Getting an organized life is tough, it’s the ultimate goal, though. To glide from one appointment to another, have time to get your hair done and balance everything else on your to-do list, and add new hobbies as you see fit. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past few years, it’s that doing-it-all is a fantasy. If you’re finding it difficult to organize everything, there’s a high chance it’s because you’re trying to do too much.
Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed, I refer to these five steps to get on top of my life again and start enjoying my free time!
Step 1: Cut the crap
Chances are, your life is hectic. It’s a constant push and pull, hobbies, work, friends, commitments, responsibilities, things you’ve promised yourself you’ll do but you know you never will. Clothes you’re holding onto ‘just in case’. We’re all the same. The first thing to do is go military with it, let Marie Kondo possess you and cut the crap.
Go through office files and shred everything you’re never going to need again, drop commitments you don’t actually enjoy, don’t do favors unless you know they’ll be returned. It might seem harsh, but it’s the best thing for your mental health, and it’s the best place to start when you’re trying to organize your life.
Step 2: Find out who and what matters
Make a list. Start with who matters. Who is always there for you? Are there positive influences in your life that you need to keep around. Do the same for commitments and things you’ve collected. What brings you joy? Any activity, object, or person who fills your life deserves to stay. These are the things you’ll work your life around, everything else is not a priority.
Step 3: Get the right tools
Of course, even after doing all that you’ll probably struggle to schedule things in. That’s what clever tools like Google Calendar and Wunderlist were created for. Personally, I like Wunderlist because I can take all my to-dos with me on my phone, and by adding personal to-dos to my work list, it gives them a bigger sense of urgency!
Step 4: Create a routine
My weekly routine includes working out and socializing. Occasionally I stay in one day on the weekend, but I prefer to be out and about at least one day of the weekend. I spend evenings on other commitments I have and am healthy during weekdays. That’s my life routine and I’m sticking to it, so create your baseline and then build on it. As long as you’re happy and you don’t feel like you’re drowning under commitments, you can cope.
Step 5: Review, review, review!
Get an A4 pad and write down everything you’re doing. Classes, commitments, work, hobbies, get it all on paper. Then start adding things you’d like to do. Review how it’s going so far. Who are you spending time with? What activities are taking up your time? If something isn’t working out, you can cut it or reschedule it. For the things you have to do (but don’t want to) reward yourself by giving yourself some time to work on hobbies or see friends afterward. And if you’re still sucking in the organization department, give yourself deadlines and punishments.
Don’t let yourself buy that must-have until you’ve organized at least one area of your life – I always find that works for me. Yes, I can schedule doctors appointments when I know there’s a new handbag in it for me.
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