If another year has passed you by quicker than you were able to accomplish your goals, it’s time to get organized. Here are 10 ways to organize your life when you’re overwhelmed, feeling scattered, and want to be more productive and happier.
I’ve adopted a lot of little habits over the course of my personal development journey that have led to a happier, more productive, more fulfilled version of me. Organizing my environment, my time, and my thoughts has had a tremendous impact on my happiness. If you’re looking to make 2020 your best year ever, here are simple habits you can start adopting today to see the change you’re craving.
Schedule important things
Life can whiz by all too quickly if we are not intentional with how we spend our time.
Ever had one of those weekends where one minute you’re sitting down on the couch on Friday evening after a long week of work and then you blink and all of a sudden it’s Sunday night… and you’re still on the couch?
Especially in today’s digital age, it is easy to distract ourselves for hours on end without accomplishing the things that matter to us. It’s easier to watch TV than it is to learn a new skill, push through an obstacle, or overcome a mental block (all of the things we usually encounter when setting and achieving goals).
But if you are committed to living your best life, then you need to figure out what brings you meaning and joy and get those things into your calendar.
Related post: Are You Working On The Right Goals?
We are all busy but we all have the same number of hours in a day. So why can someone build up a million dollar business, while someone else is still in the same miserable job 25 years later?
Spoiler alert: it’s their commitment to a life well lived and their discipline in making time for what matters.
Related post: 5 Strategies for Better Time Management
If you want to make 2020 your best year yet, figure out what that looks like and then plan it into your week.
Every day you should be doing at least one little thing to bring you closer to a goal you have.
Every single day.
If you want to make 2020 your best year yet, schedule the important things in your calendar and commit to them.
Establish an effective goal setting routine
If you want to live your best life, setting goals is a big piece of fulfilling your dreams.
The mistake people often make is setting goals once a year, or once every couple of months, and then not thinking about them again.
Related post: Are You Working On The Right Goals?
A lack of focus on the goals squashes the consistent effort that is necessary to achieve them.
Having a solid goal setting routine to keep your goals front of mind will enable you to make progress on them every single day, no matter how small.
I write down my goals for the year every single morning in my gratitude journal. I set goals every month to help me achieve those annual goals, and I review them every Sunday so that I can schedule key actions into my week and track my progress.
Embracing this goal setting routine has propelled me so far toward my dreams that New Year’s resolutions don’t even come close.
Related post: 10 Tips To Stay On Top Of Your Goals
Find a goal setting routine that works for you so that you can see the success you deserve and make the next 12 months amazing.
Declutter Your Closet
When we hold on to physical clutter, it speaks to a mental void that we cannot fill.
By decluttering items that no longer bring you joy or serve a useful purpose, you open your space, free up your time, and learn to prioritize the essentials all at once.
It takes time to maintain a cluttered space! You spend time looking for things you can’t find, you spend time feeling guilty about not wearing/using things that you don’t like, you spend money on things that you don’t really need.
Without becoming a full fledged minimalist (unless you’re committed to that level of simplicity, then by all means!) simply cleaning out your closet, or your pantry, or your kitchen cabinets, or your office desk is a fantastic way to free up physical space and mental energy.
I grew up in a house where we spent EVERY SATURDAY shopping for ten hours. Our trunk was ALWAYS filled to the brim when we drove home. It was normal for us to buy whatever we wanted. And sure, this is entirely a first world problem and we were very fortunate to grow up in a family where finances were not a deficit. However, the result of this frivolous mindset was that we spent EVERY SUNDAY cleaning the entire house for ten hours because there was just SO MUCH STUFF to keep up with. I remember vividly hating Sundays.
Too much stuff is overwhelming! It also meant that I had completely unrealistic expectations for my birthday celebrations when I became an adult and married my husband. My husband came from a family where you got one gift, and your celebration was a special supper. I came from a family where there were at least 15 gifts, and it was an entire weekend event.
As an adult I was relying on an abundance of gifts to prove love and connection, and a mountain of THINGS to make me happy, when in reality, there was a lot of inner work that needed to happen so that I could move past perfectionism and people pleasing and get to the point where I took responsibility and owned my happy.
