MH@H Depression

Refreshing My Depression Organization System

ways of staying organized while blogging with depression

Sometimes, depression can cause busy mind that’s focused on the negative. I get slow mind. Slow mind gets confused and overwhelmed. I rely on my organization system to compensate for this, at least to some extent. As time goes by, though, the system gets overwhelmed, at which point it needs a refresh or a broader overhaul. This week, I made some major updates to my system so that it can continue helping my mind to function.

Some of the things that fall under the umbrella of my organization system are:

  • browser bookmarks
  • file folders on my computer
  • my blogging spreadsheet
  • Notes app, which contains various lists

Part of why the system gets overwhelmed is that I go back and fiddle with older posts to refresh and optimize them and create new graphics to pin on Pinterest. There are a lot of bits and pieces that I reuse, so I’ve got an ever-increasing number of image files.

Managing my browser bookmarks

Some things also get added into the system in a disorganized manner. If I find a new tool that’s useful, I’ll bookmark the site in the appropriate bookmark folder, but I won’t go in and alphabetize it. That’s not because I care about order for the sake of order.

I have a problem remembering that things exist if they’re not in front of me. Browser bookmarks are often less about needing to recall the URL, and more about just wanting to remember that the site exists. If they’re not alphabetized, then it takes more cognitive effort to find something, and I don’t have a lot of that to spare.

This week I did some tidying within my bookmark folders, alphabetizing, shortening labels, and weeding out sites I don’t use. The general structure remained the same, though.


I also did a lot of updating on the folders on my laptop. I don’t remember where to find things, and I get extra-overwhelmed when there are too many things in front of me. To compensate, I have very clear folder pathways so my head can follow along. I do this for blogging related item, books and book sale data, tax info, etc.

I was starting to feel quite overwhelmed, so I created a bunch of subfolders to diminish the overwhelm factor. That probably sounds like it makes things more complex, but the more complex structurally yet simplified in terms of pathways my system is, the less cognitive resources I need to put in to get to where I want to go.

Blogging spreadsheet

I have a blogging spreadsheet that contains lists of everything I’ve posted and when, as well as my idea farm. My idea farm had gotten too big and it was too hard to find things, so I cleaned that up. My post list chugs along quite nicely and helps me keep track of my scheduling.

A different page of my blogging spreadsheet is devoted to income. I have bits of income coming from several different sources, and at the beginning of every month I update my spreadsheet. My layout for that has always felt rather overwhelming, so I’ve reformatted that to see if it makes me less confused.


On my Notes app, I keep assorted lists, from a daily to do list to checklists that guide me through the steps of things like releasing a book. It’s a lot easier for me to enter information into Notes than to have to go elsewhere to retrieve information when I need it, so I’ve made note of things like book ISBN numbers or bits of html code that I might have to reuse but definitely wouldn’t remember.

Organization system = more functioning

Perhaps this sounds unnecessarily complicated or finicky, but it shifts the complexity away from my brain and onto my system. If I was doing nothing else at all online but blogging diary-style, I might manage without the support of an organizational system. But to handle various other things that I want to do, I need my system to keep going.

Do you have any systems that you’ve developed to help manage the effects of your illness?

book cover: Managing the Depression Puzzle, Second Edition, by Ashley L. Peterson

Managing the Depression Puzzle takes a holistic look at the different potential pieces that might fit into your unique depression puzzle. The revised and expanded 2nd edition is now available on Amazon.

For other books by Ashley L. Peterson, visit the Mental Health @ Home Books page.

30 thoughts on “Refreshing My Depression Organization System”

  1. I am, and always have been, a super organized person so nothing you have outlined here seems unusual to me – aside from the blogging organization aspect, since I have no need to organize my blogging, makes perfect sense to me. I earned my living organizing people/businesses and I always told prospective employers that I was super organized because I was the laziest person on the planet. Personally I love spread sheets, such a nifty way to keep information organized, available, searchable etc. As for bookmarks – you mean everyone doesn’t keep them in folders and alphabetized?

    1. Lol. Yeah, I was always pretty organized. What I’ve noticed most is that I’ve gone from organization as a preference to organization as a basic need.

  2. I have a little system for my blog, but not too much as not really my focus with it not being a business blog. But had it been a business blog, then yeah, I would have set up a system similar to yours.

