October. 3, 2018 originally published in Bold Latina

Do you ever get up in the morning and say, “I really do not want to go to work today” or when you get to work you say, “Wow, I am a mess”—You’re not the only one. My name is Amy and here are great tips on how you can stay organized and motivated:

1. Planners: The Secret Behind Them

Alright, first important step that you will see throughout this article: Aesthetics.

You have a lot on your plate and the last thing you want to do is stare at something without any motivation, especially if your job needs some creativity in the first place. I personally get my planner from Shop Bando, an amazing all-women run company, where inside my planner, you can already find creative quotes, stickers, and art all made and designed by women. The planner also has a lot of room to write down what you have to do during that day, space for notes on the side of the calendar, and even space on the back to write down additional notes. However, you want to be organized about where you put your notes so set it up in a way where you can remember what you wrote and where. Lastly, planners can get cluttered with papers, etc. My planner also has a pocket where you can put additional notes and your stickers!

2. Separate Your Planners

If you are having supervision, have a different notebook that can help you track down those supervisions. If your supervisor gives you a to do list, you can create a list on a post it with check boxes on the side, that way you can feel proud of yourself when you are done! If you have an additional hobby or project for that, also separate your book. In my experience, I use my planner for my job, yet I also include things such as calling people after work hours, and things that are due that is not also part of my job. However, I separate my to do lists with post-it notes depending on what it is for. Also, keep your books alive! For @VeggieMijas, I use an Oprah’s Notebook filled with pictures of Oprah with her vegetables that I got at Bulletin, another all-woman company. So support women, have cute notebooks, and be organized? Count me in!

3. Keep it Fun, Always!

If you use a planner, make sure that it keeps you motivated. You can do this by using stickers on special days, on sad days, or simple days such as when you are going out for coffee! In my planner, I also have a section where you can write down reasons to party for the month. As someone that has depression and anxiety, I usually love this section because it makes me feel like I deserve to be happy no matter what. In this section I either write about my accomplishments or really great memories that I should be documented for this month. You can also color coordinate, have different colors for different projects and keep a key so you will not forget! Because trust me, that can happen!

4. Keep a Clean Desk

Alright, this one can be tricky. But does it really? Make sure to not have too much stuff. If possible, have folders in your cabinets or buy really nice boxes where you can keep under your desk. If you are someone that has a million pens or papers, you do not need all of them out on your desk. Have five pens out and keep the rest wrapped in a rubber band and place them somewhere else. Make sure to get supplies you can clean your desk with because your keyboard can end up looking really scary if you don’t (don’t eat and type, please!) You want to make sure that everything that is on your desk can help you become more motivated such as having post-it notes out, a little organizer box with your to-do list post its, paper clips, etc. When it comes to having little supplies like that, also apply the same rule of not having so much clutter…and lastly, what I add to everything else is: Make it pretty! As soon as I came into my new office, I changed the mouse and the mouse pad (Forever 21). This helps me not feel like I am at a strict office 9-5.

5. Calendars: Don’t Have Too Many

So I feel like everyone knows those kind of people that have three hundred calendars but still somehow cannot stick to their schedule or still lost somewhere in the world? Yeah, don’t be that person! I have one calendar for myself, and one dry-erase calendar in my office, that way if my boss or anyone in the office do not know where I am, they can always find me. You want to avoid looking at so many calendars because you can easily become overwhelmed and would not want to do anything at the end of the day. If you stick to one calendar or maybe even two, then you can have more chances of using it and more things to cross out and feel productive.

6. Quotes: Be Your Own Inspiration

I have quotes around my office that help me become more motivated such as, “don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that.” Another quote I have is, “You’re meant to be here.” I know many of us women of color can have imposter syndrome—feeling like you do not belong, feeling like you are not good enough, or not appreciated. The work you are doing is important and you need to recognize that at all times. Sometimes, we can feel down and drowsy at our work place or when we are home doing work. Having these reminders in your planner or around your workplace can really go far and help your mental health unconsciously.

7. Decorate: Channel your Inner Pinterest Dream Board

So of course as a Pisces, Libra Moon, I am in love with the way my work space looks like. I even motivated other folks in my department to create their own palette and let their personalities shine! Most of my things came from my dorm room such as cards that people have given me from past jobs or my mentees, stickers, post cards of art, Polaroid pictures of people I love and a picture of Che…which is also someone I love. I keep my space very loud, having a mixture of pieces that relate to work and some that are just personal touches. I have posters that say “Intersex is Beautiful”, by the Intersex Justice Project (Pidgeon Pagonis) “Indigenous Women Resisting Colonialism and Patriarchy since 1492”, by Nalgona Positive  and “Stop the Mass Incarceration of Black and Brown Youth, More Schools, More Community Centers, More Youth Empowerment, Our Children Are Not Profit”, by The Unapologetically Brown Series (Johanna Toruño). My (related to my job) posters are La Loba Loca’s diagrams of reclaiming bodies, which shows diagrams of different angles of the vulva.

I believe decorating your space is really important because if you are having trouble being creative, you can look around you and get different ideas. Also, if you are someone that has to stare at the computer for a long period of time, it can help to look away for a few minutes and remember that not only people are supporting you, but also that you have a million other passions and your job is just one of them. It makes you remember that you are doing more for your community than you think you are.

8. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

Being organized can be really tough. If it is an option, you can ask someone to help you organize your workspace, or give you some tips. Maybe, someone secretly knows how to label the folders in their own way that helps or knows what supplies to get in order to fix your drawers—do not be afraid to ask. Even the people you think are the most organized, they are mostly likely not as organized as you think in other areas. So remember, don’t be shy or embarrassed, not everyone was born with these skills and it is something that takes time. Honestly, go on Pinterest, follow Instagram accounts that can help you get creative, it is okay to borrow some ideas and use whatever helps you.

You got this. Be creative. Make a glittery mess. Be you.

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