How I Ended Up Using 5 Calendars

Why I need 5 Calendars on my desk
The 5 calendars in question

The first thing everyone says when they walk into my studio, is “wow, you’re so organized!”. Actually, it’s the first thing said when anyone enters my home, car, looks in my bag bag or talks to me for 10 minuets. It’s also the first thing that I am asked for help with and advice on. I’m always a bit surprised at this because being organized is like being a morning person, you can’t help it, it’s just the way you are. My brain likes to order things and it just happens.

Over the last few months, I have been tackling some big projects and realized that as I read a couple of blogs about organizing (did I just admit that?) that it might be appreciated if I share these. Truthfully, the real secret to being organized is to not only having a place for everything but assigning new places every time something new enters your life. That sounds a bit ridiculous and daunting, but it just means you leave extra space on your bookshelf for a few new books or room in your sock drawer for a couple of extra pairs. It also means frequent purging, even though I admittedly have a ton of stuff, I get rid of stuff constantly. The trunk of my car at all times has a donation bag and I keep adding until it’s full, then I drop it off and start all over again.

There are times though that I will have a complete lack of organization in an area of my life and one day see something that will be an a-ha! moment. All of a sudden, I’ve figured out how to organize the problem area, and just like that my life is changed. I really do get this dramatic about new systems, this recently happened with my DVD collection, and I talked about it for weeks…but that deserves a post of its own.

Calendar 1: The wall version for local goings on
Calendar 1: The wall calendar for local goings on

Today I thought I would address the 5 calendars that I keep on my desk that I brought up in my NYE post. Partly to show you that I have them all for a logical reason, and partly because I feel like you can’t go around talking about having 5 calendars without showing what they all do. The top photo is an over view of my desk with each calendar number and duh, we’ll begin with #1…

1. The Wall Calendar: Since moving to Austin, I have been buying the Austin Big Weekend Calendar as it has most local events marked on it alongside the usual holidays. If I don’t have a wall calendar, I find myself constantly looking up at the spot over my desk where it should be when I need to figure out dates for things, and this one is pretty informative so it works great. The red dots are for days I go running or life weights, you’ll see that I put notations of exercise all over the place as it’s an amazing motivator to keep doing it.

Calendar 2: Manic Trout - Design, Production, Marketing, Pr etc
Calendar 2: Manic Trout Calendar- Design, Production, Marketing, Pr etc

2. The Manic Trout Calendar – I have a 4 month view for all MT deadlines and timelines. Here is where I have deadlines for collections to be designed, production schedules, PR dates such as when to pitch to editorials for each seasons collection, show application deadlines, what state I feature for Facebook Fridays each week, when I need to send samples to the showroom, reps and PR and things like that. It helps to be able to see 4 months ahead at once, so I’m not rushed when a deadline is approaching. I do not put meetings, small tasks or goals here…these are for big and important things that must be done.

Calendar 3: The digital and on the go calendars
Calendar 3: The digital and on the go calendars

3. The Digital Calendar – The version on my computer is used for actual meetings, appointments, plans with friends and that sort of thing. My laptop and phone sync so I can add appointments out and about. Basically if I have to be somewhere or am doing something with someone, even at my goes here. I also add exercise to this one as I can look back to this time last year and see how they compare and things like that. The downside of this calendar is that it makes it super hard to see things easily in month views, which brings me to…

Calendar 4: The Desk Planner
Calendar 4: The Desk Planner

4. The Desk Planner – Last year I finally gave in and went back to keeping a paper version of what’s on my computer and phone. I use a pencil as things change often. I also note what I specifically do for exercise in this one. I toss these planners at the end of the year though, which is why the same info is in my computer. Last year I tried to use the pages in-between each month for daily to do’s , but I really just like to have it open to the month. This meant I had a legal pad that I was using for daily to dos (in addition to the app Things on my computer for repeating tasks, its to the left of the calendar) but I would end up using a new pad for each day and it became hectic super fast. I was at Target a few weeks ago and found a pad of paper with a week on each large sheet and it was exactly what I needed, so #5 is new to me as of this week…

Calendar 5: Notepad Calendar
Calendar 5: Notepad Calendar

5. The Daily To Do Calendar – I’m still figuring this one out and trying to remember not to treat it just as to-dos and not add meetings and such, but so far so good. I have the list of things to do some point during the week on the right and the ones that must be done on certain days…such as blog post ideas on each day. I tried to keep all of my to-dos in the Things app, but I discovered that I really like having written lists all over the place. It makes me happy to cross things off and throw out the page when everything is done. Most importantly, tasks like dropping off the dry-cleaning never seemed to get put in the app, but I still need to do them. The purple post it’s at the top are payments coming in net30 from wholesalers that I need to watch out for and I just toss the note when the check arrives. I’m glad to finally have a spot for that as getting paid is pretty important.

This system may seem crazy complicated to some, but it work for me. Trying to keep everything in one place wasn’t working at all, so I figured as long as everything is getting done, I can be a crazy as I want the method I use! Ok, I’ll admit that there is a 6th calendar in the house, a dry erase one in the kitchen to jot down things Adam and I need to know about each others schedules, things we have planned such as weddings and dinners and even which weeks are recycling pick ups.

How do you keep track of everything?


  • What does THINGS offer that is different from let’s say…Evernote? Just curious as I have recently adopted Evernote along with my Calendar App. I have considered also adding a traditional monthly paper calendar to my repertoire as well. Feeling organized…is amazing. Happy New Year, Sierra!

  • Happy New Year, Sher!! Things to me is more of a project management app. I only used Evernote when it first came out though, so it may have evolved. I actually don’t bother to use Things on my phone, as I use it more for the tasks that are scheduled and repeated such as bill paying, editorial calendars, when to post my semi annual sample sales. I believe it follows along with the David Allen productivity methods of Getting Things Done. Hope all is well!! xxoo

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