by David Bohl, Lifestyle Designer
It’s really not that hard to stay organized once you get there… but the getting there can be a challenge. I’ve often wondered if some of us are born with an organizational gene and others are born with a messy gene. It seems some people have a knack for keeping order everywhere around them–in their car, office, and home. And others create messes wherever they go!
For those who do not have this innate ability, it’s fairly easy to learn tips that will not only bring peace of mind, but can literally save your life. Losing your keys, misplacing important documents, or not being able to find your medication can all have life-threatening consequences.
More often, most of us want to be organized in order to have a life that flows more smoothly, with less stress and chaos, and more structure and efficiency. Whatever the reason for creating order, you will enjoy the results. Here are some top tips to get there:
1. Have a home for everything.
“A place for everything and everything in its place” is a basic tenet of organization. Once you establish a home for everything, you just need to put it back there to maintain order. A logical place to put things is close to where they will be used. Keep your office supplies in your office close to your desk. Keep your tools in a tool box in the garage. Organizing can be fun when you look for proper storage containers to store everything. A rolling cart can be kept close to your desk with pens, stationery, and computer paper and ink. And a multi-level tool box that holds all your basic tools will keep them well organized. When everything has its place, you will be able to put your hands on what you need when you need it. In some instances, that can be life saving!
2. Maintain your space.
Spend time each day or once a week doing maintenance. That means putting things back in their home and catching up on any organization projects. One of the main reasons people are not organized is they don’t take the time to keep up the organization. Taking 15 minutes to put things away every evening can save hours of cleaning up messes that have gone untouched for weeks. Did you know that piles of paper are breeding grounds? Just watch one paper, then pile another on top, and watch them multiply. In no time at all, you’ll have a massive pile! If you’ve misplaced a critical document, knowing where it is at all times can be life saving!
3. Keep a calendar/ to do list.
If it’s not on my calendar or to do list, it doesn’t exist. I don’t know how anyone can be busy, juggle activities, and schedule appointments without a calendar. I’ve helped many stressful coaching clients with just this simple suggestion: write it down! You must keep a calendar so you can honor your commitments to others and yourself. And a to do list helps you tackle the important activities first and keep track of all you have on your plate. If you miss an appointment with a client, or forget to pick up your kids at soccer practice, or neglect a physical checkup, you will definitely appreciate how writing everything down is life saving.
4. Manage your time.
Time management is a huge part of an organized life. Keeping a calendar will help you to manage your time more effectively. Other skills that will help include learning when and what to delegate, saying no when it’s not in your best interest, and prioritizing your activities. When you cannot do it all–and frankly, you should not be doing everything yourself–it’s time to delegate. Whether it’s house cleaning, gardening, or having a virtual assistant, the best use of your time is what you do best and enjoy doing – otherwise just hire gardener or the floor cleaning services to save both nerves and time. Learning to say no to activities that don’t support your primary goals keeps you free to focus on your priorities, which you can organize with your to do list. See how all of these fit together?
5. Clear the clutter.
Having a home for everything will get you started on clearing the clutter. The next step is to let go of what you won’t use or haven’t used for the past year. Have a garage sale or donate to your local thrift store or charity. People tend to buy new things but not discard the old, and what happens is we run out of space! Recycle, let go, and free up your space. It’s difficult to stay organized when there’s too much stuff! It’s difficult to find a home for everything when there’s too much stuff! It distracts you from being able to focus your energy on the important areas of you life. Have a family “clear the clutter” party at least once, maybe even twice a year.
6. Learn to make decisions.
What do I do with this paper? Where do I put this piece of equipment? One of the primary reasons stuff accumulates besides not having a home and having too much of it, is that we put off making decisions. Should I keep this? If so where would I put it? Oh, I’ll decide later. Sound familiar? So if you look at some of the clutter around you, you can probably trace it back to being unable to decide what to do with it. Adapt the Nike slogan, “just do it.” You can always make another decision later, but for now, decide to do it, delegate it, or dump or delete it! That’s easy! This simple, but powerful skill, will stand you in good stead in so many situations. And making decisions can definitely be life saving!
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Thanks to Rich Life Carnival for including this post in the Rich Life Carnival, and to Insight Writer for including this post in the Carnival of Personal Development.