Thursday, June 5, 2008

Coffee Break

Mmmmm, there's a little birthday cake left, would you like to come on over and have a little coffee break with me and have a piece of cake? I wanted to chat with you a spell and get to know you better!
I also wanted to tell you about my favorite tool for organization. I have been wanting to share this for quite some time and now seems to be a great time! It is a simple .99 cent spiral notebook. I have a ton of these notebooks. I just put the beginning date on the front and just start writing in it. I write down all my thoughts that are floating around in my head in regards to organizing my life. I don't use this as a calendar (I have a calendar in the kitchen drawer in which we keep track of all of the families comings and goings), it is more just my to do list and idea notebook. If we have a big event coming up, for example our recent trip to the cabin, I keep track of everything in my book (click on the pictures to enlarge them to see more detail). I simply write the event on the top, the date and if applicable the time. For the cabin, I wrote out all the meals we will be eating there and then write out my grocery list. I also list everything that I need to pack, from clothing, to toiletries to books and my camera.

I like to start organizing a couple of weeks before the event. The earlier I start planning the better. This gives me time to remember every little detail. I especially like to write down things that I am worried we might forget, like for camping to bring the binoculars and bug spray! When the day comes that we are actually packing, I check everything off. This really helps me to not forget anything!
I also do this for parties and family gatherings. For the party we had to celebrate my Dad's recovery from the stroke, I made a list of who was coming and did a head count. I figured out the menu and then decided what I would be making and provide for the party and assigned dishes for my sisters and mother to bring. I also add my to do list at the bottom, things I need to do to get my house all prepared for my guests. I have things on the list such as basic housework like clean toilets and vacuum, but I also put things on there like wash tablecloths and iron, set out fancy dishes, decide what candles to use etc.
I write out a timeline too sometimes, like what jobs I should do on Saturday and what jobs to do on Sunday. I really like to figure out my timeline by starting with the time guests will be arriving and working backward. For example; 2:00 guests arrive, 1:50 light candles, 1:30 mash potatoes, 1:15, change clothes, etc... By figuring out my timeline backwards, it really gives me a more realistic time on when I should START working! I even add in my shower and time to iron and do my fingernails!
For my big Christmas party, I had a long list of to dos and I just wrote them all down randomly as I thought of them, then I assigned them a day to do that job. You can see in the picture above that I wrote dust top of hutch and I said do that either Wednesday or Thursday.
Then I transferred that list onto lists made up per day (Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat.). A lot of times after an event I like to critique it so I remember what worked and what didn't work. This helps me tremendously when planning for the next year's event.
I don't just make lists for events or parties, I also make lists of general things I want to get done, and I entitle them "to do" lists. I write down all the things I would like to get done in the next few months i.e.; get photos caught up, reorganize craft cupboard, clean my clothes closet, etc. I always feel better when I get it out of my head on onto paper! I wish it was that easy to get the task done though!

Well, that is all, I just thought you might like to see how I do my planning around this busy house of mine! Oh, I'm sorry, I never offered you your piece of cake................. you go! Now, what do I do with 20 years worth of used spiral notebooks?LOL! Do you have any good tips on your event planning that you can share with me?

"Teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

Hugs, Sharon


Linda said...

Good morning to you...oh, a coffee and a small piece of cake would be so nice. Yum!
I love your organization books and ideas. I make lists and to do list on 5x7 cards when finished with the event I toss the cards...but your way is so much better. I like that you can go back, have a reference, see what worked etc. Another great idea I'm adopting. Thanks for sharing...Hugs, Linda

Judy said...

I don't think I can add anything. I do something similar. I make lists too, but I only save them for a short time. If you don't mind I am going to "steal" your idea with the spiral books. I have to write everything down like you do just so I don't forget.
Oh and thanks for the cake it was yummy. :)

Penless Thoughts said...

You are really organized. I especially liked how you time line backwards. That is a great idea!! I am a lover and user of spiral notebooks, too. Best investment there is. Especially when you buy them during the before school starts sales.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I make lots of lists and time lines too, but I don't keep them all in a notebook. Lately, a lot of them go on my laptop, since as a working writer, that's where I am most of the time. The schedule backwards trick is one I've used for a long time, and it really works.

Mardell said...

Hi Sharon!
Oh, how I'd love to join you for a yummy pc. of cake & a hot cup of coffee! :o)

I need to be more organized ~ thank you for your great tips. I used to be a stict organizational gal at my job...I don't know why I can't do this at home. I've been a SAHM for four years now & you'd think I'd be on TOP of things -- NOT!

Thank you for sharing with us! I'm on a mission now...TTFN (ta ta for now!)


luvmy4sons said...

As I get older and older lists are so much more important but I have always done the same kind of thing. I like the idea of notebooks though. I have 16 years worth of prayer journals I can't bring myself to throw away. So when you figure out where to put your notebooks, let me know! LOL! And not thanks to the cake. Looks good, but my body would hate me!

Simply Heart And Home said...

I would love to drop by and share a cup of tea and a piece of cake. :)

I'm all planned out, I'm afraid. I love spiral notebooks!

And ~ You are cordially invited to take part in my June giveaway. Have you heard of Elsie Dinsmore? I’m giving away Book 1. I’d love to see you.

Feathering My Nest said...

Dear Sharon, I've always learned great tips on being organized from you. You have very good ideas. Thank you for inspiring me again to get my spiral notebook out ~ especially for preparing for our school.

I'm feeling overwhelmed again. I just realized, however, that I need to quote Scripture!! You know how we can be going along like we are walking in quick-sand or wearing lead boots? Well, all of a sudden it was as if I said, "Duh...Kathi. No wonder! You need God's Word to fight these little head games." Woops, I got off on a tangent...sorry.

