Staying Organised with a Busy Brain

When you lead a busy life, staying organised is key to keeping things running smoothly. This is especially true if you have what I like to call a ‘busy brain’, one that is often so full it’s hard to keep track of things. Whether it’s through illness, brain fog or just having a lot on your plate, I thought I’d share some tips on how I stay organised even when my mind isn’t working as well as it should but still have a to-do list as long as my arm.

1.) Write it down. Write everything down. If you’re prone to forgetting important pieces of information, always have somewhere to write available. I never leave the house without a pen and notebook, but if that’s not for you then pop notes into your phone or text them to yourself. Whether it’s dates to remember, things to do or places to be, once it’s easier to remember, not only can you check back but often the process of writing helps cement it in your memory. It can help clear your mind too, I think of it as once it’s on paper, it’s out of your brain and one less thing to think about. This can also be helpful creatively too, I often get my best ideas at random times, so it’s useful to have somewhere to write them before they disappear!

2.) Create a control centre. When you write everything down, you end up with a lot of notes! Give yourself somewhere to store them and keep on top of things. I have a Kikki K Wellness planner that I’ve customised to fit my day. I have a monthly calendar, and then sections for personal, house, heath, work, blog etc, so always have a secure place to write my notes. I find keeping it all in one place so helpful too as I  can flick through one (rather pretty) book to get an overview of what I need to do today in all areas of my life (I call it a control centre as it’s responsible for my life running smoothly!). For a digital version, try Evernote, and create board for each aspect you need to organise.

3.) Create a Master List. I like having a master rolling to-do list that I can refer back to. This could be anything from remembering to put the dishwasher on to writing a blog post to food shopping to doctors appointments. Although one giant list may feel intimidating to some, I feel better having everything all in one place, and can glance at everything I need to do for the day on one page.

4.) Plan ahead. Anything you can do in advance is always helpful. When I’m blogging, I like to photograph a whole load of posts at a time and schedule them out, so if I reach a day where I just don’t feel like I can create one, there’s already a spare in my drafts. When writing emails, even if it’s 11pm at night, if I feel like replying but think ‘this should wait until the morning’, write it anyway and keep it in your drafts to send in the morning. Make the most of momentum when it arrives, and you’ll be grateful for staying ahead when your schedule gets busier, or on days when your brain doesn’t feel like helping.

5.) Schedule Reminders. If you’re prone to forgetting things, give yourself reminders. I recently upgraded to a Fitbit Alta and absolutely love it, and one of my favourite features is that it displays calendar reminders on the screen. I’ve set up a separate iCal calendar called ‘reminders’ and then put everything I need to do throughout the day into that, for which it reminds me with a little buzz to my wrist. This is a great thing to do on your phone or laptop too just so you get a notification as a gentle push. Schedule anything that could be helpful, I have reminders for everything from when the bins need to go out to a lunchtime reminder to drink water.

I realise some of these may seem a little intense for some people, but when your mind isn’t quite working as well as it could, you’ll understand the frustration of forgetting things! What do you do to help you stay organised?

  • My planner is my life. It’s a blank gridded notebook, the kind that people use for bullet journals I guess, but I like creating my own organisational system 🙂 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • Laura Torninoja

    These are such great tips! I’m definitely a list person too – there’s not many things more satisfying than ticking off a task from a to-do list! I also love those Kikki K planners so much, but I haven’t gotten any yet as I’m trying to save money. Maybe after next payday… They’re just so pretty! x

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

  • Fawn

    I am so happy to see that I am not the only one who creates a master rolling list. My husband thinks it is nuts, but it works so well for my busy brain. Every Sunday night I re-write it. Anything not finished the week before, like long term projects, goes on top and then it fizzles down to that week’s to-do’s. It keeps me on track. Great article!

  • I have such a busy mind… I have a hard time falling asleep sometimes because I can’t shut off my mind… thanks for the tips for getting organized!
    -Maddy
    Cheers-Maddy.com

  • missgetaway

    Loved this post! I always need three planners to get me through the day. If I’m not writing down EVERY thing I’m totally lost in my mind haha.

    love, Kerstin
    http://www.missgetaway.com/