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12 Ways To Be A Highly Effective Organizer

12 Ways To Be A Highly Effective Organizer

Are you looking to become more organized in your life?

Tired of seeing clutter and chaos at home and at the office?

Whether you’re looking to overhaul your schedule, find better ways of storing your belongings or are just interested in keeping your desk a little bit tidier, these 11 tips will help you become a more organized person.

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1. Create a to-do list.

To-do lists often get a bad rap as a collection of tasks that will never get done. Don’t believe the hype! To-do lists can be extremely helpful in getting your tasks organized. The key is to not fall into the trap of simply generating longer and longer lists of things you should do without taking action. Contain your list-making efforts by only writing down what must be done for a single day, versus a longer period of time, such as a week or month. Try keeping the number of items on your list in the range of 3-5 tasks or to-dos. Not only will your lists be shorter and easier to read; you’ll be able to complete the tasks you set out to accomplish!

2. Find places for things.

You can help keep your belongings in order by creating a place or “home” for items. When you create specific locations to keep or store items, you’ll know exactly where to place items when you are finished using them and will be able to easily locate items when you need them. Begin your organization efforts by finding a home for those particular items that seem to “float” about your home or office. This could be an everyday item such as your purse or bag when it is not in use, to a surplus of household paper goods purchased from a big box store, to finally finding an off-season home for your snowshoes.

3. Get rid of clutter.

Clutter comes in many different forms, from obvious trash, to items you don’t use any more, to things you currently use that are simply sitting in the wrong area of your home or office. Make a call to arms against clutter in your home or office by doing any or all of the following: disposing of any obvious trash and recycling materials, purging your space of items that are broken or no longer serve a function in your life, putting items back where they belong and processing papers, including postal mail, files and other administrative ephemera in your living or work space.

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4. Take care of small tasks right away.

Instead of sitting on small and easy-to-accomplish tasks, take care of them as soon as possible. The longer you wait to complete a task, the harder it will be to get the momentum to sit down and take care of the item. Plus, you often run the risk of forgetting about or not attending to the item in the first place! If a task that can be completed in less than three minutes comes your way, just take care of it. Put away that book back into the bookcase when you are finished using it, respond to the work email that requires a simple yes or no answer and call to make your RSVP to a party you’d like to attend. It really is just as easy as that.

5. Keep a schedule.

Do you follow or keep a regular routine or schedule? Keeping a schedule helps you to better organize and define your time. You can start a schedule in your computer’s calendar, use a tool such as Google Calendar, or use a good old-fashioned paper planner. Try planning out your regular work and meetings hours for starters, followed by your personal appointments, social activities, exercise sessions, household chores and more. Are you already well versed in your scheduling ways? Why not write up and plan out a specific schedule or plan of action for a project you’ve been meaning to finish?

6. Create small goals.

The benefit in creating small goals for yourself is that you can clearly see your efforts pay off in a relatively short amount of time. Do you want to be tidier at the office? You could make a daily goal to put away all your paper files at the end of the day or wash your coffee mug and place it back on your desk. At home you might work to keep a certain part of your kitchen counter clutter-free or decide to simply make your bed after you awake in the morning. The smallest of actions really do add up quickly over time, especially when it comes to keeping things tidy and in order.

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7. Set priorities.

Priorities are where you specifically want to focus your time and energy at a given point in time. Always rushing around and not being focused in your intent and actions can make you feel drained, tired—and you guessed it—disorganized. Take a moment to set some priorities for yourself. What are the top priorities in your life right here, right now at this very moment? You priorities can apply to both larger life goals as well as smaller every day tasks. What items come before all others? If things are looking a bit confusing, try creating a short list to compare items against one another.

8. Have a positive attitude.

Contrary to popular belief, a person doesn’t just become more organized overnight. It requires a lot of hard work, patience and diligence to get better at the skill of organization. Even people who are relatively well organized constantly create and/or find new ways of being organized! It’s all a learning process, and a positive attitude can work wonders. Be patient with yourself as you become more and more organized and don’t compare your progress to anyone else’s but your own. Work at the speed that is comfortable for you. Each step you take is a step in the right direction in your quest to become a more organized person.

9. Wisely use your time.

How do you use your time each and every day? Do you spend it working on things that don’t really matter to you and your goals, or do you spend too much of it only playing instead of working or vice versa? If you’re not sure as to how you spend your time on a regular basis, consider keeping a time log of all the different activities you do on any given day. Take a look at your notes and consider how you might readjust how you are spending your time. Trying to get that dream job application out the door this week? It might be time to log off of Google+ for a while and focus on the task at hand.

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10. Work with your personality.

Think being organized means having a filing system for your bills that goes from A to Z? This isn’t necessarily so. Organization comes in all different shapes and forms. You might like to file items from A to Z, while someone else likes to file items from Z to A, while still someone else likes to file their bills by their due dates. Refrain from thinking that one way of organizing something is the only way it can be done. The true test of organization is being able to find and make use of what you have on a regular basis.

