Who else wants to be more organised and do more? 37 50 North 122 28 West (Nichola in San Francisco)

Whilst the energy vibrates at a high level on Team Aretha with our second fitness session and David’s first hot seat today, Nichola’s energy and vibe is buzzing away in San Fran. Here’s the latest from the Desk of Nichola…

What’s wrong with the organisation accessories market and why there is no perfect solution.

I have many roles – a wife, mum, family organiser, business owner and finally but not lastly a grown woman. I like accessories which are useful, quality and going to last me a long time and be multipurpose. I already have a bag brimming with stuff for other people, usually the children and I am looking for one item to do the job well rather than several things that only work partially. I don’t want to spend huge amounts of money and I am not a fashionista who clears out the cupboards at the dawn of every new trend. I am practical and pragmatic. In short I am looking for accessories for grown up women like me.

So when it comes to getting organised the same rules apply as I strive to look for ideal organisation products.

However I am usually disappointed to find that organisation stuff fit into two categories – those which have great ideas but frankly are just plain ugly – usually bulky harsh black leather, very corporate and masculine and designed to stay on the desk not be carried around in a handbag – yes maybe efficient but not so elegant and certainly not something you want to carry around with you all day and frankly not inspiring you to use it. Plus unless your life is mapped out in a series of 12 hour meetings with nothing happening before 8am and nothing after about 5pm or weekends really not very practical for a mum with any social life especially a family life with children.

Then there is the opposite end of the scale – the organisers “for mums”. They do come with fantastic layouts and ideas on the inside pages but often the cover of these books rules them out for an awful lot of women depending on whether and where they work – with colourful, cute and often childlike covers maybe more at home in your young daughter’s school bag than something elegant and stylish that you might want in your own handbag.

After this we have fashion organisers, for example Mulberry, who create beautiful but expensive organisers with paper inserts extending now only to the most basic diary, ruled and plain paper. You still need a lot of input to make this work for you as an organiser rather than a glamorous notebook. Finally there are the range of quality notebooks now on sale. One of my favourites, the Moleskine notebooks, stylish with great colours but still a notebook waiting to be turned into an organisation product.

What is missing is the organiser which blends all of these products – the organiser inside with the elegant outside. I haven’t found the perfect answer. In fact in the past I have created my own hybrid – taking apart the “mum organisers” and tre-assembling it with a more neutral plain leather cover so that I get the organisation tool I want but now recreated as an elegant accessory. I have yet to find the perfect answer already out there on the market.

I have of course omitted the electronic organiser – I have yet to find an electronic gadget on which you can express yourself as quickly and as simply as pen and paper. I feel that with the electronic organiser – you store your life, your plans and lists and then cannot so easily find them again. I do not feel connected to an electronic organiser in the way I feel connected to my paper organiser. And I bet that no matter how many electronic organisers and computers you use – when you need to make that to do list for yourself – you don’t do it electronically but rather you grab the first piece of scrappy paper, back of envelope, receipt or maybe letter home from your children’s school – and you write something important down on it so that you don’t forget it! That’s why I am always on the hunt for great organisational products that not only work but work for me but make me feel good at the same time. If they make me feel good then I stand a chance of actually using them. If it doesn’t suit you I suspect that you will soon ditch it like an outfit that doesn’t suit you.

More to come as Nichola’s ideas and business takes shape. To find out more, Nichola has launched a Facebook Page – Loose Paper which shares her thoughts on how to be more organised and get more done. If I wasn’t at sea, I’d find the link and share it!! I’ll share this when I’m back on land (hopefully in Cabo San Lucas). Website will be coming soon also.

Team Aretha sailing the Gulf of California, Out.

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