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Published On: Thu, Apr 23rd, 2020

How to Better Organize Your Life

If you’re like most people, you wish your life was more organized. You find yourself constantly forgetting or neglecting key responsibilities, your home is a mess, and you’re not even sure where to get started. Obviously, organizing “your life” is a massive task, and a massive undertaking, but if you treat it as some gigantic, unconquerable thing, you’ll be too intimidated to start—and you won’t make measurable progress toward your goals. 

This guide can’t teach you everything, but it can get you started on the right path. 

photo/ Startaê Team via Unsplash

Define Areas for Improvement 

One of the most important things to do is set specific, actionable goals for yourself. That said, you can’t set goals unless you know what your biggest problem areas are. In which categories or daily activities of your life do you find yourself struggling most in terms of organization? 

These are some common examples of things people struggle with: 

  • Work responsibilities. Are you typically unsure of yourself at work, or are you neglecting key responsibilities? 
  • Events, appointments, and scheduling. Are you losing track of important events or appointments on a regular basis? 
  • Physical organization of items and space. Do you have trouble finding what you need, when you need it, or is your house cluttered? 
  • Personal habits, goals, and priorities. Is your biggest challenge maintaining a daily exercise habit, or achieving some other personal goal? 

The good news is, improving your organizational capacity in one area can help you find success in other areas, if you can apply the lessons you learn successfully. 

Print a Calendar

One of the most important things you can do is get a calendar—and you can print one for free to get started in 2020. Your calendar will serve two important purposes: 

  1. Clear segmentation. First, you’ll have a clear system in place to segment your needs, upcoming events, ideas, and more. Each day will have a designated spot, so you can plan your life weeks, or even months in advance. Whenever you get a new appointment, this is where you’ll write it down. 
  2. Consolidation. This also serves as a way to consolidate multiple areas of your life. With a single calendar, you can keep track of your personal schedule, a spouse’s schedule, and a child’s schedule all at once, or even include your work schedule or personal goals. The best way to approach this is with a larger calendar, and color-coded writing to let you know which items fall into which categories. 

Additionally, physical calendars are often more valuable than digital ones, since they force you to physically write things down and are more visible “at a glance.” 

Declutter 

Decluttering your house isn’t just about getting rid of things you don’t need, or establishing a system of organization. It also provides a psychological benefit. Once you’ve done the work of clearing your home of unnecessary items, you’ll feel like your life is simpler, you’ll have less stress, and most importantly, you’ll have more confidence in your own organizational abilities. 

There are a few different ways to approach decluttering, but most of them work toward the same end results. You’ll want to get rid of (i.e., throw away or donate) any items that no longer serve a purpose in your life, either because you don’t use them or because they don’t make you happy. Beyond that, you’ll need to find new ways to reorganize whatever’s leftover. Designated drawers, shelves, and other organizational tools will help you here. 

Take Inspiration From Other Systems, but Invent Your Own

There are hundreds, if not thousands of organizational systems online telling you to organize your life in a specific way, such as with color-coding, letter-based priorities, or something more esoteric. While it’s helpful to review these organizational methods and take inspiration from them, most people are better served coming up with one of their own. Only you understand how your mind works, so only you can come up with the perfect system of organization for your life. 

The Importance of Consistency 

Once you have an ideal organizational system in place, at least hypothetically, the most important thing you can do is be consistent in your efforts. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to make an effort every day to adhere to your system. For example, whenever you set an appointment or agree to attend an event, write it down on your calendar immediately, or make a note to add it later. Starting a habit can be incredibly difficult, but once it becomes solidified as a habit, it can sustain you indefinitely.

You probably won’t create a perfect organizational system immediately, but if you’re willing to learn and adjust, eventually you’ll get where you need to be. Set up rewards for yourself along the way to stay motivated.

Author: Anna Johansson

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