Organized Charm: May 2015

Thursday, May 28, 2015

5 Common Post Grad Problems (and How to Deal with Them!)

Every year, around this time, I see so many of y'all's gorgeous graduation pictures, and it reminds me of my own post-grad experiences! 

Graduating is so, so exciting! But once it's over, it can be so, so scary if you don't really have anything lined up right away. 

Welcome to adulthood. 

Not to sound discouraging at all, but I'm learning that it really is just so typical that things in the "real world" don't always work out the way they did in school. 

5 Things Recent Grads Should Know

School is like this nice little bubble, where you plan your life one semester at a time. You receive explicit instructions and rubrics. You know that if you follow those instructions and rubrics, you will pass. Then you move on to the next semester and start it all over!

The "real world" is so different. All the promise and hope and opportunity and potential that you felt at graduation gets wiped away when you start applying... and applying... and applying for jobs and hear nothing. 

It can be pretty overwhelming and it can definitely be a discouraging time of life for lots of people! Don't worry! It's not just you!

Here are the biggest complaints crises problems questions that Post-Grad Students have and advice for dealing with them!

How can I get 3-5 years experience if every job requires 3-5 years experience? 

The experience thing can be so ridiculous and tricky. I know that when I first finished undergrad, literally every job description I read "required" 3-5 years of experience. Queue all the tears. HOWEVER, something that I've learned is that this is just standard language for employers. It doesn't mean that they won't actually look at your resume (or even hire) you if you don't have that much experience, it's just what they would prefer. 

Bottom Line: If you see that, and you're otherwise qualified for the job, then GO FOR IT! 

How many jobs should I apply to before I can officially feel discouraged? 

I think I actually Googled this exact phrase earlier this year. I started applying for teaching positions in Nashville in December (waaaaayy too early) so by the time actual teacher hiring season came around, I was pretty burnt out. The answer Google gave me is about 20 jobs, btw. So, if you're 4 applications in and you haven't heard anything back, keep on going! You're nowhere near eligible for the "maybe I'll live with my parents forever" attitude yet! 

Bottom Line: If you've applied to 20+ jobs, just keep swimming. Less than that? Try harder.

I'm overqualified and under experienced... what can I do about that? 

This is the saddest part of it all. Even with a degree, you'll probably still have to start at the bottom, financially and title-wise. The good news!? (yes, there is some!) Once you find a company you love, and you start at the bottom, and you show up on time and work hard every day, you will have a killer advantage at working your way up! Most companies would much rather to hire someone they already know than to bring in someone from the outside. 

Bottom Line: Start at the bottom of the job you want and work your way up from there!

Should I have been paying attention to LinkedIn this whole time? 

Technically, yes. But if you ignored all of those LinkedIn requests and things while you were in college, no worries! LinkedIn is a pretty easy thing to build up quickly. Just import your contacts from your Gmail and Facebook accounts and you're halfway there! There are step-by-step instructions that make it easy to understand what's going on in that little society of connections and endorsements. So, you'll be fine! Plus, it's not a make or break type deal.

Bottom Line: Spruce up your account, add your favorite professors, and get active!

Why did I choose the major I chose and what can I do now? 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Your major does not permanently lock you into one profession for the rest of your life! Do you have a huge advantage over other people if you just happened to major in your life calling? Absolutely! But most of us didn't find that calling at age 18 and that's ok. Hopefully, you chose a major that you were interested in studying. Maybe it was a skill you wanted to acquire. And maybe you love it or hate it now. NBD.

Bottom Line: Most Americans work outside of their major. Just call yourself "well-rounded".

For many of us, post-grad is the first time in our lives that everything isn't neatly planned out, and that can be a little overwhelming! Remember to think of the uncertainty as a big adventure! Reframe your anxiety about the future into excitement and enjoy this adventure!

Are you a recent post-grad or have you passed that season of your life? What have you experienced so far? Do you have any questions or answers to add to this?! 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

"Down to the Basics" To-Do List

A few months ago, I posted on how to get an insane amount of things done in a single day. 
Sound familiar? (noooo, we never overbook ourselves, right?!). 

In that post, I mention ditching all of our fancy, cute to-do lists for a single page of notebook paper and really just going crazy writing down all of the stuff we need to accomplish. Don’t worry. I am NOT talking about throwing out your adorable planner! 

(Here's that post, if you want to read it! Project: Get Your Time Back)

I’m just talking about using this system for those crazy busy days/weeks when a simple planner isn’t enough.

Because my life has calmed down a little (a LOT) since finishing grad school, I'm kind of using a "weekly" to-do list these days <pictured above>. In fact, this is the actual one that I’m using right now! It’s still color-coded because I'm working on balancing out my life but if you want to really simplify your system, you can just use one pen for the whole thing! 

This one is in the front of the little notebook that I use to supplement my May Designs Planner because I'm a compulsive list maker. #cantstopwontstop

If you're feeling overwhelmed by all you need to get done in ONE day, here's an 8-step tutorial on how I would suggest organizing that:

1 | Get a plain piece of notebook paper 

2 | Write down hourly or half-hour intervals to the left of the red line 

3 | To the right of the red line, write down any scheduled or time-related tasks 

4 | Now look at the time you have left, start writing your other tasks down 

5 | As you write down the tasks, make sure you go high-priority to low-priority 

6 | When you start a project or task, highlight it in yellow (if you want) 

7 | When you finish it, cross it out or use a different colored highlighter 

8 | I usually keep this list out on my desk so it’s easily accessed and updated!

