“New year, new you” is a slogan often touted this time of year. While change can be both scary and invigorating it does not necessarily have to be anything huge and totally life changing. A few simple strategies can keep you both on track and give you that needed something to help ensure this year is better than the last. Information in this blog came from How to Organize Your Life, Guide to Keeping Organized, 10 Things To Do on a Daily Basis To Be More Organized, 20 Ways To Organize Your Life Now, as well as, product suggestions from the ILA website.
Plan with Calendars and To Do Lists
Life has unpredictable twists and turns. That does not mean a little planning does not go a long way. A task manager, like Todoist, and a calendar are the tools you need to think and plan in advance and organize your life.
If you want to remember things outside of just what is in your calendar or a relevant to do list, put it in writing, or in a digital notebook like Evernote. Keeping your to-do lists and other information written somewhere allows you to look back at it anytime.
Make a new to-do list every day based on the previous day’s list and anything that came up since the last list was created. Even if you are not a big list maker and only jot down the big projects, look at it every day and cross off what you have completed (or what you have deemed no longer relevant). Not only will this help keep you on top of your tasks, but it will also make you feel productive when you cross off that item after it has been completed.
Keep Things Where You Use Them
It is much easier to find things when you store them at their point of use, says Ann Bingley Gallops, president of the New York chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO).
Leave your keys, wallet, cell phone, headphones, and other such accessories you carry day in and day out, in the same place every single time you walk through the door. Have a spot in your entryway (or entrance) for these items so you are never running around, late for work, wondering where your keys and phone are hiding.
This item is especially true for anyone who has a visual impairment. If things are kept where they are always used and in the same place, then it makes it that much easier for persons with visual impairments to be able to move around unencumbered. Ideas to help keep and remember where things are stored can include raised bump dots, braille labels, or using the wayaround series.
Here are a few other tips on how to keep things where you use them:
• Go scissor happy. Keep a pair of scissors in every room to cut off tags, articles out of newspapers, etc. Other useful items to have multiples around the house are rulers, paper, tape, and tissues.
• Every phone deserves its own notebook and pen. The notebook can stay open or closed but always at the ready to jot down anything that may need jotting down for later. It is also a good idea to include the date things were written down for future reference.
• When a friend e-mails you directions to his or her house, print them out and keep them with your maps. Conversely you can save the directions in a file on your computer, email, or cloud. If using mobile devices for GPS you can also just ensure the address is included with that particular contact and if any added information, not provided by GPS, is needed make a special note with that entry. Be sure to back up your data occasionally as well.
Practice 5-Minute Organizing
Not everything needs tons of time for planning and executing. If you have a really long to do list but no set time to finish, then use this 5-minute organizing rule to help you chip away at them bit by bit. Other things just need to be glanced at from time to time but can also be incorporated into this strategy. Here are a few examples of things that can be gradually accomplished with just 5-minute bites of time.
Unsubscribe from unread email newsletters, magazines, and other subscriptions. If you subscribe to a number of newsletters, blogs and other online publications, but haven’t read a single email from them in 3 months, just unsubscribe. You probably will not read any of their content, anyway. While you are at it, unsubscribe from unread magazines, catalogues, and junk mail. It is just a waste of money and space, especially if you do not read them.
Spend 3 to 5 minutes on your meal plan. Daily meal planning to-dos include checking out any meals you know you will need to make and adding the items to your shopping list, then crossing items off your list you have already purchased. Finally, schedule time to grocery shop and cook.
Lay your clothes out for the next day. Laying things out beforehand makes you feel more orderly and efficient. There is no time that is more critical than in the morning when you are rushing to get yourself (and possibly others) ready for school or work. That is why we recommend laying your clothing out the night before. It saves you time in the morning from staring into your closet wondering what you should wear.
Check your bank balance online. Do a quick scan of your checking and savings accounts. Keeping an eye on your financial accounts allows you to see what you spent the previous day, so spending does not get out of control. It also allows you to notice fraudulent charges as soon as they happen.
A few other suggestions that can be tackled under this category are making your bed, sorting through your mail, straightening the entryway to your home, deleting 10 emails from your inbox, cleanout out your purse (or wallet), and filing 10 papers.