Resolution Solution: Organize


395136_10152310283555247_671996780_nJara Sturdivant-Wilson is a marketing coordinator, project manager, health/fitness blogger and natural hair aficionado who loves helping others get—and stay—organized! Check out her blog, The 30 Girl.


I’ve been managing projects since elementary school. No for real. I planned and managed my elementary school’s first coed soccer tournament in the third grade. After elementary school I went to middle school, high school and you know, college and graduate school. Throughout my education, something was constant – I love project management.

Give me your calendar, calendars or lack of a calendar and I will offer some suggestions to a better managed calendar. If you don’t have time to implement the time managed styles, I can. If you get anxious when looking at your calendar, that’s where I come in. There should be freedom in time management and calendars. You have to live your life not just plan your life.

When people aren’t anxious about their schedules or calendars they can focus on things that they may be better at whether that be teaching, speaking or traveling.


How I Manage My Time.

I have beautiful calendars. These calendars are quite the art form. My calendar appreciation was built in middle school when my dad got me a Franklin Covey planner. I traded my Franklin planner for a Moleskine calendar. And then my Moleskine calendar turned into my new planner, Estefenia. Yes, I named my new Erin Condren planner Estefenia. Those paper planners feed my six digital calendars. Phew. I know.

So, why so many calendars? Let me tell you the system that works for me. I try to start with Estefenia. There is something deliberate and contemplative about using a paper calendar. We live in such a digital world that it is easy to over commit to the text message, email and social media invitations. Using a paper calendar slows me down a bit. I have to actually look at the pace of my day, week, month and quarter and decide if a certain event is in line with my goals or intentions* for my week, month or quarter.

My paper calendar guides what I can and cannot do with my time.


What do I put in my calendar?

  • Appointments (doctor, dentist…you know those appointments that I make way way way in advance for my health)
  • Dates (lunch, tea, coffee, fun events that happen with short notice)
  • Autodeduct payments for bank (gotta keep a pulse on the finances)
  • Paydays (again, keeping a pulse on the finances)
  • Celebrations (you know parties or weddings, those are fun)
  • Travel (This includes itineraries, airline information and this also guides appointments for pet sitting, stopping the mail, etc.)
  • Miscellaneous (I schedule a monthly appointment to remind me that I can get one Amazon book if needed on a certain date. This appointment paces me and my quick fingers on the Amazon kindle store)
  • Holidays (birthdays and national holidays)
  • Certain workouts (if I’m training for a half marathon or specific race, I like to keep an eye on what my training should look like)


Why doesn’t get scheduled?

I don’t schedule my to-do lists. These to-do lists are just a list I refer to throughout the day on my phone, computer, paper and/or calendar. I like to refer to those items throughout the day rather than on a calendar as I don’t have a particular deadline on these items. I also use Orchestra for these to do lists.

Once I get my paper calendar updated, my electronic calendars get updated as well.

My electronic calendars give me a unique snapshot of the pace of my day, week, month and quarter. My electronic calendars are color coded because my appointments have their own little homes once they get into Google Calendar. Google calendar houses the following calendars:

  • Me!
  • My husband!
  • Our shared family calendar!
  • Me at Work!
  • Clients’ Calendars! (Did I mention that I help others manage their calendars and projects?)
  • Weather/Holidays!

This method works for me. I admit that I have the personality who needs the details of every event. These details let me create plans a, b and c for myself and everyone else who might be affected by the event. I know, it could be a bit much.

But you know what? I get that others like different calendar management styles. All of my wedding party members have beautiful and different personalities. So when it came to the calendar for the big day, I actually created a Type A and Type B personality calendars. Type A had every single detail. Type B had the summary.

And I liked both of those calendars.

How about you? What type of calendar management do you like? How do you organize your day, week, month, quarter and year?


Jara’s Quick Tips for Calendar Organization. This is a three month assessment.

Organize your current appointments into themes or categories (family, personal, work, workout, travel, holidays, finances, etc).

Take the next month, yes, just month, and write out your appointments for the month within your categories. *I color code my appointments. If you don’t like colors, find a naming convention that makes the most sense. 
Travel: Vacation to Miami! 
Personal: Doctor’s Appointment
Holiday: Susie’s Birthday
Finances: Rent Due
Family: Billy to Soccer

* Depending on your preferred method, determine if you want to organize your calendar electronically or just paper-style

After a month, see what appointments you had to cancel or reschedule and do it again.

Need more help? Bring in reinforcements!


jparm1 January 24, 2013 Blog