If you’re a prepared and organized person, you can get more done in less time. Organization and time management will save you a lot of extra work and stress later. Most things are much easier to manage when they’re done in advance. That’s why we all need to be a little more organized.
Find a Planner That Suits You, and Use It!
Organized people have a system to keep track of your schedule and daily tasks. This may sound a little obvious, but it’s important that you don’t neglect this important step. If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried more than one digital organizer.
The Point Is That: Organization Takes Some Time to Figure Out Which Method Works Best for You
For example, I’m a big fan of simplicity. Google or Outlook calendars have everything you need, from recurring appointments with customizable labels to reminders. I also find that a sticky note can be helpful from time to time to remind yourself of an important thing not to miss, such as important dates, critical tasks, assignment deadlines, a family member’s birthday, etc.
Keep Important Documents in One Place
When it comes to important documents like your birth certificate, passport, and insurance cards, it’s important to keep them all in one place. If you have a lot of paperwork, you should get a large binder or folder to keep them in, or use drawer dividers.
Make Sure All Your Bills Are Paid on Time
Set up automatic bill payments and use an expense tracker so you don’t put yourself in an economic crisis situation that could lead to anxiety and distractions that would prevent you from achieving your goals.
If you have kids, make sure everything you spend for their school year is recorded in your expense tracker, and even more so when they’re in high school or college, the older they get and the more you’ve to spend (e.g., clothing, driver’s license, electronics, etc.).
Set up reminders for any important events or tasks (including paying bills). You can set up these reminders either in a digital calendar, such as your Calendar and reminder apps, or in a traditional paper calendar if technology is not good for your stress levels.
When you set up these reminders, make sure you give yourself enough time beforehand so you don’t have to get everything done at the last minute.
Make Sure You Have All the Items on Your Shopping List
Take the time to make a shopping list before you go to the store. To make a complete shopping list, read through your recipes and write down all the ingredients you need. When you write your list, try to organize it by where you find each ingredient at the store.
It’s a good idea to keep your grocery list in your kitchen drawer so you don’t have to spend a 30-minute window looking for it.
Keep things neat. You could use that 30-minute window for an emergency instead, in case something comes up. Time is precious and it’s amazing how much time we spend looking for things.
Reduce the Amount of Time You Spend on Social Media or Set Aside a Specific Time for It
Social media can be useful for many things, but mostly it creates distractions, especially if you spend a lot of time commenting on your friends’ photos. Also, keep in mind that the more comments you post on people’s photos, the more reactions you’ll get, which in turn means spending more time on social media.
Keep Your Inbox Organized
Create a system to keep order in your inbox: If you’re constantly looking for certain types of emails in the clutter, create a folder for those items! Some people like to use color codes or labels – do what works best for you.
Bins exist for a reason, whether it’s your inbox bins or paper bins. Don’t try to keep everything, especially what you’ll never need again.
Unsubscribe From Junk Mail
Unsubscribing from junk mail should be one of the first steps for any budding organizer. Junk emails and spam can be a big drain on your time and mental energy. They also distract you from important tasks, like checking bills and making sure you don’t miss payments. That’s why I always recommend using an online service to unsubscribe from junk mail.
It’s simple. You don’t need to know how to program (although it helps). Pick an unsubscribe service that’s a good fit for you, upload your mails, and let the program do its work.
It’s very simple. You don’t have to take the time or go anywhere to unsubscribe from junk mail – you just need a computer and an Internet connection.
Make this part of your morning routine: get up early, sit down at your kitchen table with a hot cup of coffee or tea, and let the computer do its work! Sign-off services make short work of what would otherwise be a tedious task (by hand!), while you sit back and relax while they do the work for you.
Throw Away Anything Old That You No Longer Need
You can get rid of a lot of things that are taking up space in your life if you think about how useful they’ll be to you in the future. Think about what you need, and get rid of anything you don’t need or that doesn’t improve your life in some way. If it’s just taking up space, it should go.
Organize Your Closet
Organizing your closet will reduce stress levels in your everyday life. Many people don’t spend a lot of time doing this because they think it takes too much time to review all of their closet organization. But if you think about it, how much time have you spent over the years looking for the right clothes for the right occasion?
Review Your Time Management Style
If you review your time management on a regular basis (e.g., quarterly), you may find that some things aren’t as important as you thought or can be done more quickly.
For example, you might find that you’re always having dinner on the wrong day with a family member and that by changing your day, you’ll need fewer distractions for what you really need to do. What may be a big change for you may only be a small change for your family member.
Another example: you may find that you never successfully complete some critical tasks in your leadership (if you’re in a leadership position) because you never delegate anything to other employees, and by reviewing how you handle your own time management, you may even improve your leadership style!
Learn to Delegate at Home, Too
If your kids are in high school or college, I’m sure they can help you with some simple tasks, like organizing your drawer dividers or finding a useful tool like the right expense planner (young people are great with technology and they might think of a tip you never thought of!).
Getting your kids involved not only helps you, but teaches them to be organized people, and while you’re all busy, you can all learn more about your family members!
Avoid Multitasking if Possible
Multitasking is never a good idea unless you’ve to. First, it doesn’t prove you have talent, and second, it affects the entire organization of your day. Organized people tend to avoid multitasking when they can, and learn to say “NO” above all else.
Create a Daily Routine for Yourself and Stick to It!
You’ll be amazed at how much time it’ll save you!
You may be asking yourself, “Okay, but what exactly do I need to consider in my daily routine?” The answer is that it’s up to you. The point of a routine is to find something that works for you and then repeat it over and over so you can live your best life. With that in mind, here are some things you can incorporate into your daily routine:
- Journal – Perhaps the most important thing you can do each day is to get real with yourself. By keeping a journal every morning and evening, you can determine how well your routine is meeting your needs and adjust it accordingly.
- Meditation – In this day and age, we’re all stressed out by the constant barrage of information from news sources. Taking ten minutes each day to meditate may be just what you need to get back on track mentally.
- Exercise – Exercise releases endorphins in your brain that not only improve your mood but also help your heart! Even if it’s just a short walk around the block or 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer at the gym – exercise is important for both physical and mental health.
There Are Some Simple Steps You Can Take to Be More Organized and Prepared
Being organized and prepared starts with keeping yourself busy with an overwhelming number of things. The first thing you should do is get the box out of the way, whether it’s the box of junk in the corner of your room or the huge pile of clutter on your desk. Then take a deep breath, close your eyes, and mentally list all the things you need to do right now (if you’re not sure what to do next, read here).
Second, think carefully about how much time you need for each task.
Don’t procrastinate! If you’re struggling with a task, you should overestimate how much time you’ll need to spend on it so it doesn’t go unfinished. This can also prevent perfectionism from taking over – you don’t want to spend three hours trying to find the perfect font for an essay!
The third option is to ask others for help when needed. This may seem embarrassing at first, but it’s better than being unprepared and failing at an assignment because you didn’t ask for help when you needed it.
Remember that failure happens sometimes too and no one is born a professional organizer – it’s normal and part of learning. So don’t let a failed assignment discourage you from doing well in school!
Last but not least: Remember not to give up when something seems difficult or impossible, because there are many ways to get around any obstacle that comes our way.