Every December I would go to my nearest office supply store and search for the perfect organizer for the coming year. Every year I would find the almost-perfect organizer, pay top dollar for it, and come home with something that I only used half of as the months progressed.
This past year I decided to make my own instead of buying one. I wanted to create an organizer that I would use every part of, instead of paying money for sections I would never use. In this article I will detail the organizer and each section of it that I created, include an accompanying video so you can see the final product first hand, and provide downloadable PDF files for each of the sections.
Keep in mind that my organizer isn’t going to be your organizer. Mine is simply an example of what you can pull together on your own.
I started with a One Touch EZD rings, three ring binder from my local office supply store. This particular binder has front and back pockets, which I needed, and open with the touch of a button at the bottom of the rings.
I also bought plastic sheet protectors and pocket folder dividers
(Each page listed contains a link to a downloadable PDF file. Please feel free to print these, adapt them to your own personal needs — simply copy and paste into a program like Publisher and edit them — and duplicate them as often as needed.)
In my front pocket I have things that need immediate attention, such as letters that need to be written and surveys I am currently working on (I work for survey companies).
I then added a pencil case that can be found in any school item aisle, so that my pens and pencils would always be readily accessible.
Following the pencil case is a plastic folder divider. In this I placed items that need attention in the next 1-3 months, such as prescriptions.
Calendar. I put this into plastic sheet protectors so that any potential spills don’t erase my recorded appointments. I have a note section at the bottom of every month for the purpose of writing things down like directions to appointments, items I need to bring with me, or any additional notes I need jot down.
Weekly Schedule. In another article we talked about getting organized and the weekly schedule was mentioned. In summary, the weekly schedule has each day of the week written down in chart form. Then tasks are assigned to each day, such as grocery shopping and bread baking, or cleaning the bathroom and living room.
To-Do List. Not everyone is a to-do list person but I certainly am! I usually have a to-do list for the month and another one for the week.
Daily Page. If you are a woman that does not participate in Bible studies, this page is still a great tool to add to your daytimer. It includes a section for plugging in the day’s appointments, goals you may have each day (such as financial and spiritual goals) a daily to-do list (which can be pulled from your weekly to-do list), five things you are thankful for, and two things that you are concerned and/or praying about.
Bible Study Worksheet. Again, I got this from Donna Partow. This page could be adapted for people who read any type of spiritual books or self-help books. It helps you record thoughts and lessons that stand out from what you’re reading. I like to write down this kind of stuff because it helps me retain it better.
Prayer Diary. For me, I put this in because I pray about alot of things. I write down the date, the thing I’m praying about, and then, when I can, record the answer to prayer as it comes. It’s neat to look back over time and see answered prayers.
Affirmations. At the top of this affirmation page I have my life vision statement. At some point in time I hope to have an article more in depth on this, but basically it’s a statement by which you live your life. Having a statement helps you say yes to the things that line up with your life and say no to everything else that would just take up time you don’t have to give.
Underneath my life vision statement I have “Affirmations” or “Resolutions”. An example of this would be, “Resolved. . . to give as much as I can, as often as I can.” or “Resolved. . . to work out five times a week.”
Power Tools. My husband often laughs at me for being my own counselor. In my counseling office I would often use Rational-Emotive Therapy, which works at changing thoughts so that emotions change. I have a section in which I employ this concept for my own personal use, by listing the negative thoughts or emotions I am attempting to replace. The reason I write this down is because when the negativity is at its worst, it’s hard to remember the tool I want to use. If it’s written down, however, I can remind myself quickly of the correct thinking I need to employ.
An example would be my tendency to worry about just about everything. My tool is focusing on the blessings in my life and reminding myself that usually what is worried about never happens.
Work Out Log. This particular page has two weeks per page. I list the type of workout I did on a particular day, any additional notes about it (such as my muscles were really tight or I met a new workout goal), and then record my daily water intake.
Goals. This is where I might be a little too micromanaged. I have all my life goals recorded and then broken down into sections:
~ Short term, such as in the next six months (Example: Get a magazine subscription to Women’s Day).
~ Mid term, such as the next 1-2 years. (Example: Finish a book manuscript I’ve been working on).
~ Long term, such as the next 5-10 years. (Example: Collect all of Gene Kelly’s movies).
Savings Tally Sheet. We talked about this in “Work It! How to Bargain Shop”. The savings tally sheet helps keep track of the savings you acheived each week through sales and coupons. I love this sheet! I can boast to my husband how much I saved us in a year.
Brainstorm and current project section. As a writer I insert a brainstorm page into my organizer, so I can pull ideas at any time. In this same section I have a page of articles I am currently working on, when they are approved, and when they are published.
This can be adapted to anything, whether it’s work projects or crafts.
Rough Drafts. Again, as a writer I have this section so that if I am somewhere without my laptop, but want to work on an article, I can begin writing it in my organizer. This too, can be adapted to suit your personal needs.
Anniversaries and Birthdays. I have two months per page and use a simplistic method. I write in the date and then the person and/or couple it belongs to. At the start of every month I check these lists and record who I need to buy gifts for.
Internet Info. This page is for recording website information, user names, and passwords. Note: You may choose to not have this in your organizer given the chance of ever losing it. This information could then fall into the wrong hands.
Addresses and Telephone Numbers. This is self-explanatory. The only note I would add is to write your addresses down in pencil, so they are more easily replaced if the person moves or switches numbers.
Garden Log. As a gardener I find it beneficial to record each season, how much I buy of my fruits and veggies (seeds or actual produce). I also record how much we were able to eat fresh during the season, as well as how much I was able to can or freeze of each thing. This helps me plan and prepare each spring.
Miscellaneous. Notebook paper to record anything I didn’t cover in the rest of the organizer, such as a new website I’m creating or a Christmas gift list.
Lastly, I have another pencil case with hole reinforcers and post it pads. The reinforcers come in handy for often-turned-to-sections, as the pages will begin to tear out sometimes.
My end pocket on the binder I have filled with scrap paper as well.
The following are not pages I have in my organizer but I instead created for those that may want them.
~ Sales Sheet. A sheet to record what items are on sale, at what store,and whether or not you have a coupon for them.
~ School Records. Records your child’s school information.
~ Car Maintance Logs (can also be adapted for Home Maintenance Logs).