What the heck do habits that organize your life have to do with achieving your goals and creating the life that you want? Absolutely everything. Having an organized life frees your mind to concentrate, decide what’s important and creates the time needed to implement plans. When you eliminate chaos, you will find you actually follow through and execute much more. Let’s face it, it’s easier to concentrate without the visual distractions of clutter.
Basically, organize your life, organize your mind.
One of the greatest hurdles I have to conquer on a daily basis is life organization. I am constantly looking for stuff, trying to remember appointments and commitments and it seems like I have a swirl of ideas always swimming in my head in regards to my business. It’s messy in my home and my mind.
Maybe there is a simple solution…
If only I had a maid that came in once a week and cleaned up my house, it would always look spotless and I wouldn’t have to waste my time doing menial tasks.
If only I could hire a professional organizer. I would know exactly where everything was and I could find it immediately.
If only I had a PA following me around all day, reminding me of my appointments and taking notes when I have a brilliant idea. I would be able to accomplish so much.
If only, if only, if only…my life would be so different. Sigh.
But I highly doubt any of those solutions would make a difference. You know why? Faster than you can snap your fingers, I could mess up the kitchen after the maid left, find something I really needed after the organizer was gone and leave it in the last place I touched it and write a new note on the back of the old note the PA had set on my desk for me.
Even if I could afford to hire all those people, my circumstances would not change. Because in order to be successful, I have to change my habits too. I have to be an active participant in organizing my life. Only then will the results I want, happen.
If you are sick and tired of living in chaos and not having time to pursue any life goals, you need to start with your environment, your home, your life space.
It all begins with a massive purge.
Organizing without decluttering is like spitting in the wind. Sure those plastic bins look super nice and give you the sensation of clean but only for a day, a week if you are lucky. Cause sure enough you will need something from one of those bins soon after you have neatly stacked them away and you will make a mess trying to get at that one item.
If you need help decluttering, check out these posts:
Decluttering your home is awesome and makes organizing so much easier and simpler but if you don’t implement new habits, you will find that you soon have to do a huge purge again and again.
Here are some strategies to help you keep clutter under control:
5 Simple Habits To Keep Clutter Away
1. Get rid of clutter immediately.
- don’t shove unnecessary receipts in your wallet
- don’t use your purse as a catch-all
- clean out your car every time you get out
- don’t bring any unnecessary things into your home
- don’t let an item enter your home with the intention of getting rid of it later
If you make a habit of not accumulating things that you know you will have to pitch later, you will save yourself the time of having to sort through the garbage to find that one really important thing. You are also learning a very important skill, how to make quick decisions when needed and not putting it off till later.
2. Everything has its place.
- as soon as you step over your threshold, put everything you have brought in with you in its rightful place
- if you use it, return it
- do not make “return to its proper place” piles
- when you leave a room, take items that don’t belong with you
Isn’t it just dreamy to think that you could actually go look for something and find it right away? So why not make that a reality and take the 2 seconds it takes to return things to their proper place. Save yourself the frustration and you won’t ever have to talk to yourself like this again: “when did I use that last and where did I put it?”
3. Get a handle on paperwork.
- open mail right away, sort, pitch the unnecessary and file the rest
- make a file for notes and documents
- stop writing on scraps of loose paper and use a notebook
So much for the prediction of the paperless society when computers were invented. I think we actually have more, in triplicate. Don’t accumulate. Go through it as fast as it comes in and if it’s important enough to keep, then it is important enough to file.
4. Clean up as you go.
- make your bed
- put your clothes away
- wipe surfaces, wash dishes, clean areas before you leave the room
You want to know why everyone hates cleaning? Because we have to set aside a specific time to get it done. It takes no time at all to wipe down the kitchen counters after making a meal. Taps, sinks and toilets can be kept clean with a wet wipe after every use. It takes just as much effort to put your dishes straight into the dishwasher as it did to put it on the counter for loading. If you get into the habit of cleaning as you go, you won’t have to set aside huge lumps of time for cleaning later.
5. Keep flat surfaces clutter free.
For some odd reason, clutter begets clutter.
Have you ever noticed that when you leave something on a countertop, you come back and it has invited a few more friends to join them? That is because once you leave something where it doesn’t belong, other people, (and even yourself) think it is ok to leave stuff there too.
Think of every flat surface in your home as slightly slanted. Everything needs to slide off of these surfaces and not take root, and that includes the floor.
