#Authorlife – 5 Survival Tips in Organised Chaos

Who me? Organised?

My husband might tell you otherwise, but I certainly don’t have a problem with keeping track of to-do’s, bits and bobs, and appointments. You know things like: grocery shopping lists, writing ideas of the day, scheduling bill payments, remembering appointments and so on.

Fortunately, in our house we both pitch in with chores, and it’s easy to remember that we do it on a Saturday. We do everything together to help each other – thankfully, being a feminist means I value equality in our relationship and my husband respects that!

I totally love organised chaos – I don’t like being tidy, much like a mad scientist or a flamboyant artist, just let me loose to go crazy and be creative! I don’t like to be boxed or stifled, and I do have bunches of books here, and piles of papers there. But they are organised piles – seperated into books on one hand and papers on the other, even though my husband nags me to tidy them up somewhere.

But, we do have little secrets we agree on that help up be more organised in life and here they are.

1 – Day Before Planning

We tend to sit down as a couple and agree on what’s to be done the next day. This is especially helpful if we decide on something to do the next day which is unscheduled. For example, we may think to ourselves ‘Oh, the weekend is strting, we haven’t planned anything and we don’t feel like staying home; what shall we do tomorrow?’. We could decide that we haven’t been for a quiet walk in the City of London for ages. We love to explore – it’s in our blood- which is helpful when you are a storyteller like me who takes inspiration from people and places around me. It is how I come up with my ideas as a writer.

Somegtimes if we are super organised we agree what time to wake up. If it is 9am we make sure that we sleep at the right time not to wake up tired the next day. We are both gamers so that’s no easy challenge – currently addicted to Raid Online which is ram packed with fabulous fantasy figures and dragons, my favourites! So, we end up sleeping at ungodly hours of the morning. Making a conscious decision the night before to sleep early and put an alarm on for the next day is a must.

2 – Scheduled Appointments

Whether it is an appointment, a zoom meeting, an online event or even just a chat with a friend this weekend, in order not to forget I use my phone Clock to schedule the day in advance. I select repeat for ‘Tuesday’ and put an alarm label ‘Appointment X’ or ‘Call with Y’, then I put the time for my alarm to go nuts!

Most people make schedules on Calendar, for everything even if it is something happening as soon as tomorrow or the day after. I personally find that doesn’t help and I could forget by tomorrow; and another thing a calendar does not alarm to make a huge noisy sounds as a reminder! Yes, you get a notification but that is not as loud and annoying as a constant alarm bell ringing in your ear causing you to jump like a frightened kitten and stretch out in a desperate effort to snooze.

Saying that, I still use Google Calendar to set a schedule on the off chance I happen across it in my email inbox or my phone notification.

A secret I have learnt is to give enough time ahead for warning!

For example, I will put a reminder: 1 day in advance, 2 hours in advance, 1 hour in advance, 10 minutes prior. This gives me several chances to remind myself!

3 – Far Off Scheduled Events

So, Imagine you booked tickets to The Worlds Collide Tour: Within Temptation and Evanescence.

This event is the one in my life that I am so excited about because it has two of my favourite Female Fronted Bands on this planet – Evanescence and Within Temptation. A must see!

In a case like this I do rely on Google Calendar as I can not set a clock alarm 10 months in advance. I schedule as usual but this time I go a little loopy-doo with my efforts to make sure I don’t miss it.

For example, I set several reminders, PLENTY OF CAPS, and a few emoticons just to measure my level of excitement…

👈 See? I wasn’t joking was I?

What’s more as a writer I have to prep myself in advance for important events. On November 1st I start on NaNoWriMo but the writing planning starts a few months in advance. As you can see from the Calender, NaNoWriMo also endeavour to do events throughout the year to keep us writers going. There are way too many events for me to remember so having that handy calendar notification is a must.

Even more so, when I become a fully fledged author – I am currently doing my Creative Writing Studies prior to embarking on throwing myself head-first into writing a novel – I have to plan when my book launch dates with be, when I send my readers updates on the progress of my book, when I have to make regular posts on social media.

You know, all that stuff that takes months advance to prepare? Shedule it in! And something I do as an extra is send an ‘invite’ to my husband’s email address so that he has a reminder too and can say ‘hey! Don’t forget this today!’. Clever.

4 – Time Savers

Ok so, a super secret way to being organised – I can not stress this more, it is a must in my book (excuse the pun! har har) – is to find ways to save time or even multi-task.

I would go as far as to prep my sandwich for the next day even if I have enough time in the morning to do it (though I then set a clock reminder on my phone ‘don’t forget your sandwich in the fridge!’ 😂) as I can do other things in the morning which are more relevant for my morning regime.

Another thing I do is possibly set out my clothes and shoes from the night before so I can save crucial time looking tiredly and unconsciously at a wardrobe full of clothes the next day when my brain can’t function before my first coffee!

A great time-saver is to assign roles: ‘darling you go to the loo while I do my makeup!’ or ‘let me put my sandwich from the fridge into my backpack and chuck my charger in there while you set the espresso machine to make our coffees in our enamel mugs ( I have the blue earth mug and my husband has the space mug both from the wonderful Gift Republic! Whoop!) to take away with us on the road.

After that it’s coats on, shoes on, keys and back and out the door! Though somehow my husband always manages to stand outside waiting for me shouting ‘hey, come on hurry up!’ – How does he do it?

5 – Research!

This can be either good or bad, trust me.

My pet peeve with my husband is that sometimes he leaves absolutely ZERO to imagination. You know when you are that person that doesn’t want to know what Bruges looks like, you want to just plan the train journey there but… as a huge adventurer and explorer you want to arrive and just let the day lead you down the cobbled streets or little alleyways without knowing where you are going? Yeah that’s me. Then you have that person that tells you ‘look at google maps, we are going to take this route on day one so we can go see this monument first – look, have you seen the pictures of what the monument looks like? Oh, and here’s a virtual tour of the streets if you put the little man on Street View…’ – Yes, that’s my husband!

No, I don’t want to see everything before I have been there to see it with my own eyes. Yes, I want to go on an adventure and explore the city/region with a spontaneous air in my skip and step!

However, I will do my research as to which hotel is the best to stay in according to comfort and affordability, I will find out how to go from the airport to the hotel without being stranded in a foreign city, and I will buy a map as soon as I arrive (I love old school maps with little icons of local monuments – best. souvenir. ever.) and circle what I want to see and how to get there. I am not a total idiot.

Well, those are my 5 tips to living a successful life in organised chaos. What are yours?

As a bonus, I will tell you that being a writer means it is essential you keep note of ideas that pop in your head while you are away from home. I tend to open notes app in my phone and jot tham down. But you can just as easily jot them down in a pocket notebook – have a look at these I mention in this post which you will love.

Until next time.

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