designed to simplify

It's true confessions time, and I must confess that lately I've felt like a disorganized disaster. In past years, at this point in December I've had nearly all of our holiday shopping complete. Right now I'm fighting off a cold and walking around with about eighteen lists in my head.

Last week we had six people in town for the holiday (five of them stayed at our house) and hosted 17 people for Thanksgiving dinner (12 adults + 5 kiddos). Whew. What a whirlwind.

In the midst of all of the planning and craziness, I've been so preoccupied with everything swirling around in my congested head: work, holiday shopping, meal-planning, holiday parties, my December Daily album, and even goal-setting for 2014. 

It's all been a bit overwhelming, and what I've come to realize is that I've really lost sight of having a clear method for keeping everything together. I define my design aesthetic as "simple + modern," but right now my life aesthetic feels a lot more like "cluttered + chaotic."

One of these things is not like the other.

So I've been thinking hard about how I want to simplify my work, family, social stuff, appointments, to-do lists, etc. plus all of Nick's work stuff and his "reminders," meaning the ones he sends me from that annoying little app on his phone! 

Our current system looks something like this:

And yes, you're looking at two doctor's appointments for me and two entries for our squadron Christmas Party. That's because Nick and I are doubling up on our iCal entries. Not to mention, I don't use it religiously. It's extremely effective (she said, sarcastically).

I love having a large family calendar in the house. We've used one in the past, so I've purchased one from the Sugar Paper line at Target. It's simple and beautiful, and we have the perfect, high-traffic spot for a big wall calendar. I'm a visual girl, so this works for me. 

The wall calendar is great, but I need some kind of detailed planner for my personal "stuff": work, projects, to-do lists, goals, etc. I was eyeing the Emily Ley Simplified Planner, but now it's sold out. Depression.

My favorite feature of the Emily Ley planner is that it has a page for each day, so I'm trying to find a substitute. One of these two could work: the Cavallini daily planner from Paper Source (left) or the daily planner from Mochi Things (right). Both meet my prerequisites of being simple and beautiful.

I'm at a point where I really need to consolidate work and life stuff, so I'm on the hunt for a planner with flexibility and lots of space allotted to each day. In this regard, something more customizable might be in order.

For my birthday, my sister got me a bunch of Russell + Hazel products. They're beautiful, modern, simple and functional. Unfortunately, there's no daily schedule page for the mini binder, which is what I have (pictured below). I'm considering designing one for myself, but we'll see.

One thing I know for sure: our current system isn't working. And with my work life getting busier and our home life about to explode with a new baby and our world about to change with a possible cross-country move in ten months, one thing is certain: we have got to get serious about simplifying things.

I'd love to hear what you do: electronic? paper? a mix? How do you stay organized? Any favorite products or recommendations?