Organization Blog Fest

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

My To Do List Hates Me by Meredith Schwartz


Posted by Guest | View all posts by Guest

Take Welcome to Organization Blog Fest 2010! I thought the best way to start the week would be with Meredith Schwartz of Penelope Loves Lists, and her advice on how to handle a Daily To-Do List. Take it away Meredith!!!

We all make the Daily To Do List. Problem is, most of the time, we do it wrong. There, I said it.

This list, which should be our problem solver, becomes the problem itself. Like some huge, looming, cartoonish thing from our nightmares, the incomplete items from each day’s lists grow until we feel defeated under their collective weight.

Instead, you should have two To Do Lists, one called the “Daily To Do List”, one we’ll call the “Overall To Do List”. You can think of your own pithy names when you adopt this system.

The first step is to know, each day, what your most important tasks are. If you don’t know what your true priorities are, either at work or at home, your list will be a meaningless schedule of tasks. If you’re unsure as to how to prioritize, read this book. If you know what you truly need to do each day, you can then set about step two.

Each evening before finishing work, make tomorrow’s Daily To Do List. This should take less than 5 minutes to do.

This list should have 3-4 of your highest priority items on it, each one with SPECIFIC goals, like this:

  1. Check in with pending clients  – 10 clients
  2. Get product shipment ready for Monday
  3. 1pm Meeting with Jennifer
  4. …If I get that done, I’ll move to:

  5. Work through sales leads – 12 calls
  6. Emails – spend 1 hour getting email inbox cleaned out.

See how specific each item is?

Also, notice that, by separating it into items 1-3, and then 4 and 5, you give yourself room for the day to actually happen. Things take longer than we expect. Emergency items come up. You set yourself up for success by ensuring your top 3 items get done. Then, if you are able to move to items 4 and 5  (which are also very specific and serve to “chunk out” larger projects) you can feel you got ahead by the end of the day, rather than always feeling overwhelmed and behind.

While I use my favorite Bob’s Your Uncle grid paper notebook to keep my daily to do list in line, I’ve also had great success with the online tool Teux Deux. I like that it doesn’t try to be all things to all people. It’s super simple graphic interface just enables you to quickly and easily do what you’re there for: keep and update your daily task list.

Whether you use paper and pen to create your list, or an online tool, if you know what your priorities are and are specific with the items you put on your list, you’ll end each day with a feeling of effectiveness. And, maybe, you’ll have just enough extra energy to go get a margarita. Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

What strategies do you use when creating your Daily To Do List? What’s working for you and what isn’t? Please share them with us in the comments section.

Meredith Schwartz is the Founder and Editor of Penelope Loves Lists, an organization inspiration blog. She’s a girl with a To Do List and she knows how to use it. Meredith and her fellow readers make no apologies for their love of lists, notebooks, pretty office supplies and all manner of cool organizational tools. Are you a Penelope?


Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Ali’s Organized Open Shelving


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

Next week we will be rolling out 2010’s Organization Blog Fest! Hooray! I’ve never organized one of these things before and I am really disorganized, so keep your fingers crossed for me! It’s been a lot of fun to correspond with those in the blogosphere who are much more organized than I am!

In addition to inviting some of our favorite bloggers from around the web, I’ve also asked everyone here at Design Public to share their favorite Organizational Tips/Products/Gadgets/Whatever Keeps Their Acts Together with you. As a teaser to our event next week, here is a post from Ali, our superwoman of many tasks, who is officially known as our Vendor Liason. She’s been so busy that unfortunately, we haven’t seen her on the blog a lot lately, but I’m glad to say she’s got a post for us today!



I might be cheating a little with my organization tip since my photo is of our dinnerware and normally dinnerware automatically looks organized because it stacks in neat little piles, but I have a point…I think…

Nearly every item in my space is on display because we have very little closed storage. When we moved in to our loft we noticed the open shelving above the sink and made a pact (complete with the act of spitting in our hands and a solid handshake): “We are only going to buy white dishware and get rid of anything that isn’t completely white.” I’m not a big fan of matchy matchy anything but when it comes to items in white I’ll take as much as I can get. The end result has been one of my favorite portions of our space. Even though our shelving may not be completely “organized” it looks clean and neat simply because it isn’t super cluttered. We do have a few items in hues we particularly enjoy just to add a splash of color, which I love. Actually, now that I think about it, we’ve applied our “Plain, Clean, and Simple!” pact to our sheets and towels as well which makes the organization of our closets clean looking without really trying and it has drastically kept our clutter buying to a minimum.



Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Kitchen Pegboard


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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I think some of the kitchen organizing posts from last weeks Organization Blog Fest have received more comments than Ali and I put together the entire time we’ve been blogging! It shows me how great it is to have some guest voices on the blog!

As a follow up for those of you with tight kitchen spaces, I thought I’d share one of my many flickr favorites. I love the way that this pegboard and the pots and pans on it have become a graphic element in the kitchen. It’s got function and form and is a work of assemblage art in itself! The assemblage can even give us hints at what the owner is whipping up in the kitchen when we see pieces missing. Nice.

photo by flickr member merskine


Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

The Organization Blog Fest Concludes (Kind of)


Posted by Ali | View all posts by Ali
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Organization Blog Fest

And so we have come to the end. By now I would assume your 500 piece pencil collection is in order, your socks are filed away by color then size and your canned foods are arranged alphabetically. I can imagine you sitting by your bookcase, impressed with the outcome of your recent arrangement but also bored because decluttering and arranging your things was such a thrill and now that it is all in order you don’t know what to do with your time.

Ok, I’m almost spot on, right?

Probably not, but if you need more inspiration or organizing guidance I would highly suggest Read the rest of this entry »


Friday, January 9th, 2009

Organize: The Closet, Ali’s Before and After


Posted by Ali | View all posts by Ali

The closet is perhaps one of the most painful things to organize, even (or especially) when you don’t have one. In moving to our loft space we were left closetless. Where do you put your stuff when you don’t have a closet or dresser? Well, this is what we lived like for nearly two months:

Disgusting. What do you do when you can’t live like this any longer? Read the rest of this entry »