Let’s picture this- Your alarm clock betrayed you this morning and you’re running late. There is a forgotten chair in a corner of your room, piled with clothes. You are frantically searching for a pair of trousers that are probably hidden somewhere in that pile. Now you’re not only stressed because of hurrying and you’re also late to work. To add to that, now you’re not feeling confident because you had no time to iron your trousers or gather your thoughts before heading into work. Life can feel increasingly stressful because of situations like these. Sometimes, getting organized is not the problem, but “staying organized” is.
Life is simpler when we are organized. There is lesser confusion, lesser wasted time, or missed opportunities. Just having things organized around us helps our minds process things efficiently and opens the space for deep thinking and solving bigger problems.
There is no ‘one-rule-fits-all’ when it comes to organization. Our personalities and daily lives play a big role in setting the standard for an organized life. Some of us might need more help in organizing finances, while some of us struggle with organizing our workday better. Be it work or relationships, organization (or lack thereof) affects all areas of our lives, like the example above.
It is important to remember that organized people are seldom born, but always, built with habits. No one knows how to be organized right off the bat, and it is nothing to feel guilty about. Even organized people sometimes get a little lax and need a boost. If you’ve clicked on this article, you have already taken the first step to an organized life, so pat yourself on the back for that.
Let’s dive into the top 7 things you could start doing today, to get more organized in all aspects of life.
Organize your thoughts
There are many reasons why we are unable to get even simple things sorted in life. Some of them are out of our control, however, all of them are approachable with a positive state of mind.
Sometimes, we get so overwhelmed by the realities of life, that simpler issues feel like heavy lifts. For instance, missing an alarm could make us frazzled in the morning- rushing through the door, forgetting car keys, skipping a signal, blanking out during conversations. The good news is – we’re not alone in this. We’ve all experienced this at some point. To solve this, start focusing on your thoughts in crazy situations like these. Are you feeling overly anxious? Do you feel out of control when things don’t go as planned? What makes you feel better then?
Just like we organize our physical surroundings, it is also equally important to take some time out to organize our thoughts- after all, our thoughts manifest themselves into our realities.
Organizing is a lifestyle. All of us work towards inculcating better habits every day – quitting smoking, working out every day, or eating healthy. In the same way, we need to practice organizing our mental space. For instance, when waking up after a missed alarm, instead of rushing through, try taking in a few deep breaths. Make a mental checklist of all the tasks you need to get done before heading out – packing a lunch, carrying important files, eating breakfast. You would not magically be on time, but this small change will make you feel calmer and in control of the situation. You would work faster & better, too, knowing exactly what needs to be done and when – win-win! When tackling things that feel overwhelming, practice taking a few minutes just to plan your actions. Like Benjamin Franklin said- “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.
If you’re exploring solutions for an organized life, you’ve probably heard of ‘compartmentalizing your thoughts’. Simply put, this is a technique of dealing with conflicting thoughts concurrently. Often connoted with being a ‘coping mechanism to shut off painful situations’ compartmentalizing is, in fact, an effective tool to organize your mental chatter. It can prove beneficial for those who are constantly battling between (and feeling overwhelmed) their emotions. The process demands focus & willpower to create barriers between your conflicting emotions and teaches you how to stop dwelling on things that might be making you spiral. Here’s a great guide on how to learn to compartmentalize your thoughts.
Realize the power of routine
“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out”.
Whatever be the reason, not all of us have the willpower to follow a routine. Some of us find it dull, while others find it too tedious. But if followed well, a routine is a great way to 10x your productivity and lead an organized life.
Like the point above, having a structure to your day is a sure way to get yourself more organized. Contrary to popular belief, a routine gives you energy and time to be spontaneous, while setting you up for success. By programming your day and organizing your tasks, you will discover the power of “practice makes perfect”. It will improve your efficiency (no longer wasted hours deciding which tasks to finish first), improve your work-life balance, create solid habits (yes, you can work out every day), and free up mental bandwidth to explore other areas of life that you might be unaware of. Make time to plan your day ahead- just a few minutes before you wrap up for the day would also do.
Another important point to keep in mind is to observe and embrace your natural inclinations and then create a structure using those. For example, if you’re a night owl, make sure that your routine doesn’t demand waking up at 6 AM. This would ensure that you stick to the routine longer because it feels natural and least resistant. Here’s a motivating article on how some of the most successful people built themselves using the power of routine, to get you going.