You may have seen my previous article on how to create your own New Years’ resolutions and maybe actually took my advice on it. However, I think that getting organized is a major step in the process of achieving goals. There are many articles talking about how to begin doing this, but truly your organizational style is quite personal. Which aspects of your life do you want to be more organized in? Your living space, school, work?
In the next few paragraphs, I will mostly talk about tips for a generally positive attitude towards getting organized. It’s a process of healthy habit-building that takes time and effort. Nevertheless, you should first start by thinking of organizing your life as a way to take care of yourself. In these Covid-19 times, it’s even more important to prioritize yourself.
Why Does Getting Organized Matter?
In my personal opinion, the more organized things around you are, the more likely you would be to achieve your goals. Chaos may trigger creativity sometimes, but mostly, you are left with a feeling of mess and lack of structure.
Getting organized brings in a sense of responsibility into your own life and can reduce anxiety immensely. In that way, you can focus on achieving longer-term goals or even do things you otherwise don’t have time for. You may not benefit from getting organized in a perfect way. Sometimes, this process can increase anxiety. Whenever it does, stop immediately. The goal of getting organized is not perfection, but it’s about making yourself feel better and be healthier.
Thus, here are my personal organizational tips from 17 years of studying. Hopefully, you find them useful.
1. WRITE THINGS DOWN to Get Organized more Easily
I mean it. When was the last time you thought to yourself that there was something on your mind to be done, but you forgot about it? Yesterday? Today? Write it down! This is the number one organizational tip I could ever give.
Use a piece of paper, a journal, a software like Evernote, anything. Getting organized is not that hard when you actually are aware of all the tasks you need to complete. Don’t forget to make these tasks specific and detailed. For example, if you are, similarly to me, looking for jobs, don’t just write “apply to jobs today”. How about “apply to this company in the morning and this one in the afternoon”. Great, you have 2 applications done for the day and you organized that part of your life.
2. Set Deadlines
You need to understand what sort of deadline style works best for you in order to become more organized. Do you prefer external deadlines or do internal ondes do the job as well? If you chose external, you may set notifications on your phone to remind you to do something. Another option would be to ask a friend to check in with you for some of your bigger tasks.
A big part of setting deadlines is scheduling. On one hand, I see how using the Pomodoro method or the Forest app could work. In both, you have 20 (or more) minutes to focus and complete a certain task. Additionally, in Forest with each cycle of minutes, you are building a forest, adding motivation by gamifying the process. However, often time, slots may not particularly work for the type of tasks you have in mind. Schoolwork seems like one sort of task that would benefit from such focus timeslots. However, some creative tasks, for instance, would require more or less time and you would never know exactly how much. If you find it hard to work with time slots, you can do what I do and just have general ideas of when things would be done. This can be the morning, the afternoon, etc.
That’s why you should always remember to always adapt your organizational style to your own life.
3. Building up to the Big Tasks
Small or big tasks first? That depends on what your personal organization style is, but for me personally starting off with something simpler is the way to go. That way I already feel like I have achieved something, just by ticking that off my list. Moreover, making the tasks tangible and seeing your progress can definitely be a motivation to start working on something bigger. Did you do your dishes? Tick them off of the list.
Eventually, you will achieve all of your organizational goals.
4. Unconventional Tips for Personal Organization
There are many unconventional tips on how to get organized and there is no shame in the game. I have heard people listen to inspirational music such as Ludovico Einaudi. Others say you should work on your tasks when you are tired at the last minute. Maybe that is a source of motivation? Some people prefer to detach themselves completely and focus on the tasks at hand by removing all of their social media accounts. For me, some days I purposefully try not to plan out everything I am doing. If it does not feel like a productive day, that’s okay.
Hence, most importantly, you should get organized in a way that works best for you. You may hate deadlines; you may love them – it really does not matter. Now go and get things done!