this organized life

I'd better admit it right up front - organizing is one of my hobbies. With a free evening on my hands, the thought of pulling things out of cupboards, sorting and then re-organizing them actually sounds like a lot of fun.

Realizing that this isn't everyone's cup of meat, perhaps my enjoyment in how I organize things might lead to some insights for folks who like it a bit less...

So expect a regular thread on organizing and managing your to-do lists, your creative supplies, your wardrobe, your... you name it!

Top of the list for me right now is my digital vs. analogue life: I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about journaling, to-do lists, and generallly managing all the ideas and to-do lists that stream out of my brain every day. (Trust me, it's a lot, and unmanaged it would be pretty scary.)

(The mild irony of that sticker is not lost on me.)Like a lot of 21st-century creative professionals, I've spent the last ten years or so, since the advent of smartphones and tablets, thinking that I should go completely digital with my to-do lists and grocery lists and lists of all the things. As soon as I'd jotted down a note on paper, I tried to convert it to an item in an app somewhere. This had its advantages - timed reminders to do things, no bits of paper to fly around (or forget at home when running errands), but there was a whole side of my brain that wasn't ... satisfied with the digital capture.

I'm a child of the European school system - the fountain pens for schoolwork, the paper notebooks handed in for homework, the leather cases with slots for pens and pencils... The stuff of an analogue life is close to my heart.

So last year, when a colleague discovered the Passion Planner, I dove in and never looked back. Analogue was back in my life! (It didn't hurt that at about the same time, a wee shop opened down the street selling fine fountain pens and inks. We were doomed.) Suddenly, I was carrying a pouch full of pens and pencils to meetings, loving the feeling of writing things down again.

I've loved getting back to the literal - being able to pick up a pen and just write something down has an immediacy to it that typing into my phone or tablet can't match. Plus, the potential for visual creativity is such a joy on its own: which pen to use? which ink color do I want for that little list?

As with all obsessions of mine, this one swung to the extreme - I was barely using my digital reminder systems at all anymore... and after a few missed appointments and scrambles for information, it became clear that I could do with a balanced set of analogue and digital tools.

It's taken me a while to figure out which things I like to keep in which format, and my planner system is morphing into a new shape now that I'm back to freelance work from home, but I've enjoyed the process of considering what works for me and building my little set of tools - which I'll start to share with you over the coming weeks.

Go dust off those fountain pens, if you've got 'em! We're about to go play.

[My stack of toys, bottom to top:]
Passion Planner for 2016 (16-17 editions now available!)
Roterfaden cover and notebooks, available from Baumkuchen in LA
• Leuchtturm 1917 notebook (mine from Goulet Pens)
• "Things" app for iPad
• Vintage Parker fountain pen