We all know that one friend or coworker who is super-organized. The person who is punctual, finishes projects with time to spare, and always knows exactly where to find what they need when they need it.
Instead of hating that person, why not figure out how they do it?
Organized people aren’t born; they’re built. Here are the habits that you can cultivate to be just like them.
1. Write things down
Organized people know that there’s only one way to ensure that you’ll remember to do something – by writing it down. If you rely on your memory alone, chances are that you’ll never accomplish what you wanted to. Take the time to write down things that need to be remembered each day, like important dates and to-do’s.
This will in turn help you stay organized AND help you remain creative and open. Start making writing things down part of your regular routine, and get ready to reap the mental health benefits.
2. Have routines
How you spend your days is how you spend your life, which is why it’s so important to carve out daily routines. If you’re staying organized in your day-to-day life via a few mini-routines (no matter how inconsequential this seems), you’ll create an overall life pattern of organization.
Do your best to stick to this daily routine. Besides making you feel more organized, you’ll also save a lot of time.
3. Know how to ask for help
Being organized doesn’t mean being strong all the time and doing everything on your own – organized people know both their strengths and their weaknesses, and they know when and how to ask for help.
Remember, your time is valuable, and NOT asking for help when you need it can result in a lot of wasted time and energy – not to mention, this can be an unnecessary source of stress.
4. Your to-do lists stay current
It takes a certain amount of planning, when it comes to being organized and efficient (no matter how effortless it may seem). Which is why we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to keep detailed to-do lists for virtually everything you need to get done.
Use a notebook and keep it with you at all times, if you’re the type who prefers writing things down; or, using your phone’s calendar or Notes function works, too. Just be sure to continually update your list as you go – staying current with your to-do’s is key when it comes to staying on top of projects!
5. Have a little whiteboard on your bedroom wall
I have it separated into two sections, a “todo” and a “today”. “Todo” is a list of general things I have to do, like get my car inspected, buy someone a present, etc. Then “today” is what I need to do, obviously, today! Things can be moved back and forth as appropriate. I find having a specific list for today helps push me to get the important things done in a timely manner. I also keep two things permanently on the “today” part, which are meditation and exercise. This seems to help
6. Control my life
Whatever electronics or paper you use, make them work for YOU not the other way around. Does Outlook really have to stay checking your email every 5 minutes? Maybe, but I bet you’ll get a whole lot more done if you check it a few times per day. That goes for the Blackberry too! After all, there are so many tools, and one to fit everyone – so use what works, but make it work for you!
7. Set priorities
Instead of having an overwhelming number of commitments and little idea where to start, I have a clear sense of what’s important. I know what my goals are, what needs to be done when, and what can be put off. I start the day with a clear plan of my ‘MITs’– my ‘most important things.’ And I review my plan throughout the day and adjust as necessary.
8. Have less stuff
The golden rule of organization is to have as little as possible to organize. I figure out what the core of my professional and personal missions are and eliminate all else. I will still have stuff to organize, but I’ve made the job doable.
9. Do not be a perfectionist
Not everything can be just the way you want it. Sometimes, “good enough” really is enough to get you by. So know where the most feasible option would suffice, and forget about making things perfect.
10. Have some “me-time” every day
Again, it’s not about being a prisoner of your routine when you can always cut some time out for yourself. Read a book, watch a movie, hit the gym; whatever that floats your boat!