New Year, New You ~ Outside the Margins with Brigham Vaughn

Join Prism Book Alliance® as Brigham Vaughn goes Outside the Margins today.


I’ve always found the “new year, new you” philosophy vaguely suspect. Shouldn’t a person make changes when they’re ready not when the calendar dictates? If the need to change strikes you on April 12th or September 30th, who cares?

The idea of writing the first post of the new year about organizing makes me chuckle because it’s so out of character for me. However, I’ve been doing this full time writer gig for about four months now, and it’s made me realize that the organizational tools I’d loved before, weren’t working for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think the Weekly Plan online organizer I blogged about last May is fantastic. But fantastic in general isn’t the same as fantastic for me.  At the time, I was juggling two jobs, a husband, and a whole house. Now it’s more or less just me and the room I sleep/work in at my parents’ house. My needs have changed now that I’m not trying to sneak in writing at work and keep up with the cat hair in the hallway.

My priorities have changed and I’ve learned that my needs have as well.

With an online planner, it was a little too easy for me to minimize the browser or close the tab and ignore that To Do list so I decided I’d go for something gasp with paper. In general, I like paperless. I like online banking and bill pay, I like scanning/saving important documents to my computer and backing up on an external hard drive. But online organizing wasn’t quite cutting it for me.

In the last few months, I found myself writing down tasks on a legal pad, and when the end of the year rolled around and I saw calendars and planners popping up everywhere, I gave a paper planner a second thought.  I nearly succumbed to the lure of a gorgeous but expensive planner before I realized that maybe I should take a look at what I already have before I buy anything new.

I spent an evening sorting through my papers, tossed most of them, and filed the rest in the file box I already owned. I made a list of a handful of things I needed to get organized and built a task lisk. It’s divided into tasks I want to do every day, and ones that need to happen for each day of the week. I printed it off, used a frame I had, and created a handy little wipe off board. I can check off what I get done every day, then take a damp cloth and wipe off the daily tasks and start over tomorrow.


It’s one of those cutesy projects I’ve seen on Pinterest. The ones by moms who have a whole herd of children to corral and a household to run and somehow seem to do with grace and style. More power to them, because I know I couldn’t do it!

But it works equally well for a single writer who is working her butt off to be the happiest, healthiest, most successful person she can be.

The tasks in teal are personal, like making my bed and walking/taking yoga classes. The tasks in green are for my writing career, like posting my flash fic on Monday and spending a little time every day on marketing.

Are my tasks going to change? Absolutely. But all I’ll need to do is update the file, print it, and swap it out with the current list.


I also made a trip to Target and perused their dollar section. For less than $20 I got a planner, two wire baskets, a trash can, a clipboard calendar, and a mail sorter. One of the baskets holds paper recycling, the other has three journals/planners. Three planners you ask? Madness, right? But the Kraft paper one with the gold polka dots is an inexpensive but functional planner that allows me to write down the tasks I need to do that aren’t part of the routine daily/weekly ones on the wipe off board. The yellow/green flowery one I’d had for ages and never used, but now it keeps track of my exercise/eating habits. And the teal one in the back is still blank, but I think I may use it for long term writing and business goals.

Will I be back in six months or a year with a new organizing plan? Probably. But isn’t that the beauty of having goals and plans? They don’t have to stay static. They can evolve with us.

I’d like to hear from you about your organizing method. What works for you?

~Brigham Vaughn

About Brigham Vaughn

Brigham Vaughn has always been a voracious reader with her own stories to tell. After many years of abandoned plots, something finally clicked. Now she’s eating, sleeping, and breathing writing and is excited to have finally figured out what she wants to be when she grows up. In the little time that isn’t spent writing or reading, she loves cooking, yoga, photography, and remodeling her ninety-year-old home. Brigham lives in Michigan with her three cats and an amazing husband who has always been her biggest champion.

Contact Brigham:
Twitter: @AuthorBVaughn

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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One thought on “New Year, New You ~ Outside the Margins with Brigham Vaughn

  1. You inspired me. Last night I went to the dollar section of Target and got the letter organizer for my various journals and planners and the little basket to use as a hold-all. It is currently holding my headphones, charger, outline, and other random things. My desk is clean! <3 Thank you.

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