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10 Totally Free Planning Tools That'll Get You On Track
You don't have to break your bank to get organized. Check out these 10 free, printable organizational tools that'll get you on track without taking all your coin. 1. Planning Sticker Printable These adorable little decorations have a totally practical use. There are list blocks, labels and goal stickers to help you track your progress. Print out on a sheet of sticker paper and get going. 2. This Week Worksheet This sheet is for the girl who doesn't need a whole planner. This is a weekly planner for the gal on the go. It's minimalist and to the point. 3. Password Keeper This is an old-school way to keep track of your digital life, but how many times have you lost your passwords in your digital world? Get a hard copy and hide it somewhere only you have access too. Never forget a password again. 4. To-Do List Don't buy a big pad that you won't use. Check out this daily to-do list, sized for the person with a lot of plans. And it's totally cute! This is another option for someone who doesn't want to bother with a planner. This one isolated sheet could help your day get right on track. 5. Kawaii Grocery List How cute is this thing!? Making a list before you go shopping is always a good idea. It helps you cut down on buying things you don't need. Having this free printable at your side will make the whole process fun. Bright colors always put me in a better mood and inspire me to get organized. 6. Weekly Meal Planner This printable (from the same designer as the shopping list) will help you plan your meals after you hit the grocery store. This kind of organization will give you better consciousness as far as meals go, and will ultimately cut your grocery expenses, because you'll only eat what you need. 7. Fashionable Note Organizer This one is great for college students who take messy notes. Most of my notebooks looked like a crazy person wrote in them. This will keep your notes organized and ridiculously fashionable. Fill a binder with these and you'll end up saving money too. There are three different designs available too so you can color coordinate by subject or class. 8. Seasonal Cleaning Checklist Rotating chores isn't something I've ever done, but apparently it's a thing. Get more adult-y with these seasonal checklists. I've linked the one for Fall, because...it's Fall! This goes from light cleaning to deep cleaning so you can keep everything tidy and organized year-round. 9. Budget Worksheet I am TERRIBLE with my money. This checklist will help you visualize your fundage and budget it accordingly. I'm trying this stat! It also shows you what you saved and can help track for future months. 10. Positive Thoughts Printable This might be a good thing to put on your door, and every day before you leave rip a positive thought off and try and live through it each day. Consciousness is key to organization. People who are more organized are generally more happy too. So use this printable to remind yourself that habits don't happen in a day! So go easy on yourself, use these tools and let organization happen slowly.
5 Easy Ways To De-Clutter Your Space
Things. Things. Things. They hide in boxes. They cover our tables. We buy them every day. More. More. More. Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the amount of things in our lives. And when the clutter piles high and anxiety mounts it's definitely time to make a change. Here are 5 easy ways to de-clutter your life. 1. Assess the situation: Do you have a lot of stuff, or are you just holding on to a few things? The first step to figuring out what you need to do with your clutter is looking at how much you have. Check the surfaces of your tables, counter tops and shelves. If you notice more than 10 things you can do without, it's time to de-clutter. 2. Remove All Trash: The easiest way to de-clutter is to get rid of all the garbage in your room / house. Garbage is clutter. It can build up. Go around and pick up everything that's ready to hit the landfill. After your first go-round you should look closer and see if there is anything else that's trash worthy, like papers, old files or broken objects you've been holding on to. 3. Clear your surfaces: The easiest way to de-clutter and really see a difference is to clear off all your surfaces. Go through your tables, dresser tops and counter tops. Try and consolidate things into containers or just clear them off completely. After you've cleared everything you can choose a few items to hang on to as subtle, minimal decoration. This will make everything feel cleaner. 4. Invest in some containers: Whether they're for make-up, kitchen utensils or office supplies, containers are a great way to de-clutter. I use them on my desk at work, in my apartment and my backpack. You can go to cheap places like Five Below, Daiso, or any Dollar store incarnate to buy the things. You don't have to break the bank here. There are also lots of incredible DIY's to make your containers more fun with paint, ribbon and more. Adding containers and boxes can help de-clutter and make everything look a lot more put together. 5. Color-Coordinate: After you've thrown away your garbage, de-cluttered your surfaces and contained the remaining objects you'd like to keep you can transform your space with color coordination. It makes everything look less cluttered, more cohesive and a lot cleaner. If you want a seriously minimal look go with subdued colors like whites and sepia tones. For an ultra-girly look pastel is a great palette. Primary colors kept to one or two with a neutral anchor can do wonders for masculine spaces. It's pretty much all in what you like. But the clutter will look a lot less daunting if it's in a single palette.
