Ready to level up? Let’s dive into the 18 steps to be organized.
To be more organized, you first need to admit that it would make you feel better and that it would make your life easier!
One of the most important reasons to get serious about being organized at work, at home, in life, or in general is that we constantly feel overwhelmed and behind on what needs to get done.
What does it mean to be disorganized
You’re disorganized if you’re constantly catching up with the facts. You have to think about food before you’re hungry and about laundry before you run out of it. Good organization makes things run smooth and gives you more time to spend on important things. If you don’t make a conscious effort to anticipate the daily realities of life, you’ll waste your time playing catch up.
Train yourself to be more organized
1. Create a routine you don’t have to think about
For example, drink lemon water, make coffee, and do a 5-minute guided mediation when you wake up. Evening: tidy away things in your room, put away devices 30 minutes before sleeping.
2. Do things immediately
Make it a habit to put things in their designated spot. When you take off your shoes, put them on the shoe rack, dirty clothes in the hamper, clothing you will wear again at their place in your closet. When you keep your surroundings clutter-free, you will feel more organized, which will help you become more organized in other areas of your life.
3. Stop being a time optimist
Start waking up earlier, so you don’t have to do things in a rush constantly. Always leave 10-15 minutes early, so you arrive where you need to be in a good headspace. Respect everyone’s time equally.
4. Prioritize decluttering
A few times a day, clean surfaces that build up clutter like your dining table or kitchen counter. When things in your home never reach an “atomic” state, you won’t feel as disorganized, and that counts for something.
5. Make organizing easy
Consider furniture that makes it easy to have your stuff behind closed doors. Having a lot of things visible can make your place feel cluttered. How your immediate environment feels has a big impact on your mind.
How to be more organized at home
6. Prioritize yourself
If you start your day right with nourishing food, a large glass of lemon water, and a short meditation, you will feel more centered in dealing with the day. I know that if you have kids, that might look a little different, but squeeze in those things that you can.
7. Identify problem areas
Have a look at your home and identify which areas things are always messy or where you feel not on top of things. Is there something that could make it easier? For example: in our bedroom, every day without fail, clothing was everywhere. Not dirty enough for the hamper, so where does it go. Now we put things that we will wear again at a particular spot inside the closet, away from the clean stuff. Super small change but makes a big difference because I don’t get annoyed about stuff being everywhere.
8. Implement easy systems
Shoes go on the shoe rack immediately after taking them off. Dirty dishes go in the sink, not on the kitchen counter. Every day, the bed is made before we have breakfast. Without simple systems, we will get annoyed constantly and feel overwhelmed tidying away everyone’s stuff. When you know the problem areas in your apartment, look for easy solutions and communicate them to the people you live with.
9. Set a designated time for extensive cleaning and organizing
Have a look at your week and decide the most convenient moment to do the bigger cleaning stuff. You don’t always have to stick to a rigid schedule, but when you first start getting organized, it helps. For example, mop the floor on Saturdays. Do the bathroom on Thursday night. On Sunday, declutter a drawer in your closet.
How to be more organized at work
10. Identify what makes you feel disorganized
Do you get a lot of last-minute tasks? Are there any distractions? List the things that overwhelm you at work so you have a good overview of what’s bugging you.
11. Make your schedule super clear
People swear by google calendar, but I prefer a google doc with a simple table. Insert > Table > 2×2.
Write down the month in the top bar. Then drag the table across your screen. I like to plan 2 weeks ahead, and in this format, I can see everything and move things around where needed.
In google docs, you have a checklist option which makes it super easy to stay on top of the tasks you’ve finished.
Divide tasks per day and do it in such a way that you’re meeting weekly deadlines. Prefer bulk working? Then schedule all similar tasks in one day.
When I look back on my super disorganized workdays, it was because I missed the overview to begin with, and then people kept on piling things up on my list.
In my schedule, I also keep a list of things that are yet to be scheduled for this month. Or important things to come back to. I simply call this “To schedule” and then include a checkbox list with tasks.
