Coffee Shop Talk: Organization

Coffee Shop Talk is a series where I talk to you about things in my life, like I would if we were out having coffee together! This week’s topic is Organization!

I may have mentioned this before, but it’s partially relevant to today’s topic of discussion, so I figured I’d throw a reminder up here. I am both ADHD and on the autism spectrum.

If you know anything about these two spectrums, you know that focus and organization are major issues for many people who have each of them. Executive functions are hard, and that makes organization even more difficult than it usually is.

I have to be very careful with my time and energy, because if I’m not, I can’t get everything done that I need to. However, I also multitask like mad, because my ADHD kind of requires me to. It’s a very delicate (read: difficult) balance.

I’m very unorganized in my daily life. If something is paper, or can be put down – I lose it. It’s almost a guarantee. Thus, physical planners, bullet journals, etc, do not work for me or my brain.

My room is always a mess, my house is always a mess, but the one thing that I actually keep organized is my digital life.

multi-colored Google Calendar
Click to see full-size

I use a different Google Calendar for each “block” of my life – work, bills, the blog schedule, birthdays, and other things I have to do, so that I can tell at a glance what I need to do on a daily basis. I have an entirely separate calendar for work events on Outlook which is similarly scheduled.

This is for next month, and while it may look like a light month activity-wise, I also have to pack and move into a new rental house, and it’s not close to the actual time yet. That being said, all of this syncs to my phone, including my work calendar, so that I get reminders, because I forget things constantly.

I also don’t usually sit down and type up an entire post at once. Usually, when I start a book, I’ll create a draft here in WordPress and put in the basics of a post – the FCC label about where I got it, the summary, the goodreads link, etc.

Then, as I’m reading, I’ll usually type up some notes and throw them in the draft – things I liked, things I didn’t, thoughts on the writing style, etc. Then I have the bare bones of a post, and I can remember what I thought of the book when I finish and forget to write up the post for a few days, which happens regularly.

When it comes to getting down and focusing, lately I’ve been using an app/extension called Forest – it’s $1.99 for the mobile app but the browser extension for computers is free. You use a blacklist for sites that regularly distract you – for me, it’s twitter, facebook and goodreads – and you set a time limit for how long you want to stay off of them for, and if you stay off the sites, you grow a happy little tree! If you decide to give up, the tree dies, which is sad, but that’s the only thing that happens.

I like the mobile app because it more or less locks you out of your phone for a period of time, which is very useful for me since I fidget with my phone a lot and use it way more than I need to. You earn points for each tree you grow, and you can unlock new types of trees for a more biodiverse forest! It’s just really adorable.

(Also I realize this sounds like an ad, but it really isn’t, I swear. I just like it.)

Other things that I use to keep organized is the sticky note app that came on my Macbook. I have one sticky note for passwords because I cannot remember them to save my life, one for posts I need to write, and one for social media things I need to do.

This may sound like it’s redundant, but it forces me to look at something more than once, which helps me remember to do it.

I then schedule all my tweets on Tweetdeck, because its user interface is 8000 times more user-friendly than Hootsuite, and it shows you when something is scheduled. Facebook Pages also has a scheduled post feature, which I love. That way, I don’t have to worry about actually posting something on time. If I did have to worry about that… it wouldn’t happen.

So, that’s basically how I stay organized and on schedule, especially regarding blogging. I know a lot of people have had success with bullet journals and apps like Todoist. What works for you? Share your organization posts/methods with me in the comments!

9 thoughts on “Coffee Shop Talk: Organization

  1. I have ADHD too. It took me FOREVER to get organized and find something that I worked for me.

    I use a physical planner for everything. Digital ones/the one on my phone are really hard for me to understand for lack of a better word?? I see the things I need to do, but since it’s online it doesn’t feel “real” or really compute with my brain. Also, I never check online ones. I like being able to handwrite the things I need to do and it’s a lot more visually appealing for me.

    As for blogging stuff, I sometimes write down things I need to do in my planner. Usually I just have posts I need to do as scheduled on wordpress so it forces me to finish the post before a certain time.

    I need to get that program you have. Blacklisting sites would be so helpful because a lot of my homework/general work is online so I get distracted very easily ?.

    1. Isn’t it amazing how different everyone’s brains are, especially when it comes to organization? I have several other friends that online schedules don’t work for, so I’m glad you found something that works with you! Forest has been very helpful for me. There are some other ones, too, if that one doesn’t work for you!

  2. I hear so much good stuff about the Forest app! I don’t care enough about my phone to need it — I only got a smart phone relatively recently and I don’t really use it for anything — but I love hearing about other people’s fancy trees.

    1. I’ve been using it a lot the last week because it helps me focus. I may share my forest at the end of the week cause its really fun for those of us addicted to the phones!

  3. I find organisation difficult generally since I’m quite a harem-scarem type of person (being raised by hippies will do that to you!) Lately, my depression has turned my concentration and memory to sh**, so I have to write everything down… which means there are scraps of paper *everywhere* and I can’t remember what a lot of them are talking about! Oops. XD

    I generally find to-do lists a must at the moment. I have to break down every task into smaller tasks (and sometimes I break the smaller tasks down too) otherwise I just get really confused and forget things!

    1. I used to have scraps of paper lying around just like that, which is why I went digital – I always know where my phone or laptop is, and I can CTRL+F and find documents if I completely forget where something is.
      I like to-do lists, but also I forget to use them after I make them, so they aren’t as useful for me. I’m so glad they work for you!!

  4. I really loved reading this post, thank you so much for sharing this. I like being organized as well and I have a blogging schedule and constantly do to-do-lists to help me stay on top of things 😀

    1. Being organized makes everything a million times easier for me, and I’m glad you liked reading it! 😀

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