January 6, 2017

How to stay organized all year long

After a well-deserved holiday break, it is time to start fresh, set goals and get back in the game. The beginning of the year is always a great time to start fresh. Everything seems possible, it’s like we are given a second chance to achieve our goals. Although this may seem like the best time to start, there is obviously not a perfect time to do so. You can decide whenever you want to stay organized in your life. It just has to feel like the right time for you. Do not feel pressured to get organized just because it’s the beginning of the year. You’ll inevitably fail it if you force it. Now that I’ve warned you about that part, let’s see what actions you can take.

Decluttering should always be the starting point

Ever notice how horrible you feel when your home is a mess? It’s just impossible to focus and all you want to do is nothing, in order to merge with the chaos that you’ve created. It’s always easier to watch it grow than to do something about it. But the problem is that it just adds to your feeling of despair. Decluttering can be daunting at first. But it’s a mandatory step in order to stay organized all year long. You won’t get far if your own home is a mess. You can’t expect to be organized in other parts of your life if your home is a total mess full of stuff you even ignore having. Get your home in order before doing anything else.

The life-changing magic of tidying up

So, If you are really willing to get organized and stay organized at home and in life, I recommend reading Marie kondo’s books. It has been a game changer for me. It’s been 4 years since I have applied her method and still no clutter within sight. Moreover, my organization skills are way better than they use to be. It has had a huge impact on my life, not only in my home-life but every part of it. I don’t exactly know why. But it’s like knowing the things you own and being more mindful with it helps you be in control of your life. Also, she has found a system that prevents you from going back to accumulating more stuff than you can count. If you’d like to declutter but don’t know where to start, I’ve written a complete guide on how to do it + made a checklist to ease the process.

Stay organized all year long with these 4 steps

Step 1: Make lists and plan ahead (but not too much)

Lists are a classic way of staying organized. They can really help you meet your goals. Some people have the habit to turn anything into a to-do list, that’s not the kind of list I’m talking about. Because as much as a to-do can be motivating it can be also very depressing. A never-ending list with random things on it will probably 100% stay untouched. On the other hand, a list with only a few well-thought things and a clear time frame will work out almost everytime. You need to be realistic here and take into account that you are not a superhero. 2 to 3 tasks a day should do the trick. You can always add some small tasks that don’t take long. Such as responding to an email or make an appointment.

A good way to make sure you check those boxes is to make a to-do that is synched with your calendar. The idea is to check your calendar for the next two weeks and see what things you have to attain, meetings, work, family etc… and the things you want to achieve. Then try to work this out the most efficiently. It’ll allow you to notice maybe little period of time where you can squeeze something from your to-do. I find that planning 2 weeks ahead is a good time frame. It gives you enough time to accomplish a certain number of tasks and there shouldn’t be too many unplanned events that could ruin your plan. I use a weekly planner from Kikki.K but any weekly planner will do.

Step 2: Create systems

Setting up systems will help you a lot to avoid certain uncomfortable situations. Such as running out of some basic pantry ingredients, forgetting to pay your bills, losing your keys etc…

The idea here is to determine what everyday life problems drive you mad and avoid it by coming up with a simple system. For instance, to avoid running out of our basic pantry ingredients, we downloaded a list app on our mobile and created a shared grocery list. Each time one of us sees we are running out of something, we enter it on the list. This way, next time one of us is doing grocery shopping we don’t forget that precious ingredient. You’ll see it’s not that hard to come up with solutions once you have identified the problem.

Step 3: Save time, regroup certain tasks

This may seem very obvious but batching tasks that demand less brain energy can save you a lot of time. And this is valid for every aspect of life. Your time is precious, it’s your greatest assets so you should spend it doing things you love. Of course, unless you are very rich and have people doing more mundane tasks for you, you cannot spend all your time doing things you love. We all have to do our laundry, pay the bills, commuting, do grocery shopping and so on. So let’s be smart and shorten these as much as possible. Take paying the bills for example, if each time you receive a bill, you take care of it. It means that you are duplicating a number of actions that you could save yourself if you were paying it all at once. A lot of people already do that with bills and wait for the end of the month to pay it all at once. But this is not the only part of your life where you can apply this. Try to do this with your appointments also. Instead of each day having to go to an appointments try to dedicate a whole day for appointments. So, instead of feeling like you are always on the go and cut off in your activities by appointments, you’ll feel freer and more in control of your time.

Step 4: Stay motivated

Of course, this all sounds fairly easy but the truth is that we are human and not machines. So when time get tough and you don’t feel so motivated, just get inspired by other people’s achievement. Pinterest is a gold mine for that kind of things. Seeing other people achieving things has a way of keeping me motivated. When I see those well-ordered home, or that well-organized pantry, I feel like doing the same. Use that kind of excitement to pump you up again.


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