Staying organized requires a commitment to daily action. That means, you must do the same actions day after day after day in order to accomplish tasks in your life, maintain balance, and not lose your mind. The actions you must take are not difficult. In fact, they are pretty easy. But, they must be done if you want to stay organized and have a peaceful life free of chaos.
1. Decide Your Priorities
There are some items that must be done for life to function. For me those include: grocery shopping , laundry and cleaning. I also need to work a full time job, go to the gym, go to class, prep meals for the week, maintain two blogs and work on my side business.
All of these tasks are necessary but not each one have equal rank. Some weeks I have to think about, plan and schedule what I need to do versus what I’d like to do. I need to go to work every weekday. I go to the gym Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. I do meal prep Wednesday and Sunday. I also have to plan alone time with my family and friends. I wish I could have more blogging time – but that’s what usually has to take a back seat in order to ensure I am getting everything else done. It’s important to figure out what your priorities are so you can plan and schedule accordingly.
2. Clear Your Work Space
From Oprah to Real Simple to WebMD, there are countless sources singing the praises of being clutter-free. Try making a habit of de-cluttering for just 15 minutes every day. For me it’s when I get home from the gym, class or straight from work. Before I settle down on the couch. If you’re a clutter fiend and feel overwhelmed by your mess, start looking online for DIY, hacks and organization ideas.
3. Find a Planner or Calendar System
This is has truly been the game changer for me these past 5 months. I stick to pen and paper because writing things down helps me remember them and I don’t always want to be tied to my phone or computer. I have a Kate Spade planner, two notebooks (one for my business and one for personal life), plus a notepad that I just jot things down on whenever I remember them. I am trying to get my sister to become organized as well, especially since she’s starting university next semester. I got her a Ban.do weekly agenda. She sure was excited to get it. Hopefully she’s just as excited to use it every day. Whichever planner you choose, make sure it is something that can work for you.
4. Make a List of Weekly Goals
While you are planning your week, think about the things you want to accomplish during that week. For example, I might think “I need to arrange a photo shoot for my new client.” Write a master list for the week of the things you need to do. Keep it reasonable and reachable, but having these things written down will give you direction during the week when you are trying to get it all done.
5. Plan Each Day with Manageable To-Do Lists
Without my to-do lists, I would be lost. My brain was simply not built for keeping track of loose information, important tasks and deadlines all at once. However, having a to-do list a mile long with everything possible thing that needs to get done in the next month or even just week is impractical. You become unfocused and preoccupied with items that are not time sensitive. By creating manageable to-do lists with items that I can reasonably complete in one day makes me more focused. It feels a lot better to see my daily list crossed off than have 40 items for the month untouched.
6. Schedule Everything
Making a list of tasks to complete is only half of the planning process. You need to schedule times to accomplish those tasks. I personally am not a “by-the’hour” planner. I loosely schedule every item on my priority list but without specific times. For example, I know that grocery shopping will happen on Saturday after I am finished with the gym, but I don’t have a specific time because I get to the gym at different times each Saturday. Of course life does not go according to plan much of the time, but I am much less stressed if I have a general plan to follow.
7. Meal Prep
When I first started prepping my meals it was crazy. I hated it! But now, it’s become so routine if I don’t do it, then I go crazy. It helps that I don’t have a family and that I’m also on a strict eating regimen (I’ll post on my eating plan soon). I eat breakfast, two small meals during the day and then dinner. I also drink protein shakes and take supplements. I grocery shop on Wednesdays and Saturdays. And I prep on Wednesday and Sundays. I find that having a rough schedule for shopping and prepping meals takes the stress off plus it keeps me on track with my fitness goals.
8. Take Time for You
This may sound cliche but I am a big believer in it. As busy and crazy as my days can be, I try to make sure I do the things that will recharge me. For me that means getting enough sleep, spending time with friends, having date nights and spa days. Do what it takes for you to be happy. Your life will then flow so much more smoothly and you will have the energy you need to keep going!
This piece originally appeared on The See Girl Work blog.