    My organisation is my daily life, as I have blogged about in the past and it hasn’t changed since my last post I did on it.
    I still rely on my organiser and my monthly layout diary still works for me. I highlight it if it looks to busy, so it liiks broken down.

    If doing several things in one day, then a to do list is needed.

    The new thing in my life this year as you know is mum’s finances and so as I shared on my blog I created a system for that, in preparation when I become deputy. That system is all working out well for me since creating and I have not had to tweak it. So I am happy and confident with that.

      1. Yes. I have to keep records regarding mum and I may be doing more than I need. But I am watching my back, so if any questions via department I have to answer to when I become deputy and I have to refer back to a particular time frame, then I should be able to reel it off.
        But my system also came in handy while challenging care home.

  3. I kind of have a system. If I find a site that I want to use again instead of bookmarks I make shortcuts and add it to my desktop.
    Documents I do have a little more organisation with separate folders. Under the horoscope signs I am a Virgo. It says that we are or lean to being a perfectionist. I use to be like that but now I try to just go with the flow. For me being a perfectionist just added to my frustration, when I couldn’t accomplish it I always felt like a failure.
    Around me is notes, documents, etc., which I do need to sort through and do some filing or hit the trash can.

  4. I have a busy mind where I have too many ‘to do’ lists crammed in my brain which leads me to the same place … overwhelm. Then I shut down. My system is the same for my work and personal life (not my blog as I don’t really post much) : organisation, lists, subcategorisation, diary. It helps but I have to be careful not to give myself too many tasks because then my mood dips when I don’t feel I have achieved anything.

  5. More and more I rely on lists and reminders, but I think that’s a function of age. In my 20’s and younger, I could remember anything no matter my mood. Also, when I take sumatriptan (about 2x per week), i am much slower mentally

  6. Wowz!! Your level of organization is mindblowing!! I’m just dumbstruck by it. For me, getting organized involves finally closing open MS Word docs that I don’t need, and deciding whether to save them or discard them.

    Hmm…. for mental illness organization, I can’t think of any systems I have in place… I can relate to how you have to have something in your line of sight, or you’ll forget you have it. I totally have that issue. And I forget where everything is and become completely unorganized.

    When I got into woodworking, I couldn’t understand why there are so many magazines about organizing your shop. I was thinking, come on, I want to build furniture and remodel the house, you know? But now it makes sense. My basement shop is beyond disorganized. Now, at long last, I understand why they publish shop-organization magazines!! Huh. I should buy some!! 😮

  7. I’ve entered a new (to me) phase of depression this year. It showed up before August was quite over, and I have to take things a day at a time because I never know when I’ll wake up so fatigued and blue that I can’t function. I’ve managed to get out of bed every day at least, but finding motivation is proving tricky. I started a jigsaw puzzle and I have two more to finish that were started some time in the past, and that’s helping a little. Distraction? Maybe that’s what’s working for me right now. If I think about how badly I feel and how out of whack it all is right now, I’ll shut down. So staying distracted is my best defense. Your organization scheme sounds amazing!

  8. I have this too… “slow mind”… I’ve never use that term before but it’s perfect… perfectly frustrating! I use many of the tools you do to cope with it. However, I never realized that I was doing that to cope… strange. Your post help me realize a few things, maybe I need to be more purposeful in using those tools and that would help significantly.

  9. I’ve managed to build up some sort of a routine, but the ‘light version of the perfectionist one that was used in the past.
    I learned to also put things in front of me in order not to forget them. It’s very effective.
    I try to manage my energy and plan ahead but with various plans, a, b, c, d. And with every plan there is less energy required and there is always the option to opt out, meaning just rest. I’ve become flexibel in that way.

  10. That sounds like a good system! This is a good reminder to me to update my organizational systems haha. 🙂 Currently I mainly use a planner (on paper), and then I have a folder for self-care stuff (and other systems for other parts of my life, like school etc). But I think I need to reorganize the things in my room a bit because I’m going to be living here for at least the next few months, and my self care stuff is not organized in ways I’d actually use it. Like, I have things on my wall, but they’re not useful reminders/images at the moment, so I need to rotate them out or make new things. And keep my self soothe kit in an easily accessible location.
    So, thanks for the reminder to update my systems haha. It’s something I have to do regularly for things to work well, but it takes effort!

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