Since I was a little girl I remember organizing my crayons by color. Even to this day, there’s no better feeling I get when everything is in it’s “spot”, or when my to-do list is perfectly presented and clear. But recently, and I’ll admit, I lost my way. Tasks were being forgotten about and mistake after mistake was being made. My head felt cluttered and full to the brim with information it couldn’t process.
Never before have I felt so disorganized. Being honest with myself, I had stopped being organized and thinking ahead. I needed to take the time to plan and prepare if I wanted to be successful, and I’d lost sight of that.
If there’s one thing I know, it’s that those who are successful are always two steps ahead, it should be no excuse for everything to fall apart. I needed to make sure this never happened again and be two steps ahead too. That’s where this list comes in, I immediately, in a bid to restructure my life began to put things in place that would keep me organized no matter what. Here’s how I did it…
1. Give Yourself Reminders
Trust me when I tell you to never just rely on your memory. Make sure to write it all down. And not on random scraps of paper, but somewhere you’ll see it. Post-it notes are also really good for drawing attention.
Take a leaf from my book and make sure to remind yourself. I have many strategies for this. When it concerns small tasks I write them down in my daily planner, which remains open all through my work hours and even comes home with me. For the larger tasks, I make sure to work a little harder. At home, I have a weekly overview stuck to my fridge and also on my bedroom door. When it comes to the larger goals I make sure that it follows me wherever I go. This helps me not only to remember but actively plan ahead.
2. Be More Productive
I always work best under pressure. So, when I look over my to-do list for the day I stir up a sensation of panic and crisis. When I do this, it puts pressure on making sure I complete these tasks for the day like it would be the end of the world if I didn’t. This helps me to focus, block out my time and actually finish all that I set my mind to. There are a lot of strategies available to help you become more productive, depending on how you work best. You might find that ‘theming’ your time is the best way to be productive.
Why not try this guide to building the most productive day of your entire life in just a few steps.
3. Upgrade your tools
You can never expect to be more organized if you don’t have the tools to help you out. I’m a stationery addict, and because of this, I always need different notebooks and planners for different tasks. I use the Getting Things Done planner to help my day-to-day become more organized, and keep my notes, random thoughts and braindumps in my Make It Happen notebook. This helps keeps my planner clear and organized and stop me from feeling overwhelmed.
I have a planner for everything because I think it’s really important to keep everything separate and in its own place, which really helps me to declutter my work.
4. Try Out This Buying Rule
I can be a little bit of a hoarder. I keep almost everything, cards, concert tickets, plane tickets even stones! And it’s these things that can turn an organizational heaven into a cluttered space fast.
So it’s important that you don’t just save your spring cleans for spring but for every month. You will be surprised at the amount your home can acquire at this time, which is why you should make a continual effort to clear out all the things you really don’t need. Stay away from bargains and every time you buy something new, throw something away. That’s the rule.
5. Put The New You Into Practice
Now that you’ve turned your home into a sanctuary you need to put in the work to keep this up. Otherwise, you’ll be repeating this process over and over, which in itself is stressful and time-consuming.
In order for you to do this, you need to acquire and maintain certain new habits. Again, I always find writing in my Getting Things Done planner helps me to create and keep new habits. The right-hand side of the page is perfect for tracking meals, logging my water intake, and writing reminders to organize my house in.
6. Take Your Inbox To New Levels
I’ve tried everything in the past to manage my inbox but it always gets out of control again in no time. I’ve tried color coding and even folders. But if there’s one thing I’ve discovered recently that makes it all work is by having a ‘pending’ folder. Do you ever get emails that aren’t urgent enough for you to get back straight away? Is your inbox full of these emails?
This is a problem of mine and sometimes the important emails can get lost in the spam. Create a folder for these emails you need to get back to. Keep them out of the way and keep your inbox full of priorities instead. Just make sure to set a date and a reminder to reply to them, all it will take is one hour every week!
7. Try This Two-Minute Rule
The productivity expert James Clear advises that all the tasks you usually put off probably will only take you two minutes to complete. And I tried this today. I had so many small tasks on my to-do list that I couldn’t be bothered to complete. So, I made an effort to make sure to concentrate on them and they were quicker than expected.
You can even include this in your personal life, washing up the dishes as soon as you’re finished with them, doing laundry as you go and not letting it build up over the week, taking out the bins straight away. All are easy and really not all that time-consuming. You have the time. So use it!
8. Create A Personal Goal List
Like I’ve said, you should really aim to keep everything separate. Don’t merge your personal goals with your work goals because they’ll get lost amongst the busy.
Instead, create a personal goal list in a separate notebook that you use primarily for you. Log your progress, what you’ve done, your struggles and strengths. Before long you’ll be able to see the progress unfold, which will keep your personal life organized.
9. Be More Prepared
If you know a meeting or a deadline is looming don’t leave it till last minute. If you know something has to be ready in a month then you should work on it straight away. Leaving things to last minute can really affect your work performance and will not allow you to be the best you can be. It’s all about planning and thinking ahead.
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Photos by The Loeil