Orderliness not your super power? We get it — but fear not, friend. If you’ve been wondering how to get organized at home, work or school, turn these five foundations for organizational success into habits and you’ll be well on your way to #nailingit in the new year.
1. Make a note of it.
From the ever-present grocery list to a strategy for slaying your new year’s resolution, anything you need or want to do will benefit from the simple act of writing it down. Take advantage of your phone’s native apps for typing quick notes or checklists, or choose a more robust digital solution like Evernote.
Prefer to put pen to paper? Treat yourself to a new notebook or planner — or customize your own in a binder with our FREE Ultimate Planner, which includes 10 pages of helpful fill-in-the-blank printables (including goal and habit trackers!), plus cover designs and spine labels.
No matter how you choose to capture your thoughts, pulling them together on paper or on screen helps you solidify and prioritize your plans, which brings us to…
2. Set deadlines, create priorities.
Life happens, and leaving plans open-ended means they can get pushed back endlessly as competing demands come up week after week. If you care enough to write it down, give yourself a planned completion date so you have something to work toward. Once you start assigning dates to your list items, you can relax a little knowing how everything on your to-do list ranks in order of importance.
Check back daily to reassess your progress and keep expectations reasonable. Oh, and don’t forget to schedule in some down time to rest and recharge. You’ll feel more up to crushing those goals when you make self-care a priority.
3. Big plans? Think small.
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” the popular saying goes. If you’ve set yourself a major goal, your best chance of accomplishing it lies in your ability to break it down into smaller, mini-goals. Writing an outline or visualizing the framework for achieving your big plan with a mind map or similar approach can help. Get granular, and celebrate your small wins along the way.
4. Declutter your space and your mind will follow.
The science is in: not only can too much clutter ruin your productivity, it can actually affect your health. At the very least, you’ll think more clearly with a clean desk, kitchen, craft room, etc. With many of us working and learning from home, this can be extra challenging with makeshift work spaces and rooms pulling double duty. Try setting a regular 10-minute morning or end-of-day declutter break.
5. A place for everything…
Your decluttering efforts will only go so far if the items you’ve just cleared away don’t have a home. Once you’ve donated or discarded anything you don’t need, take a look at what’s left. Knowing what you want to store is the first step in figuring out how to store it. As for where to store it, organizing professionals say it’s smart to stow items near where you use them. Lastly, get into the habit of putting things back where you found them. Future You appreciates it!
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This post was originally published on January 28, 2022. Its content has been updated.
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Robert Barclay says
I need a planner to be organized. I’d like to try this!
Hi Susan, we feel the same way! Let us know how you like the printable planner.
We’re glad you found this helpful, Robert!
I need to try this.
Virginia Sharp says
Looking forward to trying this