Check out this guest post that I wrote along with the lovely Victoria of the blog For What It's Werth.
Did you know that being organized can help you to be both happier and more confident?
Cluttered spaces, whether in your home, work, or even your mind, can lead to stress, anxiety, self-doubt, and frustration.
Therefore, I want to share with you my top 10 organization tips for a less stressful life!
1. Find your system.
The first step in creating an organized life is figuring out yoursystem. I emphasize “your” because not everyone is going to have or want the same organization practices.
For example, some people prefer everything to be digital: using their smart phone calendar to schedule meetings and appointments, composing lists on Todoist, and organizing all of their important files in Dropbox. There are also those who prefer the hands-on approach to staying organized: meetings and appointments are written neatly in planners, and lists that are contained in journals. Everything has its place.
I tend to fall into both categories. I am obsessed with writing in my "bujo" (short for bullet journal) because it gives me more space for writing compared to a typical planner. Also, the different types of lists I add to it, such as daily tasks, meal plans, and goals keep me very organized. On the other hand, I am rarely separated from my laptop. The key to any system is making it a habit so that your daily actions become automatic. When you automate your systems, you don’t have to waste precious brainpower thinking about how to organize and plan in the most effective way.
2. Write everything down.
Writing is important for two reasons:
- It helps you remember. This is obvious, but often overlooked! Your brain cannot record and organize all of your daily thoughts, ideas, feelings, emotions, dreams, etc. Writing is a way to organize your mind!
- It makes ideas, goals, and dreams more realistic. Have you read “Write It Down, Make It Happen” by Henriette Anne Klauser? It explains how simply writing down your goals is the first step toward achieving them. If you’re struggling with your goals, this book comes highly recommended.
3. Be consistent.
Nothing will lead you to disorganization faster than disregarding consistency.
Let’s say you decide to start a bullet journal. You buy all of the essentials and couldn’t be more excited to finally have a way to become organized. You’ve even stalked all of the awesome Instagram accounts. Your bullet journal is going well for a few days, but then you hear about a new organizational app. You think, “Wow, this is really cool! I’m going to give it a try!”
You forget all about the bullet journal and start trying to reorganize everything in your life via this app. Time passes and you remember how much you loved your journal, so you go back to it for another week. Then, you get an email from the app saying you haven’t logged on in X amount of days. Now you feel like a failure because you aren’t using the app.
Just the idea of switching back and forth between organization methods is stressful, hence, why consistency is so important when organizing. Find your system (from step #1) and stick to it! Commit to consistency.
4. Don’t get overwhelmed with learning.
Do you currently have 8 Internet browser tabs open right now? I have to admit that I am guilty of it! Whenever I am scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook and I find something that I want to read, I open it. I don’t always have time at that moment to read it fully, but I cannot close the tab. Even after pinning it to my Pinterest board and saving the link on Facebook, I’m afraid that once the tab is closed, I’ll never be able to find it again.
While the desire to read and learn new information is certainly a good thing, it can be overwhelming with all of the information that is on the internet.
My solution for this is to add things I like to my reading list and then close the tab so I can focus on one task at a time. Instead of reading 8 different articles halfway, focus on reading one at a time with your full attention and focus. Overall, this leads to more organized thoughts and fewer tabs distracting you from what you need to get done.
5. Have big dreams composed of small goals.
I am a firm believer that the bigger you dream, the more you can accomplish. That being said, big dreams must be broken down into small, specific goals to keep you on track and organized.
Let’s pretend that your big dream is to start your own blog. You feel confident that you can do it and dive in head first. After time passes, you begin to see results, but they aren’t what you imagined. The amount of things that you still need to do seems endless even though you’ve already put in so much effort. Ultimately you want to give up.
If you would have taken that dream of starting a blog and broken it into smaller goals, you might not have given up. Small stepping stones, such as “by the end of my first month I will have my website fully developed” or “grow my email list by x-amount of people in my second month”, are keys to success. Setting realistic goals, with deadlines, and accomplishing them allows you to celebrate small wins along the way to your big dream.
6. Create physical visualizations of your dreams.
Visualizing in your mind what you want for your life is important, but what makes it more effective is creating physical visualizations. Have you heard of a vision board? Create one with positive quotes, aspiring imagery, and personal photos. Make sure it is somewhere that you will see it every day. If a physical vision board isn’t your style, maybe a board on Pinterest will do. The important part is to look at your vision board often, especially when you are lacking motivation or your life seems unordered.
7. Finish what you start.
I must say this: I am amazing at starting projects, but I am not so amazing at finishing them. I have just recently figured out that this has been leading to stress and clutter in my life.
To be more organized and less cluttered, I encourage you to ask yourself these questions before starting a new project:
- Is now the right time to start?
- Is it in my best interest to start?
- What benefit will I get out of starting this?
- Realistically, how much time will this take?
8. Have a neat and inspiring environment.
Do you find yourself in awe at other people’s “Pinterest-worthy” workspaces? If you are going to start organizing your life, your office or desk is a good place to start. Tidy up the top of your desk, color code your documents and filing cabinets and splurge on matching storage bins. If you work at your kitchen table, invest in a cute bar cart that can hold all your important things. Be honest with where you spend the majority of your time working and strive towards making it neat and inspiring.
9. Get rid of whatever you do not need in your life.
Purge, purge, purge. If you don’t use something, throw it away. If it doesn’t have a home in your organized life, then it doesn’t need to be there. Along with cleaning out your actual closet, start cleaning out things that are not so physical. Emails and old phone contacts are a good way to start.
Getting rid of things feels good. It lifts a weight off of your shoulders and leaves more room for new thoughts, ideas, and clothes. If you’re distracted with things of the past, you’re more likely to not move forward and reach your goals.
10. Don’t try to do everything all at once.
This post might have been a lot to take in, and I understand. Going back to tip #4, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed.
I’m encouraging you to take all these tips to heart but also to focus on one tip at a time. If you try to make too many changes or force yourself to develop new habits, it will drain your newfound energy faster. Take baby steps toward building your beautiful, well-designed, organized life!
I hope that you enjoy!