Do you feel like you’re drowning in your own life? Don’t worry – it’s a fairly common feeling. We’re so over scheduled, and have such FOMO (fear of missing out) that we can’t say no. To anything.
No matter your age, you’re never too old to start working on improving your organizational skills to organize your life. If you feel like organization is something you just can’t get the hang of, you might need a few tips and pointers to help you get started. It’s okay – we’ve all been there! When it comes to getting organized, you need to find a way to make changes that become second nature. You can’t just try to change your behaviors. You have to change your habits so that being organized comes to you naturally. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
4 Tips to Help Organize Your Life
Structural Lifestyle Changes
The first and, possibly most important, things you need to do in order to organize your life are:
Learn to say “No.” Oftentimes, people who say they have a hard time staying organized are those who are most likely to over-commit themselves. Learn to say “no” and only commit to the most important things. And learn to designate. People are more willing to help than you realize.
Be early. People who have a hard time staying organized are usually the type to run late. Set your watch a few minute fast or set an alarm on your phone to remind you when to leave, and start showing up early to everything. This preparedness will start to become a part of your life in other ways, as well.
Learn to prioritize. Some things can wait, and it’s up to you to figure out what those things are. Once you’ve discovered how to prioritize, you’ll naturally end up with a regular to-do list to help you keep structured and help organize your life.
Start Keeping Lists
Now, I’ll admit it – I’m a list maker from way back. Heck, I like to make lists of my lists. One of the biggest mistakes people make when deciding to get organized is trying to remember every little thing. If you try to make yourself memorize your to-do lists and remember every single task you need to complete (appointment times, work projects, errands to run, etc.), you’re just going to end up frustrated. Organize your life by organizing your thoughts.
Before you go to bed at night, make yourself a list of everything you think you need to do the next day. This is especially helpful if you feel like you’re brewing and stewing over all of your activities, and it’s keeping you up at night. Writing everything down will let your brain feel like it doesn’t need to actively hold on to all of this information anymore, which will allow you to relax.
Once you’ve started making lists to organize your life, remember to actually use them. Buy pre-made to-do lists that are fun to use. You’ll actually look forward to filling them out! Put them in a conspicuous place, like on the fridge or by your desk, so you will remember to grab them in the morning and to check them. Eventually, you will probably find that keeping a list actually makes you better at remembering things, and the feeling you get when you tick off that last item is pretty darn satisfying.
Organize Your Space
Keeping your lists next to your keys or in your purse won’t benefit you if you leave your keys somewhere different every day or your purse is a mess. Set yourself up for success by making your living space more organized and collected. Once you have your space nicely set up, you’ll be putting yourself in a position to keep the pattern of organization going. Try to organize things in a pretty intuitive way so that you won’t have any trouble finding things later.
Leave yourself room to change your mind. If you find that your placement for something just isn’t as easy to remember as you thought it would be, don’t force yourself to try to remember where certain items are. Let your system evolve naturally to figure out where it will be easiest for you to remember to find things and put them back.
When you reach the point where you can start planning ahead, you will really start to feel good about your organization system. At first, this may mean you need to do some designating and assigning of tasks. Once you’ve started to organize your life with to-do lists for a week, a month, and even three months down the line, you’ll recognize when it’s more worthwhile to ask for help. Once you’ve figured out when things need to get done and when you should start on those things, you will really start to feel like your life has become organized:
Be prepared, financially. Have an emergency plan should your finances change. Know what the critical payments are for at least one year out. That is, know how much money you will need to pay for 12 months of rent, food, utilities, Internet, gas, etc.
Keep your paperwork in order. When it starts to get close to tax time, you will be ready to get them done quickly. Of course, for many people, taxes are one of those things they just keep putting off. Don’t let that happen to you. If you find yourself rushing to have your taxes ready in April, it can throw off all the work you’ve done to get more organized. Instead, look into help from a professional, if it means that you’ll have an easier time staying on track.
Though becoming an organized person may seem like a goal that is a million miles away, it doesn’t have to feel impossible. Making these simple and easy kind of changes can mean so much for your overall quality of life.