I have always been an organised person, maybe too organised at some points! I am very thankful that being organised comes quite naturally to me; however I understand that this is not the case for a large percentage of the population. I have never coped well with messiness, whether this is in my surroundings or even in a schedule or plan. Over the years, I’ve developed some skills that I thought I would share. These tips will soon become habit for everyday life that could help you be even more productive. I find that these strategies are perfect for both organising your personal and work life, even simple daily chores.
Write things down
I know personally I am terrible at remembering what I want to do on a particular day or at a specific time. If I didn’t write things down, nothing would be done when it needed to be. We all have so much on our minds constantly, so writing quick notes in a notebook or on Post-it notes really help me to feel calmer about my plans and day-to-day tasks. Trying to memorise a to-do list and random thoughts of inspiration that pop in to my head every now and then, is almost impossible for me to do. I don’t know about you, but I feel all over the place and quite stressed thinking I’ll forget something. Writing things down just give me a direct point of reference to look back on later. This leave me feeling so much more relaxed and allows me to easily go about my day with a clearer mind. Whilst on-the-go, if I have a sudden though, I just use the notes app on my phone and transfer this to a book or to-do list when I return.
Make schedules and to-do lists
I would be utterly lost without my planner and block of sticky notes. My uni desk is often covered with coloured notes with my daily to-do list, things to remember that day and the timings of my lectures, seminars and/or meetings that day. I would be completely lost without the planner; I would never remember where I was meant to be at what time if I didn’t pencil the dates. For me, this is even things like scheduling my workouts for the week and jotting down when I need to do my food shop for example. Keeping a schedule and structuring my day are the top two solutions to keeping my life in order. I like to create myself a monthly overview of important events and deadlines, and then I look at my uni timetable on my phone to help me create more specific weekly and daily to-do lists.
Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by social media
Don’t get me wrong, I know this is so much easier said than done. The majority of us always have our phones, tablets or laptops close by and a notification can instantly take our attention. This one message could then lead to aimlessly scrolling down social media feeds for endless amounts of time. I used to check what was new every 15 minutes or find myself watching YouTube videos, paying more attention to the video than the actual task I was initially doing. If you have read my post about my digital detox, you will know that I now limit myself to 10 minutes, three times a day – morning, lunch and evening. It might help you if you set a timer to alert yourself that the time is up. When you are working or doing jobs, I would highly recommend either turning your phone off completely or putting it on airplane mode to avoid the constant notifications. There is now even an app ‘In Moment’ that limits your phone usage. It tracks how much time you spend on social media automatically and what I find great is that you can set a daily limit for usage on Social Media and the app blocks access over this limit. I would also suggest purchasing an actual alarm clock, rather than using your phone. Leaving your phone out of direct reach will help to stop you from scrolling first thing when you wake up, allowing you to get on with the day quicker and with a clearer mind.
Develop daily routines
I know that the term ‘routine’ is such a boring word, but this really helps me to get my things done on time and in the appropriate orders. I do find that putting repetitive mundane tasks into my daily schedule gives my life structure and helps me develop positive and productive habits that keep my space organised and my brain clear. The most important thing is following them through day by day or week by week. This could be anything from making your bed in the morning, having certain mornings where you meal-prep and batch cook, having a Sunday morning dedicated to food shopping for the week or reserving Saturday morning for cleaning. This could even be blocking out a whole day to concentrate on one major job, project or task, in my case completing a uni task or working on my sketchbook or blog content. I would also really recommend setting your alarm and getting up at the same time each day to help your routine become more consistent and stable. I really feel that no matter how big or small the task is, once it is repeated for a couple of week or months, it will become a way of life, a habit that you can structure your other to-dos around. This routine ensures I do not keep pushing these tasks back and never getting around to them, and avoids me constantly having it in the back of your mind stressing me out.
Learn to say ‘No’
This is sometimes hard for me as I’m such a people-pleaser. I always want to do anything someone asks me to do immediately, even though I don’t really have the time that day, or my heart is saying no. Half of the time when I say yes, my mind is not fully concentrating anyway because I am just thinking about all of the things I need to have completed for the next day. I constantly want to do anything I can to help so this is a difficult mindset for me to overcome. I now believe that I need to focus on putting my goals and wishes first to save my mental health from collapsing while trying to do too many things. This mindset can also help to ensure we do not waste time on insignificant, non-beneficial tasks which in time gives us more time to work on our own priorities. This is not to say I will never help anyone again, but I’m slowly learning that I cannot say yes to absolutely everything, including all of the opportunities that are thrown my way at uni. If I did this, I know that I would get to the point of being utterly overwhelmed and exhausted. If I stop and think about it for more than a minute, I know that it is probably a ‘No.’
I hope you found some of this useful. This is just my top five tips that have helped me to organise my life so please share you advice of strategies that help you on your journey through life.