Hi all! Michelle here, Co-Founder of bloom. Today I'm sharing a little bit more about how I stay organized while helping to build a quickly growing small company! Bloom is blooming, which means our product selection and team is multiplying, our travel schedule is booking up faster than ever before, and our days are generally getting longer and more fast paced. You may assume the Co-Founder of a planner company is always perfectly organized, calm, put together, and never "double books" herself. Newsflash: that is not the case! Yes, some days I feel like a total #girlboss, kicking butt and taking names. But some days I feel extremely stressed out, and have that "in the weeds" feeling I used to have as a waitress, when everyone and everything needs your immediate attention, and no to-do pad, (no matter how well designed 😉) can save you. Please note: This is totally normal! This is actually exactly why and how our company exists! We create these products because we here at bloom (and in our opinion, the rest of the world) truly needs them. We understand the stresses of every day modern life, because we're living them. We are doing our best to continually create inspirational and empowering tools to make that workload more manageable, and help women all over the world find that "do it all" balance. I feel so lucky to be able to use my experiences to be able to help other "overwhelmed" women like myself. Here are some of my best general organization tips and how I personally use my bloom products to find my best balance amidst an ever-growing "to-do" list.
1. "Zero Inbox" Rule
This is not related to a bloom product, but it's my #1 organizational tip and one I teach all of my interns, so I thought I would share! I think of my email inbox as a "virtual to do list." To me, email is kind of like a ping-pong game, and if I have too many "balls" in my court, I feel behind. I try to respond to and delete more "trivial" emails with no pertinent info (ex: "What's the date of that tradeshow again?") as quickly as possible (hint: they're still searchable in trash if you ever need them, and you rarely do!) If I need to keep an email for reference, I make a folder for that specific topic (I.E. "website updates,") and transfer the action that email entails (I.E. "Put new products on website") into my planner with a due date. To me, this ensures nothing gets missed. This is no easy task as I get 120+ emails/day on a slow day, but I am pretty religious about it to help keep my sanity. As a result, all of my emails are sorted into folders and easily searchable by topic or contact! No, I have never actually had *zero emails*, but I do try to keep it down to one page! Nothing gets my anxiety going like someone with over 1,000 unread messages! 😳 Everyone I know who has adopted this system has never looked back once they realized how much more manageable it makes their days seem!
screenshot of my email inbox on a good day: ~20 emails, ~100+ folders!
2. Tracking Healthy Habits
I LOVE the habit tracking section of our Weekly Planning Pad, so much so that I sometimes cut and paste this section into the weekly view of my other favorite bloom product, my Vision Planner 🙊.
I use this little grid to track small daily victories that make me a happier and healthier me, such as taking my dog Bodhi for a walk, drinking a protein shake, reading before bed, etc. Ticking off a to-do box gives me such a feeling of accomplishment, even if it's something as simple as "take vitamins." Giving yourself these little wins, especially early in the day, in my opinion, sets you off in the right direction for a super productive day. It's also a pretty crazy wake up call if you get to Thursday and haven't taken your "daily vitamins" once. Get it together, Michelle!!!
My current healthy habits I am tracking 🙂
3. Planner Decorating
I've always used a planner, and my "signature move" since 6th grade has been drawing a little hat and balloons on peoples' names for their birthday. That was pretty much the extent of my planner decorating until this past year. I don't have the best handwriting (SPOILER ALERT: it is NOT my personal planner featured in our pretty instagram posts!), but you all have inspired me to try harder at "real" planner decorating and...I love it!
I've found decorating my planner is not only fun and therapeutic, but it gets me truly excited for upcoming events! If I have some menacing deadlines at work, but a girls' night or fun weekend trip is in sight, it gives me the energy I need to push through. I've always thought of my planner as a diary, but the fun stickers and tape make it more of a scrapbook, too!
Everyone must check out our new stickers and as for pens I recommend these felt tip pens which work great in our planners.
I, like most people, have some trouble "turning off" lately. There's so many forms of media to check, so many notifications, so much to see, so much to do! But I realized that if I stay up late responding to bloom instagram comments, or stressing about details on a project I might be forgetting, I'm doing myself a disservice. I've started reading before bed which helps me "zone out," and obviously helps me fall asleep much faster than staring at a backlit phone. I wake up more refreshed, more clearheaded and ready to tackle the day vs. sleep deprived and weighed down. Repeat after me: It's OK to turn off!
I hope this random mix of tips gives you some inspiration! Let us know your best organization tips and tricks in the comments below!