Sep 15, 2017
Cari Nakanishi and the Road to Organization
As the owner of her own small business, Miemiko, a charming gift boutique in Ward Centre, Cari Nakanishi knows all too well how difficult it can be to find a peaceful medium between your business and your personal life. Between never-ending to-do lists and ever-evolving schedules, it can be easy to find yourself overwhelmed.
Cari has found an approach that helps calm the storm and organize the demands of modern life. In the interview, below, she discusses her process of finding work-life balance and how she was able to overcome challenges with the help of organizational tools and her trusty notebook.
Let's talk about getting organized. Running your own successful small business and balancing a personal life can't be easy. But the truth is that while staying organized isn't easy, the end result is hopefully, you'll stay on track, get more done, and avoid stress down the line. But life always has a way of throwing a curveball and laying waste to even the best laid plans.
Yeah, I would agree with that. I believe staying on track and getting organized is a process and it can be different for everyone. Personally, it's been a process for me. Between running a small business and keeping a personal life, it can be crazy. But lately, I feel like I've been making a lot of progress on staying organized and I attribute a lot of it to detailed planning. An organizational / planning system that works for one person might not work for everyone and you're right, there's always going to be things that occur that you can't plan for. But, if you've taken care of the things you CAN plan for, it makes it much easier to enjoy the rest of your life.
You mentioned that creating a planning or organizational system to keep you on track can be different for everyone. Can you expand on that?
Sure. When someone comes into Miemiko and is looking for a planner, the first thing I ask them is "How do you like to plan?" because I think it can be really subjective. People have different ways of processing information. One system, like a paper planner or journal, might work better for one person while an app on a smartphone could work better for someone else.
What's your experience been like?
I've tried only using apps on my phone to stay organized, but it didn't completely work for me. I like being able to write on paper. However, carrying around a heavy journal or daily planner in your bag every day can be cumbersome compared to your phone, but I've actually developed a system that uses both. I keep my calendar and schedule in my phone via an app called Calendar 5. I also use it to keep my employee's schedules, doctor's appointments, lunch with friends, etc. I love to plan out my creative projects and goals for the week on paper. I like to use a minimalist planner, not something too regimented. I like to tell my planner what to do, not the other way around. There are a ton of cute planners out there, but I really appreciate a clean, simple version that allows me the freedom to plan out my daily schedule as well as bigger ideas. Also, if I'm having an extra-busy day and need to jot a reminder down, I think the Teux Do app or Google Keep app are both great tools to help you navigate the little deadlines that pop-up throughout the day.
I understand you've also developed your own system that you use for detailing meetings you have with clients.
Yes, I have. There was a point where I really took a detailed look at how I like to process information when I meet with clients for projects. I found a lot of notebooks were limited, and for me, the more freedom I had on paper the better, so I created my own planner and system using blank-page art books. Having open space allowed me to compartmentalize my thoughts. For me, that system works well and we now have it available to our customers in the store.
Was there a moment in your life that made you rethink your best practices to staying organized?
There's always going to be a certain amount of craziness in life, but recently, I moved and I found myself taking stock of just how much "stuff" I had. There was a moment where I was in my home looking at all of these boxes spread across my entire floor. I remember asking myself, "Do I really need all this stuff?" Moving can be an undertaking under the best circumstances, but it gave me a realization that I need to edit down the "things" in my life.
I'm a firm believer in Marie Kondo, an organizational master who wrote the book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing," and created the
Kondo method. Essentially, you take a fresh look at your "things" and ask yourself, "Does this bring joy to my life?" If it does, keep it. If not, then don't. It's a very simple method and I've found it to be really effective. I would definitely recommend picking up her book.
Between finding the calendar system that works best for you and utilizing both a paper journal and organizational apps on your smartphone, it sounds like you're on a solid path to staying completely organized. I think anyone looking to tighten up their days could take a nod from your approach.
[Laughs.] Well, it has definitely been a journey for me and I'm not an expert, but I feel like once these elements fall into place and you've created a personal system to keep you on track, it can only help.
THE PERFECT DESK (LOOK ONE: COLOR POW!)
BIG BAD WOLF:
USPS Replica Dropbox; Book: "Live Life Sunny Side Up" BOOK: Sketchbook // Zach Johnson
EDEN IN LOVE:
Bone-shaped Jewelry Holder; Golden Lucite Tape Dispenser; Owl Trinket Dish; Ruler Pencil; Heart Trinket Dish; Paw Bottle Opener; Antique Scissors; Eden Assorted Pens
Posca Paint Pens; MT Masking Tape Assorted; Iwako Puzzle Eraser; Camera Pencil Sharpener; Maruman Sketchbook; Lihit Lab File Sleeve; Tepra Washi Tape Labeler; Twist Note Notebook
HONOLULU CHOCOLATE CO.:
Double-Dipped Dark/White Chocolate Cherry
Swell Bottle Mini
Kay Bojensen Hippo Pen Holder; Cubebot, Assorted Colors
Ohto Pencil Ball Pen
MORI BY ART+FLEA:
Wawe Studio, Benny Mini Vase; Chris Butzer, Chainsaw Cat Print; Retrospect Design, Dodecahedron, Wooden Box
Salted Chocolate Cookie
Moto Inspiration Books,Assorted; Glass Mason Voltive, Meri Meri Jelly Notebook, Meri Meri Rainbow Canvas Pouch
Cute Banana Pen, Assorted Pens
THE PERFECT DESK (LOOK TWO: SPACE TO DREAM)
BIG ISLAND DELIGHTS:
EDEN IN LOVE:
Stamped Plate; Round Ceramic Honey Cup; Pattern Trinket Dish; Jewelry Shelf w/ Bird; Mini Feather Dish Make It Happen Double Journal; "Living w/ Pattern" by Rebecca Atwood; Workshop 28, Coaster
Island Succulent Design, Round Planter; Chilewich, Wave Table Mat in Grey; KH Studio, Seven Lemongrass Lotion Cake; Steve Martin, Small Ceramic Charger, Celadon; Xen Design Inc, Handblown Glass, Rare Earth Series; Anuenue Tea, Loose Leaf in Citrus Paradise
Mitsubishi Pencils, Assorted; Kokuyo Stapleless Stapler; Washi Tape + Dispenser; Mono Sand/Rubber Eraser; Travelers Notebook, Weekly Diary, Passport size
Handmade Little Fox by Julia Chu Kay; Bojesen Handmade Birds MIEMIKO:
Signo Pens, Assorted; Moments Planner Wax Stamp + Wax Stick; Mitsuyobi Petite Asanoha + Letter Grid NOTOPAD; Mitsuyōbi Petite + Letter Clipboard; Momo Terrascapes Succulent; Vintage Find: Black Fish Handcarved Ink Stone, Jade; Vintage Find: Cloisonne Trinket Dish
MORI BY ART +FLEA:
Paper Bag Vintage Giant Safety Pin; MYTE, Shaka Pin Set
Raffia Box Marble Swirl Box Globe Paperweight
Wood+Turquoise Handmade Knotted Mala; Tumbled/Rough Stone - Apophyllite; Tumbled/Rough Stone - Celestite; Aloha Elixir Crystal Clear Candle Tin
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