What does it mean to be organized? Being organized means that we are capable of overcoming the interferences that keep us from doing what we really need to do. It is a matter of avoiding distractions and truly focus on the tasks we have to accomplish. Being organized is also planning and scheduling work and events accordingly to maximize your time and your productivity.
Why is it important to be organized?
We’ve all heard that “time is money”. Whether you have a job or own a business, time is the most precious asset you will ever own. It cannot be replace, returned or exchanged. What you do with your time and how you manage it, will have a direct impact on your life. Being organized allows you to maximize your time by not searching for things because they are misplaced! Or trying to remember when is your appointment because you didn’t write it down. Being organized can have a very positive influence on your life and your success.
1. Take notes
It might sounds old school but you have to write things down. Not on a smart phone or tablet where it gets lost among all your apps and alerts and reminders. Write things down on a paper notebook with a pencil. Every morning, take 10 to 20 minutes to write your to-do list of the day. Physically writing it will allow you to visualize the amount of work you have for this day and to efficiently assign the proper amount of time to accomplish each task. Write your most important tasks first and then go down to the “little things”. It is really important that you take those 10 – 20 minutes in the morning to outline your work and set goals for your day.
Start with your first task and do not move on to another task before finishing it. It is essential that you complete the task before doing something else. It is not always easy, because things and life happen, but try your best to avoid distractions.
2. Cut out distractions
In this constantly connected world, all we rely on to lead our day is our cell phone. We wake up and check our texts, emails, social media, news and more. We all do it but what a terrible habit. Our phones are filled with tons of diverse distractions. And distraction is the killer of organization. You cannot stay on task and be on schedule if you are constantly drowned to your phone for a text, a call, a notification… It is imperative that you start managing the time spent on your phone if you want to stay organized and reach the success you think you deserve. We are not saying to not look at your phone but you should schedule proper time to look at it. First thing in the morning, schedule 20 minutes for you to go over everything. Emails, reply to texts, checkout social media profiles etc.… Then just put it away and schedule your second check up for noon for example. Give yourself 3 to 4 timeslots a day to be on your phone. It might not seem like a lot but you will see how easy it gets. Texts and social media can always wait! Emails can be answered from your computer and calls of course can be taken if important or work related.
3. Get rid of the clutter
It may seem like common sense but lots of us have to admit of being messy in certain areas of our lives. One of the secrets of successful people is actually being very neat and tidy. It might look like a small detail but it actually can determine how organized you can be. Chefs, for example, are highly organized people. They have a place for absolutely everything, the bowls, the utensils, the plates etc.… The knife are organized by size, the food has to be properly wrapped and labeled in the refrigerator. But why such a strict organization? Because it saves time from not looking everywhere for a knife. It increases productivity and efficiency. When everything is in place and everyone is disciplined about re-organizing after use, it creates a structured environment that leaves no space for distractions or disturbances.
So get rid of the clutter that’s in your way. Donate the clothes you no longer wear, purge your pantry once in awhile, do a desk spring-cleaning and don’t get emotionally attached to everything. If you have used it in over a year, it’s time to get rid of it.
4. Have a schedule
Having a schedule is crucial to stay organized. The schedule, and the obligations that are in it, will shape out your day and week. Having a schedule holds you accountable, forces you to respect timing and stay on task. Even if you are self employed or work from home (and that also goes for students studying at home) you need to have a schedule. Because without this specific time structure, our brain sees chaos. Our time is way better managed when we can actually visualize it and allocate time slots to tasks. That way, no time wasted wondering what to do next, no time for distractions. You can go on with your day knowing that every tasks you will accomplish will bring you closer to your goals.
5. Be disciplined
And here is the hardest part. Discipline. Merriam Webster defines discipline as “control or self-control gained by enforcing obedience or order, training that corrects, molds, or perfect the mental faculties or moral character”. Being disciplined in your life means setting up restrictions and sacrifices. It is the most difficult thing to do as a human. Otherwise we would all workout everyday and eat super healthy, right?
Being disciplined will take time as you incorporate your discipline into a new routine. Repetition is the very key to success here. By implementing habits such as writing down your task list every morning and making sure that you always put back things into place, you will save yourself a lot of time and effort that you can put into something productive instead. If you are disciplined, being organized will just be a tool to the completion of your success.