FROM THE DESK OF: Nina
For my first series of posts, I’ll be addressing all of that “new year, new you” beeswax that comes with this time of year by offering tips on how to tackle some of the most common New Year’s resolutions.
The second installment of the New Year, New You (No, Really, I’m Serious) Series deals with getting your life together and keeping you on your toes to expect the unexpected.
Basic New Year’s Resolution #2 – Get organized [… and be prepared].
Ironically, in the week that I had originally planned to talk about getting organized, I have found myself in the Philippines, a place where planning is very often determined on the fly, and organization is, well… let’s just say organization is a “dynamic” (and somewhat evasive) concept. (More on my first visit to the motherland later.)
And maybe it’s because I’m in traveler-survival mode right now, but I’m beginning to think that getting your life together involves much more than Excelifying* your life, or scheduling an activity for every single minute of your day. I’m finding that the key to getting your life organized is equal parts planning and flexibility; it’s good to go in with a game plan, but knowing plans are bound to change will make things much easier to tackle and a lot less stressful to handle.
Here are just a few planning tips and resources that have helped keep me organized and prepared to expect the unexpected.
- Invest in a good planner. In the age of the smart phone, I’ve tried organizing my life solely by creating events in my phone; however, in doing that, I somehow end up forgetting to check and double-booking events anyway. Call me old-fashioned, but I think there’s something about jotting down plans in a physical planner and seeing my day/week/month mapped out in front of me that makes it much easier to keep my life organized. Need a place to find one? Check out Brit + Co, MUJI, or Moleskine for some fun planners that’ll work for you. (I like finding ones that are lightweight and have pockets, a place to keep a writing utensil, and multiple formats to schedule key events.)
- Write down your plans in pencil. Let’s face it: plans are always changing. Because there are always time changes and reschedules, it’s always a good idea to keep a pencil around to jot down events. (Too many pen scratches look way too stressful, in my book.) I prefer to keep a good mechanical pencil with a clip on my planner at all times. (MUJI and Poppin are my favorite places to score fun ones.)
- When attending an event someone else has planned, give yourself ample in-between time between events. I always try giving myself at least an hour of leeway time (or more, depending on if there is a location change involved) to account for navigation, parking, change of plans, or any other unexpected events that may arise. Trust me – it’s better to arrive fashionably early with some time to kill than to make an awkward late entrance (or even worse, not even be allowed entry at all).
- When planning an event or making a reservation, give your guests at cushion time of at least fifteen minutes to arrive. If your reservation is at 8:00pm, tell your guests it’s at 7:45pm. If it’s a high-demand restaurant that only seats your party when everyone is present, give an even bigger cushion – at least 30-45 minutes. (In the previous example, this would be 7:15 – 7:30ish.)
- Pack an on-the-go survival kit. For me, this includes, of course, the essentials (keys, phone, wallet)… plus lip balm, tissues, lotion, headphones, and a small snack. You really never know when a snack attack will hit. (… Just me?)
This week’s post is short and sweet due to the fact that I never know when I’ll be in a WiFi zone again for the rest of my time in the Philippines, but I’ll catch you again next week when I’m back in LA. Have a good week!
* Excelify (v.): Systematizing your life by way of Excel spreadsheets. (I will neither confirm nor deny that I have just made that word up.)
COMING UP NEXT: Channeling your inner-student and expanding your intellectual horizons without paying an arm and a leg. (But, to be honest, I may change things up a bit… we’ll see what next week brings. Expect the unexpected, right? :D)