How I Use Color to Stay Organized
Soooo ... my brain defaults to "huh?"
One thing I've always struggled with is staying organized and REMEMBERING commitments ... heck, remembering someone's birthday would be nice ... ok, just remembering things in general!
As you can imagine - being a business owner, I need to stay organized. It's something I'm constantly struggling with, but also constantly improving upon. And one thing that's made a WORLD of difference is color. Throughout the years, I've come to realize that I NEED to use color to help me remember things that are important ... well to remember anything.
Convos with my husband goes like this ... "I don't remember her. What color was she wearing?" or "I don't remember her name, but she was wearing the pink lipstick." or "I don't remember if I saw it. What color was it?" or "Is that location beside the red building?" (I should mention he's color-blind, so his answer back is usually "I don't know. I can't see color." But hey, we make it work!!)
Color came to my rescue
I first noticed how much color helped me when I was in college and having a hard time studying for exams ... to me it felt like the whole premise of college was memorization. Which isn't my strong point. At all. To help myself remember important facts, I'd highlight them on the page in certain colors (I liked yellow and green). Then while taking my test I could visualize the page and where the colors stood out on the page. From there I'd then remember what text I had highlighted. Voila - better grades.
Fast forward to my first office job and I found out quickly that if I wrote something down with colored ink or better yet, wrote it on a colored post-it note and put it on my computer, then I actually remembered what I was supposed to be doing. (This is how much I rely on post-its - I love these "extreme" post-its that keep on sticking through thick and thin.)
Fast forward again to owning my own business and organizing the life of multiple children, I've found that once again the use of color was my saving grace. We have a huge marker board in our hallway where I write down everyone's schedule for the week and each person is in a different color. Instead of feeling frantic, I can visualize the marker board and which days have which colors on it and then it helps me to remember what was written down in that color.
I also use lots of color in my day planner as I map out my day - especially if I have a meeting coming up that I cannot forget. Meetings and appointments are highlighted in yellow and written in ALL CAPS.
All of this probably sounds crazy to those of you who remember everything all the time (I have a friend who remembers everyone from high school, their birth dates, what songs they liked to listen to ... the list goes on). But to the rest of us who walk into one room and can't remember why ... or look in the back seat to see if you've picked up your kids yet or not ... or leave a meeting and can't remember what you just talked about ... or standing at your front door staring at it wondering what you were supposed to grab on your way out ... this can be life changing. (Psst - those extreme post-its will stick on doors, too. We sometimes have up to 3 on ours so my kids can make it to school with everything they're supposed to have.)
I'm not revolutionary - this has been a "thing" for a while
So it turns out, this is a THING. Studies have been conducted on how much color helps us out (I won't go into it, but you can read it all here). Even the company who creates post-it notes has written about color helping to boost your memory.
Use more color in YOUR life
If you're wanting to add more color to your life, then start with these ideas:
Ready to color-code your planner? Use these tips from a pro.
What about email? Outlook let's you color code specific emails and lets you color-code your meetings as well. I'm a Gmail user and I don't use the calendar as much (Gmail let's you color-code your meetings, too.). Since I don't use the calendar as often, I've decided to look for another solution. I've started using a Gmail Chrome extension, called Boomerang, that allows me to schedule reminder emails TO MYSELF (and for my clients, too). In the subject line of the email I'll use a bright colorful emoji so it stands out and guess what ... I remember it!
Don't forget to let others help! Keep post-its handy for your spouse and kids. They can write reminders down as well! My daughter loves doing this (probably because it's like bossing mom around).
Good luck with staying organized! Our world just gets busier and busier each day. It's hard to stay on top of it all! Hopefully the use of color can help you like it helps me.
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First, I'm the mother of three crazy, sassy, sarcastic, hilarious children. Second, I work in the world of social media, email, digital marketing. Third, I'll probably try to tell you what to do.