It’s a challenge to organize your life. We have so many balls in the air at once that it’s only a matter of time before they all come crashing down. Working full-time, managing your home, taking care of your family AND trying to have some time for yourself somewhere in there… It’s a lot!
It may be time to get organized if you:
- Are constantly late for appointments
- Often forget you were supposed to do things
- Can’t find anything in your home
- Feel like you can’t accomplish any of your goals
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you think about just how many unchecked boxes are on your to-do list. You either do nothing or try to do it all and end up achieving very little. It’s frustrating!
Follow these twelve tips to organize your life and overcome that swamped feeling.
How To Organize Your Life
1. Write Things Down
The older I get, the worse my memory seems to be. I don’t even bother to pretend that I’m going to remember to do things anymore. I write everything down.
When you are completely inundated by tasks you need to get done, write them all down. Don’t worry about making it look pretty just yet. We’ll get to that later. Just get everything out of your head and on to a piece of paper or your computer, if you prefer. This is called a brain dump and it can relieve worry and stress caused by a long to-do list.
2. Create Schedules
Take your brain dump and rank what’s most important and urgent. Schedule those tasks first. Typically, I use the time blocking technique. This simply means that I add tasks to my calendar, assigning chunks of time to each one.
When scheduling tasks, be realistic about how much time you will need to complete them. Don’t add too much to your day as you will feel frustrated if you can’t get everything done. Usually, I plan 3-5 tasks each day unless I only have lots of simple things to do.
I love using Google Calendar to schedule my time because it’s free and easy to learn. I keep the calendar open on my computer and I have the mobile app installed. When it’s time for a new task to begin, an alert pops up both on my phone and laptop which is handy if I’m not on my computer.
Alternatively, you can use a physical planner. Use planner stickers or coloured inks make the schedule visually appealing.
3. Set Deadlines
If there’s a particular goal you wish to accomplish, set a deadline and stick to it! Without an end date, you can easily find yourself putting the task off time and time again.
4. Don’t Procrastinate
Setting a deadline helps to avoid procrastination but it’s still easy to put things off until the last possible second. How many times have you had a deadline looming and told yourself that you should really get started but go do something else instead? Then, within the final hour you scramble to get the task complete. You’re frazzled and frantic and it all could have been avoid if you had started a month ago.
5. Find a Place For Everything
All of your possessions must have a home. That’s the only way to avoid complete chaos and disorder. When you know where everything is, life just seems simpler. You don’t waste time looking for your keys every morning. You don’t have to answer the question, “Where is X?”, a million times when your family doesn’t know where to look. Your home is easier to clean and you feel more productive.
6. Declutter Often
Keep clutter hotspots clear by regularly checking them and cleaning them out. Having good organization systems in place is one great way to deal with these. If mail constantly piles up on the kitchen counter, place folders there and sort it as soon as you bring it in the house. Analyze where your clutter builds up and figure out how to prevent it.
7. Put Stuff Back
After you use something, put it back into its rightful spot. What is the point of implementing organization systems if you don’t keep them in order? Being lazy and leaving stuff scattered everywhere accomplishes the opposite of trying to organize your life.
Label everything so your family knows where stuff goes as well. This way you don’t have to constantly clean up after them when they put items in the wrong place.
8. Create A Command Centre
A family command centre is a great way to organize your life. It’s a designated spot in your home where you keep things your family regularly needs to access on their way out the door. It’s a great place for school backpacks, keys, sunglasses etc.
Place a table near to the entryway door and put small baskets or bins on it for each member of your family to store their stuff. If you don’t have space for a table or storage bench, hang folders, a pinboard or magnetic board and hooks on the wall to add additional storage.
9. Avoid Sales
If you’re the type of person who just can’t resist a bargain, then you probably have a house full of clutter. Everyone loves a deal but when you constantly succumb to buying items you don’t really need, you not only fill your home with junk, you also waste your money.
Enforce a one-in-one-out rule so that you think twice before you bring something new into your home. This means that when you buy new stuff, you have to get rid of an equal number of similar items that you already own.
For example, you passed by your neighbour’s house and realized she was having a garage sale. You bought one shirt and a vase. You have to get rid of a shirt from the closet where you will place the new one and a piece of home decor.
10. Delegation Is Good For The Soul
Despite what you think, you do NOT have to get everything done on your own. You are not Superwoman and quite frankly, you don’t have to be.
Instead of cleaning the entire house yourself, get your family to help. Assign age-appropriate chores to each member and write them on a chore chart. Place the chart in a central location that is easily visible.
Click the image below for a free printable chore chart.
Think of any other task that you need help with and ask for it. There’s no shame in admitting you need a helping hand.
You can always hire someone to step in and assist you but find free ways to get help first. We are minding the budget, of course.
11. Click The “Unsubscribe” Button
You can’t forget about digital clutter when trying to organize your life. You probably have a few newsletters, digital magazines etc. that you subscribed to in the past and don’t read anymore. Go through your inbox and unsubscribe from each of these.
12. Manage Your Money
Life can get chaotic real fast when you don’t control your money. Sit down and create a budget so you know exactly how much money you have to work with each month. Then, either use a paper-based system or a digital app to keep track of your spending.
You may be surprised at how much you can save after doing this. Small purchases that we take no notice of can really add up. Once you make a note of all of your expenses, you can easily see where you need to cut back.
Life is never static and, as it changes, you should also revise your systems. Avoid frustration and overwhelm by using these twelve tips to finally organize your life and keep it that way.