For a lot of people, staying organized isn’t something that comes naturally. Usually, people have to form helpful habits and stick with them. And eventually, you start seeing your life come together. Still working on it? Here are five habits to get your life organized and on track.
Plan Ahead and Write Things Out
First things first, get a planner. If you don’t already have a planner (or don’t regularly use one), your life is about to be forever changed! A planner allows you to not only plan ahead, but it also gives you the joy of being able to mark things off your schedule when you complete them.
You can easily see significant events, birthdays, and holidays, along with other things for the upcoming week and month.
A physical planner is important to have, even if you already have a calendar on your phone or other digital devices. Research shows that a paper planner is more effective than a digital planner. Why? Well, it’s less distracting for one. You’re not at risk of clicking on the many notifications that are likely popping up at the same time. You’re also writing things out, which helps you to remember things better.
Did we mention that writing your plans out on paper also helps you to reduce stress? It’s almost like a form of meditation and time spent alone, getting things organized and reflecting.
There are pre-made planners with various templates to choose from or bullet journals where all the creating is up to you. Our favorite planner to use is the Day Designer. We swear by it. Curious if their template will work for you? You can try it before you buy it here.
If you get into the habit of writing everything out into a planner or a calendar, you will thank yourself later. No more forgetting birthdays or being late to meetings you scheduled a month ahead of time. It’s the perfect first step to getting your life organized.
Put Things Away
This seems like an obvious tip, but a lot of people don’t follow it. Giving everything a proper and specific “home” is the first step in feeling more organized. You won’t spend an hour in search of your headphones or chargers, because you’ll know exactly where they are – their home.
Properly storing your belongings will make your home, office, car, etc. will feel 10 times cleaner. Of course, you can start small with one room or task at a time. Eventually, you’ll have homes for everything, and you’ll begin to feel much more organized.
Instead of waiting until things are out of control, you’ll slowly begin decluttering your home entirely. The best way to tackle this is to start in areas that are used most often (i.e. your car, kitchen, bathroom, etc.). This habit will also help you see the bigger picture, the clutter you may or may not actually have. The things that don’t have homes or spaces to go to, may need to be reconsidered. Are they actually needed? This leads to the next tip.
No, you don’t need that pair of shoes that you haven’t even touched in 5 years. Decluttering may seem difficult at first because you don’t want to get rid of things “just in case.” I promise, though, once you do so, you will instantly feel better.
Having organization in your life starts with decluttering and not hoarding things you don’t need. An excellent way to decide whether to keep something or not is to think about if you have used them in the past three or six months. If not, you likely don’t need it. If there’s something you have that you don’t think you will use or need in the upcoming three to six months, trash it.
Marie Kondo has a great method and even explains it in detail in a series on Netflix. Kondo states to first imagine your ideal lifestyle, whether that means living with just the bare essentials or having a house full of things that bring you joy. Marie Kondo claims that once you really look at all of the belongings you have, you may realize that you “no longer love them.”
If there are items you still love, keep them and cherish them. By only keeping the things that really mean something to you, you can make space for those cherished items and other things you love.
Do it Now
Procrastinating is never something that pays off in your favor. Putting things off only allows them to build up and become more difficult to do later. Doing things as they come up will help rid your life of stress. Instead of letting things pile up and losing something in the process, you’ll be left with a clean and organized space.
You already know that eventually, you’re going to have to put things away, so why not just go ahead and do it? It’s easier said than done, but taking the extra 30 seconds to put something into the dishwasher instead of letting it pile up, will save you much more time in the future when the sink is completely full.
Blogger and organization guru “Sarah Ever After” puts it into words perfectly. “So if I put it off, it might seem like I’m taking the easy way out, but actually I just end up with a mess to look at and trip over and be annoyed by — and eventually I still have to put the stuff away.”
Create Weekly To-Do Lists
Sit down at the beginning of the week with a pen and paper and think of everything you want to get done by Friday. Keep up with the list, and make sure you are actually checking things off daily. If a weekly list seems too overwhelming, you can also create a daily to-do list.
This is a great idea for long term or short term tasks and will also help you with your time management. There are different methods for to-do lists and thus different tools. Most people like to write the lists out and see them on paper. If this tactic isn’t for you, there are many apps for your phone where you can make digital to-do lists, as well.
If writing your to-do lists out is your thing, here are some great templates and methods that I would recommend.
- Track your priorities and other to-do’s, meals, water intake, important times, and exercise
- Simple daily to-do list for the whole week
- Separate your top to-do’s and your to-do’s if there’s time
- Track who you need to call and email, where you need to go, and groceries you need to buy
- Keep up with just about everything from fitness to-dos to chores
- Track all of your habits–good and bad
- And just some simple, but cute to-do lists you can customize
Hopefully, these tips help you to get your life organized. Are there any other tips and tricks to forming good habits to get your life organized? Let us know in the comments!
Alyson Pittman is a contributing writer for WBD and a JR marketing associate for Excite Creative Studios, an Atlanta-based creative agency.
Alyson graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelors of Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. She was in multiple organizations at KSU where she held leadership positions. As a part of the Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, Alyson held the Social Coordinator position and planned/promoted large events.