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Getting Organized Effectively in 9 Easy Steps

Getting Organized Effectively in 9 Easy Steps

Organization can be tough.

Heck, just getting by is tough, let alone trying to organize the frenzy of daily life. Consider some of the things that most of us deal with every day. We have:

  • Jobs to go to
  • Groceries to buy
  • Clothes to wash
  • Kids to pick up
  • Meetings to attend

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, I’m betting you can add several things to this list yourself. But even though life can be hectic, it doesn’t mean you have to live a complicated and random lifestyle. You can makes sense of your busy world, and all you’ve got to do is keep reading.

You aren’t organized enough

Let’s face it, getting organized isn’t exactly easy for some of us. In fact, you might be under the impression that organizing your life is impossible. Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re dead wrong about that thought.

You never learned how get organized

They don’t exactly teach you how to be organized in school, you’ve just to got to be lucky and/or hope that your parents show you the ropes. But even then, organization requires that you’re exposed to it. And to top it all off, you need those tips in actionable form. All of these things combined makes organization a crapshoot for a lot of people.

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The 9 tips you need to get organized

Luckily for you, the tips and tools you need to get organized can be found right here. No need to go crazy trying them all out, just pick one that works for you and give it a go. Once you master one tip, move to the next. It’s a simple strategy that’ll work for even the most unorganized person out there.

1. Establish a good morning and night-time ritual

Organization is nothing more than a series of good habits, so the first step in achieving organization is in creating order.

If you don’t already, establish rituals that both start and end your days. Initially you’re going to want to add one or two things only, things that’ll be easy to stick with.

For instance, each morning shouldn’t be a rush to make it to work on time. A good morning routine affords you the time to ease into the day ahead of you, so start by waking up about 2-3 minutes earlier everyday until you can have some “me” time each morning. All you need is 20-30 minutes to yourself each morning, and you can use that time to enjoy some coffee, meditate, exercise or whatever you want. This’ll prime your mind and body for the busy day ahead of you.

As bedtime approaches, you want to start doing things to help unwind you from the day. You could have a relaxing bath or shower, read a book, have some chamomile tea, and several other things. Just pick one or two and start doing them every night. Eventually the habits will stick and you’ll start associating the habits with relaxation and sleep.

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2. Create actionable goals

Having actionable goals helps prevent your day from being taken over by random intrusions. They help keep your focus on what’s important by giving you tangible actions to focus on, but they only work if they’re easily actionable.

For example, don’t choose the goal to lose weight. Instead, choose to eat one apple per day. Don’t choose to be more productive, choose to work on a personal project for at least 5 minutes per day.

Remember, organization is simply a series of good habits. If you can keep adding good habits to your daily routine, then organization is the natural result of it.

3. Use a calendar

A calendar is the best friend to an organized person, but only if they’re used properly.

First, keep your calendar where you can easily see and access it. If it’s electronic, then keep it open or keep its icon somewhere you can click easily. If it’s a paper calendar, keep it on your desk or near a doorway you always walk by.

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Second, don’t rely on memory when it comes to due dates and tasks. Immediately add them to your calendar without hesitation.

Finally, don’t fill every time slot you have available with tasks. This will kill your flexibility, making it harder to adjust on the fly and ultimately giving more work when you need to change things.

4. Use a 5-item (or less) task list

Task lists are great when it comes to organization, but only if used correctly. The correct way to use them is limit tasks to 5 or fewer per day. This forces you to pick only the most important tasks, and ensures that you actually complete your task list every day.

5. Prioritize the important

Following up on the last tip, don’t give equal time and attention to every task. If a task is more important, put it higher on your task list. If it isn’t, then move it down. Organized people always focus on the important duties; that way they aren’t distracted by low-level tasks.

6. Delegate tasks

Organized people are smart about what they do and don’t do. Don’t try to take on the whole world; give some duties to others if you can. Ask your boyfriend to pick up the groceries. Tell your kid to take care of the dishes. Get your wife to drop off a package at the post office.

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It’s not about ordering people around, it’s about fairly distributing work to those you’re involved with. People won’t hate or disrespect you if you’re delegating in a fair manner.

7. Clean up your workspace

A messy workspace is no good if you want to be more organized, as it’ll just take you longer to start working and you’ll be looking for work material when it should just be in the right place all the time. Take the time clean up your workspace and spend about a minute every day organizing it as well. It really doesn’t take much clear it up, as long as you do it regularly.

8. Keep everything in one place

If you keep everything in the same place, you can easily find it later. It’s common sense really, but it needs to be common habit as well. Whenever you use something, take the time to put it back where you found it. Otherwise, you’re going to quickly build a messy and unorganized environment for yourself.

9. Throw out one thing per day

Most of use have too much junk, plain and simple. However, this can be offset with a little daily removal done. I’m sure if you look around your place you can find at least one thing to throw out. Don’t hesitate, just scan your place, grab the junk and drop it in the trash.

Over to you! Do you have any other tips for getting organized? What are they? Please leave a comment below with your answer because I’d love to hear them :)

Featured photo credit: M&Ms Sorted by Color/Mr.TinDC via flickr.com

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Ericson Ay Mires

Ericson is a writer who shares about work and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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