Now that your space is clean, it’s time to organize your life…
Tips To Organize Your Life
1. Organize your life with a planner for appointments.
- don’t put appointment cards into your wallet
- stop and write down(or input into a phone app) immediately
I don’t know about you but putting strings on my finger or making a mental note to myself to remember just doesn’t work anymore. Actually, I don’t think it ever did. Get into the habit of writing it down, NOW. Not later. I know, you have an app for that. Yeah, have you used it? No, then maybe you are a paper person. Buy a calendar and take it with you everywhere you go.
2. Use your planner to keep track of events.
When did I take the bike in for repair? When did I get my nails done last? When did I mail in my tax return?
I use my planner like a mini diary of important events. That way I never have to remember on what day I did something. I just need to flip open my planner and the information is all right there.
3. Learn how to time block.
If something is important enough to you, you should schedule the time with yourself. I know it sounds silly but it works.
- If you want to make going to the gym a habit, create an appointment.
- If you want to fit reading or journalling time into your day, schedule it.
- If you want to nurture your relationships, time block for date nights.
The great thing about time blocking is that others will begin to respect the time you have set aside too because you have shown them you are making whatever you are doing a priority.
Now that your home is organized and free from clutter and you are keeping track and scheduling appointments, you can start to focus on setting some goals and making plans to achieve them.
How To Set Goals And Achieve Them
1. Decide what goals you wish to pursue.
For some people this is easy. They know exactly what they want. Lucky you if you are one of them. For the rest of us, we may need some prompting.
- what hobbies or activities did you use to enjoy before life took over
- is there something new you have always wanted to try
- do you want to have a healthier lifestyle
- do you want to travel
- do you want to start a business
Use a journal and log your thoughts. Nothing is silly. Write down all your dreams and goals down without judgement.
2. Pick one and make a plan.
- choose the goal or dream you would like to pursue first
- make a list of everything you will need
- create a budget if you will need financing to fulfil this goal
- set target dates to achieve milestones and write them in your planner
- time block to set aside time to work on your goals
3. Re-evaluate your progress or setbacks.
- make adjustments to your plan
- celebrate your wins no matter how small
- know that there will be peaks and valleys on your road to successfully achieving your goal
- push through hard times if you are committed to this goal
- don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board and choose another goal if you find you aren’t feeling it anymore
Imagine a life where you could get your hands on something you need almost immediately.
Imagine a home that you wouldn’t be embarrassed of if someone dropped by unannounced.
Imagine having more time to focus on making your dreams come true.
Imagine your mind being clutter free and able to plan the future you want.
You can have it all if you organize your life with a few good habits.
Sunday 17th of January 2016
Hi Elena. I swear paper multiplies as soon it walks through our door. While you have people who are naturally organised, I am right down the opposite end and have virtually no sense of time...particularly after having chemo two years ago. I have a neurological condition, which has been treated but I'm not as sharp as I could be. Lose things easily too. I have a place for my keys and wallet. I have folders for filing school notes etc but these are particularly good at breeding beyond control. I am going to try your tips but would appreciate any more. I use a digital style watch and find that's much better for keeping track of time and a timer. Any further tips would be much appreciated! xx Rowena
Monday 18th of January 2016
I am so glad you have recovered except for the memory thing. Hopefully it will get better.
And I know how you feel about the paper but the problem in my house is all the other dwellers. I'm training them though.
Stay tuned for more posts in the future!
Monday 11th of January 2016
Some great tips Elena. Now if only I can get my husband to read this too! (Especially with the paper trail receipts which are EVERYWHERE . . .
Monday 11th of January 2016
I can not help you with that, I have my own culprit over here.
Ann St. Vincent
Monday 21st of December 2015
Thanks Elena - I look forward to hearing if they help!! (And I too refuse receipts for things I don't need to track...that way I know the ones in my wallet are those I need!
Wednesday 16th of December 2015
Great tip to not grab those useless receipts. I find them stuffed into my purse, wallet, in the car. Why? I need to just say "NO" to getting a receipt!!
Friday 18th of December 2015
I am the absolute worst at that! And then of course the one I really do need, I can't find.
Wednesday 16th of December 2015
You are so right, Elena. I can't concentrate if I feel disorganized.
Friday 18th of December 2015
It is so hard, isn't it. I feel like I can accomplish anything in a clean environment.