Do you feel scattered most of the time, like you don’t have enough time to get everything done and your mind is constantly racing? You aren’t alone…you may be surprised, but most of us are like that! Keep reading for my top tips to be more organized.
We all know a friend or two that always seem to be so organized. They are always on-time…they never forget anything…they are always prepared…their house is always pristine. I’ll bet you are picturing someone you know right now aren’t you? You know what? There’s a good chance they are just good at pretending to have it all together!
I believe most of us are much less organized than we’d like to be. And to be organized, I don’t mean that you have to have matching containers/bins with cute labels or a car organization kit or anything like that (unless you want to). I just mean feeling a little more grounded and intentional! I think there are some things you can do mentally and physically to help feel more organized.
Top Tips To Be More Organized
Start by assessing yourself, sit quietly without distractions for a few minutes and think about what time(s) of the day your feel the most productive. Is it early in the morning before anyone else in the house is awake? Maybe it’s late in the evening? During your lunch hour? Knowing this will help when you schedule your to-do’s. Also take note of things that make you feel especially disorganized so you can start planning on how to address those issues.
Have a way to take notes wherever you are so you can add to your to-do’s, keep track of your ideas, jot down reminders as things pop up, etc.. If you are a paper person, keep a little notepad nearby all the times. If you prefer digital notes, try an app on your phone/tablet that can not only keep your notes, but keep them organized for you! I like Evernote. It’s a great app to help you keep your notes, schedules, and to-do’s organized and it will sync across your mobile devices and desktop so you can always access them no matter where you are.
Keep a schedule of some sort. If you are truly wanting to feel more organized, I recommend using a planner or app for creating and tracking daily, weekly, and monthly schedules. Your daily schedule should be your plan from the time you roll out of bed until the time you are going to bed the next night. I doesn’t have to be too elaborate…you can have chunks of time designated to certain tasks.
Some people feel it’s even helpful to schedule their breaks throughout the day. Prioritize the tasks that are most important. Also, schedule important tasks for those most productive times that you identified in tip #1. Use the weekly and monthly schedules to note meetings, kids’ activities, appointments, birthdays, etc.
Sitting down and scheduling out your week/month in advance will always help you be more organized than waiting until the last minute. Stop procrastinating. I have to work very hard at this one…I’m bad at holding off on things until the last minute! Preparing for everything you can in advance will make you feel way more organized. Pick out your outfit the night before, lay-out the kids’ clothes ahead of time, pack lunches the night before. Depending on what meals you usually eat, prep what you can at the beginning of each week.
Can you wash, chop and store veggies or divide up salad into individual containers on a Sunday afternoon? Make a grocery list instead of stopping by the store unprepared where you’ll end up grabbing things you don’t need or already have. You catch the drift. Every activity you do, ask yourself if there are steps you could prep ahead of time.
Have you heard the term batching? Batching is when you group like-tasks together. This of course requires the planning ahead that was previously covered. You can batch craft projects, errands, bill paying, meal prep, and many other things. I use batching for some of my DIY projects. If I have several projects that use some of the same materials/supplies, I will plan to do them all in one afternoon and knock-out anywhere from 3-7 projects. That gives me the notes and pictures I need to write the tutorials for you guys!
Stop trying to multitask! I know, it’s supposedly a very desired skill. However, most people can’t multitask effectively…and if you aren’t doing it effectively, what’s the point? I have learned this about trying to do projects with the t.v. on in the background. I just can’t do both! I will find myself paused and totally involved in whatever program is on. Either that or I will miss everything on the show because I’m engrossed in the project I’m making. Our brains really aren’t wired to do two or more things at once, we end up losing focus.
So, stop trying to do everything at once. You don’t typically save yourself any time and sometimes you end up making some tasks take longer than they should. Another tip I feel kind of groups nicely with multitasking is learn to feel comfortable saying ‘no’. If you feel scattered and overwhelmed, the last thing you need to do is add more tasks to your plate! It’s ok to turn down things you don’t have time to do. You don’t always have to be telling someone else no either, you also need to learn to tell yourself no!
