My name is Megan and I have an office supply addiction.

I freely admit it.  I love crisp new notebooks, the perfect sketchpad for to-do listing, bright white dry erase boards and, probably more than anything, a whole fist full of sharpie ultra fine point markers.

On a day where I am feeling a bit of overwhelm, or need a little pick me up, some may buy a new pair of shoes or a cupcake…I pick out a new color sharpie or a brand new blank book.

I use my sharpies for two main reasons: Inspiration and Organization

Inspiration:

I love my technology and I am addicted to my iPhone as much as the next person (or maybe slightly more), but when I really need to get ideas out of my brain and get my creative juices follow, I have to do it on paper.

I love to use a colored sharpie.

There usually isn’t a reason; I just pick out a color or two that call to me that day.  Something that inspires my ideas to flow.

I am a big fan of the brain dump.  Whether it is my long-term goal list, ideas for a new product, or blog post beginnings; I always make the most headway when I start by just writing everything down. Sure, I could do it with a good ole’ bic ball point, but when I pick out that hot pink pen, or the pale blue or the bright turquoise, there is something about using an inspiring pen that makes what I am writing down more inspiring too.  There is something symbolic about making a conscious decision to use a specific pen, in a specific color.  Its like I am telling the universe I am conscious in what I am about to write down.  I’m not just scratching out a grocery list, what I am about to write down is important.

The more effort you put into what you write down, the more you will take yourself seriously.  The more you take your self seriously, the more the universe will too.  {Tweet this}

Organization:

The second way I use colors is to keep me organized.  Different colors automatically draw the eye and help you see things easily.  Different colors can correlate to a coding system or can be used just to visually separate different items.

Coding

  • Connect the Colors to your Calendar: I use the multiple calendar feature on my phone calendar to keep different aspects of my life separated.  I use one color for my main calendar, I use a second color for my son’s school calendar, a third for the production schedule of non-profit magazine I edit, and a fourth for my business development classes.  Each calendar is a different color on my phone and I use those same colors if I am crafting a written to do list for the day.  So blue tasks are home related, green are volunteer job, purple are business tasks and yellow are things for my son’s school.
    I like to separate tasks by color on my to do list, as it makes sure I am staying balanced in my day or only working on specific tasks during allotted times.  If it is ‘work’ time, I need to focus on purple tasks, yellow tasks can usually bed done after the kids go to bed and so on.
  • Assign a different color to each family member:  This is not something I do yet, as my children are still pretty young.  But, when my children are older and everyone has their own full schedules, I can see employing this technique.  Each family member gets a color on the calendar or dry erase board so at a glance you can see who has sports practice and who is attending a birthday party or when your partner is out of town on business.

Visual Distinction

This is the biggest way I use my different colors.  It is less about coding and more about creating visual space on a page to make sure I don’t miss something.  If my entire page is written in blue ink, I have to scan the whole page to find the information or the task I am looking for.

  • Business tasks:  Much like assigning each family member a color, you can also assign a color to each task within a certain area of your life.  For me, it is my business tasks.  Events, marketing, production, and skill development each gets their  own color.  These also correlate to my year long dry erase calendar.  This allows me to see at glance what needs to be happening out in the world and what I am working on behind the scenes.
  • To Do List:  Even my to do list gets a dose of color inspiration.  Like many busy moms, my days are different so my to do lists often are too.  If I am wearing many different hats one day, I might use colors to differentiate context of tasks.  Like one color for errands to run, phone calls to make, preschool tasks, etc.  That way I can be more efficient by doing like tasks together and I am less likely to forget an errand if I can scan the list for one color.
    If I am focused on one project, I have a list just for that project.  I use one color for the task, a second color for how long each task will take and a third color for notes or ideas about that specific task.  And then I might star the most important tasks of the day with another color.

I think the time and effort you put into the seemingly mundane things in your life help you feel inspired and in control.

My colorful lists make me smile and inspires me to accomplish the things on the list…and to get to cross them off with the red sharpie!

What is your favorite color sharpie?  Tell me in the comments below!