblems

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Navy + Silver Foil Sea Oats Emblem

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Pewter Foil Shell Emblem

Floral wreath + frame Emblem Examples

A floral wreath or frame looks beautiful as is, but an edition of a monogram really makes it pop! From guest books to Vow Books, the floral wreath and frames look great on them all!

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left: Copper Foil Floral Wreath Emblem — Right Top: Gold Foil Vintage Wreath Emblem — Bottom right: Silver Foil Laurel Leaf Emblem

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Left: gold foil vine emblem    right: copper foil weath

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Gold foil vintage wreath

Other Emblem Examples:

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copper foil heart emblem

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silver foil cross emblem

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Blind embossed Military emblem

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Blind + pewter foil embossed Mandala emblem

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Calligraphy monogram emblem