Do you wish you were more organized? There are certain traits most organized people have in common. It’s safe to say that if you apply the following actions to your life, you (and your life) will become more organized. You may even find it feels like you have more time in your day!
Ever since my toddler was born (about 2 1/2 years ago), I have struggled to figure out my new normal. It has been a process to get reorganized because my old way no longer works–after 10 years with just one child, I have more to juggle now. Slowly but surely, I’m getting better. When I keep the below systems in place my day goes smoother and I’m more productive.
So, what do organized people have in common?
1. They make lists.
Organized people write things down that need to be done or remembered. Write down all you need to accomplish, appointments, and anything else that you need to remember.
There is no right or wrong way to do this. Scribble it all down and then organize it later by category or date, or make the categories first and then write things down where they fit. You will get the the same results no matter which way you choose.
Find the way that works best for you and make your lists. You are well on your way to becoming more organized already!
2. They prioritize.
Once you have everything written down on your list(s), it’s time to make priorities. Organized people are well aware that there are only so many hours in a day so setting top priorities for the day is a must.
Our lists tend to have way more on them than we will realistically be able to finish in a day. Therefore, most organized people write down 3-5 priorities for the day (and possibly the week, month, etc.). And those are the items they focus on for that day.
Take time to pick your top priorities for the day and focus on those items. If or when you finish them, take a look at the remaining items on your list and pick new priorities.
At the end of the day if there is anything left that didn’t get done, reconsider if it is something that actually needs to be moved to the list for the next day or if you can just let it go.
It can be freeing to realize that some of the items you keep putting off (or lowering on your priority list) may not be so important after all and can just be deleted from your list for good.
3. They plan.
Organized people plan our their daily lives and use a calendar to stay on top of their plans. Remember, buying or printing off a planner will only help you organize your life if you actually fill it out and use it. Take all of your hard work from steps 1 and 2 and transfer it to your planner.
Then, make sure to look at your planner each day so you know what’s on the agenda for the day. That will help you plan out your day. Organized people have mastered how to use their planners and calendars to stay on top of their lives. You can too!
4. They keep life simple.
Organized people learn how to keep it simple. Having a list makes it easier to set your priorities. Having top priorities makes it easier to make a plan for the day. And, knowing exactly what you need to do and focus on for the day helps you to keep it simple. You have a game plan and know exactly what you need to do.
Getting rid of clutter also keeps it simple. Then you will have less to concern yourself with. Steps 1, 2, & 3 help with mental clutter. But what about physical clutter? Living or working in a cluttered environment can be distracting. Eliminate the clutter and your stress level will go down and your productivity up.
Don’t know where to start? First, pick a room or area of a room that you frequently use. Next, set a timer for 15 minutes and dig in. Start sorting everything into “find a place for” and “get rid of” piles.
After the 15 minutes put the “find a place for” items back where they belong, or find them a place if they don’t have one. Don’t worry too much about finding the perfect place for everything, after your house is decluttered you can always go back through and re-organize things if needed.
Then put the “get rid of” items in a bag or box to be donated or sold. Continue doing a little decluttering each day, or several times a day if you are able, until you are all done.
*Be sure to add getting rid of the “get rid of” pile to your to do list when you have decluttered everywhere.
5. They have and use routines.
Organized people have routines and use them. They have found systems that work and they use them over and over again. Steps 1-4 are likely part of their routine.
Sit down and think about how you usually spend your days. Write it down if that is helpful. Then write out a simple routine for the day and test it and tweak it as needed. You may have a weekday routine and a weekend routine.
To quickly sum it up–make lists, set priorities, plan it out, keep it simple, and make and use routines. Put these five steps into action and you will be pleasantly surprised at just how much more organized you have become.
Most of these steps come fairly naturally to me. There are some areas of clutter in our home that I need to deal with (mostly from putting stuff up out of reach of our toddler and puppy). Also, on the days when I do not set my top priorities, I find myself working a little scattered and not getting much on my list completely finished, just parts here and there. So I’m trying to be more intentional about setting my top priorities each day.