(I have a grueling Saturday morning planned up there, huh? Don't judge! I just used today as a layout example!)

It’s not the world’s fanciest system, and it’s certainly not very Instagram worthy, but it is effective. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is just to do less. (I completely stole that from my husband, by the way. He probably tells me to “do less” on a daily basis). 

Maybe one day I'll start listening. :) 

Do you ever run out of room in your planner? Do you think this system would be helpful for you? Why or why not? 

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

5 Ways to Start a New Routine Today!

I love routines. You know why? Because routines eventually turn into habits. And habits can make or break your productivity. Over the years, I have discovered that my morning habits typically indicate my day. 

If I wake up on time, ready to go, and hit the ground running (but not literally because running in the morning is my worst nightmare) then I already feel so accomplished by 9:00! 

If I wake up late, lounge around, waste hours a little time online, then I feel blah.

The other great thing about routines is this: They boost productivity

Oh, what's that? You love productivity? Me, too!  

OR maybe you're someone who's having a hard time creating or sticking to a daily routine. I have the hardest time with this whenever something in my life changes (like a work schedule, class schedule, or moving to a new home). 

Start your new routine: Take the following 5 steps today!

Write down your daily routine and post it near your workspace

You didn't think I'd post that without a new printable did you?! Please. Yesterday, I released two new routine planner printables in Organized Charm’s Etsy shop! One for daily routines and one for weekly routines. This should make it easier to keep you on track throughout your work day or to keep up with your class schedule in the coming up semester! You might even find that you have time to throw an extra yoga class into the mix! Namaste.

Write down your weekly routine to remind you of changes

Weekly routines are the ones that are most challenging for me. If I’m doing something daily, then great! I’m doing it daily! But once a week? That’s harder. What day does the trash run again? When do I need to leave for church to make sure I don’t miss more than half of it? Posting a weekly routine can really help you out with those annoying1-2 times a week tasks! And luckily, I know just where you can find one

Clear to Neutral every time you leave a space

How does this help you get into a routine? Because it is one! CTN basically just means leaving every space the way you found it (or the way you should have found it). Clean spaces boost productivity! Plus by doing this, you’re training your brain to get into several small routines throughout the day!

Create a Time Management System

I love this system and I’ll keep preaching on it until the day I die (or at least until the day I stop writing this blog). Your life is under YOUR control (mostly) so it’s your responsibility to make sure that you have time to do all of the things you said you would do. (and to do them well). So grab a stack of index cards or Post-It’s and start writing!

Sign up for The Skimm

I can’t even tell you how many times I get online so innocently in the morning just to “catch up on the news”. 4 hours and 500 Facebook posts later, I realize that (somewhere along the way) I must have gotten distracted. The Skimm solves that problem, it sends you a Skimm’d version of the biggest worldwide stories (aka you’ll finish reading it before you finish your first cup of coffee). Witty summaries of current events in 5 minutes or less? #yesplease

The biggest thing to remember about starting any new routine is that it requires a certain amount of discipline: eating healthier means saying no to doughnuts at the office, earning better grades means saying no to late nights during the week, and saving money means saying no to Target's dollar spot (queue: me bursting into tears).

We will all make it to the productivity mountaintop together! 

Baby steps, my dears! Baby steps. :) 

Do you have any advice for starting a new habit/routine? Do you prefer to add one tiny task at a time or to just jump right in with a whole new routine? And of course, tell me what’s worked for you in the past!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Planner Review: May Designs

I was recently asked to review my May Designs planner. (um... that only sounds like the most fun ever). So here it is! I've only been using the planner for a couple of months, but I have really gotten into the rhythm of using it daily, which is something I always worry about when switching planning systems. 

Create a Planner System That Works Best for YOU!

First of all, the coolest thing about May Designs is that you design your own notebook. You choose the cover design, add a monogram or name (or year), and you choose which package of pages that you want. You can get plain old notebook pages, a monthly planner, a monthly and weekly planner, graph paper, etc. 

Another great thing about it is the size. Here, I have it in a little binder and it fits pretty perfectly. Admittedly, I miss my old planner and this one was a little too simple for me, so I did need to supplement it with a binder and notebook pages. This binder is from Office Depot/Max and the dividers and paper are from the office supply aisle at Target! 

 The page package that I chose had both monthly + weekly views. The weekly views are all laid out vertically in a 2 week spread. So, if you are someone who tends to write to-do lists on your days (like me), you may need to supplement it with some notebook paper, too! 

The pages I chose are pre-dated, which I liked. I always tend to mess something up when I'm trying to fill in my own dates. I think it was a little extra for pre-dates, but worth it! I'm using my daily to-do lists instead of writing everything in the daily spaces. 

Overall, the bi-weekly spread is nice, although it can get a little cluttered-looking by that second week. The page quality is pretty good and my color-coded pens don't bleed through, which is fantastic! I'm not crazy about part of every Sunday being taken up by a calendar of the month, but it's certainly no deal breaker. 

The monthly view is just my favorite! I just love the simplicity of it and even the tininess of the boxes! Additionally, there are 6 pages in the back of the planner for notes (the only thing I have written back there so far is my morning routine).

This post was written because it was a request. If you'd like to request your own post, do it here!

Do you love planners and planner-related things? Have you ever used a May Designs planner? If so, how did you like it? If not, aren't they adorable?!

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