Adulting is hard. Being disorganized makes it even harder. Case in point: instead of tackling my 'To Do' list last week, I repeatedly rearranged my closet and watched Halloween movies - who doesn't love Hocus Pocus?! Procrastination happens to the best of us, but I find it happens less when I've got all my ducks in a row and am not scrambling each morning to remember where I'm going and what I need. So in an effort to get back on track, here are my top tips for getting and staying organized...
Get a planner. A good agenda is a must-have and my absolute favorite is from Day Designer. This handy little book gives me monthly and daily calendars along with 'To Do' lists and goal setting worksheets, so I've got everything I need in one place. If you're not really a pen and paper kinda gal you can always go electronic. An app like iCal is great since it syncs up across all my devices, can easily add events from emails and allows me color code everything. A good habit is to sit down each Sunday and fill in your upcoming week, starting with those nonnegotiable commitments - workouts, office time, classes, standing appointments, etc. - so you know exactly what time is spoken for and what time can be dedicated to social events, personal time or anything else you might want or need to do. Whether you go with iCal or a paper agenda, knowing where you'll be and what you'll be doing in the next few days is the best way to make sure you're prepared. This strategy also works for planning out your workdays!
Keep a 'To Do' list. When I sit down to plan my week on Sunday, I also review my list of personal tasks and errands that need to get done. I start by migrating any tasks leftover from the previous week then add in any new tasks as they pop up throughout the week. There are also a ton of free apps (I really like Wunderlist) if you prefer to have everything on your smartphone. Does anything on your list have a hard deadline? Schedule a time to get it done in your agenda so you make sure it happens. Are there tasks that overlap or that require you run errands in the same area? Get them done together. Try to be realistic about how much you can do each day. Chances are I'm not going to go grocery shopping, do three loads of laundry and meet a friend for cocktails all after a ten-hour workday. I shoot for checking off one, maybe two items from my personal task list on workdays and three to four on a weekend day. Again, same thing works for tackling your work to-do's!
Plan your meals. Meal planning might seem labor intensive, but spending a single afternoon prepping is much easier (and healthier!) than giving in to takeout each night because you're too tired to cook. I start by looking at my agenda so I know how many meals I'll be eating at home and when I'll be eating out. Then I pick out a couple recipes, make a shopping list, and hit the grocery store. Keeping this cute notepad on the fridge makes it so easy! I like to make larger batches of things like a pot of soup or a pan of roasted veggies and chicken that I can divy up into portions and have for lunch one day and dinner on another. If you can, throw a portion in the freezer too just in case of a food emergency. Of course things pop up and plans change, so it's smart to have back ups on hand like a good protein powder for a quick morning smoothie when you oversleep or some fresh fruit and almond butter packets for a snack that travels.
Declutter. They don't say "clear space, clear mind" for nothing. It's infinitely easier to stay on-task and productive when you're working in a well-organized environment. For this I love, love, LOVE Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I've probably read it ten times and each time I learn something new. By taking the time to do a big clear out and pare down to the essentials, I don't waste time looking for things in piles of clutter and my space is more relaxing. But being organized doesn't necessarily mean you have to go minimalist! Keep the things you love, just make sure each thing has it's place, especially those everyday items like keys and phones that have a tendency to go missing.
Prep the night before. Each night I like to spend a few minutes prepping for the next day. I check my agenda and the weather forecast - do I have my clothes ready, are my breakfast and lunch prepped, do I need to pack my gym bag? By spending a quick ten minutes getting all this done in the evening, I can wake up the next morning stress-free and ready to go.
So those are the basics! No rocket science here, just five small shifts anyone can do to really help minimize disorganization and stress in their day-to-day. What do you do to stay organized? I would love to hear if any of these tips work for you in the comments below!
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