11. Create a simple system.

Being organized often means having a system for doing regular or recurring work. Where might you be able to create or polish a system in your life? Consider all the different repetitive tasks you do on a regular basis. Think about how you might be able to create a system when you perform these regular tasks. For example, you could create a system to store, label and file items from your kitchen spices or create a system to store tax files in your desk drawer.

12. Save similar information in a single location.

If you were going to look for your friend’s phone number or mailing address, would you look in your time sheet program at work? Of course not! You’d probably look in the address book on your computer or phone. Part of being organized is having information readily available to you when you need it at the right place. Try keeping similar information in the same place or a centralized location. You could capture writing ideas in a single notebook, plans for an upcoming product launch in a productivity planning app or store new recipe ideas on a single board in Pinterest.

Which of the above items are you going to try out to become a more organized person? Leave a comment below.

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Rashelle Isip

Blogger, Consultant, and Author

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

The end of the year is the time when everyone tries to give you advice on how to live healthier, look better, and earn more money.

It’s understandable if you find yourself lost among all the tips and opinions. Sometimes you no longer know what you truly want to achieve next year – and what’s just imposed by society.

To help you out, we’ve made this article about the things you should remove from your new year’s resolution list – instead of adding to it – to make your daily life more harmonious and peaceful.

So just make sure you cross these off your New Year’s to-do list – your body, mind and soul will be thankful.

1. Stop Buying Meaningless Gifts

We all know the sense of obligation – when we have to buy a gift for an event or celebration that’s already tomorrow, but we still have no idea of what to give.

Take these tips close to heart for all upcoming holidays, including birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc.:

Stop focusing on the material objects

Instead of focusing on what material object to give, think about the emotion you want to evoke[1] in the gift recipient, and then pick a symbolic gift that can support or represent that emotion. For example, you can gift coziness by presenting a “comfort set” with warm socks, tea, candles, etc. Or give motivation by presenting a beautiful planner or notebook.

Plan gifts in advance

We know this is easier said than done. But if you try to plan which gifts you’ll need in the upcoming months (try making a list three or four times a year), ideas will more likely come to mind and you’ll avoid that last-minute shopping. Not to mention, you’ll be able to keep an eye on sales to get the best prices.

Suggest a better way

If you’re tired of exchanging gifts for birthdays and holidays, initiate a different approach. For example, draw names among family members and agree that each one only buys a present to that one person they got. Alternatively, you can agree not to share gifts among adults, and only give presents to kids of the family. Or, ask friends to donate to charity instead of buying a gift for you.

Go for common experiences instead of exchanging gifts

You can agree (with your partner or the extended family) to go on a common trip, dinner or another activity, instead of spending money on gifts.

Sometimes you’ll have to be the one who initiates breaking the rules that have been accepted in the family for years. But if you suspect that you’re not the only one in the group who’s tired of gift-hunting, you’ll surely find support for your suggestions.

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2. Don’t Exaggerate with Diets and Fitness Resolutions

It’s no secret that TV shows, article headlines, and ads (not to mention our healthy diet-obsessed friends) make us feel like we need to look better, slimmer and younger than we actually are. But going on yet another diet or starting a fitness plan with the wrong motivation rarely leads to great results.

If you are like many people, you have probably signed up for an annual gym membership at least once in your life – only to drop it one month later.

How do you balance a good resolution for a healthier life without pushing yourself into commitments that won’t last?

Here’s what you can do:

Set a healthier pattern

For example, do meat-free Mondays or reduce meat consumption to three days per week (less saturated fat for you and better for the environment). Or choose to eat only healthy food at least three days a week or only on weekdays (e.g. make sure your meals contain vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products, and protein). This way you’ll already have a healthier diet while still being able to treat yourself with a snack on weekends or parties.

Get a fitness watch

Fitness watches like Fitbit or MiBand are tiny accessories that will count your steps, calories burnt and will serve as an excellent motivator to move – or to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Find a physical activity that you enjoy

Even if you are not that fond of doing sports, you can definitely find an activity that you’d do with pleasure. Think about what you’d like – from taking up Nordic walking to pilates or even exercising at home.

Try intermittent fasting

This is an alternating cycles of fasting and eating. For example, stop eating at 8 pm and restart not sooner than 12 hours later. This approach has been proven to have numerous health benefits, in addition to weight loss.

Skip cabs or driving to work and opt for cycling or walking instead

You’ll burn calories, breathe some fresh air, and save money – win-win!

3. Put a Cap on Your Daily To-Do List

In today’s busy world, planning your day in a stress-free way is actually an art in itself. It’s natural to want to be a loving parent, a diligent employee, an active member of the local community and probably several other individual roles.

But playing all these roles requires energy and meticulous planning. How not to lose yourself amidst all the appointments and responsibilities? And – most importantly – how to still find time for relaxing and recharging yourself?

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These daily planning tips will help you have more stress-free days:

Leave bigger intervals between meetings

If you schedule too many appointments or chores in a day, you’ll probably end up late at some point, and as a result – more stressed. There are many different reasons why people are late, but poor planning is a major factor too.

