If you feel like your life is spiraling out of control, you’re not alone. A lot of people have issues with organization, largely because they are being asked to perform so many tasks and keep track of so many things. But the easiest way to stay organized and in control is simply to build healthy habits. Here’s what you can do to improve your day.
1. Make and Check Lists at the Beginning and End of the Day
Checklists are an important way to process information. By making a list, you start to think about what you have to accomplish that day. You also start to think about the order and priority. Checklists make it easier for you to remember what you have to do and less likely that you’ll forget. Keep a checklist with you throughout the day; often, it can be best to have it in a physical reminder rather than a smartphone.
2. Use Technology and Automation to Your Benefit
Is there an app for that? Use your technology to automate things. A Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar can replace the space in your brain you’re usually using to track countless appointments. You can use automated bill payments to make sure that you never miss a bill again. And you can schedule emails rather than thinking to yourself, “I’ll send that tomorrow.” Using apps to your benefit is one of the ways that people today can take part in a fast-paced lifestyle without getting overwhelmed.
3. Set Your Sleep Schedule
When do you go to sleep at night? When do you wake up each morning? If it isn’t at a set time, you’re probably not getting enough rest. Having a good sleep schedule is incredibly important for anyone who wants to be productive throughout the day. If you’re tired, you will be forgetful, you will be less confident, and you will be less likely to even identify let alone perform tasks. Further, a poor sleep schedule is often indicative of anxiety or stress.
4. Regularly Toss Things Out
As Marie Kondo says, “Does it spark joy?” Well, in this case, “Is it even useful?” Go through everything you have (wallet, car, house, office) regularly and throw away the things that you no longer need. It can be surprising how much mental space just a pile of receipts can inhabit. As you go, you’ll find things that you might have thought about doing or that you might still need to do, such as reminders on post-it notes. Decluttering is really one of the fastest ways to not only center your mind but make sure you aren’t missing anything.
5. Have a Place for Everything and Everything In Its Place
Wallet, keys, phone; where do they go? It’s important to have a specific place for everything. If you often find yourself looking for things that you “just had,” it’s because it’s not in its “home.” Think to yourself where you want every item you have to “live,” and then make sure that they don’t stray from that place. If you ever find your area getting messy, take the time to put everything back; eventually, it’ll become second nature.
6. Do It When You Remember It
One element of being organized is “cognitive load.” There are only so many things any person can remember, regardless of how skilled they are at their organization. If you’re trying to remember 20 things, you will probably let 5 slip. One way you can counter this is by doing things as you remember them; this shortens your list. If you remember, for instance, that you need to call and make an appointment, do it now rather than later. This only works for tasks fewer than 15 minutes, but it works quite well for them.
7. Prepare When You Can
Whenever you have some time, consider preparing things you will need when you’re busier. Lay out your clothes for the day or even the week. Write out notes about a meeting that’s coming up. Using your preparation time wisely is important because when you’re in the thick of it, you may not be able to do the things that would help.
8. Make Time for You
A person needs time to rest. If you’re not letting yourself rest, you’re going to be disorganized and life will feel hectic. Think about a plant. Plants often seem dormant when they are the most active; they must grow strong roots to be able to grow tall. Make time for self-care. The better you feel and the more confident you are, the better you will be able to perform. The most successful people in the world know that burning the candle at both ends is a recipe for disaster.
9. Create a Routine
The best thing you can do for yourself is to establish a routine. At first, it may feel like just another thing to track. But eventually, you’ll actually remember things better because you’ll be so used to them. Sunday, for instance, is for laundry; so every Sunday, you’ll know you need to do laundry, and every Monday, you’ll know that you have clean clothes. Creating a routine and creating habits takes things off your mind.
Start Building the Skills You Need Now
Life today is hectic. It’s important to remain organized not only for your productivity but also for your sanity. The more you build habits, the more you’ll be able to do things simply subconsciously rather than having to devote the active effort. The more you can do this, the less you’ll have to actively worry about it. But building a habit does take time. Don’t get frustrated. It usually takes a month or more of conscious effort to build a habit. Building them one at a time can help.
If you would like to learn more about some of the skills that can help you stay organized, or if you would like to start a career in image consulting, then you need to start a program that will provide you with the rarified skills you need to lead a happy and successful life. At the London Image Institute, you will enter a program that will instill in you all of the knowledge that you need to work as a professional image consultant.