Organization is a common theme as we move into the new year. If you’re anything like me, you’re looking at the new year as a new beginning and have the urge to organize, strategize, and plan everything in your life. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve definitely caught the organizing. I’m looking at the different rooms in my apartment, the different projects I’m working on, etc. and figuring out what I can do to organize them so I can become more efficient. I think our environments have a lot to do with our mood and productivity, and I want to go into 2016 giving myself the best possible chances for success. So what am I going to do? I’m going to get more organized.
You might be feeling overwhelmed by everything going on in your life. You’re still recovering from the holidays. You want to make new years resolutions and actually stick to them, but you feel like your mind is all over the place. You want to make 2016 different, but you’re not sure how. Just a few simple steps, all of which can be done today, can help you get more organized and prepare for the new year in a whole new way!
It’s crazy what a difference a little clutter can do in your productivity! This is definitely something I’ve noticed in myself. The biggest offenders for me are the desk, kitchen, living room, and bedroom. In the bedroom, I tend to leave clothing on the floor. Dave and I aren’t great about doing the dishes after dinner each evening, so there are often dishes sitting out, along with empty food containers. The living room has become the hub of all clutter since I tend to use the coffee table as a dumping ground of sorts. And the desk. That’s the worst of them all! I recently did a huge cleanup of my home desk, and now I have to do the same with my desk at work.
Once your environment is neat and tidy and you don’t feel like you’re always moving clutter out of the way, I can promise you’ll feel more organized overall! It’s also one of the quickest ways to get more organized!
Synchronize Your Calendars
If you’re anything like me, you’ve got calendars and planners everywhere. I have my physical planner that I use for blogging. I have a Google calendar for both of my two email inboxes (personal and blog), and I have a work calendar. Then there’s the running calendar in my head of events and commitments that I’m aware of, but will probably forget within 24 hours if they aren’t written down. I know I’m not alone here! So many people I know are running on multiple calendars and can hardly schedule anything without looking in three different places to make sure they’re free. Or they’re letting meetings and commitments fall through the cracks. That’s why it’s so important to synchronize your calendars so you aren’t letting anything get lost in the fray. You’ll feel infinitely more organized when you can look in one place for everything you need to prepare for or attend.
Clean Out Your Inbox
Ah yes, the dreaded inbox (or several inboxes, if you’re like me). I can’t remember the last time I achieved “inbox zero” in any one of my email inboxes. It’s not an issue of me not having read the emails. I’m reading emails more times per day than I care to admit. But once I read them, I think that I might at some point need this email again, and then I just let it sit in my inbox. But there’s an easy way to rectify that. If you have to hang onto an email you’ve already read, fine! But put it somewhere. Don’t just leave it sitting in your inbox. Utilize folders to make your inbox as organized as possible and make sure you aren’t scrolling through pages of emails to find one you need. Make it your goal that the only emails sitting in your general inbox are those you haven’t read yet.
If your problem is that you’re lazy about actually reading your emails, allot a certain amount of time each day to going through emails and either deleting them or relocating them to a different folder.
Make a To-Do List
I am 100% more likely to get done everything I need to if I’ve written (or typed) a list of everything I need to accomplish. I actually have several different to-do lists (my monthly goals post, a daily to-do list I write for myself, long-term goals I’m working on). Ultimately it’s important for me to write down my daily tasks so I can see them and cross them off when they’re finished. I find it best to start with the simplest of tasks and work my way down the list. Sure, the final task on the list is going the longest. But you can have peace of mind knowing that’s literally the only thing you have to work on.
Using a to-do list is the best way to ensure you aren’t forgetting anything. I know when I’m not using a list, I’m likely to forget things. Often I’ll have an email in my inbox that I have to follow up on with a task, and I’ll mentally tell myself that the email is my reminder. But since my email isn’t organized just yet (see above), it gets lost in the fray and I never complete the task! So instead, I’ve just started writing everything on my to-do list.
Related Post: How to Set Goals You Can Achieve
Commit to Tasks and Follow Through
If I’m feeling particularly disorganized one week (or day or month), there’s a good chance it’s because I’ve fallen behind on some tasks and am scrambling to catch up. A great way to get more organized all the time is to make sure that if you’re committing to a task, you’re following through on it. You can set reminders in your calendar or download a to-do list app on your phone that will remind you of your tasks.
Don’t Over Commit
If you’ve done all of the above and still can’t seem to get more organized or caught up with everything in your life, you might be taking on too much. By overcommitting, you’re ensuring that you live in a constant state of stress and disorganization. Narrow down your tasks to those that are most important to you, and remember you can’t say yes to everything. Sometimes you have to say no for your own well-being. Start small, and commit to less than you think you can handle. Then, as you start to become more organized and have a better handle on your life, you can take on a bit more. Just remember to always give yourself some breathing room and time to relax.
What are your favorite ways to get more organized?
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