In keeping with the spirit of the new year and positive intentions and such, the theme for Ten on Tuesday this week is Ten Ways to be More Organized. Now, I don’t want to brag or anything but I am a pretty organized person. I make lists and keep deadlines and stay on track. I live with someone, however, who is a hot mess when it comes to being organized. I’m not naming names but I’m pretty sure you know who he is. I’m writing my list with him in mind.
- Keep a “to do” list. I use my iPhone and the Toodledo app but a piece of paper and a pencil works fine, too.
- Keep your “to do” list realistic. You probably can’t finish 18 things on a Sunday afternoon and, while it’s admirable to try, you’re just going to wind up feeling defeated when you don’t get to everything. This leads me to . . .
- Prioritize. If you’ve got a long list of things to do, go through it and move the things that absolutely must get done to the top of the list.
- Purge. It’s easier to stay organized when you have less stuff hanging around. And really, you don’t need that old band outfit from 30 years ago. It will never fit you again and trust me, no one wants to wear it as a Halloween costume.
- Handle things once. Sort the mail as you open it, put your coffee cup directly into the dishwasher rather than leaving it on the counter, answer and delete emails as soon as you read them. Saving stuff for later really just makes more work for yourself in the long run.
- When you have an overwhelming task (like cleaning the garage – I’m talking to someone in particular here) spend just 10 minutes (0r 15 or 20 or whatever feels right to you) per day on that task. If you stay on track with a set amount of time you will make progress without feeling like it’s all futile.
- Make a place for everything and always put everything in it’s place. Seriously, this is probably the most important thing on this list other than keeping a to-do list. How much time do we all waste looking for stuff because we didn’t put it where it goes in the first place?! Before you put something down ask yourself “does this go here?” and if it doesn’t, well, put it where it goes.
- Clean as you go. I’m mostly thinking of cooking here but I’m sure it could also apply to home improvement projects and other things. Put away each item as you are finished with it and you won’t have anything to clean up when you are done. Oh, and close those damn cabinets, too.
- Plan the week ahead. This covers food shopping and meal prep, exercising, commuting schedules and attending meetings — all of it.
- Maintain a calendar. Fill it up with work schedules and vacation days, upcoming meetings and appointments, family and social obligations. Use it to keep deadlines and share the information with your spouse and family.
So there you have it, my tips on staying organized. Now if only he-who-shall-not-be-named will adopt some of my suggestions. Heh.