Is getting organized one of your New Year’s Resolutions? Was it one of your resolutions last year too? Are you tired of missing important deadlines and meetings, constantly losing your car keys and just generally feeling overwhelmed by the chaos?
You’ve come to the right place. While getting organized is a process–I’m not going to sugar coat it: it isn’t going to happen overnight–here are five simple tricks to set you on the path to an organized life.
Some of these are going to be simple—and some are habits that will take you some time and effort to master, but none of them are difficult. These really are simple tricks that will help you organize your life and banish the chaos for good. As for the car keys, well, we can try. . .
Plan Your Day the Night Before
Whether it’s the end of your work day, or the end of your day at home, take 15 minutes to review your calendar and your to-do list and plan out the next day before you call it a night. Knowing the night before what to expect for tomorrow—and prepping for it—will help you stay on top of meetings, deadlines and other important events.
Make ONE to-do list
Instead of having lists here there and everywhere—or no list at all—make one master list to keep track of all your projects, assignments, to-do’s and meetings. By keeping everything in one place, it will be easier to see what you need to do and when.
Clean Up As You Go
Learn to pick up after yourself as you go along. Whether it’s putting dirty clothes in the hamper when you take them off or not leaving your dirty dishes in the sink hoping they will magically make their way to the dishwasher developing the touch-it-once habit will save you time and make your life much easier. Applying this habit to the kitchen, the laundry, and eventually to the rest of your life—eliminates messy piles and clutter all over your home
Open the Mail When it Comes
Whether at home or at the office, get in the habit of opening your mail when it arrives. Open every envelope and make a decision about its future on the spot. A “deal with it later” pile is not one of the decisions. I sort my mail into bills to pay, correspondence to respond to, and trash. Just think—no more late bill payments, overlooked invitations, and most importantly not missing that winning sweepstakes entry (yep, I nearly missed a prize notice once because I tossed it in the junk mail pile to deal with later).
Are your mornings a frantic rush as you try to get everything together and get everyone out the door on time? Create morning and evening routines that will help you unwind at night before bed and get going and out the door in the morning without having to think about it and without the stress. With school-age children, we made lunches at night after dinner, made sure homework was completed and in the appropriate backpack, and then took care of evening hygiene routines. Having all these things done the night before made morning that much less stressful.
Your morning routine might include breakfast, working out and starting laundry or that night’s dinner. Give some thought to what needs to happen in the morning to get your day off to a good start and develop a routine around it, being sure to give yourself enough time to get it done.
Once you’ve incorporated these 5 simple tricks into your routine, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the organized life. I’d love to hear how these are working for you—and what other organizing challenges you want to master this year. Leave me your feedback and questions in the comment section below.