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Get Organized Now: 9 Ideas That Work

Get Organized Now: 9 Ideas That Work

We all want to get more organized; have our lives a little more sorted. We dream of a state of structured bliss which will help us to think, plan and act more clearly.

For years I longed to be organized and to know where I could find things. I wished I knew where to put the things that I left lying around. My house was a mess, my head even worse.

Little by little I saw the light (literally). I removed the clutter and organized myself in such a way that my disorganization no longer hindered my success. Here are some of the ideas that I have found to work and that I still use in my day to day life.

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1. Eliminate surplus

The less you have the less you need to organize. It’s as simple as that. Do an audit of all your possessions. Count how many towels you have, how many sheets, how many cups, bags, pairs of shoes. When you do you will be surprised at the results. Think about how many of each item you really need. When I started to reduce these objects in my house, it reduced the amount of work I needed to do. Less washing, less organizing, less stress.

2. Reduce the incoming

Stop buying unnecessary objects. Don’t shop as a past time; shop when you need something. Before you make any purchase ask yourself “do I really need it”? By reducing the amount of shopping you do you will keep your life more simple and save cash at the same time. When we see things in front of us we believe that we need them. The best solution is to avoid malls, shops and catalogs as much as possible.

3. Storage solutions

If you take my advice in point 1 and 2 you should have less stuff to organize and store. The more you remove from your life the less you need to organize. Plan the storage required. Don’t buy too much or you will end up filling it again.

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4. Go paperless

I always thought this an unnecessary solution to organizing until I started using Evernote. I have started to move towards a paperless office. It takes some time to set up and get going but I believe it’s worth it in the end. Having everything stored electronically reduces the amount of filing cabinets needed to store documents and allows for speedy retrieval. It’s great for someone who is constantly on the go and needs to have documents at hand wherever they are. Lauren Rothlisberger from getmegeeky.com explains how she went paperless in her book A Mom’s Guide to Evernote.

5. Create positive habits

Create little routines for tidying and organizing. Fold clothes while the children are in the bath. Tidy your desk while you are on the phone. I know I’m not an advocate of multitasking but when you are doing tasks that don’t need mental attention it’s ok to do two at the same time. Make sure you call in the help of all those who live in your house and help them create positive habits too. Everyone should help to clean the kitchen after a meal. All toys should be tidied away before bedtime.

6. Use a Task List

You need to have somewhere to write it all down. A place to put reminders, notes and to-dos. There are many good apps on the market. Check out Mike Vardy’s list of 50 Productivity apps for iPhone or the list of cross-platform productivity tools and chose one that suits your way of working.

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7. Plan it

A calendar is also an essential piece of kit. It never ceases to amaze me how few people use a calendar to plan their weekly tasks. Many who do use a calendar, only use it to plan appointments and meetings, never to schedule time with themselves to complete a certain task. Don’t forget what gets scheduled gets done!

8. Use Checklists

Checklists are great time savers. If you create a checklist once you will never have to repeat the work again. Create checklists for holidays, for business trips, for weekly chores or back to school tasks. Get your kids to use checklists, saves repetitive reminders to brush teeth, tidy toys etc. Checklists can be created in Evernote or on your PC in any app and print one out each time you need to check things off.

9. The Mind Download

This is one of the most useful exercises that I do regularly to help me feel more focused and productive. I dump everything from my mind onto paper and organize it into my system. This helps to ensure nothing gets forgotten and frees up mental space for more creative things.

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Implement one of these tips today and you will take one step closer to being awesomely organized.

(Photo credit: Interior fashionable room via Shutterstock)

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Ciara Conlon

Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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