There’s a special breed of person out there who never miss a deadline, don’t forget social plans and wish you a ‘Happy Birthday’ before Facebook tells them to. They are known as the super-organised and no, they didn’t take a special course. They just built life habits that help them keep on top of the many daily tasks we all face. Here’s the secrets to leading a more organised life.
Bring back the diary
How are you supposed to keep track of your week, month or year without a plan to consult? Whether it’s a physical book or a digital diary you need to have one. Linda Eagleton, a professional organiser from Creative Surrounds, shared with us how a diary can help you.
“The secret to leading an organised life is all about diary management! When you put appointments in your diary, make sure you allow for travel time to minimise rushing and running late. Also, if you have appointments that are regular like haircuts, car services, dental etc, book these in for the whole year so you don’t have to think about it – it’s already in the diary. Don’t forget time for you too, so schedule in time at the gym or date night.
You can never have too much storage
A place for everything and everything in its place is a pretty little ditty; but it’s also solid life advice. If you didn’t have a wardrobe your bedroom floor would be a mountainous mess. Without a pantry your kitchen would be a maze of dry goods and spices. Having only the bare necessities of storage space means there’s less opportunity to keep everything neat and tidy.
Take stock of your home and all the little things cluttering it up. Organise them into categories and rooms e.g. study, stationery, media like DVDs, books and CDs or miscellaneous but important papers. Now that they’re sorted, they’re ready to be stored. You could try a desk with more drawers for your study and stationery, a bookcase for your media and a filing cabinet for miscellaneous papers. If every item has a home then there’s no excuse to have it on the kitchen table. Browse MyDeal furniture for all the best storage solutions available now or find your ultimate wardrobe in bedrooms by MyDeal.
Have a decluttering system
Think about all the things you’ve bought in the last year. Now multiply that by 5. If you never take the time to sort through your things, in 5 years time you’ll own a lot of stuff. Bring out that diary and schedule in a seasonal cull of your home. Rather than adding to the universal rubbish piles, consider innovative uses for your old items. You could:
- Donate them to charity or the thrift shop
- Offer them to friends or family that may find a use
- Sell them online
- Look for specialty recycling facilities (such as for electronics)
Get on the digital bandwagon
There’s an app for everything these days and going paper-free is the new reduce, reuse, recycle. Sure, sometimes having a printed version is easier to keep track of. But think of it this way: if you have a digital original you can make as many copies as you like! You’ll also skip the step where you have to search through endless piles of paper looking for that one important document you could have sworn you saw here last. You know what that scenario needs? A digital search function.
Organise your digital files
Just because you keep those files stored on a seemingly endless hard drive, doesn’t mean you can keep everything forever. Organise your computer files by year or season or any other method you choose. Then, as each deadline passes go back through and cull the items you don’t need. Popping them on an external hard drive means they’re not gone forever.
While we’re on the topic; naming computer files oasfijalfj isn’t helping anyone. It may have solved your running late to the dentist problem but it won’t be useful when you have to find where you left that list of birthday gift ideas for your mum. The filing system for your life should be as simple to use as the one in an office or a library, because no-one knows how to retrieve the file marked asldkfj.
Create daily lists
Do you keep a to-do list at work that helps you stay on top of your deadlines? It’s time to make one for your life too. Picking up a new facial moisturiser doesn’t seem urgent but it will once you’re squeezing out the last drops. Keep a list on your phone or in your diary called ‘3 Tasks Today’ and fill it with anything you need to achieve by sundown. That way in the morning as you notice your moisturiser running out you can add to the list to pick up a new one.
Why 3 tasks? To start with it’s an achievable number that will help you feel more organised rather than overwhelmed. As you get used to the idea you can upgrade to 5 or even 8. We don’t recommend going over 10 (unless it’s a day off) as the idea is to tick off everything on your list before the day’s out.
Finish a task before starting a new one
Not done decluttering your wardrobe? Don’t move on to the pantry. All you’ll get is two cupboards in the house that need extra attention. Focus on one task at a time so you can tick it off the list before you head for the next one.
Ask for help
Part of being organised is knowing that there are times you’ll be too busy to do things yourself, but that they still have to be done. Ask your family or friends to lend a helping hand for small tasks like getting library books back on time or picking up a birthday cake for the party. You can always repay the favour later.
Could it really be this simple? We’re here to tell you; it is. Leading an organised life is all about consistency. So buy the extra storage cabinet, declutter more than once a year and always, always make lists.