If you find you have more things to do than you’re capable of, dial it back a bit. Figure out what you can outsource. This may be at work or at home. It could mean paying someone on Fiverr or Upwork to complete some routine/mundane tasks for you or hiring an as-needed assistant to run errands for you. Maybe it’s something that just drives you mad because it’s not something you’re knowledgeable about…outsource it!
This also doesn’t mean you have to spend money. Maybe you have a friend who is always offering a helping hand…take them up on their offer occasionally. Just be sure not to take advantage of them and always show your appreciation! Do you have children at home that are old enough to do a few chores to help out? A teenager who can drive (it’s not always terrifying) and run errands for you or pick up some groceries? Outsource what you can.
Too many items cluttering your space can really add to your feelings of being disorganized. Start minimizing the amount of stuff you have. I think most of us are guilty of having too much stuff. Go room by room and really take the time to remove the items you don’t use, like, or need. Sometimes it’s overwhelming because we don’t know what to do with all this stuff and it feels bad to just throw it out.
Donate furniture, household goods, appliances, books, and clothing to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. If you have stuff that is a little more high-end and/or worth some money, try selling it on ebay or a local Facebook for-sale group. If you have a bunch of small items that you aren’t sure what to do with and you don’t feel you can sell or donate them, first try asking some of your friends if it’s something they want or need. And if in the end, nobody else can use them, don’t feel guilty about just throwing them out.
It’s important that once you go through this process that you try to be cautious about bringing more items back into the space. I’m not meaning don’t buy more groceries or anything drastic like that, but if you truly want to get more organized and stay that way, then you need to get in the habit of resisting the urge to buy stuff you don’t actually need.
And if you do get something new, make it a habit of getting rid of something you already have…exchange one for one. I personally have to keep my hubby and myself out of the clearance sections; this is a horrible place to go when you are trying to have less stuff. The prices on some clearance items are ridiculously low and I just want to buy all of it!
Make it part of your weekly routine to spend about 15 minutes decluttering. I know, I know…there shouldn’t be anymore clutter after following the last tip right?! No matter how hard you try, you’ll always have some sort of clutter. It may be something you decided to hang onto because you just knew you’d use it again or the kids brought home stuff from school. Whatever it is, take a few to purge and declutter often.
A Place For Everything
Ever heard ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’? It’s a popular saying for a reason. Everything you own should have a designated place to rest. Your everyday jewelry and pocket items may get placed in a tray, your dirty laundry goes in the clothes hamper, your pens/markers go in your desk drawer, the towels and extra bedding go in the bathroom closet…and on and on. There is likely a spot for everything, I think most of us are just bad about consistently putting everything in its place.
A habit of organized people is that they put things where they go when they are done with them. Clothes come out of the dryer and are folded/hung up and put away promptly, shoes are removed just inside the door and placed on a shoe rack, cups aren’t left out on the end table for a day or two, mail isn’t tossed on the counter in a pile to be sorted later, etc.. Get in the habit of putting things away when you are done with them or as soon as you bring them into your space.
Don’t Forget The Digital Stuff
When we think of getting more organized, we often just think about the physical items we see lying around us all the time. We need to remember to declutter our digital spaces too. Once a day or a few times a week, make it a habit to go in and clean out your email. If you have mysteriously subscribed to 10 million newsletters and whatnot, unsubscribe from ones that no longer interest you or that you never actually open and read.
This will help reduce the amount of email you have to go through each time. After going through and cleaning up your emails, try cleaning and organizing your other folders on your computer too. It may be a tedious process initially, but I can’t explain how much satisfaction it brings once that is all done!
Here I am talking about being less overwhelmed and I’ve just added a bunch of stuff to your plate! Ha! These are things I myself am always working on and I know it’s extra difficult to achieve all these when you have a busy schedule and/or other people living in your house with you. If you can make at least a few of these into habits, I think you’ll start feeling more organized. Get the others in your house involved too if possible, so they are helping instead of adding to the disorganization. I also don’t advise trying to implement all these at once…baby steps! Pick one you feel is the most manageable. Once that is done or becomes a routine, then add in another.
Do you have other tips that help you feel more organized? Let me know if the comments below.
Until next time,
P.S.- Part of getting organized and minimizing the amount of stuff you have will probably involve cleaning out and organizing your closet. Here’s my step-by-step guide on how to organize your closet!