Honest-to-goodness, one of the best organizing strategies that I have used in my life has been the implementation of what’s commonly known among the organizing bloggers as the “Command Central Binder”. It has become one of the most important tools in my workflow system and if I didn’t swear by it, I wouldn’t be sharing mine with y’all today.
I have to give credit where credit is due: this is not an original idea. The idea of a Command Central binder was first introduced to me when I started receiving the Simplify 101 newsletter. (I don’t know anyone who works there I swear! I just troll the Internet for organizing resources because I have a serious addiction to that kind of thing.)
The reason why the Command Central binder is so useful that it is a collection tool designed to allow you more control over the various aspects of your life by keeping all information relevant to you stored in one convenient place. At first I struggled with the idea of creating one because it seemed to be geared towards the busy mother looking to manage multiple schedules, papers, records, tasks and other important information in a place that was at her fingertips. And it is that. But it’s also so much more.
I took the concept one step further and realized I could take the basic principles behind the Command Central binder and adopt them to my own workflow needs. I have a section for all of my to-do lists involving some of the personal and professional projects that I’m working on right now and another section that contains my monthly budget and all of my financial worksheets. The sections don’t have to be strictly utilitarian, either. There’s a section in mine that’s simply for all of books I want to read (the ones that aren’t already logged on my Goodreads profile) and yet another section that tracks future projects and wish lists that I’ve appropriately labeled “Wishin’ and Hopin’”
The key to a making a Command Central binder that works for you is to personalize it as much as you possibly can. It took me of years of tweaking my formula to arrive at the sections that worked for me but because I don’t have children I instead used my Command Central binder as a place to keep track of anything that has to do with my personal and professional well-being and growth. Some of the sections included are the ones I’ve described above; there are a few others as well. I’ll spare you the gory details.
Anything that you need to refer to on a constant basis goes here. Any tools to help your routines, schedules and workflow management belong here as well. Use some of my examples or create your own. Consider including: calendars, school lunch menus, extra-curricular and volunteer schedules, account information and passwords, contacts, chore charts, pantry inventories, budgets, wish lists, to-do lists, membership information, someday/maybe tasks…the list is virtually endless. Once you’ve figured out which pieces of information are most relevant to you, make sure they’re organized in a way that’s easy to use. Refer back to your Command Central binder and revise often to meet your changing needs. I hope you find yours as useful as I’ve found mine.
Have you adopted a Command Central binder into your organizing system? Comment below and share what worked for you. Or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to include it an upcoming post. Still looking for other ways to get organized? Click here to read more about some of the methods I’ve found useful.
Hi, I’m lurking your old blog posts because I too am obsessed with organization. Sigh. Anyway I was always turned off by the idea of these binders because as you said, they feel like a tool for busy mothers, not twenty something girls with control issues. Do you have any more tips on adapting the format to a childless life? I love this in theory and I want to put it into practice!
Yes! I love that you’re lurking. I’m so happy you enjoyed the post. When I first created my binder I put a calendar inside but I’ve since found that keeping my calendar separate in a portable agenda suits my lifestyle a whole lot better. Mostly I think it just depends on what you want to include to help keep your life/thoughts/dreams organized. For example, I’ve got wish lists for just about everything, a section for my budget, and a section devoted to all of my apartment projects that’s all color-coded and covered in stickers. It makes me feel all kinds of geeky. 🙂