12. Write down non-negotiables
When you stop prioritizing yourself at work, you will feel overwhelmed, tired, and probably disorganized too. Get clear with your work boundaries. Stop replying to work-related emails every hour of the day. Know where you are with your schedule, so you can provide a clear no when people want to pile up things on your to-do list. Lunch, at the same time every day.
13. Know when you’re most productive
When do you peak? In the mornings? Then make sure you avoid people and distractions during that time. There’s no better feeling than getting a lot of things done in the morning and feeling organized. Schedule more straightforward tasks for the afternoon and go with your natural flow to get the most out of your day.
How to be more organized in life
14. Know when to say no
There are only so many social activities you can schedule in a week. Get clear on the right frequency for you to go out, have dinner with a friend, etc. I often lose an entire productive day when I go out to a late dinner with drinks. I don’t function the day after alcohol, so I don’t do it any more during the week.
15. Let’s talk about alcohol
Things like alcohol have a snowball effect on me. I can’t focus the next day; I feel low, I can’t be bothered with preparing healthy food or making my apartment look good. The consequence? I spend the next day not only catching up with yesterday but I’m behind because I can’t keep up with today’s demands. Get honest about what things bring about a negative snowball effect for you.
16. List your energy-giving activities
Know what gives you energy and what takes your energy. When things constantly take energy, you won’t have the willpower to stay organized. Create more balance between energy givers and takers, and you will be surprised how quickly you get on top of things.
17. Prioritize healthy habits
If you start your day right, with good food and healthy habits like a short meditation and water with lemon, it will be much easier to handle the day’s demands and stay organized in the process. Start with the small things that keep you centered and in a good state of mind, and it will become much easier to stay organized in life.
18. Use the evening to plan your next day
Plan your day the night before. Write down priorities, and schedule your tasks based on when you’re most productive. E.g., I need to do the hard things in the morning because my mental clarity in the afternoon isn’t as sharp as in the mornings.
Things that helped me become organized
A few years ago, I was so disorganized I would regularly get anxiety attacks where I just couldn’t do anything.
Looking back, I understand that many small things piled up made me feel overwhelmed, anxious, and incredibly disorganized.
Having a clear day to day plan
For each day, I write down my work tasks and personal things. Having an easy overview of what needs to be done makes me feel much more in control of my day. Ditch the fancy ways to organize your day and stick to what works.
Prepping healthy food ahead of time
Having healthy food when I need it makes me feel so much better. Rather than full-on meal prepping, I make things ahead of time, like banana bread, big veggie stew, or rice, to put together a meal or grab a sweet snack when I need it. Having food ready to eat or with little prep time helps you feel more organized when you have a busy day.
Keeping clutter out of sight
Clutter in my apartment makes me feel disorganized, and once I feel that way, it translates to everything else I do. The inside of your dresser or cabinets doesn’t have to come straight out of a magazine; let them help you keep your apartment looking clutter-free.
My good old google docs
I tried many ways to organize my day, like a paper scheduler, notes on my phone, some online apps I forgot the name of, and google calendar. However, I find google docs way more convenient for organizing my tasks and goals per week, month, and even year. I now have a google doc for almost everything, and I LIVE for it.
Having less stuff
Having lots of clothing makes me anxious. Cutting down on what I have and regularly donating and throwing away stuff I no longer need did wonder for my mind and made me feel organized.
A yoga practice
Being more organized isn’t only about fixing outer things. When your mind quickly feels overwhelmed, you need more than to organize your apartment. A yoga practice, the authentic practice, not the westernized practice, has helped me become calmer, organized, and clear on what’s important.
Why being more organized is important
How organized we are determines how we feel and how much time we have to do things we actually want to do. It creates a better quality of life!
By tackling the smaller problem areas, you will get clear on the big stuff and have the time and headspace to go do them.
Good organization in every area of our life ensures that we keep mastery over our day and spend time on the things that are important to us.