How do you organise yourself?

I have a secret. I harbor an imperfection.

Ok, let’s start again. I have MANY imperfections but there is one that presents itself almost every single day. I am disorganized.

Try as I may, I am just not one of those women who runs a smooth brain. Mine is akin to a Chinese laundry, with things flung everywhere and items going missing with regular regularity. I have always been a little scatterbrained, but as I get older, I sometimes surprise myself at just how easy it is for me to walk around with my head stuck firmly up my own anus.

Our family has a calendar. It is the Luing Calendar, which comes free with the newspaper at the end of every year. This is our social lifeline, when indeed we choose to write something on it. Which is hardly ever. We have been known to be lazing around the house on the weekend when the phone rings. It is always someone asking whether we were planning to attend the BBQ, Engagement Party, Baby shower, Birthday party or other celebration which is currently on.

At that very moment.

It is not a comfortable feeling, blaming your partner for not putting the event on the “Calendar”.

Another really bad faux pas that can happen when you are disorganized is when you are talking to a friend on the phone and you say something like “Are you looking forward to your birthday?” and there is silence.

Because their birthday was yesterday.

And then there is the feeling of dread I get when I drop the kids off to school only to discover that it is Funny Hat Day, Mufti Day, Wear an outfit from your cultural heritage day or the ultimate stuff up which I have done. Which is when you drop your kid off at school only to find out that it is a Pupil Free day from the secretary who calls you mere minutes after driving away.

There is no reasonable excuse for being so disorganized. We have devices that beep and ping at you, letting you know of something that has sprung up that requires your attention. The problem is that you have to reprogram your behaviours to actually input the data to achieve the desired result.

Let me explain further.

You run into a friend, have a little chat before you suggest that perhaps a dinner might be in order to increase your quality social time. She whips out her smart phone, which is packed with everything that is on her agenda. She gives you a couple of dates, which you promise to remember and intend to cross reference with your lame paper calendar that is hanging on your fridge. You walk away and immediately forget the dates and by the time you get home, the whole exchange is but a distant memory.

But that is still no excuse for bad manners.

In an attempt to get on top of my situation, I purchased a selection of organisers and planners in which to fill in lovingly each day and cross off events and occasions as they pass. They promised to help me plan presents to buy, travel logistics and even what we will be having for dinner for the next fortnight.

But again, if you not actually use each little section, each little colour coded box, then they just sit on the kitchen table and become what they have become in my house.

Which is very expensive drawing paper.

How do you organise yourself?


  • Angie

    Google calendar. You can have it on your phone, iPad, laptop etc, you can invite people to events (ie invite your hubby not to forget to pick up or drop off a child at a certain time), and it has colour options if you like to organise events that way. It will ding at you if you want it to (which helps me for first thing in the morning appointments). Without it I would be up the creek without a paddle. Before this I used a paper calendar on the wall, but I always forgot to add things to it and that was annoying.

  • I agree with Angie. Google Calendars we have them set up for hubby & I, and then the kids and I have my own calendar. They are all different colours exactly the same as Angie.
    The same as Angie we would die without this! It is on my phone, hubby’s phone, the kids ipads everywhere so that no-one has any excuse to not know. Get onto it now!

  • Appointments, social engagements, reminder notes about blood tests and drug infusions – all in my phone. WITH alerts on them – usually one the day before… Since the RA went ballistic, and I had to start taking multiple hard core medications, many of which carry the potential side effect of ‘brain fog’, it’s the only way I can survive normal life. But I have been known to forget to enter said commitments into the phone – which is nearly always a huge disaster. Thank the appointment gods for doctors who send SMS reminders!!

  • Haha. I recently got very overwhelmed and frustrated at my lack of organisation. It was sending my anxiety through the roof! I thought about buying a planner to fill in, but it wasn’t working and I was too picky. So I got back into google calendar. I now have it on my computer and my phone! I add stuff as soon as I find out about it! I even colour code the things I have said ‘no’ to so I know not to put my foot in it accidentally on the day of the event! All my fertility stuff has been pretty full on so I kind of had no choice but to get my shit together, I guess! Good luck, Mrs W! x

  • Kate

    For my personal and family commitments the trick is to put everything in your calendar at the time and put multiple reminders on it. If I am discussing dates and need to check with my partner I add a task with a reminder at a time when I know we will both be home and able to discuss it, and then it goes straight in the calendar once something is planned.

    For my work which is always busy and priorities constantly change, sometimes within the same day, I either add to my personal task list which is managed within one of my office tools, or create a task in one of my task management tools straight away or it is forgotten.

    Pick your tool (needs to be dynamic – app on phone/computer) and input everything as it comes up, with reminders and you will be much more organised and less likely to forget or overlook things. You can even have shared calendars for the whole family that will dynamically update for everyone.

    • Wendy

      How do you do the shared calendar thingy please 🙂

      • KiwiChick

        I use Google Calendar – and like any Google thing you can choose to share it with other Google people.

        • Me

          Me too. I have my google calendar, my work google calendar and a family one. All display on my personal one but I can turn of the views of any of them if I need to concentrate on just one. My home screen for my phone and tablet both have condensed versions of the calendar so I can always see the next few events. Everyone at home uses it. Kids put their part time shifts in it, husband puts work trips or his sporting commitments in it, kids bball fixtures are in it. Basically if it’s not on the family calendar, it doesn’t happen! We also have a weekly magnetic calendar that gets updated each Sunday. It’s just a habit to do that now. Even found one of the kids doing it last Sunday night when I hadn’t got to it. Don’t know how I’d manage without it now. All 5 of us use it all the time!

  • Natalie

    I use a paper diary for personal stuff and another for work. I like to be able to easily see everything!!

  • TanG

    iCalendar on phone which syncs to iPad & Mac. All entries must include location and alert at time to leave.
    Magnetic white board -on kitchen wall-with clip magnets; paperwork in date order and 4 colours of markers.

  • Merilyn

    Sorry mrs woog! … I’m like you! In fact I’m a shocker!
    Made it to 67 by working with intuition or some such thing!
    I hate anything that tries to organize my nebulous state of being!
    Enjoy youur natural ways in say!
    Much love m)x

    • Merilyn

      Its a new device and not helpful auto thingy!xx

  • Kazzie

    I have a ‘squares’ paper calendar hanging visibly on the wall with all birthdays, appointments, bills due, etc written on it. Every morning, I’ll cross off the days and see what’s what. It suits me as I’m home most days.

  • Tracey

    Use the calendar on your Mac, Mrs Woog. It will sync with your iPhone so you always have an up to date planner handy. It’s the only way! Well, that’s not quite true, as Google calendar is another way that works almost as well.

  • Cate Lawrence

    My husband and I use online calendars with personal and shared options. I am in awe of all the PR people (I’m a journalist) who are able to organise international conference calls with me across multiple time zones and country codes without going insane!

  • Kate in Melbourne, Australia

    I use the calendar on my phone andc
    endeavour to be absolutely rigorous in putting events in as soon as they come up. I then programme two or three reminders. I use it to pay bills, remember birthdays and every kind of appontment possible. If it’s in my phone we’re golden!