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2024 Alex Marshall

my work

Portfolio

This website

About

Pantry

2024

Alex Marshall

20 Dec 2023

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Time to read:

2 mins

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Life

Next year I’ll be organised with gift giving

I say this every year. Days before Christmas, as I’m frantically racing around town looking for last minute gifts because I’ve missed out on the 'before-Christmas' online delivery windows. "Next year I’m going to be organised" I optimistically tell myself, whilst simultaneously not putting any changes in place.

Well this year I have finally put some changes in place and set up a sort of workflow that’ll hopefully help me be organised with gift giving in 2024 and beyond

The setup

One of the most useful apps I’ve found recently is Anybox - it’s just a place to dump links, notes, photos and files that I might need to access in the future - very handy if you’ve got an easily-distracted brain like me

Items can be tagged, and tags can be nested, so I’ve set up a # gift-ideas tag and then a nested tag for each friend and family member that I’ll need to buy gifts for. Going forward, as I find things that I think someone might like, or as someone mentions something in passing, I can store a link and start to build a list of potential gifts for them


Screenshot of the Anybox app showing my gift-ideas folder with nested tags for each of my friends and family. I've added a couple of links to Lego products and tagged them accordingly

Most of my family like Lego which does make finding gifts quite a bit easier

In Things 3 I’ve then set up a project called 'Birthdays & celebrations' and created to-dos for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas etc. These to-dos are obviously set to repeat every year, and have a deadline 14 days before their due date, giving me a two week heads up that I need to sort out a gift soon. Tags in Anybox have deeplinks which I’ve copied into the Notes section of each to-do so that when the to-do pops into my Today list, I can quickly have a look at what I might want to buy

The final piece of this puzzle was the finance side. I like to budget and set aside money for purchases that I know are coming up, so I created a quick cash flow in Numbers. I figured out how many gifts I’d need to buy each month, and how much I’d like to spend per gift. I then chose an amount to set aside each month and looked at how the cashflow played out over the year. I tweaked the 'saving' value until the cash flow was positive almost every month. It’s unlikely that I’ll spend exactly the same on every gift, so there’s a bit of flexibility in the budget anyway


Screenshot of a cashflow table in Numbers with rows for each month of the year, and columns for number of gifts, saving, spending and balance carried forward

I set up a recurring deposit into a Gifts pot in Monzo and then added a virtual card to that pot (Monzo Plus required). Now whenever a birthday to-do appears in my Today list, I know that I’ve got two weeks to get a card and a present, I’ve already got a list of potential gifts for that person, and I know that I’ve got money set aside specifically for that

I’m hoping this will be enough for me to stay on top of things next year, but do keep your eye out for a follow-up "It didn’t work, I’m still disorganised" post this time next year

Alex

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