How to be more organized – Tips for your home, workplace and life
Do you feel overwhelmed by getting your work done, setting the right tasks or project priorities, keeping your home clutter-free, organizing, and doing your chores every day? It’s a sign that you may need to be more organized to keep things rolling.
Organizing isn’t just about getting work done in less time or having a cleaner and simpler space. It is also about having a much calmer mind and leading a happier lifestyle. In this tutorial, we will discuss what organizing means, go over decluttering, and provide tips on how to be more organized in your home, workplace, and life.
How To Be More Organized – Overview
Are you always wondering where your day went? The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) has an answer. They say that we spend nearly a year1 of our lives simply looking for lost objects and this is where office workers waste almost 40% of their day. Phone, keys, office cards, pens, headphones, adapters, cables – you name it.
For most people, organizing seems like something that you’re born with and not a soft skill that you can learn. On the contrary, organizing is like any other skill that can be learned and honed over time. People often miss deadlines and stay behind schedule just because their lives are not organized. Everyone can learn how to be more organized.
Research shows that organized people are generally happier, healthier, and more relaxed. A study conducted by St. Lawrence University2 revealed that a cluttered bedroom leads to a poor night’s sleep and more anxiety.
With a more organized life, people have more time for brainstorming, doing creative tasks, and problem-solving. With a few simple but effective changes, anyone can become more organized and lead a more productive and happier life. How to be more productive?
How To Be More Organized? Start With Decluttering!
The very step in organizing your workplace, home, or life starts with decluttering. Organizing requires energy, time, and constant work, and if you keep working on unimportant things, then you won’t have time for things that do matter.
To start decluttering, it helps to better understand the concept of clutter. Clutter is anything that does not add value to your life or bring you joy. Decluttering is about getting rid of all the clutter and keeping what actually matters to you. Here’s a tutorial on How to Declutter.
4 thoughts on why decluttering is important:
- There will be less stuff to clean and organize. Thus, you will be more organized.
- You won’t have to stress over too many small things and details.
- Shopping only for what you need means you won’t go into debt and will have more financial freedom.
- You will have more time and energy to pursue your passions.
So, how to best declutter?
“Simplicity boils down to two things. Identify the essential & eliminate the rest” —Leo Babauta
Decluttering is a step-by-step process that continues throughout your life and requires a lifestyle change. It’s not just about getting rid of unnecessary things in your home, but about reducing things that distract you from what really matters.
The following ideas for decluttering your life will help you learn how to be more organized instantly. Or, see what the guys from the blog The Minimalists have to say about the topic and play their popular 30-Day Minimalis game.
Step 1: Make Your Mindset
Decluttering starts with the right mindset. Before starting, take a few minutes to remind yourself why you’re doing it and how much you’re gonna enjoy a fresh, clutter-free house. The goal isn’t just creating a visually-appealing space but having a clearer mind and more time to do things that you love.
Step 2: Make a Plan
Decluttering can take ages if you don’t make a plan. And even if you successfully declutter, there will always be a blind spot that you keep missing. Before you get started, make a plan with specific goals and timelines. The most simple plan is to throw away something each day. Start on the first day with one item, two on the second day, three on the third, and so on. After 30 days, your workspace, flat, or house should be decluttered.
Step 3: Empty the Space. Clean it up.
The first real step in decluttering is emptying the space. Sort stuff into various categories while you take it out of the room, cupboard, drawer, or cabinet. Sorting items while you’re emptying the space makes it easier to organize them later.
Clean up the space once it’s empty. Not only does it give you time to make up your mind, but it’s also much easier to visualize everything and plan how you are going to organize it.
Step 4: Visualize What You Want
How do you decide what to get rid of? Visualization is where greatness begins. It’s a powerful tool that has been used for centuries by great minds like Leonardo da Vinci. So, before putting anything back, ask yourself “what exactly do I want from my life and home?” once you have a vision, it’s easy to keep and eliminate things accordingly.
Step 5: Make Three Piles
Once you have a vision, sort everything into three piles: keep, get rid of, and store.
Pile 1: Keep items that you use in everyday life and organize them neatly.
Pile 2: Get rid of the items that you no longer use.
Pile 3: Store seasonal items like winter clothes and items that have sentimental value.
If you can’t decide what to do about something, just ask yourself what Marie Condo asked: “Does it spark joy?” If so, then keep it, otherwise find a better place for it.
