While staying organized can seem like a daunting task, there are some habits that almost all organized people practice. Adding these habits to your own life will help you get organized and stay that way. You may find that you really struggle in the first few days or weeks, but the reward of living an organized lifestyle will be worth it in the end.
“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” -Warren Buffett
1. Get Started on the Right Foot
People who are organized start out with a routine each morning. That routine may look different for some than it does for others. Some find it helps them to start their day with meditation while others find that exercising helps them get started. Regardless, establishing a pattern that you will follow each day helps you start to get your life together.
2. Embrace a Positive Attitude
Everyone has the right to see a cup as half-empty or half-full. People who are organized see the cup as half-full. Then they concentrate on what they can do to make their cup even fuller. Disorganized people see the cup as half-empty and have no real idea of how to make it any fuller. So staying positive is really powerful.
3. Address Correspondence Daily
Organized people take care of their correspondence on a daily basis. It does not matter whether it comes by text, email or snail mail, they set aside a specific time of day and handle all their correspondence at that time. During this time, they file information that is most important to them in an organized manner and discard the rest. They understand how to separate relevant and irrelevant information and do so effectively.
4. Become Conscientious
According to a study by the Centre for Organisational Excellence, people who are organized are more conscientious. They focus on what they can do to make the world a better place. They also tend to be very self-disciplined. Because of this, they are often content to tell others that they will not handle a task while disorganized people tend to accept too much responsibility.
5. Create a Space for Everything
People who are highly organized have a space for everything. That way, they do not waste time looking for anything. They also take the time to put everything back in its place when they are done using it. Most organized people have very few processions because they realize that the more things that they own, the more time it takes to care for them. They also keep the most important things that they need very near to them as this eliminates the need to get up and go find them. When a person gets up from a task, they often become distracted leading to disorganization.
6. Use Storage Systems
While disorganized people tend to throw everything in a big pile to deal with later, organized people keep everything in some sort of container. This helps them know exactly what they need to keep and what they can get rid of because if it does not have a space for it, then it needs to go immediately.
7. Become a List Maker
The most organized people create a list that tells them exactly what they need to accomplish. After creating the list, they then set priorities. They are driven to take care of the things that matter most first and then use leftover time to do the rest. They constantly have their lists with them as they do not trust their memories to keep them on the right track. An important part of setting priorities is dealing with the biggest problems first and then moving on from there. They understand when doing their best is good enough and when they must put in an all-out effort. Lifehacker has an amazing article about how to simplify your to-do list.
8. Leave Extra Time
If you watch an organized person throughout the day, you see that they are never rushed. That is because they have built extra time into their schedule allowing them not to panic if the unexpected occurs. They also plan time in each day to give themselves a break even if it is just reading a great book for five minutes. They recognize the demands that will be put on them by others and create their schedules appropriately.
9. Finish What They Start
The hallmark of a disorganized individual is that they never finish what they start. Alternatively, an organized individual will always finish what they start. Organized individuals tend to maximize every moment that is available to make sure that they do a great job, too. Staying organized means that the individual has a list of goals that they are working on constantly. Some may be short-term goals while others may take longer to accomplish.
“The hallmark of a disorganized individual is that they never finish what they start.” -Matthew Snider
10. Eat a Proper Diet
Doing as much as possible every day in an organized manner requires lots of energy. Therefore, organized people program in time to eat a proper diet. They do not grab the closest thing when their energy level begins to ebb because they have properly nourished their bodies so that they have a constant supply of energy.
Leadership Tip: program in time to eat a proper diet to keep energy levels high.
11. Stay Up-to-Date
Disorganized individuals often run behind because they do not stay up-to-date while organized individuals tend to update on a regular basis. This means that their honey-do list gets done even if they have to do it themselves, and it also means that they upgrade their technology on a regular basis maximizing its efficiency.
Some people are great at starting a task, but they try to multitask. Organized people tend to complete a task and then move on to the next. They tend to get more done at the end of the day because they do not allow themselves to be constantly interrupted.
Organization Tip: organized people do not allow themselves to be constantly interrupted.
Organized people spend some time at the end of each day, evaluating what they have accomplished throughout the day. Then they know what their top priorities must be for the next day. They use their lists to help them create a new agenda before retiring for the night.
“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” -Brian Tracy
If you install these habits in your life, then you will quickly become organized. While it may be quite a struggle in the beginning, the rewards will be worth it in the end.