Tag Archives: planning

What I DIDN’T Do On My Summer Vacation

I cannot believe that summer is over. It seems like just a few weeks ago I was making my summer to do list and thinking of all the time I would have to do things since I wouldn’t have students popping in every few minutes. Boy, was I wrong!

Some student affairs professionals have ten month contracts meaning that they don’t work during the summer. While a two month vacation sounds lovely, I kind of collected student loans like Beanie Babies and I need every cent I can get.

Unfortunately, unlike Beanie Babies, my student loans ARE worth tons of money.

I really thought that I’d have time to get all this stuff done. Most of the things on my to do list were things I wanted to do…I wasn’t taking departmental things into consideration because I had never done any of that stuff before. Next year when I’m planning for summer I will definitely know better!

So what was on my to do list?

To Do: Clean My Office

I really wanted to re-organize EVERYTHING and make my office look brand new by the time the RAs returned for training. I had all of these grand plans. My office was going to look like something off of Pinterest.

What Got Done

I did move old files into a filing cabinet to make room for things from this year. I also went through the mountain of papers on my desk…only for a new mountain to start growing. I’ll take care of it during Christmas Break.

To Do: Update The Website

I wish updating my department’s website was more like this…I could log on whenever and update it myself. But that’s not how it works. I have to send whatever changes I want to make to this IT person and he has to do it. There were some sections of our site that were in DESPERATE need of an update and I decided I would do that this summer.

What Got Done

I passed it off to a new employee. She needs to meet people in a different department, so IT’s a great place to start, right?

To Do: A Bulletin Board In Each Building

I wanted to do a bulletin board in each of my building’s entryways. I thought it would give the RAs a good example and be visually pleasing for all of our lovely summer residents. I saw so many cute bulletin board ideas on Pinterest and in the teacher supply store.

What Got Done:

I bought cute bulletin board supplies…that’s about as far as I got.


So what am I going to do next summer? STAY OFF PINTEREST!! Pinterest just gives me wonderful ideas that I don’t have the time or creativity to follow through with. I’m also going to put departmental things on my to do list (like planning RA training and training the new hires) and give those items timelines so I can fit my own tasks in more realistically. Did you do everything you wanted to this summer?

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New Planner Day


Awhile back I wrote about my favorite planners. I’m still using the Russell + Hazel planner I bought earlier this year and I am just as obsessed with it…actually I’m more obsessed with it now that my 2013 – 2014 calendar pages arrived. I felt like a little kid on Christmas opening the package. I actually blocked time off on my calendar so I could load in the new pages and other goodies and write everything on them!

I’m a total sucker for organization and organizational products and I probably put more effort into making my to do lists and keeping my planner organized than I did for all of my grad school papers combined. I actually have had a few friends reach out to me and ask me to help them organize their lives…whether it’s a to do list, long term project, or create a study plan. I would LOVE to someday make organizing my job…but I don’t know…I feel like I’d be called out for being a fraud when the inside of my car and my kitchen look like they do.

Since the Russell + Hazel planners don’t have TOO much structure, people constantly ask me how I organize my planner. Below is a list of what I have and what I use it for.

Mini Binder

This is the binder that holds it all! I LOVE the bright lime color! This binder is about the size of the Lilly Pulitzer agendas that everybody and their mother uses these days. It’s the perfect size to fit into a purse if you’re the sort of person that brings your planner everywhere. I can just fit a year’s worth of stuff into it…but since it’s a binder I can always add and remove things.

Mini Paper Pockets

I actually just bought these the other day. The one thing I really missed from my other planners (my Quo Vadis and my Lilly Pulitzer) were the pockets! I ten to use them for stamps, stickers, and maybe an important piece of mail. I didn’t put all of them into my binder, as they are rather thick, but I am using them as section dividers.

Month Tabs

These month tabs make finding everything so easy! It’s a full on calendar but also provides you with a place for notes. Since I work at a college, I was eagerly awaiting the 2013 – 2014 tabs to be released so I could start writing down important dates for next year.

