What did you do today, Haley?

I made the coolest budgeting spreadsheet I possibly could, and redid my Google Calendar for next semester! Because I’m pretty proud of my ability to budget my resources and thus far not die alone and penniless (Thanks, Jesus), I’d like to share about that.

My Google Drive is the greatest. For those of you who do not know, Google Drive is an online storage feature of Google that allows you to store and organize your files.

I have three main folders under my homepage. I do this for a reason; I like to keep it small to begin with and progressively accept more detail. My main folders are “College”, “Study Abroad”, and “Writing”.

Now, that makes sense to me. I had to think of slightly different organizational schemes to organize those things in ways that became palatable to my brain. Under College, I break it down into different facets of my life. I have “Budget”, “Career” and “Classes”. Under my Study Abroad folder, I have folders by function. That made sense to me, because I needed to find a lot of information quickly in a world that was translated out of Spanish, and my brain was already tired. It made sense to allow myself the opportunity to find my information fast. From “Packing” to pre-travel plans and goals I set for the semester (Courses I needed vs. Courses I had to take; goals I had for myself and a list of 70+ questions I wanted to try to answer (before and after to understand how I had changed), planning itineraries for my own purposes and the sake of planning a small trip to the Atacama Desert with some of my friends (I was the one who did most of the research), Budget’s for Study abroad and the semester I came home, etc. I wanted to be organized going into this, so I had enough money to come back home and not panic.

What surprised me most on Study Abroad was how few students had any idea of how much money they had brought with them. Srsly? Like, that is EXTREMELY dangerous, not just when you come home, but in general. If your Mastercard is linked to your checking account and a gypsy and the beach rips off your wallet or you get mugged walking around like a gringa, what the hell? My blonde hair is just a thing, so there is no way I wasn’t going to do my best to problem solve and then call it good. Now, only idiots are going to carry around large amounts of money, credit cards, and immigration documents on their person while traveling in Latin America if they can choose not too, which is why my study abroad program required our host families to provide us little locked boxes in our homes. But seriously? Working a student hourly job to raise all of what I brought, there’s no way in hell I was gonna keep any serious amount of money in one place or without some form of division. I kept a lot in my savings, and had it set up so that it would not draft over. But apart from that, frick. Money is hard to think about.

For my Writing folder, I have it broken down into periods of time. To see how I have evolved as a writer and common themes within my interests, that makes the most sense.

Before I start each semester, I like to make a sample semester schedule with things I would like to get involved with for sure, for maybe, or things I’d just like to try out. I track how much I pay for my textbooks by semester and how so I can find them cheaply. I track my academic progress and design goals for myself within the things I’d like to learn.

Within my “Career” sub-folder, under “College”, I have “Personal Statements”, “Reference Letters”, “Resume Reincarnations”, “Informational Interviews”, “Graduate School”, “Scholarship Applications”, “On teaching”, and a spreadsheet about Internships I had been considering for next summer.

Now, I organize all of that by the person who wrote it (in terms of references), time (in terms of my resume evolving over time), and their various components. I have since decided not to go to Graduate School, but spreadsheets help me to outline different factors and consider my decisions deeply before I make them. In my room, I have a collection of business cards I have collected and would actually consider using, all of my assignments that mattered organized in file folders by semester, all of the books I cared to keep (including those in Spanish), school supplies, and many textbooks.

I design systems to organize things based on how I know I think and what works for me. As a result, I decorate my room with my favorite things, and I especially love to use Expo markers on my mirror. The clear container I use to store my makeup is one of my favorite things. Basically, I get great satisfaction at having the things I need (and others need) in quickly accessible means of use. It makes me happy to be able to design my own solutions and change my perspective through simplifying how I think and what I want to achieve. Now, that requires some pre-planning, but it helps me enjoy things. One of the smartest things I have done since I started college was to make a spreadsheet of every assignment for my entire last semester by date and class, and set it as one of my preferred pages that open every time I open my Google Chrome browser. Basically, I love these things because they give me more time to focus on what I love, which is usually other people.

The way I procrastinate is not truly procrastination. I like to sort things by necessity, hierarchy, interest, and what I can bear to invest time in. I love many things, so I like to spend most of my time in things that give me the most joy. That makes sense to me.

I like structure, but I am growing healthy enough to still be happy when I completely abandon it. That is health to me; to be able to rely on yourself (and for me, God) for your own choices and attitude. It helps me move forward.

I like having these systems, because it helps me assign value to what I do. I see meaning in tons of things, so being able to section off how I view certain parts of the world that stay constant in an aware way makes sense to me. If I care about something and it doesn’t change, it helps me to maintain my awareness of that and factor it in to what I love so that I can do my best to live better. It’s all a work in progress, so I am happy where I’m at. To me, that is success.

People always stigmatize having a lot of structure as having “OCD”. That is not the truth. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mentally crippling and daunting condition where people cannot physically rid themselves of negative thought cycles or behaviors, and it controls their lives. This is reclaiming control in the name of the love that ties it all together. It is extremely healthy.

Ehh, that’s all I have to share about that as of now! I hope that if you need to change the way you think or organize something in your life, you realize that a) You are the best person to design how to change your life and b) You can certainly achieve whatever you’d like if you accept wanting to make a change for the better. Don’t let others tell you how to run your life if you could do it better. Odds are with some practice, it will come easily. The hardest part is just doing it.

That you would find peace in the ways you think and see the world,



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I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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