Plan time to relax

As weird as it may sound, you should try and schedule your resting time. For example, if you only have one free evening this week, and a friend tries to squeeze in a meeting, feel free to say no. Don’t feel obliged to specify the reason for your refusal, just say that you are busy.

Try to be a little pessimistic

We’re often packed with plans or running late for errands because we tend to be overly optimistic – about the traffic, the time it takes to do things, etc. Instead, try an opposite tactic — assume you’ll hit traffic or the meeting will take longer.

Try waking up earlier

Sometimes even waking up 30 minutes earlier can give you the much-needed head start for several errands of the day. But remember to get enough sleep every night, even if it means going to bed earlier.

Plan your day the day before

Chances are your day will be much better organized if you pack a lunch and lay out an outfit before going to bed.

Designate a time for checking emails and social messages

If you start checking your messages between appointments, you risk getting lost in a sea of messages that need replies. Designate a time for this activity or do it in case you arrived early to a meeting.

4. Let Go of Unhealthy and Time-Consuming Habits

If there’s one thing we should get rid of in the new year, it’s the habits that steal our time, provide instant gratification but don’t offer any value in the long term. Or even worse, leave a negative impact on our health.

Here are some common (and pointless) habits along with tips on how to get rid of them:

Binge-watching TV series

Even if most online television platforms offer you lists of “Best TV Shows to Binge Watch”, being addicted to series is a major time-waster.

You can manage this addiction in several ways, for example, watch one episode per day (or a few per week) as a reward, only after you’ve finished an assignment or done a house chore. Or try replacing this habit with exercise or reading a book – this will be hard at first but should stick after a few weeks. You can also try to track how much time you spend on TV or movies – seeing how much of your life you are wasting might urge you to do something about it.

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Running on coffee

Being a coffee addict is kind of a stylish addiction nowadays, but it’s not that innocent as it may initially seem. Besides addiction being a problem in itself, drinking too much coffee (more than 500-600 mg of caffeine a day) may lead to nervousness, insomnia, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat, and even muscle tremors.[2]

As a solution, try switching to tea or edible coffee – a more sustainable, healthy, and productivity-enhancing alternative. For example, Coffee Pixels are solid coffee bars that generate a more even energy kick throughout the day without the coffee-induced abstinence and dehydration.

Procrastination

Fighting procrastination requires some serious willpower. If it is a problem in your daily life or work, try ”eating the frog” in the morning – get over your biggest or hardest tasks first, then tackle everything else.

Alternatively, use time tracking software to monitor exactly how much time you waste on unproductive actions, websites or apps. Once you know exactly how much time you’re spending unproductively, try to limit your time on social media, for example to just 20 minutes per day.

If nothing else works, try bribing yourself — promise yourself to do something fun or pleasant when you finish your assignment.

Whichever habit you want to give up, consider using some habits building tools to make a contract with yourself and reward yourself for milestones achieved.

5. Stop over-consuming

We live in the age of consumerism – huge manufacturers with their promise of a comfortable life on the one hand, and growing environmental threats – that are the direct result of our modern lifestyle – on the other hand. There’s only one solution – try to consume less whenever and wherever you can.

Before making additional purchases, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I really need it? Did I need it yesterday?
  • Can’t I buy it used or borrow it from friends?
  • Can I rent it?
  • Can I make it myself?
  • Am I buying the most sustainable version of this product?

For example, check if the brand you chose is conscious about the environment, for example, are the products they manufacture energy efficient? Do they try to use less packaging?

Also, if you often find yourself buying too many groceries, promise to buy only the amount that fits in one shopping bag (that you bring along). If you often forget to take your shopping bag with you, get yourself a 2-in-1 wallet with a built-in shopping bag for more eco-friendly shopping.

6. Learn to Unplug from Your Phone

Today’s world is crammed with information, and many people struggle to keep focus on what’s truly important. There’s just too much going on in the world – too much to read, to watch, to know, too many conversations to participate in.

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But how to refuse the temptation to check the phone and start using social media in a controlled, not a compulsive way?

Some tips for managing your phone-dependency:

Spend only a limited amount of battery per day

For example, start your day with 50% battery life, and manage your phone usage so that you’ll make it till the evening.

Block distracting apps and notifications on your phone and computer

Choose one-hour, two-hour or longer blocking sessions and enjoy the positive impact this will have on your mood and productivity.[3]

Set your phone on flight mode

When you start doing an important task that requires full focus, set your phone on flight mode so that nobody can disturb you.

Leave your phone at home or in the office when you go for lunch

You’ll see that the feeling of being unreachable for a moment is actually very liberating.

The Bottom Line

As a new year begins, we’re all excitedly looking forward to what adventures await ahead of us.

But this year, promise yourself this:

Instead of having a never-ending list of tasks and commitments, focus on the truly meaningful ones. And cross-out all the rest without feeling guilty.

Less is more. Make this year count. We’re all rooting for you.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com

Reference

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