Weekly Planner Sheets

I put these behind each month tab. I actually only put them in for one or two months at a time…I don’t need to know what my week looks like for a week six months from now. That’s what my Google Calendar is for! My one gripe with the weekly pages is that they don’t have all of the hours and they don’t have the half hour marks. I believe the daily sheets have more, but I want to be able to look at my week at a glance. Once nice thing is that the reverse side is a page for notes. You can use this for a to do list for the following week or really anything…I tend to leave these blank. Oops.

Mini Filler Paper

This is your typical loose leaf binder paper, except it fits in the Mini Binder. I keep some in my binder for notes and I also use these sheets for making my epic to do lists. I will then put it with the current week page.

Even when I was younger, I was obsessed with going school supply shopping. I am completely okay that I have not grown out of that!!

Ackkkk…just saw that Carly from College Prepster just wrote about planners!! Yikes! I swear I didn’t copy her…I received my package at the beginning of this week and promptly wrote my post. I guess it’s true what they say…great minds think alike!

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Office Organization

One of my closest friends from grad school is a P and I’m a J. No, those aren’t our initials and this isn’t one of those games where “I like apples and the color green, but not lemons or the color blue.” The letters are part of our MBTI code and don’t worry, this is not an entry about the MBTI. No matter how many MBTI activities I have to facilitate to RAs and student leaders, I do not feel qualified enough to write one of those.

I’m just writing to talk about how my J-self organized my office for the upcoming year. Sometimes, I contemplate starting a side career as a life planner/organizer/manager. Several of my friends have asked for my help and I’ve given it free of charge, now all I need is a testimonial from one of them and a wealthy but disorganized individual…

Back to the subject. See, I need to be organized because I clearly have the attention span of a golden retriever in a field of squirrels. I’m very much a list maker, a calendar lover, and a color coder. I love being able to take a glance over at my calendar and know exactly what is going on because of the colors. I love being able to cross off tasks after I’ve completed them – it makes me feel accomplished! So what sort of organization systems have I implemented here?


I use my Google calendar and my pen-and-paper planner constantly. The important part for this is choosing a system that works for you. I like Google because of the ability to share, the many choices of color coding, and the tasks option. I also have my planner that I can write important tasks that need to be done, like going to the store or sending a birthday card. Additionally, I recently ordered a four month dry erase board calendar. I plan on using this to map out the entire semester so I can make sure major projects aren’t running into each other and that I’m not try to schedule a major event during midterms or homecoming. I bought many colors of dry erase markers so I can bring some color coding to my walls!

Keep Everything Together

I made a list of all the function areas that I will be working in and made a binder for each of those. They all have a section for important dates as well as project sheets which basically details what I want to do and when I want it done by and provides a place for me to take notes. I also made an “About the Staff” section that includes little profile pages for each of my staff members, so I can access things like their major and birthday quickly. For the buildings I supervise, I made sure to include a section for facilities issues and the building’s roster. I’m sure as the year goes on, I will find more sections to create and will be designing more printables!


I make lists for everything. I’ve seen a picture going around that says “1. Make List 2. Cross Off #1”. I can totally relate to that. There were days in grad school where I’d do something, then add it to the list just to be able to cross it off. The other day, I found myself getting overwhelmed by the amount of project sheets in my binders. Every time I come up with a (brilliant) idea, I create a project sheet for it and assign it a “due date”. Some of these things aren’t “due” until the beginning of next semester, but others are things I have been working on since my first day here. I went through each binder and all the projects that were “due” before the school year started and basically made notes in one place saying what the project was, where I was on it, and what else needed to be done. For some of these, the “what next” was replaced by “next steps” just because of the amount of things that needed to be done and because certain aspects couldn’t even be started until I finished something else. Creating this list and breaking larger projects into smaller ones was a way of making my work manageable for me.

How have you implemented your organization skills in your office? Please let me know below, I’m always looking for better ideas!

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