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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 December 10, 2019

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:

1. Find Your Good Reasons

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.

Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

  • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
  • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
  • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
  • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

2. Make It Fun

When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.

Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

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Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!

They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I enjoy this task?
  • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
  • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.

Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

3. Change Your Approach And Don’t Give Up

When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.

You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

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That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.

My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

4. Recognize Your Progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:

Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

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You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.

Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.

For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.

5. Reward Yourself

This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.

Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.

For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.

For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

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Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.

The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

Mix and Match

Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.

Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

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Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

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