A GUIDE TO BECOME ORGANISED AND GAIN MORE TIME
- November 14, 2019
We have all been there: looking for your car keys when you’re already late for work and not finding it. Or completely forgetting that the really important appointment was today.
For the most unorganised ones, even receiving visitors at home can be a nightmare.
The truth is: living a messy life is stressful. Searching for lost items or information can be frustrating and set your plans back. Thus, can be a cause of stress, anxiety, loss of time and opportunities.
Research shows clutter is distracting. It can affect your ability to focus since looking at too many things at once overloads your visual cortex. And a visual cortex overload interferes with your brain’s ability to process information.
Other research shows that people who come to an unorganised home have issue declining the cortisol levels, which is something that occurs naturally over the course of the day. This, in turn, can take a toll on your mood, sleep, health, and more.
Likewise a messy environment is difficult to clean. Prolonged exposure to dirty and dusty can cause allergies to flare up or lead to diseases such as chronic bronchitis.
Clutter can also be the cause of tension between couples or house mates. A messy house may also prevent you from inviting people over, in order to avoid feelings like shame and embarrassment.
In other words, becoming organised at home and work pays off: you’re able to focus better, become more productive and efficient, which means you’re able to get your tasks done quicker. This leaves you with the time you need to exercise, prepare a healthy meal, relax, and get more sleep.
The good news is that self organisation don’t need to take a lot of time. People who master the art of organisation develop systems to work more effectively.
Let’s be clear that to become organised isn’t about pretty boxes or developing OCD, but to plan ahead, to have systems and structures in place that will help you to have more time to yourself and enable a more balanced life.
Organisation is about avoiding caos. Is about working purposefully and focused, being efficient with your time and resources. It can even make you a happier and healthier person.
Our favorite philosophy: spend time wisely. And for that, some habits can make a huge difference on your life:
1 – Write everything down
Don’t rely on your brain to remember your appointments or what has to be done around the house. A simple app or notebook can get the job done. Use your brain power on more relevant matters.
Get into the habit of writing EVERYTHING down. I mean it. Books you want to read, places you want to travel, goals, the house duties, important dates and birthdays, the grocery list, meetings and appointments, deadlines.
Lists never forget. They’re reliable, and act as a sort of extension of your brain.
On top of the lists, get into the habit of organising your schedules for the day and week – or even for the month, some time ahead. Make deadlines and set goals. It will not only make you more productive, but give you peace of mind knowing you can always go back and check on it, without having to stress your memory.
On your lists, remember to prioritise. Make sure you’re doing what matters to you the most.
2- Don’t procrastinate (i.e Don’t do latter what can be done now)
Be like NIKE and Just Do It.
We are all guilty of some procrastination, but we also know that the longer the wait, the harder it becomes.
Doing it now will lift the weight off of you from doing it later, and of thinking that it has to be done all day long. If you can get it done now, so do and forget about it.
Don’t postpone that e-mail that will take less than 5 minutes. Organise the kitchen just after dinner instead going to the sofa and feeling too lazy to get it done after. Put things back at their places just after finishing using.
This habit will make your mind and environment much more decluttered.
And remember, if it can’t be done now, write it down. Schedule and plan ahead, so when the time comes, you can perform at your best.
3 – A place for everything, everything in its place
Give a home to everything. Having a permanent home for your belonging will help you remember were to look for when you need it, saving you the stress and time.
A good way to decide where things should live is to pay attention to where you naturally drop them. Convert it into an organised system: if you leave your keys and your shoes by the entrance door, you should consider having an entryway. Store the most needed stationary and documents in an easily accessible place, but the rarely used ones out of sight.
This will help you enjoy more your living space and to have an attractive and inviting home.
4- Declutter Regularly
Find time every week to organise, even if it is only 5 minutes. Highly organised people find make the time as they know things don’t get organised on its own.
Reorganising continuously and consistently instead of sporadically will actually add time to your schedule. When stuff piles up it becomes harder to clean and to put back into order.
Get rid of the papers you don’t need regularly, and if you can keep only a digital copy, do so.
Get into the habit of declutter your clothes regularly. Once per season should be enough. Get rid of the clothes that don’t fit, has holes or that aren’t your style anymore. Be honest with yourself and keep only what you need.
Having fewer things gives you the space to enjoy what is left more, and to feel better about using everything you own, rather than letting half of what you own collect dust. A good tip is to rotate your wardrobe by seasons. In summer, put away the heavy coats and sweaters to open space to lighter clothes. This way you keep the space accessible and organised.
You can turn what you don’t need anymore into money by selling it online or having a garage sale.
5 – Buy only what you need
Don’t buy on an impulse. If you followed our #4 advice, be aware of the urge of shopping and replacing what is gone.
Be away from sales if you don’t need to buy something specifically. For that, we recommend one more time that you use the power of lists. Write down what you need to buy – things that you actually need, not the ones you want. After, give it some time. Your mind might change on the purchase decision.
If it didn’t, now you’re 100% sure you need that item, so time to shop. Remember to stick to your list and never go shop out of boredom, or grocery shopping while hungry.
This is not only good to keep your home away from unnecessary clutter, but also kind to your pocket.
6 – Delegate
After you followed our #1 advice, you have a list of everything that has to be done just in front of you. Now is time to split and delegate the work.
At home, give everyone that lives in some responsibilities. That’s not only fair but important as it gives people the sense of belonging.
It doesn’t need to be shared equally, but rather fairly. Even small kids should have a list of tasks, like putting away their toys after playtime.
At work, everything that can be delegated, should be delegated. We often make the mistake of thinking that no one will do a great job as we do. That’s insecure and simply not true. Give people a confidence vote, and help them to execute the new task if necessary.
As a practical advice, we recommend you to use the Marie Kondo organisational method:
The goal is to have an environment that sparkles joy. The method consists in only keeping around what you need, and what makes you happy. Everything else has to be sold, donated or thrown out, depending on its conditions.
She teaches tackling one category of your house at a time, instead of doing it by room. Clothes are first, then books and paper, then miscellaneous items. You can tweak the categories around, starting with the belonging you own the most.
Hold each belonging and ask yourself if it serves you and if it sparkles joy. A yes answer means you keep it. No means it is time to let it go.
If it is your first time around and you’re not sure, you can keep the discharged items on storage for 30 days and revise, if the answer is still no, then it is clutter.
Extra tip: Extend you organised life to your car.
Now that you know how to develop the organisation habit, there is no reason to do not extend it on all aspects of your life.
We know it can be especially hard to keep your vehicle organised if you work on it as you might need to carry many belongings, or if your kids are going through it regularly as they might need distraction and food while on the journey.
We advise to create on-the-go kits with everything you might need. Also, add a bin bag for the eventual waste produced. For both purposes, we have to recommend our eco-friendly car tidy bags. They work great as a bin bag since it is waterproof and bacteria proof, and works very well as a car organiser given it’s cool design.