Top 10 Ways to Get Organized (#8 will surprise you!)

Are you ready to start organizing your life? Last week I shared with you how moving 2000 miles helped me in more ways than one Getting organized is often at the top of the list when it comes to making a change in your life. Most people feel like their life could be more organized and then they would be more productive and less stressed. Guess what? It’s true! When you’re organized you DO get more done and you WILL feel more in control of your space and time. Here are my top 10 strategies to help you get organized. The following ten strategies will help you get more organized at home, at work, and in your personal life.

#1 Find the Trash Can

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to get organized is that they go out and shop for storage containers first. The first step to any organization process should be to sort through your belongings and purge. Get rid of what you don’t use, don’t need, and what is broken or damaged. Your closet is the easiest example. Instead of buying more shoe racks or another closet shelving system, clean out your closet. Get rid of the clothing that doesn’t fit, is damaged, or that you never wear.

#2 Make a Place for Everything

Once you’ve scaled down your belongings, then you can begin to invest in storage solutions. Choose a logical place for everything. Many people have the habit of putting their belongings in a closet or cupboard. As long as it is out of sight, they feel organized. A better solution is to create logical storage systems. For example, you might keep all your cleaning supplies in one carryall that you can tote from room to room. Or you might keep cleaning supplies for each room in that room.

#3 Create Systems for Repeatable Tasks

Systems are step-by-step processes that you can use to simplify repeatable tasks. For example, I have a system for sorting your mail. When I get the mail, I open the important mail immediately, file the mail to read later, and shred the mail that needs to be disposed of. Other systems might include cleaning, planning, cooking and preparing meals, and caring for pets. Make a list of the tasks that you repeat every day. Create routines for these tasks.

#4 Invest in Backup Software & Storage

I just bought an external hard drive to store my files. This one is so small for something that holds so much! I use this to back up my pictures, finances, recipes, and other documents that are stored on your computer. Invest in a backup system. You might use a cloud storage system. You can also back up your computer to an external hard drive. Back up at least weekly, more if your life is on your computer and you can’t risk losing data.

#5 Use Financial/Accounting Software

Finances are often one of the most disorganized areas that people complain about. The solution is simple. Find an accounting or bookkeeping software or application that works for your needs. Get one that is both on your computer and your mobile device. Look for a system that allows you to budget, pay off debt, save money, plan for taxes, and know at a glance how much you have in your bank account.

#6 Use a Calendar or Planning System

This sounds like a no brainer but so many people don’t use a calendar that helps them succeed! There are many different systems and tools to choose from. I use a personal planner and the calendar on my phone. My phone calendar syncs with my husband’s calendar so he doesn’t plan something when I’ve got an appointment and vice-versa. I use my planner to schedule due dates for long term projects. It’s easiest if you find a system that you can use both on your computer and on your phone. It can be something free like Google Calendar, or you might want something with more features like Evernote.

#7 Make A List of Your SMART Goals

Writing down your goals makes them more permanent. So, grab a notebook or that calendar or planning system that you’ve chosen and make a list of your goals. What specifically do you want to accomplish? When do you want to accomplish it by? Why do you want to accomplish it? What is your motivation? How will your life change and improve?

SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. Once you’ve identified your goals, take some time to break them down into smaller pieces that you can manage. Add those pieces and their deadlines to your planner and get to work.

#8 Clean and Organize 15 Minutes Daily

I dedicate 15 – 20 minutes a day straightening my home. You might do it at the end of the day, after dinner and before you sit down on the couch for television. Just by taking 15 minutes a day, you’ll ensures that your home stays clean and welcoming. And, by doing this at the end of every day means that you wake up to a clean home. It starts the day off right.

You might also dedicate the last ten minutes of the workday to cleaning off your desk. Then, when you come in the next day, you have an environment will help you succeed!

#9 Establish Daily Priorities

Look at your goals and your calendar each day. Pick out two to three tasks that you want to accomplish, above all else. These are the tasks that you’ll focus on and tackle first. Establishing daily priorities helps you organize your day, your time, and it makes you more productive. I think choose the tasks that have the biggest impact on my success.

#10 Focus on One Project at a Time

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from my very first nurse manager. She would always tell me to “Stop. Take a deep breath. Do one thing at a time.” Many people believe that they are fully capable of multitasking. Unfortunately, this is a myth. There’s a great book called  ‘Singletasking’. It explains why multitasking is impossible

The human brain cannot multitask. It cannot do two or more things at once. Instead, your attention is divided. You might be able to bounce back and forth between several tasks so that it seems like you’re multitasking.

However, each time you shift focus you lose a bit of time and productivity. If you want to get more done and actually be more organized, focus on one project at a time. Your attention won’t be divided, you’ll have better results, and you won’t feel as overwhelmed.

Where do you start organizing?

Start your organization process with the area of your life or home that feels the most out of control. It might be your schedule, your refrigerator, or your finances. Whatever feels like the most frightening thing to tackle is probably where you should start because it’ll have the biggest impact on your life. And once you get that big mess organized, everything else might feel easier to take care of.

~ Until next time, Dr. JB Kirby

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