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9 Top Secrets of Naturally Born Organizers

9 Top Secrets of Naturally Born Organizers

No doubt about it, some people have a gift for organization. Me? I was behind the door when that gift was handed out. Be that as it may, even the organization-challenged can learn new habits and organizational skills for a greater degree of order and efficiency. While home organization comes to mind, organizational skills for college students are also a necessity. What are nine organizational skills?

One very popular system for improving organization in the home is that of “Messies Anonymous,” founded by Sandra Felton. Felton was once a disorganized “Messie.” She rated her friends on a scale of 1 to 10 according to how neat their homes were, then grilled the 9’s to find their tips. (She found that the 10’s were so extreme they had traded off some of the joy of living for the sake of a clean home!)

Marla Cilley, author of Sink Reflections has helped many homemakers overcome disorganized habits, too. She refers to people as either “BO’s” (born organized), or “SHE’s” (sidetracked home executives.) SHE’s exhibit some of the characteristics of people who have been diagnosed with adult ADHD. These people feel on the go constantly and avoid routine tasks. They have a hard time finishing projects, too. Even a person with ADHD can learn the techniques of the naturally organized, and become more organized themselves.

1. Do it now. Procrastination leads to getting snowed under a pile of work.

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2. Use your trash can liberally. Born organized people don’t think twice about throwing things away. They aren’t tempted to keep old worn out appliances around “just in case.” They don’t worry about whether they can recycle that mayonnaise jar or not. They just toss things.

3. Get into a routine. B.O.’s don’t wait for time to clean the whole bathroom. They wipe off the sink every time they notice it’s splashed. They shine the mirror every day while brushing their teeth. They run sudsy water to use while cooking, so stirring spoons and saute pans are washed before the meal even goes on the table.

4. Put it where it goes. Disorganized people tend to stash things until they can figure out a better place for it or decide whether to even keep it or not. B.O.’s go ahead and toss it, file it, or otherwise deal with it before it becomes clutter.

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5. Write dates on your calendar, and then remember to check the calendar every day. B.O.’s don’t have to be told.

6. Pick up after yourself. (How embarrassing that we adults need to be reminded to do this!) Periodically look around for things you’ve left out of place – a used coffee cup, the mail, or a book you’re reading. Put them away before the mess gets out of hand.

7. Invest in organizing gadgets and then use them. Office organization is one area that benefits from file drawers, in/out boxes, and desk organizers. However, if the system is unrealistic or unhandy, you won’t use it.

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8. Don’t be afraid of a little expenditure of energy. Many times the small tasks of putting things away and keeping things clean take much less time and energy than we think they will. I find that if I push myself a bit, these tasks are much simpler done more frequently, while the job is still small.

9. Get yourself a daily planner, and use it. Cilley points out that B.O.’s don’t have to be told how to use a calendar or a planner, but on her website, she gives directions for gaining these organizational skills. Her directions for creating a “control journal” in effect fix readers up with free organizing planners.

Anyone, whether naturally inclined to organization or not, can benefit from implementing these suggestions. For those of us who struggle with disorganization, a few simple tips like these can give us a real boost in efficiency.

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Barbara Wood is a writer and educator living with her family in the Missouri Ozarks.

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Last Updated on July 27, 2020

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

Here’s How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

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These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

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You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks

9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

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When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

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When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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