I love your cake!! It is soooo cute. Love those colors. This post is so sweet. I love you.

Have a blessed evening. I intend to. I've got my armor on and I'm going to read some Scripture. God is faithful.

Kim said...

I too tend to make lists and always get a few comments at the grocery store from envious shoppers. I make my weekly meal list and list the supplies needed on the bottom. I just keep my lists on a jump drive and then print it out when I go to shop. If I write out lists I tend to lose them, but spiral notebooks would be harder to lose.

happy@home said...

Hi Sharon,
I enjoyed this inside look at how you prepare for entertaining. You are very organized.

I have a stack of spiral notebooks that my boys would bring home at the end of the school year. Rather than throw them away I use them to make to do lists and menus for my entertaining. I think your idea of the backward timeline is great. I will have to try that.

Thanks for the cake and coffee. It was yummy.


Sharon said...

Good luck Mardell! For me the spiral notebooks just work so well. I get so exited when I get a new one.....isn't that funny!

Hugs, Sharon

Sharon said...

Dear Kim from Happy at Home,

I could not link to your blog, so I will write you here. Thank you for sitting a spell and having a coffee break with me! LOL! I'm glad you did stop by and I'm glad you are inspired to use those old notebooks! Have a great evening!

Hugs, Sharon

Sunflower Farm said...

Love your idea of the spiral books. I make notes everytime I get insprired and always have a paper and pen by my bed for those night times my mind won't sleep.Do you take your books places with you like the cabin, shopping etc.

Kelly said...

Hi Sharon!
I use the exact same thing!!! I used to make notes on things here and there til one day my Mom and I joked that I need a list of where my other lists are at! So now I just combine it all in the spiral, and I literally take it everywhere, even in the car with me.
Talk to you soon~


ginger at enchanting cottage said...

WOW! I wish I was just half that organized! I do like to by those pretty journel's I will pick them up real cheap at different stores, and I use them for my budgeting. I use those because at least they make me smily as I do my budget's for the week.
I have not stopped by for awhile I am glad all is well.
Take care,

Hootin' Anni said...

My mother in law did the same exact thing. When she passed away, and it was our responsibility to go through her belongings, she had a chest full of these 'journals' had trips even, things like the cost of gas, where they stayed, what they ate and the plan/itineraries of what the week had for them. It was fun to go through them and picture what happened. My advice? Keep 'em!!!

Thanks for the cake...but I fear I'd leave the frosting on the that okay?

Anonymous said...

Sharon, Thank you for the great organizing tips!! I am defintely going to use some of them. I really enjoy your blog. I love what you write about your boys. I have two that are about the same age as your youngest, so I can relate.

Daughter of the King said...

the coffee and cake look long of a drive from the Puget Sound?
Great ideas Sharon, I have a thing for colored pens and post a notes too....
Do you know before school starts Freddie's (you know) sells those sometime 10 for $1.00...can you believe that .10 each..
This was a great post...

Sharon said...

Dear glad you enjoy my blog! And I am glad you liked my tip about the notebooks. I hope you come back!

Hugs, Sharon

Jaderocks said...

Sure I'll have a piece of cake it looks yummy. I am a list girl too. I make a list for everything. I check sale ads for the grocery store and then make my menu for the week based on the sale items. I them make a grocery list for the week. I always make a list for getting things done and I number them with order of importance of what needs to get done first. I like to cross the item off as I get them done. I also have a book that I do our Christmas Celebrations in every year. I keep favorite recipes in there that I use and I have a copy of all of my Christmas card addresses so I have them right at hand I also set up a timeline for decorating and keeping track of activities. List are my way of keeping on track and staying on task. Lists work great for me and I like the ideas of your notebooks. I think I will also add a comments section to my Christmas book to help me remember from year to what worked and what I'd like to change. Thanks for the cake. Have a great day

nannykim said...

And my hubby teases me about lists!! You do have some great ideas, however---a slightly more organized way to make lists.

Pearl said...

~closing my eyes and inhaling deeply~
do I smell coffee and cake?!

Hi Sharon... I hope there is some cake left! How nice of you to share your notebooks and ideas for planning events in our lives to be a bit easier. Now, as far as what you can do with 20 years worth of sprial notebooks... hmmmm... you got me!!

Another idea for using a spiral notebook... The last few years of my Mom's life were rough on her due to failing health. Soon I was making the long (9 hour) trip back and forth to her home to help her. Often my Sister, who lives a 2-day car trip away from me, would do the same and it got confusing, time consuming and frustrating for us as we tried to up-date each other about things with Mom over the phone. So I got a notebook and began to keep a journal/log of anything I felt was important in Mom's life and health care. The next time I made the trip to see her, the journal went with me and I carried it to Dr. visits, hospitalizations, etc. and wrote down everything. Then I left it at her home and began another one that I kept for myself to keep track of what Mom would tell me over the phone. Then whenever my Sister or I would be at Mom's, we'd pick up the journal I had left, and write in it. It certainly did make life better, as we were always able to go back to check medical things, etc. Anyway ~ Just another idea, and a long and rambling one at that!! Oh My!

God bless...


Jan Parrish said...

Yes, I'd love to come by for coffee and a piece of that delicious looking cake. Yum. :) If only I could.

yellowfarmhouse said...

Hi Sharon - great tips on organizing. It's something I struggle with on a daily basis - but keep working away at mastering it. I also use a list, but I'm going to try the notebook thing. I also always do better when it's in writing - even the smallest detail. A notebook would keep it in one place instead of small pieces of paper - thanks I learned something today. The cake looks YUMMY.

Hugs - Karen

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