When you finally tell yourself that you need to get organized, it’s most likely overdue. We procrastinate with any sort of activity that involves sitting down and doing the boring stuff. The longer you’ve procrastinated means the more clutter you have both physically and mentally.
Great news, it doesn’t have to be awful.
We look at organization tasks in one big clump. When you see things as a large project, the stress levels rise at the thought of starting. However, if you break it down into steps, you’ll achieve these goals faster. You’ll end up with a more motivated mindset to finish what you started!
Give yourself the grace to conquer it in small chunks and be amazed at the work you’ve accomplished by the end.
You probably own too many things if you’re overwhelmed with all the pile-up in your home. This can be in any category.
Is there a large pile of unfolded laundry? You own too many pieces of clothing.
Are the dishes starting to crowd the sink? Have they made their way on the counter next to the sink? You use too many dishes.
Do you need to file an unmentionable amount of paperwork? Well, you don’t need every piece of paper in that pile!
Once you’ve reduced your extra items, give everything a “home”. Look at all your surfaces like countertops, tables, etc. Unless they are “permanent”, like a dining table centerpiece or a decorative tray on the coffee table, put those items in designated storage spaces.
There are so many resources to get you started on cleaning. You can even go a step further and adopt the practice of minimalism. You’ve probably already heard of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It will guide you through how easy it is to get rid of unnecessary things. What will sell you into this idea is the fact that she only has to “tidy up” a few times a year after decluttering!
It turns out, there is a strong link between clutter and depression! It may take away some of your free time, but it’s well worth it.
Your ideal workspace
With a less cluttered house, it’s now time to be strategic about where to place your items.
Distractions–what are they for you? If you are distracted by the kitchen because it reminds you of the chores or food, then don’t work by the kitchen.
Working in my living room did not make me focused or productive. Even when no one was around. I’m still not sure why, but I started being more aware of it when I changed up locations.
Start keeping track of how much you do in certain places. The hassle it brings will outweigh the time lost from procrastination, distractions, and overall unproductive sessions.
How’s the white space around you? You have no room to breathe when items are only inches away in all directions! Ever wonder why those Pinterest images of office spaces stand out? It’s because of their white space.
A good way to test this is taking a photo of your workspace. It brings a fresh perspective. If you don’t like it, change it!
Invest in your future self
I was inspired by this idea when I was listening to the Happier podcast. In one of their episodes, they mentioned what they do for themselves in a future tense. This is interpreted however you want it to be, as long as it means benefiting yourself.
The example I heard from the podcast was as simple as a night shower. If you dread the mornings and it’s hard for you to gain momentum quickly, then it would be a time saver to shower at night before bed. That way you can wake up and be one step closer to being ready for the day.
Think of your tendencies and what you can do today to benefit yourself later.
This all ties into my main point: plan ahead!
Let’s say you’re a work-at-home mom of young children. Your best time to do any work is when the kids are sleeping. So how do you invest in your future self? While they’re awake, do your normal activities that you can do with them there. And set up your workspace so that when they are sleeping, everything is ready for you.
Do you like to drink coffee while you work? Then make it before your designated work time. Do you need reminders on what to do? Make a list the night before and then have your planner open when you sit down at your desk.
We run mostly on fumes when we’re busy and do only the necessary items. We also do what we’re familiar with, we cater to certain habits or routines.
If there are days you are at your capacity, you’ll want everything to be predictable in order to function. The most tedious way to do this is time block by the day. This works well for detail-oriented workers. If that sounds overwhelming, be more flexible and get organized by the week.
Here’s an example of flexible time blocking:
Mondays: Outline and draft a blog post
Tuesdays: Edit blog post and optimize for SEO
Wednesdays: Make graphics for the blog and social media
Thursdays: Promote blog and engage in social media
Fridays: Plan next week’s post
Mondays: Exercise and catch up on chores
Tuesdays: Organize and follow up on emails
Wednesday: Rest and go to the park
Thursdays: Take an online course
Fridays: Create some artwork
If your days are more predictable, it will cater to a busy schedule. If you make it flexible enough, you may not even have to be in the same location to continue your routine.
Embrace the resources we have these days! I know there is a lot of criticism on smartphones and internet. The analog movement is definitely making a comeback, but technology is what can make or break you.
Depending on your profession, you may have to rely on being faster than others!
Here are some great tools to manage your workload and get organized:
Trello – Trello is used for both personal projects and household chores but also for large company workflows. Their layout looks like post-it notes stacked and categorized accordingly. You can have multiple users to check up on their progress. Use it for project management, to-do lists, editorial calendars, and brainstorming.
Google Drive – Part of having a busy lifestyle may be having to move around while working. It’s also great for those who have a hard time remembering to save documents frequently! A cloud drive keeps everything accessible anywhere, saves your work automatically and it’s free. Not to mention, everyone is using Google anyway!
Wunderlist – As it implies in the name, it’s a go-to for making lists. Have a random business idea? Write it here. Need to add to your grocery list? Add it here. It’s a great way to write things down you know you’ll forget later.
Evernote – The secret to storing everything you need to know is this app. It’s a fantastic way to keep your emails clear of too many newsletters. Do you subscribe to a lot of newsletters that have a lot of information? You can add a folder in Evernote and come back to it later. You can use it to store your drafts. You can also install the Chrome extension and clip articles straight into your account. Now you can keep your core exercise plan and marketing tips in one place!
Pomodoro Timer – Sometimes when I’m really into my task, I forget to take breaks, stretch, drink water or even look somewhere else. Pomodoro has alarms in a length of time you choose. When the time is up it reminds you to take a break. It rings again when your break is up and gets you back to work. Note: There are many different versions of this so look around to see what fits you.
Small victories to get organized
I broke down these steps into bite-sized pieces. You can tweak your life as little as you’re comfortable with and slowly work your way up. Or you can do it all at once if you’re more of a “get it over with” type of person.
The point is, it’s not too difficult to get out of a rut! You can live a happier life when you don’t waste time and accomplish more with the time you have.