Step 6: Manage the Clutter
After sorting all your stuff into piles and managing the clutter. Most of your stuff can be donated or freecycled. If there are a lot of usable things, then you can hold a garage sale. Finally, recycle the recyclables and throw the rest into the trash.
Step 7: Rebuild From the ‘Keep’ Pile
Now that everything has been sorted, the final step is to build what you visualized from the keep pile. A great way to organize is by designating some space for everything and sorting stuff into various containers. Make use of baskets, containers, trays, and other organizers to keep your surroundings clean and clutter-free. Use an aesthetic wooden or cloth basket for constant clutter (especially if you have kids).
Like everything else in life, decluttering isn’t a one-time thing. The secret is to be consistent and not just declutter regularly but also buy exactly and only what you need. This may also apply to what you consume on Media. Focus on a few high-quality media.
Tips to Be More Organized
Below are ideas and practical tips on how to be more organized in your professional life.
1. Write Things Down
There’s always someone around us who remembers every birthday, and anniversary, and never seems to miss an important event. Their secret is not always a great memory, but rather a well-kept record or notebook. While trying to keep everything in your head seems simpler, things often slip out of your mind and you end up missing out on important dates.
There’s no need to have a separate notebook for birthdays and special events, but keeping notes on your mobile device can be enough. You can also add events to your Google or iCloud calendar to get a yearly or monthly reminder.
Another great way to note things is by having a home base — a spot where you keep important notes, dates, and plans. You should put it in a place that everyone can access so they can plan things accordingly.
2. Learn and Practice Time Management
While it seems like we have plenty, time is our biggest asset. Through time management, we can make our days and life easier and more manageable. Here are a few simple ways to manage time and help you be more organized and focused:
- Make a morning schedule before going to bed. Follow a morning routine.
- Clean up the kitchen and lay out your clothes for tomorrow.
- Normalize making priority lists and planning ahead.
- Make as many checklists as you want but be sure to have a central one.
- Don’t underestimate the small tasks and include them in your to-do lists.
- Use a timer for different tasks to manage your day more efficiently.
The first thing to remember in time management is to sort all tasks into two categories. Now, do the most challenging tasks when your energy is at the highest i.e. at the beginning of the day, and save the less demanding tasks for the rest of the day. Lastly, be practical about your time. Don’t make a schedule that’s too full, hectic, or hard to follow.
3. Plan Ahead to be More Organized
Organization starts with time management, which is impossible without planning, schedules, and deadlines. Organization starts with planning your day and eventually your life. Consider creating schedules, or a to-do list on your mobile and try not to procrastinate. No matter big or small, schedule your day-to-day tasks and allocate a time block to them.
If you work from home, then planning and prepping your meals for the week can save valuable time on a work day. You can also do specific grocery shopping according to your weekly meal plan. If you travel to work, then planning what you’re going to wear takes the guesswork out and helps you get ready faster in the morning.
Each list or plan should contain specific action items with one single task for each item.
Tip: Explore our lists of the best business courses, or entrepreneurship courses or project management courses, or business management courses, or leadership courses to expand your skills in the field of business.
4. Decluttering as a Lifestyle Concept
Clean space instantly improves a person’s mood and gets them into high spirits. A clean and clutter-free workspace reduces distractions and allows you to work more confidently and creatively. Thus, it almost instantly helps you be more organized in your work life.
Decluttering your physical space usually means tackling stuff that has been piling up for years. Start with emptying the space, cleaning up everything inside out, creating a vision for the space, and organizing it accordingly.
While decluttering your physical space seems obvious, we don’t usually do the same for virtual space. All those unread emails, messages, and due tasks are the same as having a tall stack of unfinished paperwork on your desk. So, take some time to go through your emails and reassign overdue tasks to a new due date.
5. Delegate Responsibilities
If there’s one thing that most of us don’t realize is that we can’t do everything. When we try to do everything, we often end up with a pile of unfinished and half-finished tasks with a load of dirty laundry. Delegating certain duties and tasks is one of the most effective strategies to consider if you want to learn how to be more organized.
To delegate responsibilities, identify all tasks on your to-do list and sort them by priority. Here’s how to use the Eisenhower Matrix to sort tasks according to priority and urgency:
- Important and urgent. This is your first priority and includes tasks that are both important and urgent. It’s best to get these done yourself so you don’t have to rely on others and stay behind schedule.
