5 Things That Will Help You Get Organized

advice, books, organizationVirginia HartComment

I was in Staples the other day and witnessed a flurry of back-to-school shopping that put the biggest smile on my face. I even helped a girl choose which pens to purchase during a moment of indecision. (If you follow me on Snapchat and witnessed my awkward spiel on the best pens, you know I'm a huge nerd on the topic.) Although I'm no longer in school, this time of year will always represent an opportunity for a fresh start. In order to take advantage of a new beginning, however, I believe we must set aside time to get things in order, adjust any habits that need adjusting, and actually press the reset button instead of waiting for it to reset automatically -- it won't. I derive a sense of contentment and peace from feeling organized, and I've learned that having and using the right tools to facilitate the process is very important.

Below are five organizational tools that I've either been using for a while or to which I've been recently introduced ↓


1. If there's one thing we learned from Carrie Bradshaw - ya know, aside from the importance of girlfriends and cute shoes - it's to back up our computers. I use this external hard-drive and try and back up once every two weeks, sometimes more. I keep all files for clients for one year (sometimes longer for friends and family) and then I get rid of anything that I don't think I'll use again. I've also started using Dropbox to save and share a lot of things. I really love that it syncs with Carousel which backs up the photos on my phone. When you know that important files are both saved and easily accessible, it makes life a lot easier. (image via)

2. Part of my crazy method in feeling organized is mapping out a plan, and getting things transferred from my head to paper. Jumbo post-its are my jam for this. I use them for to-do lists, scratch pads for calligraphy, to sketch out ideas, and to write / draw freely to clear my head. I'm all about the neon, too. (images via)

3. I know I've mentioned this before, but Meg Biram's GSD (get shit done) notepad collection is incredibly helpful to break down your list into actionable items, fill out a calendar the best way for you (so many options out there are cluttered with quotes and other nonsense) whether that's divvying up times of day, individual people in your fam, or even planning meals. And I use her focus post-its when I need to prioritize three main things I want to accomplish in a day which is helpful when I'm feeling particularly scattered. (image via)

4. I spent a few days with my cousins recently which was such a treat. One of them commutes from his fraternity house at Stanford to code at a tech company in San Francisco. (#smartcookie) Although I'm somewhat tech averse with my affinity for all things paper, I definitely still rely on my phone and online calendar for certain tasks and reminders. So when I asked him what apps I needed, he told me about Trello. I love that I can easily drag things from one column to another, based on their stage of completion (seeing things on the "done" list is so gratifying!), and that I can share the lists with others for easy project management. It's kind of similar to Wunderlist, which I've mentioned in the past, so I'm in the process of figuring out which one I like the most. (image via)

5. If you're going to take any of my advice, please let it be to READ THIS BOOK. I started implementing the KonMari method this past weekend and I know this is cheesy to say, given the title and all, but it's already changing my life. There's a reason millions of copies have sold! Although I was a little peeved that "stationery" was misspelled three times in the book (c'mon, editors!), this is my must-read suggestion for the remaining weeks of summer if you haven't already done so. Mom, I mailed you my copy this morning ;) (image via)

Currently Reading - "The Body Book"

booksVirginia HartComment

The Body Book by Cameron Diaz

I know what you're thinking. You're going to listen to some A-list celeb tell you about a fad diet and think it's genius? This book is not about any fad diet, or quick way to lose weight. Trust me, it's full of incredibly useful, smart information that's presented in a clear, entertaining, and organized format. Her message? Your body is the best instrument you'll ever own -- educate yourself to know what it needs. I've been surprised just how much I'm enjoying it. Cameron, you have my full attention!

According to Amazon, "Grounded in science and informed by real life, The Body Book offers a comprehensive overview of the human body and mind, from the cellular level up. From demystifying and debunking the hype around food groups to explaining the value of vitamins and minerals, readers will discover why it’s so important to embrace the instinct of hunger and to satisfy it with whole, nutrient-dense foods. Cameron also explains the essential role of movement, the importance of muscle and bone strength and why we need to sweat a little every day."

You guys know I'm attempting to change my lifestyle given my high blood pressure and sometimes it really takes looking at the big picture to feel motivated about changing habits. (I don't want to jinx anything, but so far? So good!) And while I'm sure there are thousands of books out there explaining things, like, what is really happening inside your body when you feel hunger, I appreciate how easy this book is to get. I'm sure I already knew some of the things she brings up, but it just hasn't all clicked until now. And maybe I'm just dumb, but I also feel like I'm learning a ton. Even little things like what it's called if you're a vegetarian but you eat dairy & eggs. (a lacto-ovo vegetarian) Anyway - Cameron also keeps it real, explaining a time in her life when she was far from health-conscious. "If you are what you eat," she says, "I was a bean burrito with extra cheese and extra sauce, no onions."

The whole time I've been reading it, I keep thinking I'm back in a science class I actually enjoy. Stumbling upon Jezebel's editorial review of the book, I couldn't have said it better myself. “Her manual reads a bit like a cross between a science textbook and articles from the Well section of the New York Times your mother sends you, with a dash of a best friend that likes to overshare.”

And I'm not even finished with the book! I couldn't even wait to tell you about it - that's how much I like it. One of my favorite parts so far? Reading the history of food & diets in the US, the deal behind processed foods and the crippling effects it has on our society, how adolescent obesity has tripled since the '80s, and how that is actually threatening to to shift the rise in life expectancy which is absolutely absurd. Again, coupled with all the factual/helpful information, Cameron keeps it real: "Here's a secret: just because you can put something in your mouth, chew it, swallow it, and then poop it out doesn't mean it's food."

Wanna join me in reading this? Purchase your copy here. (And let me know what you think!)  I'm also really excited about this book I'm reading, too, which happens to go hand in hand.

Also! Cameron apparently goes to my gym when she's in town even though I've yet to see her. No promises, but I'll do my best not to totally humiliate myself if I do :)