Have you ever thought to yourself that you wish you were more organized? Chances are, if you’re here reading this article, there’s some part of you that is at least curious about the things you need to have a more organized life.
What does ‘more organized’ even mean anyway? Is it about scheduling out every minute of our day? Getting more done in a day? Ticking off our to do list? Or is it simply getting to the end of the day and feeling like you’ve gotten done all that needed to be done.
Before you start getting into the nitty gritty of making your day more organized, there’s a few questions you should ask yourself first.
What Does ‘More Organized’ Mean To You
Before you set out to be ‘more organized’ you, of course, need to decide what that actually means for you. Without knowing what ‘more organized’ means, there is no way you can measure if you are achieving what you set out to achieve.
Take a few moments to write out what areas of your life you want to spend time on, what is working for you now and what you feel needs more work, as well as what ‘organized’ actually means for you, in as much detail as you can.
Why Do You Want To Be ‘More Organized’
One of the questions we often overlook is why we want to be more organized. What is being more organized going to mean for us?
Is this so you can have more time on your own? More time with the kids? So you can feel less cluttered in your day? So you don’t miss important events?
Every one will have different motivations for being more organized but the only motivation that matters for you is your own.
What Does A Perfectly Organized Day Look Like For You
This is fun little exercise that allows you to dream up your perfect day. It might not be that this exact day is what you achieve – but there may be elements from your dream organized day that you can actually add into your days now to make things a little easier and a little more organized.
Once you’ve answered these questions and have a clear idea of what ‘more organized’ is for YOU, then you can go ahead and add these things to your day in order to achieve the type of organized you want to be.
The beauty of these is that regardless of what kind of ‘organized’ you are going for, these 5 things are all going to help in some way. For some people, they will serve as a little guidance and help, for others they will run their days by them. It’s up to you as to how you use these in your day to be more organized.
1 – To Do List
We all know the trusty ol’ to do list, but let me tell you a little secret… most people suck at actually completing their to do lists. And it’s not because they don’t work hard enough. It’s because they don’t write effective to do lists!
So many people just jam a whole bunch of things on a piece of paper and hope they somehow magically manage to do the 28 tasks they’ve listed.
It’s setting you up to fail and failing feels like crap.
Here’s a quick way to write a super effective to do list:
1 – Write out your top 3 must do things for the day. These are things that if you were to only do these 3 things, you’d feel pretty darn happy.
2 – Add another 3 ‘probably should do’ things to your list. These are things that would make you feel even better if you managed to tick them off, but not so important that they absolutely must get done (I add things like non-essential washing on here). These are tasks that you could always move to tomorrow if you don’t manage to do them.
3 – Add 1 task that will help you move towards a bigger goal. For me, this is often a fitness related thing – such as going for a walk or a run. I try my very best to get this done first thing in the morning and get up earlier to do it so I know it is ticked off and done and I’m moving towards my goals.
Boom. There you go. The perfect daily to do list.
2 – Daily/Weekly Planner
While it’s important to have a to do list, it’s also important to have a daily and weekly planner. Your daily to do list is very different to your daily planner, as your daily planner includes more details that are important to you.
A daily planner also gives you a chance to look at your day as a whole, and therefore help group your to do list items together where it makes sense (ie, by location such as at home, running errands, at work/schools) and having an overview of your day can help you feel much more in control.
A weekly planner is important because you want to be able to see what’s coming up and plan for what is happening. You may have a birthday, doctors appointment, school commitment, or expected delivery and having these things marked into your weekly planner can help you set a base for your daily planning.
3 – Meal Planner/Grocery List
Meal planning is AMAZING. Stick with me… I promise it’s true.
I resisted meal planning for so long. A friend of mine raved about it and I refused to believe it was THAT big of a deal. I liked being able to eat whatever I felt like, and thought a meal plan would be far too restricting.
She challenged me to try it and I was blown away.
I wrote all of our meals out for the week, included double meals so I could have left overs and not have to cook every night, and even made a little extra some nights for lunches. I took stock of what was in our cupboard and freezer, wrote my grocery list, and off we went.
I thought that having a meal plan would be super restrictive but instead it gave me so much more time! I didn’t have to go to the grocery store everyday, I could prep some things in advance (like chopping veggies for the following night), and the best part was, we saved so much money!
One of the surprise benefits that I hadn’t really anticipated was how much of a mental load it relieved. I didn’t have to think about what I was going to be doing for dinner each and every day (seriously, how annoying is having to cook dinner every darn day!!). It wasn’t until the second week in that I realised I just didn’t think about dinner throughout the day because I knew it was taken care of.
4 – Routines
Routines are an absolute sanity saver! I’m not a huge fan of schedules as I don’t like the rigidity of it all, but if schedules are your jam then you could use them instead.
So what’s the difference?
A routine is a sequence of actions that happen in a predetermined order, as opposed to a schedule which is a sequence of actions that happen at a predetermined time.
Subtle difference but still enough to make a big impact on your day.
So, for example, my morning routine usually involves me getting up at around 4:30am – 5am. I make my coffee, check my emails for anything urgent, take time to read, and if it’s a workout day I do my workout.
Then my kids get up and we start the breakfast/before school routine. Their routine is the same every day, in the same order, so they know exactly what is expected of them.
When it comes to my kids, this means I don’t have to tell them exactly what to do next because they already know. I don’t have to think about whether or not I should give them breakfast first or get them dressed first. I don’t have to try and get breakfast ready then do my workout because my morning routine is done.
It doesn’t matter if their routine starts at 6am or 7am, it is the same sequence of events which allows more flexibility for us when things come up (like if they get up earlier or later than usual).
You can create different routines for different sections of your day so you can be super organized and make less decisions throughout your day.
5 – A Decluttering Plan
A big mistake people make is thinking that decluttering is something you do once and then that’s it, you’re done. When really, decluttering is an ongoing process and is only really difficult when we avoid doing it for so long.
This is why I always recommend having a decluttering plan.
It doesn’t have to be super specific, it might just be as simple as once a week you remove 10 items from each room (it’s up to you what you consider items, don’t overcomplicate this…).
Or perhaps you have a room of focus each week, and for half an hour or an hour you just go through that one room and remove things that don’t need to be there. There’s no rules – it might be that you love a good deep dive declutter and you do that once a month.
Whatever it is, have a plan to declutter regularly. Trust me, it makes a huge difference to the feel of your home, a huge different to how organized you feel, and can seriously change how you feel about productivity and clarity.
Being organized doesn’t need to be complicated, in fact, I’d argue that the more simple the habits, the easier they are to stick with and the bigger impact they have on how organized you feel. Start small, start simple, start today.