Organized Charm: December 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

Best Planners for 2014


Oh my gosh! There are no words to describe how happy this makes me! 

I have been obsessed with planners since I was about 5 years old and inherited someone’s old planner to “play with”. What kind of 5-year-old gets excited about a planner, you may ask? The same kind that grows up to write a blog on time management and study skills. 

I can’t even introduce this anymore. Without further delay… 
Here are my favorite planners for 2014!


Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life Planner

What it Includes:

Choice of 2 Types of Weekly Cleaning Worksheets (Cleaning Checklist or Cleaning Schedule)

Master Cleaning List (Daily, Weekly, Bi-Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Semi-Yearly)

12 Months of Pre-Dated Calendar Pages

Weekly Meal Plan Worksheet


A Daily Checklist

Why I Think it’s Awesome:

The Weekly View also has a space for Meal Planning (7 days: BreakfastLunchDinner for each)

It includes blank printables for a cleaning system 
(and a pre-planned, Suggested Cleaning System for those of us who are *ahemchallenged)

The Daily Checklist is broken up into Morning, Afternoon, and Evening for easy scheduling

You can bundle the Planner Printables and eBook for $9.97 (which is a pretty great deal)

You can choose between two different sizes (8.5″ x 11″ size or a 5.5″ x 8.5”)

Where to Buy it:


Everyday Enchanting Customizable Planner

What it Includes:

Editable Title Page

2014 Year-At-A-Glance Calendar

Weekly Page Views with Editable Fields

Monthly Page views with Editable Fields

Additional Mix & Match Planner Pages including Contacts, Special Dates, Notes, Personal Information, and even a Weekly Blog Planning page ($3 each). 

Why I think it’s awesome:

Each date has 2 editable fields for daily activities like class schedules, homework assignments, meal planning, to-do lists, workout routines… whatever you want to accomplish in the new year!

It’s editable, which means you can type in (and color code) your own important dates

It’s an instant download, which means you don’t have to wait for anything to ship

The pages also include lots of room for jotting down reminders and notes

The format is colorful, clean, and simple

Where to Buy it:


Maybooks Planner

What it Includes:

Custom Cover

Sewn Binding

 5x8 book

80 Pages

Why I Think it’s Awesome:

You can choose the page format you want (Months + WeeksMonths + DotsNon-Dated Weeks)

Everything is customizable: Colors, Cover, Fonts, Page Formats, Type of Book… everything

Lightweight and easy to carry in your purse

You can see two weeks at a time

Clean, simple layout

Where to Buy it:


Erin Condren Life Planner 

What it Includes:

Bound-In Ziplock Pocket that comes with 12 Gift Labels

Monthly and Weekly Page Views

240 Color-Coded Event Stickers

Snap-In Page Holder/Ruler

Laminated Monthly Tabs

“Special Dates” Pages

Double-Sided Folder

Inspirational Quotes

Daily List Section

Laminated Cover

Notes Section

Contacts Page

Why I Think it’s Awesome:

The way the days are laid out (Morning, Afternoon, Night) keeps you from overbooking yourself

It is completely customizable, from the cover to the colors, you can make it everything you want

The list at the bottom of each day is great for workout routines, school assignments, menus, etc.

The folder and ziplock pockets make it easy to keep up with tickets, receipts, notes, labels, etc.

The laminated tabs make it easy to plan ahead quickly.

Where to Buy it:


New planner season is like Christmas all over again for this girl! :)

Which one is your favorite? Have you seen any other awesome planners that I've missed? 

(PS- All of these photos are straight from the manufacturers' websites!)

Monday, December 23, 2013

End of the Semester Checklist

It’s the Christmas season, yes. But it is also another season… the end of the semester! 

Can I just get a giant YAAAAAAYYYYY!


I got my final grades yesterday and was absolutely elated. The class that I was crying over in November and completely stressed about in December (ok fine, all semester long) turned out great! 

And so, now begins the time of closing everything down and preparing to enjoy Christmas break! As with the end of anything, there is always a process and routine for the end of a semester.

And here is mine:

1. Print Return Labels
This only applies if you rented textbooks. I only rented one this year and bought the other two. I created a file in my office filing system for my textbook receipts. I also bookmarked Chegg's return label on my computer so everything would be easy to find when it was time for returning.

