Organization. Goodness knows this is an area of my life in which I am constantly growing and changing.
Life is hectic, but it can be tamed. Being more organized is one way to get your life under control. Most of us would love to have a housekeeper and personal assistant, but it’s not always economically practical. The next best thing is to take the reins and get it done yourself.
I feel like I go through seasons of my organization skills and habits, some much messier than others. However, practicing these nine strategies on a weekly basis will drastically clear some mental and physical clutter in your life. I practice almost all of these on the regular, but will fully admit number six is my ultimate kryptonite.
I like to think it’s because I am an eternal optimist, and always think I will have more time to fit in everything I want to in my day. As an eternal optimist, I also always think my commutes will be smooth sailing with nothing unexpected getting in my way. Wrongo.
Instead of saying I am “bad” at looking ahead for potential changes, though, I will be gentle with myself and say, “I am growing in my ability to look ahead for potential changes.” I recommend trying it for less beat-up on yourself (if you struggle like I do with that kind of thing).
Try these ideas to organize your life and find greater control and enjoyment:
1. End your day by making a list. Avoid going to bed without knowing what you want to do the following day. There’s nothing worse for keeping a handle on your life than waking up without a clue of how to get started.
● Set aside 10 minutes each evening to plan out the next day. Make a short list of the most important items that need to be accomplished the following day.
2. Begin your day with that list of important tasks. Once you’ve climbed out of bed and pulled yourself together, look over your list and get started. As much as possible, avoid doing anything that isn’t on that list. Keep at it until the items on the list have been completed.
3. Pay bills once each week. Choose a day and time to sit down with your bills and pay them. You’ll never have to pay late fees again, and you’ll stay much more organized. Make a habit of it.
4. Throw away junk mail immediately. When you bring your mail into the house, head straight for the garbage can. Throw away anything you don’t want. Put your bills and anything else you want to keep in the appropriate place.
● Misplaced mail and bills can create a lot of challenges. Manage your mail.
5. Spend the last 15 minutes of the day cleaning your office. Avoid having to start your day in a cluttered space. Spend a few minutes and the end of the day getting organized and decluttered. You’ll feel better when it’s time to work again.
● You’ll find that this habit extends to other rooms in your life, like the kitchen and living room.
6. Look ahead for potential challenges. Much of the chaos in life comes from unplanned obstacles. Look ahead for the things that might go wrong and have a plan for dealing with them. You’ll scramble around less, and the chaos in your life will be reduced.
7. Clean your car while getting gas. It’s boring to just stand there while you’re waiting for your gas tank to fill. See how much you can accomplish during that time. Clean out the trash in your car. Clean your windshield. Your car will be less messy and more enjoyable to drive.
8. Use a wall calendar and make your family use it. Put up a big wall calendar that everyone in the family can see and use. It’s a lot easier to stay organized this way. At a glance, you can see everyone’s activities for the month. When something needs to be added, the responsible party can add it. Easy.
9. Delegate. You delegate at work, so you can delegate at home. You can delegate at home even if you can’t delegate at work. Give each person in the household a responsibility or two. Ensure that they’re following through. You’ll have a little more free time, too.
A disorganized life finds clever ways of beating you up. You’re constantly stressed and putting out fires. With a little organization, you can tame a complicated life and enjoy yourself more.
Try making a few small changes and notice the effect it has on your life. When I started making some of these changes, I felt a true physical reaction in my body, like a cloak of anxiety was lifted.
Keep making additional changes until you’re satisfied. You can have a life that you enjoy that feels so much less stressful so you can focus on all the other important things in your life!