In fact, on some days, I feel like I've lost a brain cell or thousand. (And I haven't even hit peri-menopause yet. Heaven help me!)
But what makes me a great professional organizer is that I'm really, really good at troubleshooting. My mind loves a puzzle, and I enjoy tracing a problem back to its source - then rectifying it.
(I also adore the drudgery of sorting and purging - especially when it's other people's stuff!)
So how do I keep myself organized during my own day-to-day existence?
I'm pretty low-tech. I have a paper datebook. Small enough to fit in my purse. With a weekly page-spread, so I can see my entire week at once. If I could get away with a monthly spread, I would - but I occasionally have too many activities each day for that.
I write client information (addresses, telephone numbers) on Post-it Notes and stick them right in the datebook on the pertinent week's spread. They usually stay in there forever unless I need them for a later week, or the information ceases to be relevant.
I write clients' billable hours right in the datebook as well, and later transfer them to an Excel spreadsheet.
I keep a separate, small spiral-bound notebook in which to write notes. Anything that needs writing down (including endless To Do lists!) gets put in there. I date every single entry, and I archive the notebooks when I finish them. The one I'm using now goes all the way back to my apartment search last summer.
I also staple stuff - handouts, lists I've made on other paper, business cards, labels and UPC codes from my favorite products, MapQuest printouts, etc. - and stick Post-it Notes in there, too. The notebook is small enough to go in my purse and with me everywhere.
I try to make a point of looking at my datebook and notebook at least once a day. Usually the only times I've really screwed up are when I've relied on my memory and not checked the books first.
I have a place for everything and make a point of putting everything away in its place every day. (This includes e-mails in my Outlook Express program, and files for my other online and computer activities.)
I've travelled a lot in the past year, and I've learned to plan backwards in time from end of any trip or prolonged activity. I got that tip from my ex-boyfriend (a travelling actor and singer - check out his website here). If I'm away for more than an overnight, I write down every activity I will be doing from the end of the trip to its beginning, and making sure to pack everything I need for all those activities.
I prepare healthy food ahead of time in bulk quantities. I'm a vegetarian with some dietary restrictions; when I'm hungry and don't have food prepared it often results in junk food binges. So I always have several days' worth of brown rice, hard-boiled eggs, beans and soups in my fridge or freezer.
Those are pretty much my basics.
copyright 2007, Michelle Lynne Goodfellow