2. Return Textbooks
Renting: You only need to be in a hurry to do this if you rented your books. Last year, I rented from and the book was due back to them by the date of my last final. And I LOVE Amazon, but that’s not really helping me if I need the book for my final. This semester, I rented from and (not only was it cheaper and more organized) my book only had to be in the mail by the due date (which was 4 days after my last final, by the way). 

Selling: If you bought your books and are rushing out to sell them back, STOP! You might want to hold onto them for a while. Like, until next semester. According to this this article from the NY Times, the best times to sell back books are January 7-13 and August 20-26. Why? Just the simple concept of supply and demand. Students have their schedules, they’re looking for the books, and bookstores are selling out of them. Therefore, they are willing to pay you more money to purchase your book back. And who wouldn’t like that?  

3. File Documents
I am usually pretty good about keeping computer documents named and filed correctly. In fact, ever since I pinned this Filing System from College Prepster onto my Pinterest Study board, I’ve followed it precisely (with one little exception). The only thing I do differently is color code my folders and documents using the Label feature on Mac: Green if they are in progress, Gray if they are complete. 
So simple. 

Anyway, because the final week of school can be hectic, there may be documents saved to the desktop or other things that just need to be quickly filed away in the correct place. This is a great time to do that. And turn all of those remaining green assignments gray because the semester is complete! 

4. Close Folders
Okay, fine. I have two exceptions from TCP’s filing system. I also keep a file for each of my current courses right in the upper right hand of my desktop for easy access (and a constant reminder of what I should be doing). So, I also take this time to close those folders and place them in the appropriate place (where I, hopefully, never have to see them again). 

5. Rate My Professors  is one of my all time favorite websites! When I’m registering for courses, I always read about my professors because I like to know exactly what I’m getting myself into. Since I find this website so helpful, I like to contribute to it and be helpful to others: good or bad; organized or disorganized; effective or ineffective. I write it all here. 

6. E-Mails to Department Heads
It never crossed my mind to do this until last semester. My (favorite!) professor told us that they keep trying to edge her out of teaching at our university (because she only teaches one class). There are two things that keep her working there: a) Her students love her and continue to give her great reviews b) Her students write e-mails to the head of the department about how wonderful she is. If you had a truly exceptional professor this semester, send the head of the department an e-mail about it!

7. Thank You E-Mails to Professors
Additionally, if you had a professor that you really liked be sure to thank him or her and tell them the reasons you enjoyed the course! As a teacher (and a teacher in training), I can tell you that we work really hard to plan e-v-e-ry-thing from class actives to Powerpoints to rubrics to test questions. Hearing that someone appreciates all of that work is absolutely phenomenal. So go ahead, thank your professor!

8. Reference Request
If you are e-mailing your professor to let them know you think they were awesome… and if you think they thought you were awesome, too… you may want to ask if you can use them as a reference in the future. This is a great time to do that since you (and all of your awesomeness) are still fresh in their minds!

9. Check Grades
Well, let me state the obvious: One of the most important parts of closing out the semester is checking your grades. If you kept up with them over the semester (like I did) you should have a pretty good idea of what you’ll be making. However, it’s still wonderful closure to see the final thing. 

10. Celebrate & Relax!
Hey! The semester is over! Congratulations! Plan something relaxing, fun, exciting, or celebratory to look forward to! This year, the end of my fall semester just happened to coincide with a family vacation to the Caribbean (which was the most amazing thing to look forward to ever)! Here are some other ideas for ways to celebrate all of your hard work: schedule a massage or a mani/pedi, pick up a celebratory bottle of champagne, or go out for cupcakes or Margaritas with your classmates. 

Whatever you choose, make sure to be totally proud of yourself because YOU DID IT! :) 

What are some other things that are important for the end of the semester? 
How do you love to celebrate the end of it?!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Road Trip Survival Kit {The Southern Belle Version}

When you hear “survival kit” your mind may think of such things such as spare tires and jumper cables. But let me tell you, we are talking about something way more important here!

This is a survival kit for MAINTAINING A DECENT APPEARANCE during road trips! 

“But that is virtually impossible” you may say. Yes, I feel that way, too.

