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February 29, 2016
What if there was a one-size-fits-all plan to solve all of your organizing needs. Could there be? Don’t you just get tired of thinking of new ideas? Don’t you wish there was a system in place that would cover a multitude of organizing issues? Well, there actually is. It is called color-coding. In this post and the next we are going to address two potential methods using color-coding to solve any organizing problem. Once you have mastered both of these methods then you are well on your way to mastery of almost any organizational dilemma that may come your way.
If you haven’t yet read my posts “Color-Coding 101 – Theory” and “Color-Coding 102 – Solving a Problem” you should start there. Those posts will lay the groundwork for this series of posts on Color-Coding Your Life. Once you really understand the theory and are able to identify problems ,you will see a whole new world open to you related to color coding to solve those problems.
In this post we will build on those ideas of theory and problem solving by learning the first of two methods using color-coding to solve almost any organizing problem. The first one is: Processes.
A pretty obvious way to think about organization and how color can help would be to look at different processes and how color could practically apply. Probably many of you do this already to some extent but haven’t really thought of all of the possibilities. Really an organizational process is simply a problem/solution system. You discover the problem and then find a solution and that is the organizational process.
If the solution doesn’t work well then you are frustrated with the organizational method, however, if it works like a dream then you are thrilled with the procedure. Usually the process doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy, you just have to know the steps and the plan of the procedure. Take some time to sit down now and consider the processes you already use in home.
Caring for pets
Weekly chore chart
Monthly chore chart
School Lunch routines
Monthly paperwork filing
Children’s clothing inventory
Children’s toys rotation/purge
And there are plenty more, but that should give you a good list to start with or at least get you thinking.
Now that you have brainstormed and have a great list, look through that list and find the top 3-5 areas that really bother you. Those are the areas that you should hone in on to begin with. I am going to use two as examples of how you could use color as a visual cue in a process to produce great results in your home organization.
Whether you use a paper calendar or have moved on to electronic versions, color-coding with calendars is not only easy but can produce great results for your family scheduling system. Color-coding helps you to identify at a glance something about that event without even reading the information.
For example, when using either a paper calendar or an electronic version you can color-code your events by category. All of your doctor appointments in red (red because they are vital), all of your school events in yellow (yellow for sunshine and happy), all of your church events in purple (purple for royalty), all of your family events in blue (blue represents trustworthiness), and all of your sporting events in green (green for grass and trees, though I know not all sports are outside many are).
By just writing the event on the paper calendar and then using a highlighter to highlight over the words allows you to color-code the events. Another option would be to use the see through sticky tabs over top of the words to make it appear like highlighting. Of course you could also use different color pens. However, the idea is to make this easier and not more difficult. If you carry your paper calendar with you and don’t want to carry a plethora of different colored pens with you as well then just write it in black ink and when you get home use your highlighter to highlight each event in the right color.
If you use an electronic version of a calendar I would highly recommend that you find one that allows you to color code. Google Calendar has that feature.
As you enter the information about the event including: date, time, location, description, and even an attachment, you can also use their color feature and tag it with a certain color which blocks out that time on your calendar in the color you assigned to that event. Not only do you have the visual of realizing exactly how much time you have scheduled yourself for, but due to the color you know exactly where you are spending all of your time.
If you look back in this calendar and find that you have way too much green staring back at you, then you might consider dropping each child back to one sport a year rather than every sport per year.
Weekly Chores ~
If you have kids at home you need a chore system. There are about as many chore systems as there are families with kids. The varieties of the ways you can manage this process are endless. And color-coding can be used effectively in so many different systems and ways.
As an example, let’s just use a whole house chore system that integrates daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly jobs around the house. That alone gives you four colors to use just to identify how often each job is completed. On your chore list you could list each job to be done by room and then list the daily jobs in red, the weekly jobs in blue, monthly in green and yearly in purple.
Another way to use color in chores would be to list out all of your daily and weekly jobs and then color-code them according to what age group of children are capable of doing that job. Use red for the children ages 3-7, blue for ages 8-11, green for ages 12-15 and purple for ages 16 and older. These jobs will range from picking-up the toys to cleaning the leaves out of the gutter. In that way, each child will know exactly what jobs they are capable of doing (after being trained) and also what is expected of them.
Coloring Coding is the one size fits all organizational dream solution. However, we have only talked about the first method: Color Coding with Processes. Next time we will talk about the second method that will revolutionize the way you organize. Once you start using color-coding you will begin to see even more ways to implement color into your systems that are beneficial to you and your family. Color is a visual cue that makes your brain process information before you even realize you have that information. Don’t miss out! Use color to organize.