Everybody can benefit by learning how to get organized. You know how it feels -- the sense of satisfaction, even smugness that comes from knowing you’re on top of things.
The benefits affect every area of your life -- even if you improve your organization skills a little, the ripple effect will have a positive impact throughout your day.
Organized living is all about habits. Get and stay organized (easier said than done), and life becomes so much simpler.
Whether you want to learn how to get organized at work, home or both, try out the following 7 organizing tips for wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.
1. Designate places
If you want to know how to get organized, doing this is crucial. For everything that you own, designate a place for it.
Something doesn’t have a place? Make one. Then simply put things back where they belong when you’ve finished using them. It's simple and effective, but hard at first to do consistently until you form the habit.
2. Designate times
One of the best ways to keep your life organized is to create routines -- you probably have a morning routine on working days. What about lunchtimes, evenings and weekends?
Routines mean you don’t have to constantly make decisions about what to do and when to do it. For example, you could routinely check your personal emails at lunchtime.
You can have too much of a good thing though -- use enough routine to make a difference, but not so much that you get bored.
3. Start small
If you want to know how to organize your desk, home or office, you don’t have to conquer everything at once. Choose a small chunk (maybe the top of your desk, or a drawer?) and organize that.
Use tip after this one to keep it organized, and practice that system until it becomes habit.
Once you’ve got on top of that you can expand your 'empire'.
4. Put it away promptly and properly
Done using something? Most people will put it down somewhere nearby, with the intention of putting it away later. But messy places are full of these intentions.
Instead of letting things pile up, put them away immediately.
5. Capture it
Information and requests come at you verbally, electronically or on paper.
Use the simplest, fewest and most accessible capture tools you can to act as your inboxes.
Have an A4 tray and dump everything on that, then choose a regular time to go through it. This works particularly well if you really want to learn how to organize paperwork.
6. Keep filing simple
If your filing system is too complicated or inaccessible, chances are you won’t use it.
Try using a tickler file -- create a filing system of 31 sections, one for each day of the month then file the paperwork in the appropriate section for the day you want to deal with it. See this quick tickler file explanation for more.
7. Make sure it’s usable
If you’re still not sure how to get organized, ask yourself two questions:
Have I formed the habits I need to get and stay organized, and are my systems simple and accessible enough?
Improving both or either is probably all you need to do.
Learning how to get organized at home and work allows you to focus more when you’re working and relax more when you’re not.
Are those benefits worth the cost of learning a few simple organization skills?
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