I don't know what it is about traveling that makes me feel (look) like I've been in a 5-day Red Bull binge. I mean, my hair that was perfectly voluminous and curled when we left is now limp and scraggly. My clothes are all wrinkly. And my makeup. Oh, my makeup. I could easily be confused for something in the raccoon family.

But worst of all? Oh, that would be the irritability level which piques at 4 hours YET seems to steadily increase (how?) with each passing moment.


Well, I am a firm believer in the philosophy of “If you LOOK good, you FEEL good” so here is a checklist for maintaining your appearance (and, therefore, sanity) on road trips: 

1. Water. 
I know that sometimes we try to avoid drinking water in order to cut down on stops BUT let me warn that this is the quickest way to feel run down and overall wretched. Bring some water and drink it towards the end to refresh yourself!

2. Listerine Strips. 
Unfortunately, brushing your teeth in the car is not yet a possibility. For an obsessive teeth brushers like me (I seriously brush mine 3, 4, 5 or more times a day), this is very stressful and Listerine Strips are amazing!

3. Neutrogena Face Wipes.
You know that incredibly awesome feeling that comes after you wash your face and you feel all clean and amazing?! Well, these are pretty dang close. 

4. Primer & Mascara. 
I freaking love primer! It hides so much. This is quicker and simpler than slathering on a bunch off makeup right before you check into your room just to wash it all off again. And obviously, mascara makes all the difference in the world. 

5. Deodorant. 
I mean, it’s the closest thing to a shower that's possible in the car. And after hours of being in a car, reapplying it is probably one of the best feeling things ever.

These items work for long flights, too!

And when you arrive at your destination, you’ll look {and feel} as charming as ever! :)

I know I probably left a ton of things off this list. 
Feel free to add them below! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Motivation: Exam Week

So... it's exam week. 
A lot to do and a little time to do it.
Remember to break up big projects and focus on one little task at a time. 
Work in 90 minute intervals and take 20 minute breaks.
Most if all, don’t get discouraged and don’t give up!

A long, relaxing Christmas break is waiting for us on the other side of this week!



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Index Card Assignment Timeline

Although this semester is (finally) coming to a close, I thought I would write one more eensy-weensy little Organized Studying post before Christmas Break. And yes, I will be jumping and screaming for joy at the thought of this semester ending! For whatever reason, I have been completely over it since, like, September.

At the beginning of the semester, when I was creating my study plan, I left out this step because I thought that I could do without it. Well... I could not have been more wrong!

And so, in mid October (when I had 9 million assignments due in the same week and couldn’t focus on any of them), I had a meltdown. Followed by a panic attack. Followed by a plan of action.

I needed a physical way to keep up with my assignments. I needed to see what I was working on, how much I had already done, and what was coming up next. Most of all, I needed to see that there was an end to this semester!

I started out by getting some index cards, Sharpies, and my Semester Assignment Sheet. The Semester Assignment Sheet is just a sheet with the assignments from all of my classes combined. It is the ultimate time saver and a quick way to keep up with my grades!

I transferred the relevant information from each assignment onto its own index card.   

On the blank side, I included: 

Due Date
Name of Project
Total Points Available

On the lined side, I included:

The specific instructions given in the syllabus

(Examples: "Cover Sheet", "Power Point", "Reference List")

As the semester went on, I also used the lined side to track my progress on each assignment. 

Finally, I hung the cards on a small wire on my office wall. This made it very easy for me to quickly grab the card for the project I was working on. 

Plus, I just loved the option of being able to bring a single card to my desk and return it when I was finished. The absolute best thing about this is being able to throw a card away each time a project is completed! I mean (not to sound dramatic or anything) but you could totally even burn it if you were having a particularly bad day.  

Ok, filling in the lined side literally could not be any easier! First, get out your syllabus. Find the assignment. Write down every instruction given (font, spacing, topics, etc). Write each instruction on the lines side of the card. You don't even have to think about it (unless you want to)... just write word-for-word what the instructions from the syllabus word-for-word! 

Once you start working on the assignment, check each instruction off as you complete it. 

Bonus: Add the date it was completed to make you feel super awesome and keep you motivated to do more every day!

Okay, and I just have to say that the VERY best part of this system is what it looks like as the semester comes to a close… YAY! :) 

Do you do anything special to help you keep up with assignments? How do you keep track of your progress? 

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