7 Cute Office Supplies That'll Make Your Work Day Infinitely Better
Okay, I don't need these things, but I want them!!! Ever look around and just see white, your four walled cubicle or desk...It's boring. Check out these fun desk additions that'll keep you happy and engaged all day, because life's about the little things right? 1. Adorable Sticky Notes People still use post-its. It's common knowledge that not everything is better digital. Cute sticky notes always make my day brighter. Whether I'm writing down ideas for writing, or creating a list for myself I always have sticky notes around. I love these cat ones, and they even stand up! The whale ones are totally fun too. See? You're happier already! 2. Pig Desk Organizer This is totally weird but I really like it. Pick your favorite animal, there probably is a desk organizer of it. Make your desk your personal playground, because if you have to sit there for many hours per day you may as well have fun. 3. PENS! Pens make me happy. I don't know why. It may seem a little strange, but writing in a colored pen can change my mood instantly. Pick your favorites and get moving. I like greens and blues...because they calm me down. 4. Color Coordinated Everything If you've got a favorite color you'd better show it. Studies show that your favorite color makes you happy so just indulge. Take it to heart and coordinate. 5. A Great Mug Everyone needs coffee. You have to have a vessell worthy of drinking it out of. Get yourself a great mug with a fun theme and you'll never be sad again...well...you'll try not to be sad. 6. Brutally Honest Memo Pads These notes don't pull any punches. Don't lay down at work, make people understand that you mean business. Hand them a sticky that means something damn it! Plus they come in totally cute colors, and make everything better. 7. A Kitschy Pen Holder Come on...whales? Can't get cuter. You can even use these for the make-up you shamelessly keep on your desk. You gotta look good right? Nothing is better than having all your cute things in one place. What are your favorites? Do you keep things on your desk?
How To Write A Kick-Ass Cover Letter
So, you're applying for jobs after College. No doubt you've googled "how to write a cover letter" more often than you check your Vingle account. You're frustrated, scared and ultimately asking more questions than can be answered. Don't worry, I've been there. So I whipped up this post on how to write a kick-ass cover letter that will not only show your personality, but will appeal to your employers on a visceral level, setting you apart from the hundreds, or thousands of other applicants in your way. First, you must consider your audience. If you're writing to a hip, young company your style of voice would be different than if you're writing to an established, formal company. This is perhaps the most important part of cover letter writing. There's a bit more freedom when you're trying to work for an online outfit or something that is aimed at a young demographic. This often varies by profession, but usually with any of the creatives, it's fine to go a bit off the rails. For formal letters, adhere closely to the accepted format, here's where your googling will help, you can download a template here. These are typically demanded by professions in finance, science, mathematics, education, law and administration. This is just a straight-up generalization, but is usually accurate. For more free-flow letters you can write with a stylized voice that acknowledges the "fun" involved in the job. Professions like writing, music, non-profit work, theater and many more have less-strict rules and really appreciate when applicants get creative. (See my sample letter at the bottom of the post for an example) After you've considered your style, you have to put yourself in the potential employer's shoes. Imagine that you're in the boss' chair. You wouldn't want to read hundreds of dry-ass, boring cover letters all day. You'd probably want something with a bit of humor, that sticks out. It'd probably make your day for someone to do something different. You should be that different thing! The secret to writing an amazing cover letter is to BE YOURSELF. If you're crass and sarcastic, go there with your writing! If you can't be authentic from the get-go, you won't be happy. If they don't want you for who you are, you're probably not going to fit in at the company either, and who wants to pretend to be something they're not? Here is an actual cover letter I sent out to a magazine shortly before my senior year of college. The name of the magazine and publisher have been withheld: Dear *&#^$@!