15 Simple Ways to an Organized Life

(Resources & Free Apps too!)

It’s common knowledge that organization in life has numerous benefits over one of disorganization. If you are a person who labels every shelf in your food pantry, organizes closet by color, material, and season, lines every dresser drawer and closet, hat’s off to you… but this article is not for you. You should join the NAPO and help others.

For all of the rest that might need some extra tips on organization in life, read on.

Even if disorganization has become a way of life for you, there is hope. The first step is to START. I have scoured Google and found resources, advice and some free apps centered on becoming more organized. You can learn one step at a time. Start somewhere. Start now.

Here are tips and free apps to help you become more organized.

The average American wastes 55 minutes a day looking for things they own but can’t find.

Newsweek

1. Write Everything Down

Make sure you record everything when it’s fresh in your mind, especially passwords. As humans grow older, the memory wanes. I don’t have to tell you this. You could write in your paper notebook, but the odds of the page or book being lost is not good for you. The best option is to use one of the many Apps that can save all of your notes. Too lazy to type? Voice technology enables speaking into your smartphone as it transcribes your words. Use the notes app that is provided on your smartphone.

Suggested App for Note Keeping: Evernote
Suggested Free Password Manager: Roboform

2. Use a Daily To-Do List

Make a list and check things off. It’s simple. Many people still use paper and pen to write down to-do lists. That piece of paper might get long and messy. To keep your information secure, use an electronic format like a smartphone app.

Suggested App: Google Keep is very easy to use!

Using the correct organizational tools can improve time management by 38%.

Mobile Technology Product

3. Calendar and Schedule Everything

As life becomes more complex with less time between events, using an electronic calendar can make a difference in your always-late world. If you have a smartphone, you have a calendar. If you still love the paper and pen and holding that book in your hand, go for ye old faithful… Frankin Covey Planners of the Late 80’s 90’s were a hit. My mom had one. Stephen Covey is an organizational hero.

Suggested App: Google Calendar is free & syncs calendars with your family.

4. Schedule Breaks Throughout Your Day

You have to give your brain a rest. Daniel J. Levitin of McGill University once wrote about the importance of resetting your brain every now and then. “If you want to be more productive and creative, and to have more energy, the science dictates that you should partition your day into project periods,” says Daniel. Short breaks will reduce your stress and re-energize your uptime, increasing your creativity, productivity and enthusiasm.

Busyness Can Be Counterproductive: Schedule Breaks on Purpose

5. A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

If you had a place for everything and more importantly made sure that all parties involved agreed upon the place and the process, finding items becomes easier.

Check out last month’s blog - prevent disengagement with basic organizational skills.

6. Put Things Away Immediately

We have all had the long hard day’s work, slings off the shoes in the doorway, drapes the jacket over the staircase railing, stepped on each sock and let them dangle off into the carpet, shirt & pants on the floor, and into bed you go. It may be easier and less work in the long run to sit on the bed, remove your clothes, and put them in the hamper and feel happy for your nap and wake up a tidy room.

Great article here: Create a Habit of Putting Things Away- Right Away!

Do you have a messy house? Check out this blog:

Cleaning a Messy House (In a Hurry!)

7. Make Electronic Copies of Everything

Use the cloud to backup copies of insurance papers. Your smartphone can do it all now.  With the tragedy in Houston, we can see how floods can wreak havoc on any community.

Suggested App: Take a picture with your phone and upload it to Dropbox or Google Drive.

8. De-Clutter Your Life In As Many Ways Possible

80/20 Rule. The “Pareto Principle” has been found to have widespread applicability: in most situations, 80% of the benefits come from 20% of the causes. I loosely paraphrase this article: they say we use 20% of our stuff, 20% of the stuff we do matters and spend our time with 20% of our friends. NAPO National Association of Professional Organizers.

Donate & Recycle. Have you looked in your closet lately? A lot of unused garments, perhaps? Try this. Every time you use a shirt and put it back in the closet, put the hanger the opposite way of all the rest. At the end of the season look at the shirts that have the hanger in the other direction that has not been used. Toss at least half of them in a bag and give them to the local needy charity.

Pickup Service Here for Donation

9. Unsubscribe from Websites, Paper Mail, Catalogs

I was recently visiting a very nice apartment neighborhood, where all of the mailboxes are near one another. There were 6 huge trash containers full of catalogs and flyers. Stop the madness. Unsubscribe from paper catalogs and useless electronic emails.

Suggested App: Unroll.me is a free service to unsubscribe easily from whatever you don't want.

Each year, about 100 million households receive 16.6 billion catalogs.

​​​​​​​Direct Mail Association

10. Reserve Multi-Tasking for Simple Tasks

According to the University of Michigan, most people cannot effectively multi-task, especially if it is a very important task or project. You are doing multiple projects at progressively less than 100%. When taking on very important issues, or initiatives, do ONE thing at a time. The only exception is on mindless chores that don’t require much thought.

Organized people know their strengths and weaknesses, and they delegate accordingly. “They know they don’t have to do it all themselves,”

Annette Reyman

11. Let Go of Simple Tasks by Delegating

We are not talking about your core functions in your life. We are talking about the little stuff. You know that if you do the job, it will be done correctly, but learn to let go. Find the next-best person and let them take charge. It will get done. They might do it better than you… because you were multitasking (refer to #10).

Check out this article from Harvard Business School about delegating.

“Most people will tell you they are too busy to delegate — that it’s more efficient for them to just do it themselves.”

Carol Walker, President of Prepared to Lead

12. Ask for Help!

If you are in need of help, ask someone. You are not weak. You are smart for asking. You are probably the person that would help others in a heartbeat. So, ask for help, maybe “the helper” has some good ideas, too.

Get junk help here: Junk Haulers

13. Stop Stressing Over EVERY Detail; for Your Health’s Sake!

The older we get, the more we realize that most of that worrying was wasted. One of the best things to do is to LET-IT-GO.

80% of our medical expenditures are stress related.

The Centers for Disease Control

14. Vacation. Exercise. Relax.

No one can do it all, all of the time. It’s a myth. Make sure you take care of yourself. Take a nice jog, go to the beach, eat right.

A great resource is Stephen R. Covey: Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Perfectionism costs 50% or more of the total effort required, to squeeze out the last 10% or so of quality.

​​​​​​​Jeff Olson, The Agile Manager’s Guide to Getting Organized

15. Stop Procrastinating

I saved this one for last. You will feel much better once you get things done, today. James Clear has published a great article that addresses procrastination and how to stop it.

Align Us provides a social media work productivity platform. If you need to be better organized in your work or group, check out Align Us.

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