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12 Habits of Perfectly Organized People

12 Habits of Perfectly Organized People
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It’s true what they say: clutter breeds clutter. There are so many of us who dream of running a less chaotic household or struggle to remember what our office desk looks like. We crave order, yet at the same time resist due to the negative connotations attached to being perfectly organized.

There are many who believe being perfectly organized is like believing in unicorns: it’s just not going to happen. There are also misconceptions that being “organized” means being a control freak or a neat freak. That if you prefer to organize the food in your fridge a specific way, you’re not being efficient, you’re being OCD. That you’re not truly enjoying your life because you’re focusing on mundane details you “shouldn’t” consider important.

I’m here to say that’s a huge pile of crap! As someone who’s gone from chaotic and spontaneous to organized and efficient, there are so many benefits to the latter this topic could be turned into a self-help book. The top three benefits of being perfectly organized are:

  • Not being in a permanent state of “catch-up” decreases your stress level by 10,000 percent and increases your self-esteem by the same amount.
  • You’re able to work less and accomplish more.
  • You always know where your keys are!

By being perfectly organized, you’re respecting your most valuable commodity: time. It helps you accomplish all you set out to, both professionally and personally. It gives you the freedom to be exactly who you are and live a life of minimal stress, not to mention how much more enjoyable the present moment becomes.

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If you’d like to feel this way too, here are 12 habits of perfectly organized people I’ve observed, read about, and am currently attempting to execute:

1. They know who they want to be.

Perfectly organized people have an exact definition of how they want their life to be – from how they want their home to look, to how they want to dress, to how they spend their time – which makes it a lot easier to set goals and feel a sense of accomplishment.

2. They know how to say, “No.”

Because they know exactly what they want, it’s easier for them to say, “No”: when they’re offered a work project or invited to a social gathering that doesn’t advance their lifestyle in some way, they’re able to decline with confidence and aren’t easily swayed by societal pressure.

3. They’re mindful shoppers.

Just because something’s on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Perfectly organized people always ask themselves, “Do I really need this?” before every purchase. Not only does this help keep your budget intact, it pushes you away from using instant gratification as a tool to cope with rough patches.

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4. They’ve let go of their perfectionism.

If you try to do everything perfectly, it goes without saying you’ll feel like a constant disappointment. Perfectly organized people channel their perfectionist tendencies into their most important tasks – work assignments, remodeling their home, exercising – and with tasks that aren’t a priority, they do what they have to do to get the job done.

5. They don’t believe in labeling anything “miscellaneous.”

Though they don’t have much to store due to their minimalist nature, when perfectly organized people do store items, they specifically label and index where everything can be found. Their bills are specifically filed, and their Christmas decorations are specifically cataloged.

6. They separate emotions from possessions.

They don’t attach sentimental value to everything they own. For example, I still have my three favorite stuffed animals from when I was a kid, but not my entire collection. (I’m a big kid now!)

7. What they don’t need, they don’t own.

They don’t buy anything until they know it’s something they’re going to use right away or in the near future. From personal experience, there’s no worse feeling than cleaning an item more than you enjoy it. Trust me, you won’t miss the dusting. At all.

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8. They clean as they go.

Instead of waiting for the dishes to pile or the recycling to take itself out, the perfectly organized carve out chunks of time to maintain their lifestyle. This might sound like a drag, but there’s no better feeling than having time off, and not having to spend it running errands or cleaning, since they’re already taken care of.

9. They understand the power of one.

One checking account. One savings account. One credit card. One email address. Perfectly organized people understand that consolidation and simplicity equals more freedom.

10. When it comes to planning, they’re all about the details.

Perfectly organized people don’t just plan in advance: they plan way in advance, and they plan in detail. Sure, their to-do lists look like scrolls, but it’s only because they’ve broken down each of their tasks into manageable mini-tasks. Not only does this make each goal less overwhelming, it also helps you foresee any potential conflicts that could get in the way of your end result. BAM!

11. They don’t procrastinate.

Because of how much respect they have for their time, perfectly organized people don’t procrastinate, and they have no reason to: because of their maintain-as-they-go, to-do-list-Zorroing way of life, there’s no need to.

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12. They believe in quality over quantity.

To perfectly organized people, quantity equals clutter. They’d rather be surrounded by a minimal amount of items, all of which they use, enjoy, and actually have time to take care of properly. Professionally, they’d rather streamline their focus into a specialty where they can thrive, instead of working in more than one area and completing mediocre work.

Do you strive to be perfectly organized? Why, or why not?

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Krissy Brady

A women's health & wellness writer with a short-term goal to leave women feeling a little more empowered and a little less verklempt.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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