#$, I'm a recent college graduate and I'm buried in debt. I'd like a salary above the poverty line, with some room for my rent and a comfortable lifestyle. I don't need much, and I've lived modestly and below the average my whole life, as my father is unemployed and my mother works as a retail manager. I've always made my own way. Salary isn't a deal breaker for me, as I am more hungry for a career than for money. I'm a hard worker, a quick learner and someone who gives everything for what they believe in. I think I could make a difference at @#$% and provide a perspective that is underrepresented in media. We grow up looking at outlaw writers as warped men or unattainable party girls. To get behind what's happening in the twenty-something sphere, and not just in a "omg these gifs totally get me" kind of way, you need someone who is honest, candid and does attempt to hit standards set by the media. I can be that person. I have nothing to lose, no ties to anywhere. I've got other offers on the table, but would gladly take a turn at your company over them. Just being honest. All I have are my ideas, my qualifications and my experiences. I will graduate in 2015 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting and a minor in Journalism from the Scripps School.I'm just trying to get a head start as only God knows where jobs come from these days. I started off as a Journalism major, but was told I couldn't write in an interactive way, and told them to shove it. I've been in the media world my whole life. My dad, now semi-retired, was an Emmy and Golden Mic award winning journalist for KVOA in Los Angeles, and has reported on OJ, Michael, earthquakes and murders. I was never shielded from these events, and carry his skills along with the ones I developed in school. If you take a chance on me, a shambolic young woman with some big ideas, then I will work as hard as possible to make them a reality. I love the pieces in your magazine. They're edgy, clear, risky and dangerous. The world needs more writing like that. I can create that writing. Thanks for considering me. You can reach me at &#*$(@) And you can read my current writing on my blog (duh). I'm aware that some of it is a little raw, but hey...what can you do? Tess Stevens How did it end you ask? I was rejected, but that's not the point. I'm proud of this cover letter. Frankly it's one of the best things I've ever written, because it's truthful. It's indicative of my true self. It doesn't matter that I never heard back. It's a kick-ass cover letter, and now you can write one too!
Why Tracking Your Progress Will Make You Hate Yourself Less
Self acceptance is nearly impossible. In our twenties it's hard to accept anything: change, graduating from college, moving to a new city, our bodies, our careers. In the fog where we facebook stalk our "more successful" friends and get down on ourselves for not being "put together", its easy to get caught up in the "I suck" mantra. No inspirational quote can help with whatever deep-seeded self-doubt we've developed over the years, but I've discovered something that can: Tracking your progress. Now this may sound a little bit ridiculous, considering the depth of what we're talking about, but planning and tracking my daily tasks, goals and challenges has changed my life. I bought a planner after envying countless women on Youtube who were way more put together than me. When I saw these people on the screen with their pastel colored worlds, shiny smiles and perfect make-up...I wanted to be like them. I didn't want to trade in my spontaneous edge and chaos for a square life filled with methodical primping and planning, but I did want to achieve more of a balance.When you spend so much time in a free-fall that it becomes a routine, you have to change. So I purchased the Create 365 Happy Planner, which, by name seems a little stupid, but has honestly changed the way I do everything. Planning things out has never been my strong-suit, but today I look down at an organized week full of goals, quotes, stickers and decorations and think, man...life is a lot easier than I have been making it. When I stare at a blank week in my little book of revelations, things seem a lot more hopeful. It displays the choices I can make to get better, or worse. I am tracking each move I make. I am being more conscious. Planning things out, and encouraging myself to think forward, but not ahead has brought me a sense of calm unlike any other. For once the chaos in my head melted away. The responsibility lands on my planner now. If I write it down and look at it every day, I can get it done. The point is, once I started actually using the God damn thing I've started to hate myself less. I plan every Sunday. It is my hour to sit and really think about the next week and what I want to accomplish. It's a time for reflection on what worked the week before, and what didn't. It's a time for me to look at myself and be like, "hey, are you doing the best you can, or are you fucking up a little bit?" And that answer comes out in the plan. Recently I've gotten serious about getting sober, at least for a little while. And each day I go without drinking is a little victory. In the book of revelations I have five tick marks. Once I reach