I'm documenting my journey to motherhood while sharing my favorites and tips along the way. I'm so glad you're here. 

how I stay organized despite general life chaos

how I stay organized despite general life chaos


I think I've hinted a bit before but we presently have our home on the market. 

Let's go back a few months to sum up what has been going on as far as living situations go:

We found out we were expecting before Christmas {yay!}.

I officially moved in at the end of January. I sold most of my big furniture and we are storing the rest of my items. 

In March/April we decided to list the condo and start looking for homes. After searching a bit we've almost totally landed on building {though that could change!}. 

Our hope/plan is to sell soon, move into a rental property for about a year and a half, and then move into our built dream home after that. 

Obviously that is a lot of moving, shifting, and lots of cleaning for showings and open houses ;) 

I try my very best to stay organized. I am not perfect at it, and I miss things from time to time, but I do have a few tips that have helped me and I'm going to share them with you all today. As someone who is entirely self-employed {yay!}, I feel passionate about managing my time well and still having a healthy work-life balance. 

1. Use Trello. 

Trello is a free, list making website that I love to the moon and back. I owe learning Trello to my former co-worker from Calvary, Dan. I started with just my work tasks, but have since added boards for personal projects. It's very easy to use and incredibly simple. You can share boards with family members or co-workers so it's great for collaboration. I have three boards: a daily one, a blog one, and one for my business: 

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This is what my "The Jadeite Shutter" board looks like...

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This has been a great tool for me regarding long-term planning. I feel like I am much less likely to forget things now that all my to-do's are in one spot. I check my Trello daily, and try my best to write down new ideas here before I forget them! 

2. Designate certain tasks for certain days of the week

This decreased my stress regarding my "to-do" list drastically. I learned about this tip from a business podcast I cannot recall, but it's a trick that many successful CEOs use. Here's an example of what my weekly structure is: 

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I do best when I try to stick to a weekly schedule like this. It isn't always possible, but when I've followed it closely I've actually seen an increase in my productivity and income. Like a lot of things, I've gotten out what I've put in. 

3. Monitor screen time

I am not perfect at this, but here's what works for me:

TV/movies only in the evening with Seth. It would be easy to turn it on while I'm working at my desk, but I've chosen not to do that. I do listen to podcasts and music while I work, though. Social media only in the early morning and evening if I can help it. I struggle with this the most, but the planning that I spoke about above helps. I time posts for my blog and photography business so that takes away from the need to be on Facebook or Instagram 

4. Meal plan + shop for real life

I plan about 2-3 meals for us per week. We eat quite a bit of leftovers, go to bbq/dinners at other people's homes, and enjoy eating out/ordering in 1-2x per week so it's not necessary for me to make us a full, homemade meal every night.

Often we eat a cheese and charcuterie plate for dinner and those are my favorite anyway. I like simple, healthy, and easy to put together meals. There are several items that I almost always have on hand: frozen/fresh protein, ingredients for a cheese/charcuterie plate, eggs and bacon/sausage, lemons/limes, goat cheese, and fresh greens for salads. 

5. Eat breakfast, exercise, and get ready right away in the morning

I think it's easy for those of us who work from home to stay in our jams all day. I learned years ago, though, that I don't like that feeling. I feel best and am my most productive/successful when I am ready and put together for the day. 

6. Google Cal + Paper Planner

Seth somehow thinks this is hilarious, but I actually keep two calendars. One is electronic {connected to my Google account} and one is paper. I like having two because I find that I'm better about remembering commitments if I write them down. I love having my calendar on my phone as well. There are SO many pretty, expensive, and lovely paper planners out there. I've loved the Russel + Hazel ones as well as the Erin Condren ones. However, I adore the simple Day Designer ones from Target. A few times a week I make sure that my paper planner is in sync with my Google one. I highlight all my obligations. Everything is color coordinated: pink for shoots, green for appointments, and yellow for social. 

7. Write Thank-you notes right away

I feel strongly about writing thank-you notes. I do my very best to get them out shortly after receiving a gift. Recently I ordered personalized cards for our upcoming showers. I want others to know that I appreciate their generosity. 

8. Auto pay bills/pay bills online

This is pretty obvious. Years ago I attended Financial Peace University. There are pieces of Dave Ramsey's philosophy that I don't agree with/follow, but the general idea makes so much sense to me. I have a low number of expenses on purpose and have worked to pay off as much debt as I can. My car is paid off, and I've been working on my student loans for a while now. I don't carry a credit card balance and pay for everything {including photography equipment} in cash. I try my best to shop used, be mindful of the funds I do have access to, and curb silly spending. For instance, I realized that last month I spent WAY too much money-- especially on food. I've now shifted the way we will be grocery shopping and will be making further changes. 

9. Have a daily uniform

Pregnancy has put a bit of a wrench into this, but for the most part I honestly wear the same thing everyday: a dress with a cardigan {plus tights/leggings in the cold months} or else a skirt with a t-shirt/tank and cardigan. It is boring, yet it works best for me. Having a uniform keeps things simple and I believe creates a signature style. 

10. Create Photo books + get images printed when I can

Again, I could be SO much better at this. I like to create simple photo books through Shutterfly of trips I've taken or experiences I've had. I am grossly behind, like everyone else. I do get personal images printed on a semi-regular basis and like giving framed prints, photo magnets, or canvases as gifts. I hope to establish a schedule for this once baby girl arrives so that her memories are intact. I've found that once a quarter is good enough for this, and I often work on photo books during the cold months of January-March. 

Those are my ten favorite tips for staying organized. Life often is chaotic with so many things up in the air, but if I can have a corner of structure I do so much better. Cheers to staying somewhat organized in your own life while also leaving lots of room for spontaneity and play :) 

I'd love to see you over on Instagram, follow along with my daily photos here: 

28 & 29 week bump update

28 & 29 week bump update

second trimester recap

second trimester recap