Looking for organizational hacks that will actually help you get ahead? Organizing, goal setting , and planning are a few of our favorite things — and if you’re reading this, we’re guessing they’re probably a few of yours, too. While not everyone is born organized, it’s a skill that can definitely be developed. And even if organizing comes naturally to you, life always has a habit of getting in the way.
When things get crazy that’s exactly when organization matters most! By staying organized, you can approach each day, project, and task with a sense of calm and confidence. You’re able to get things done more efficiently by staying on top of your projects and avoiding dreaded overwhelm.
No matter how crazy life gets, here are some hacks we’ve found you can always count on to help you stay organized and on top of your workload.
MAKE A LIST
Start with a 10-minute brain dump to get all of those things bouncing around in your head out on paper. Be sure to choose a notebook or binder like the new Classic Black Agenda that will be dedicated to keeping your lists.
Set a timer for 10 minutes and just write. It doesn’t matter whether the things you write are giant projects, small tasks or items that seem completely unrelated, just write until the timer goes off. Get those things down on paper and clear some space in your brain! This is one of the easiest organizational hacks ever!
CREATE A WEEKLY ROUTINE
A weekly routine is the foundation that everything else is built on. It frees up mind power and cuts down on decision making and decision fatigue.
Scheduling every minute of your week might feel restrictive, but it’s actually the opposite! Structure creates freedom. It gives you peace of mind knowing you have time for everything you need to do.
Go back to your brain dump and look at your recurring tasks. Can you cultivate a routine that will get your day started in the right way and help you complete your priority tasks in the process?
Are there tasks that you repeat daily or regularly on a weekly/monthly basis that could be scheduled and completed together?
Spend a little time thinking about these questions then choose one routine to start building.
PRIORITIZE YOUR TO-DOS
Go back to your list and group the tasks, using the following categories:
- Items that have deadlines
- Overdue tasks that need to be completed
- Larger projects that need to be further broken down into smaller, bite-sized pieces
- Items that are recurring on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even quarterly or annual basis
- Important tasks that relate to your highest values and/or overarching goals
Prioritize according to what needs to get done ASAP. Some things may not be as urgent. Include these in your planning, but make a note to yourself that if you don’t get to them right away it’s not a game-changer. I like
BATCH YOUR TIME
Scheduling time blocks in 2 or 4-hour chunks is a highly effective way to stay organized and get things done. Work as hard as you can in order to complete the task in the time allotted. Remind yourself that you can always go back and tweak and adjust as needed.
For example, batch reading and writing emails in one 2-hour time slot rather than popping in and out of your inbox throughout the day.
When you focus on one task for an extended period of time, it allows you to enter that flow state where you work as efficiently as possible.
PUT EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE
Do you have items in your office or around the house that don’t really have a “home?” If you can identify even a few items that fit this description, then it’s time to create an official space for them. This is even more important now that the lines between home and office have blurred.
When you do, you’ll find it is so much easier to tidy up and put things away, and you’ll know exactly where to look the next time you need it.
APPLY THE 1-MINUTE RULE
Whether you’re trying to stay organized at work or at home, the one-minute rule is a simple strategy to help you keep on top of things. Essentially, the strategy is this: if something needs to get done, and it will take 60 seconds or less, do it then at the moment.
Don’t hesitate. Don’t tell yourself you will do it later. Instead, take those few seconds and accomplish the task right then and there.
When you think about it, staying organized really does come down to having a solid set of systems and processes in place. Pick 1 of the above that you’re not already using and make a commitment to try it out this week and tell us how it went!
by Tamara Smith