a week I'll put down a little sticker with a smile. Tracking progress. No matter how banal and idiotic it may seem, is helping me get over my demons. It's helping me be a better person. Each day I eat healthy, I write down a little note like, "Good job not screwing up." and in my brain, that matters. It's a running chronicle of my life choices. It's helping me see light in things that I always avoided before like trying to better my mood or making healthier choices. Although the shiny people on Youtube have their own sets of problems, mine don't seem as daunting anymore. I can look at my little bible and smile, because my life is on track. And when I hop over the railings and stir up some trouble, I make a little note. "Do better next time." In my little book, there are no judgments, only observation. For someone slowly recovering from years of self-hatred that's a really good thing. Planners are just one way to hate yourself less, and they don't work for everyone. But I implore you, if you feel like nothing can help, that you're spinning out of control. Just buy one. It costs less than a bottle of booze and can give you more to look forward to than just a hangover. When I look back in my planner, I don't see a fuck up like I used to, I see progress. And that's all we can hope for as humans, to progress from our primitive selves to fully evolved versions. Some people decorate them, others just make lists. No matter what your style is, planners can increase productivity. They also make you look at yourself honestly. I've been tracking my progress in a serious and diligent way for the past two months, and I've never felt more in control. Although I'm not even close to accepting myself, my world has a bit more pastel in it. I'm closer to liking what I see, what I do and how I feel. My planner, my book of revelations has really helped with that. Because it's not just a stupid little book with decorations in it, it's a living chronicle. It's a letter to myself...with mistakes and victories all laid out in a grid. To me, it's beautiful. This little book doesn't change who I am, it doesn't detract from the danger and the fun I've always held close, it just organizes it. No matter how fun flailing in the darkness has been, it's a lot easier to stand tall, steady and sure that tomorrow if all else fails, I have my plan.
5 Types of Co-Workers You'll Meet in Your 20's
Work is something that becomes a real priority in your twenties. You start your career, and you meet all kinds of new people. Here are the 5 types of co-workers you'll meet in your 20's. 1. The "Super Serious" Co-Worker This person has little to no life outside of work. They're all about business, all the time. Whenever it gets a little loud in the office, expect some shooting glances from this overburdened character. Watch out too, because if you're higher up than them, they're probably gunning for your job. This person probably just graduated from college like you, but they take things way too far. Don't expect them to come to happy hour, they like to drink alone at home. 2. The Social Butterfly This person is the nemesis of the serious one. This person probably has a bunch of shit on their desk and doesn't respect others' personal space, but they're the life of the office. You can catch them talking to everyone all the time, and more often than not they've got something in common with everyone in the office. This person is a party starter, has a lot of fun at work and doesn't really care what others think. They're all about happy hour and making the best of the work-day woes, they just get a little loud sometimes. 3. The Coffee Fiend You do not want to meet this person at a Starbucks before 8A.M. They cannot function without their first cup of coffee. In fact they're like a zombie or some kind of ghoul without it. The few times you have seen them without coffee, they've looked like a completely different person. Normally they're pretty even keel and do good work in the office, just don't be the one who takes the last cup, or you will feel their wrath. 4. The Sleeper This person can fall asleep literally anywhere. It doesn't matter if they're at their desk, by the water cooler...no matter. They're gonna be asleep. You're always surprised at how easy it is for them to just konk out. And you're even more surprised that they haven't been fired yet. Whenever your boss comes around to check up on things they magically wake up and everything is fine. Damn, you kind of wish you had their skill. 5. The Golden Boy/Girl This person can't do anything wrong. It doesn't matter if you're kicking ass at work or not, they're the obvious favorite. Your boss is always talking about them, encouraging them and making an example out of their work. It's like a flashback to the smart kid in class who got all of the teachers' attention. You secretly hate and also want to be therm. It's not personal, just business.
How to Use a Planner to Get Organized!