- Important but not urgent. As a second priority, consider the tasks that are important but not urgent. It’s still best to do these tasks yourself but you can schedule them for tomorrow or at a more convenient time.
- Urgent but not important tasks are tricky because there’s a deadline. Delegate these tasks to others who can get them done efficiently and on time.
- Not important, nor urgent. They usually just drain time and energy and you can remove them completely from your life. Don’t waste any further thoughts on them.
6. Find a Spot for Everything
At your home, everything should have a spot. A big chunk of our day is spent trying to find a pot for different things or looking for things in different places. You can sort things according to how frequently you use them. Now, put stuff that you frequently use into the easy-to-find spaces and build from there.
The next step is to make sure that everything goes to its place. Instead of leaving your keys on the bed or sofa, put them in a bowl by the door so you don’t have to spend looking for them while hurrying outside.
Lastly, don’t keep things that do not have a place in your home. It’s mainly just clutter that you’re holding on to. The place for such things is a donation box or a trash can.
7. Go Paperless
From electricity bills to dinner receipts, paper is the one thing that we can almost never manage. Removing paper clutter from your life can make a big difference. Start by organizing all the important papers and get rid of anything unnecessary. Also, scan your wallet and mail regularly, and don’t let paper clutter gather anywhere.
On the other hand, you can also cut down on paper towels. Instead, make use of old t-shirts and rags, or invest in reusable towels. Not only will be keeping your home organized and clutter-free, but you’re also contributing to the environment.
Every year billions of cubic feet of trees are cut and out of every 17 billion feet of trees that are deforested, over 60%3 of the wood is used to make paper. Alongside deforestation, the paper also contributes to air and water pollution.
8. Keep Your Surroundings Neat and Tidy
A great way to keep your surroundings neat and tidy is to clean up along the way. If you leave everything for tomorrow, then you will be starting your day with a lot of cleaning instead of a healthy breakfast and exercise.
Make a habit of cleaning the kitchen and family room before going to sleep. While some days can be an exception, just remind yourself that your future self will thank you for this.
Additionally, put a trash can in every room so no one has to look for a place to throw away the garbage. Simple changes like this can go a long way to keep your house clean and organized. However, some might be just silly ideas as they mess up organizing efforts.
How to Motivate Yourself to Be More Organized
Wrapping up our guide on how to be more organized and suggested a few practical strategies that ear easy to ingrain. But how to implement them and stay motivated here?
It’s simple, pretend like you’re moving. Someone once told me that they love to move only because it’s a great opportunity to get rid of all the unnecessary stuff in the house. Yes, it may sound a bit excessive, but it’s definitely effective.
So, pretend like you’re moving, and put everything into different boxes. Declutter along the way (and be ruthless about it). If you don’t need it over the next few months, you probably won’t need it later. When you unpack afterward, all you’ll have are things that you actually need in the house.
How To Be More Organized – 10 Tips
- Start with decluttering. Your home and workplace.
- Create a daily routine, and a workday routine to set the tone.
- Write things down and make to create priority lists.
- Use lists to organize your to-dos, e.g., shopping lists.
- Learn and practice time management. Set priorities.
- Set goals. Plan ahead. Track your progress.
- Limit distractions. Sleep better. Pratice accountability.
- Delegate responsibilities. Don’t do everthing yourself.
- Keep your surroundings neat and tidy.
- Learn. Enrol in personal growth and productivity classes.
How to Take the First Step Towards Getting More Organized
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” -Mark Twain
No one gets organized overnight. It’s a lifelong struggle that requires lifestyle changes and regular motivation. Start small, go easy on yourself, and celebrate small efforts. Don’t overdo it, and be sure to take of yourself while organizing your life. Even when it may not seem like a big deal, small celebrations are a great way to stay motivated and happy.
Last but not least, it’s possible to be too organized, which can lead to perfectionism. While improvement is important in everything, going to extreme lengths often leads to anxiety and depression. So, try not to control everything and stay flexible.
How to Be More Organized – Learning Resources
- Tips for organization and productivity – University of Rochester
- How to be more organized – 10 Habits – Lavendaire – YouTube
- How to organize your life – LifeHack
- 10 Things to Do Daily to Be More Organized – The Spruce
- Get organized at work! – Employee Assistance Network
- How to Be More Organized – Mindtools
- How to get organized: Tips that work – Asana
- How to Be Organized at Work: Tips for Staying Organized – MasterClass
- 10 Tips to Stay Organized in College – Pacific College – Read
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