Getting Organized

I touched on this last week on Facebook, but thought it was a topic worthy of writing a post about – organization.

Things you may not know about me:

Over the past couple years I’ve gone from being super organized, to a bit of a mess organizationally speaking. Where I once had everything perfectly organized at all times I became a bit of a disaster. I use that term lightly because I was/am still fairly organized, I just was not up to my OCD organizational standards.

This summer I’ve been actively trying to regain my previous organizational awesomeness, but as a full-time self employed fitness instructor and blogger that can be a daunting task. Especially since I’m also trying to find a way to get more work done while actually working less (which I absolutely think sounds like an oxymoron) which I think is something that many of you could be struggling with too. You might not have the same job(s) as I do, but everyone has the want and need to get more done in less time – am I right?

So today I’m sharing a few tools that I’ve been using that I have found to be extremely helpful in trying to achieve that lucrative “do more but work less” scenario.

Looking back at my list at the top of this post, to-do lists really do drive me a bit mad. Paper to-do lists especially so. It really irks me when something is on my to-do list and for whatever reason I can’t get it done that day so I’m left with either leaving it uncrossed (shudder), or knowingly cross it off even though it’s not done (double shudder) and put it on another day’s list. I just don’t like it. So when I was trying to think of a solution, I thought back to my days as an insurance agent. If you are new around here, prior to my reincarnation as a fitness instructor/blogger I worked in an insurance agency for 5 1/2 years. Anyway, we had (and they probably still do) software called TAM (The Agency Manager) where each client had their own set of screens and you could enter “activities” and set follow-ups for a certain day, add notes, etc. and decided what I needed was a program that acted like TAM. One where I could enter the things I needed to get done, add notes, set follow-up dates all without using a piece of paper.

I went looking in the app store and found ToDoIst which was a free download to my iMac and also has an online component and iPhone app (I’m not sure if it’s available for other devices, or solely Mac) and I love it! I’ve seen upgraded to the paid version so I can add notes and some other upgrades but even the free version is great. I can easily change “due dates” and when I’m working away and something pops into my head that I need to do, instead of dropping what I’m doing to go get that done I can quickly add it to my to-do list for another day and then keep on working. It has honestly increased my productively immensely, and I think a large part of that is because I am only focusing on that day’s tasks and can re-distribute things as needed (without marking up my day planner) and I don’t have to remember to remember things. I can even set reminders to be sent to my phone if I need to remember to do something while I’m out. I love it!

Next up on my wish-list was finding a way to get more done while working less. The oxymoron section of my list. ToDoIst already has helped me tremendously in that regard but I still needed something more to get me organized. I’d read a lot about bloggers using CoSchedule ( <–head’s up, that’s a referral link) and decided to give it a try with their 2 week free trial. Oh my word. If ToDoIst is a dream, then I don’t know what CoSchedule is, perhaps a fantasy come to life? Haha, that might be a bit extreme but you get what I’m saying. It’s the bomb. I’ve never been one who worked well with a editorial calendar. Again, it ended up being something that kept getting marked up in my day planner as post ideas moved from one day to the next and so on. With CoSchedule you can start draft posts, put the date you want to publish it and leave it sitting as a draft until you write it.

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If you have more than one contributor on your site you can assign authors and best of all – if you want to change your schedule you drag and drop it to a different day! But that’s far from all you can do, you can schedule all of your social media posts directly from WordPress with CoSchedule! So once you have a post written and posted or scheduled, you can immediately enter all the social media posts you want and even schedule pins! I know Ahaology allows you to schedule pins too but if I can work with one less program (and pay for one less program) I’m all for it.

I am 100% smitten with Co-Schedule and you can be sure that when my free trial is up I will be moving to the paid version. It’s worth the cost 100x over! And the girl who has never worked with an editorial calendar is totally converted. If you are a blogger and haven’t yet trying the CoSchedule koolaid, do yourself a favour and at least try the 2 week free trial (you can extend the trial a few more weeks by sharing on social media as well). Maybe you won’t adore it like I do, but I think it’s worth trying fo’ sure!

Finally, let’s hit on that last bullet point – labels. One year after Christmas while all my friends were rushing to the stores to get deals on clothes, I was rushing to Staples to buy a label maker. And that’s a fact. Few things excite me more than a good label (sad but true) so it should come as no surprise that personalized labels are right up my alley!

I’ve recently become an affiliate with Mabel’s Labels a company I’ve purchased labels from in the past on a few different occasions. I love the durability of all of their labels, and continue to get compliments on my bag tag anytime I travel so wanted to share a company I honestly love with all of you. As an affiliate they sent me a set of customized skinny mini labels. I asked Facebook to help me choose and this is the set you helped me pick (and happily it matches my new day planner fabulously!)

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Right now is a great time to get organized, no matter what you do for a living. If you have kids going back to school – or perhaps to school for the first time you should check out Mabel’s Labels Ultimate Back-to-School Combo to help you get your kids ready and organized! Or maybe you are looking to get yourself and your house organized, in which case they have loads of options including hockey packs, label sets for seniors in retirement homes, household labels, wash-off labels, everything!

And with canning/pickling season coming into full swing, I’m giving away one set of Wash Away dissolvable labels!

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This giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the US. To enter leave a comment below with your #1 organizational tip. The giveaway will end on Wednesday, Sept 3rd at 12:01amEST.

Good Luck!

Garnier Color Shield Products

Last week I received a selection of Garnier’s new Color Shield products from Influenster in exchange for a review.

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I received the new color shield shampoo, conditioner and shine and care leave-in treatment.

I was sceptical from the get-go, not because of the claims of the products, but because I have been finding it increasingly difficult to find a shampoo especially that will actually clean my hair. I have naturally oily hair and I think adding all the sweating I do from teaching makes my hair harder to clean. I’m certainly not one of those people who can get away with washing their hair once or twice/week (though I wish I was!). And what’s more, I am down to two specific shampoos that will clean my hair and not leave my scalp feeling really gross and for lack of a better term, “cake-y”. Yes I know. Gross. So when I received these products from Garnier I wondered if they would fall in the “cake-y” category.

The first night I used the products everything was fine, but I often find that is the case with a different shampoo especially. The first night everything is great, it’s about day 3 that nights go downhill. Having said that, day 3 has come and gone and I’m still walking away with clean hair that is most certainly NOT cake-y. Yay!

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In fact, I feel like my hair is cleaner than with my usual brand which is sort of exciting. And I really am enjoying the scent of the products (which is a total girl thing to say). As for whether or not they help shield color from fading I haven’t used it long enough to know, and it’s been quite a while since I colored my hair (these black locks don’t stay black all on their own anymore :’( ) so I can’t really attest to that attribute but otherwise I’ve been pretty happy, especially after straightening my hair as it’s super shiny and smooth!

While I’ve really enjoyed the products, and will continue to use them until they are gone, as much as I like them I personally will probably not be buying them again because my regular brand is sulfate-free and as I am actively trying to minimize my exposure to endocrine disruptors and sadly these products are not sulfate free. That aside, I think they are a great line of products and would happily recommend them to others looking for a good line-up for color treated hair.

Disclosure: I was provided with these products free of charge from Influenster in exchange for a review. All opinions are 100% my own.