We are all guilty of relying too heavily on technology. Learn how to go old school with a paper planner and enhance your organizational skills. Plus, it's cute and fun. 1. Get Your Materials Together I like to use different pens, stickers and wash-ii tape to get my planning on. All of these things are really low budget too. Most of the materials can be purchased at the Dollar Tree or WalMart. If you really want to get crazy there's an amazing dollar section at JoAnn's Fabrics with decorative wash-ii tape and card-stock to decorate with. The scrapbooking section of any craft store is a good place to start too. Pictured: Owl Stickers from the Dollar Tree (which I use to track different activities. Like, the pink one means Gym Day, etc.) Metallic Owl Stickers from Joann's Fabrics Gel Pens from JoAnn's Fabrics HI-liters and other pens from Wal Mart Wash-ii tape (a decorative tape originally from Japan) from Wal-Mart and Joann's 2. Pick a Color Scheme Things can get messy and disorganized if you just start decorating willy-nilly (I learned this the hard way.) This is also helpful for when you're shopping. Pick things that go together. For this first plan with me card, I've chosen yellow and turquoise as the anchor colors. I've also coordinated the pens. 3. Lay the Foundation Every good planner page has a good foundation. I always try to do wash-ii tape and bigger embellishments first, then go for the small things like the stickers. Also, pencil in important events you know are coming up. It makes things more organized and more artistic too. I'm a painter too and you never go in with small details first when you paint. Things aren't different with planning. 4. Decorate! Now here's the fun part. Add sticky notes, sitckers, doodles or whatever! This is where your planning style will come through. I like to use stickers, and since my planner is relatively small I try to keep enough space for all of my events and assignments. Here I used some stickers in coordinating colors, a couple of sticky notes and some stock-journal cut outs from Joann's. I like to keep my layouts as clean and linear as possible because I end up having a lot to do. Here are some other examples of previously decorated pages: These are examples of some of my previously decorated and filled out pages. They can get a little crazy, so I learned to be more sparse with my decorations as time progressed. 5. Plan Your Events Simply write down what you need to do that week. This can include places you need to go, appointments, goals, quotes, whatever. Make it you! Since this page is next week, it's not all the way filled in yet, but you get the idea. 6. Stick With It Planning and decorating and whatever didn't stick with me for a long time. Just now, when my life is heading toward some semblance of routine, it is. Just keep filling things out. You will remember more and be more productive. Aside from that, it's a good way to take time for yourself. I like to plan on Monday before I start my work. It's a fresh page, and a new beginning. Helps sort out my mind ya know? I'm no professional planner, but I'm figuring things out just like you.
5 Ways To Optimize Your Work-Space
Ever get major desk envy? When you come across a glittering space with perfect accessories, and beautiful natural light you think "That kind of space would make me work so much harder." Right? Here's how to get the space of your dreams and optimize your desk for maximum productivity. 1. Clear the clutter. Okay, having a few things on your desk is super fun, but if you're overrun with trash, papers and other stuff that doesn't help with your job, you're just setting yourself up for failure. Go through your folders and take out everything that's irrelevant and start with a clean, fresh space. 2. Clean up your computer. Not physically, but internally! Go through the folders on your desktop and delete all files that you don't need anymore. I have so many pictures, gifs and old documents I have to get rid of. Once your inner storage is all clean, you'll feel a lot more productive! It'll be easier to navigate and get things done in a more quick and efficient way. 3. Find the light. Natural sunlight is essential for a positive working environment. There is a reason that plants survive off of the stuff. Try to situate your desk or work area by a window for a better feel. Having the natural light at your side will lead to increased alertness and an overall mood boost. Try to move your desk around at home if you can, and find a window. It'll definitely help! 4. Pick up some accessories. Desk accessories can totally transform your space. The importance of surrounding yourself with things that make you happy can't be ignored. If you're a big fan of the color blue, buy some blue things! If you like pigs, buy some pig themed things! You know? It doesn't matter, if it makes you happy, it'll optimize your space. Need some inspiration? Check here! 5. Rearrange your supplies. This is an example of an overtly organized space that doesn't look too obsessive. Putting things in easy-to-reach places will make it harder for you to forget about them. Got a really useful organizer or notepad that you just don't use? Put it in front of you!! It may seem like common sense, but you'd be surprised what a change in organizational pattern will do for you.