Long story short, stuff is entirely unnecessary for a meaningful life, in fact it distracts from it.
Your purpose on this Earth is not to acquire a pile of stuff. So stop focusing on the THINGS and get focused on what you want to accomplish and experience.
Take an action to declutter a small space in your home and sit with how free it makes you feel.
You’ll be a minimalist in no time. 😉
A good way to improve your life is by freeing up time to do more of the things that bring you joy.
Related post: Building A Meaningful Life
Mealtime used to suck up so much of my time and mental energy. Because we choose to live healthy lives, we eat supper at home every single night. We eat out only a handful of times each year, because we prioritize fueling our bodies with nutritious food. We also pack lunches for work and school and daycare every single day so that we can continue to control the quality of the food we are consuming.
All this meant that I was spending at least 3 hours a day physically making food, and at least another hour a day thinking about what the heck I was going to make, plus countless evenings running to the grocery store to pick up last minute items.
Mealtimes are meant to bring family together to connect and enjoy each others’ company, but when they are hectic and time consuming, they do not bring us joy.
Find ways to free up your time this year by simplifying mealtime.
- Start meal planning every week so that you know exactly what you’re making and what ingredients you need
- Go grocery shopping only once a week and complete all of the shopping in one go
- Invest in an Instant Pot that cuts your cooking time in half and makes it easy to do other things during that time
- Avoid fancy recipes with a thousand ingredients and stick to a protein with a side of vegetables.
If cooking elaborate meals and spending hours in the kitchen every night does not bring you joy, hack it so that you are freed up to do other things.
If it does bring you joy, pour your heart into it, and free up time elsewhere.
Do a life audit
If you want next year to be your best year yet, you must be intentional in where you focus your time and energy!
I do a life audit exercise every single year before my birthday to think about how happy I am with where I’m at, where I’d like to improve, and what specific goals I will achieve in the next year to bring me closer to my dream life.
This allows me to envision what an amazing year would look like and consciously put one foot in front of the other to make it happen.
Otherwise, we do not live life, we let life live us.
If you’ve set yourself up with a solid goal setting routine, an annual life audit exercise should be a part of it.
Related post: How To Do A Life Audit
Make your bed in the mornings
If little wins lead to big results, then making your bed in the morning sets you up for a productive day.
Ever notice that on the days that you exercise, you’re more likely to eat well? In a similar fashion, I’ve noticed that on the days I make my bed in the morning, I am more productive.
That small win fuels the momentum you need to achieve more difficult challenges throughout the day.
The routine of a bed well made is a catalyst for productivity and can notify your brain and body that it’s go time.
Improve your life by making your bed.
It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Create a morning routine
This one is powerful!
When you start your day with an hour of you time, your entire energy changes.
I used to maximize every ounce of sleep I could get when my son was young, and I would get out of bed only 5 minutes after he started crying in his crib. So now he’s crying, I am half asleep, I really need to pee but I have to deal with his poopy bum, and then he is crawling around and getting into things while I am just trying to make a cup of coffee!
Imagine starting your way like that every single day.
Or maybe for you it’s starting your day after hitting the snooze button 5 times, so now you’re an hour behind schedule, you’re rushing around trying to find something to wear, forgoing a shower because there is no time, chugging a cup of half brewed coffee because you need to get out the door, yelling at everybody in traffic and running to work only to still get there after your boss and have forgotten your laptop at home.
Your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day.
Do you think you can live your best life if you are a hot mess in the mornings? No. You cannot.
Turn your mornings around and take charge of your life.
I get up 1.5 hours before I ‘need’ to so that I can exercise, journal, read, meditate, and drink a cup of coffee. So when 6:30 comes around and I need to wake the kids up and get everyone off to school and work, I am already in a positive mood, full of energy, and ready to show up as my best self.
Related post: The Perfect Morning Routine To Make Your Day
Stop hitting snooze
Little wins bring big momentum.
How will you ever run a marathon if you can’t even get out of bed in the morning?
When you hit snooze, your brain learns that your commitment (in this case to waking up) is non existent. It learns that when you say you’re going to do something (like wake up at 5am) you’re not actually going to follow through.
It becomes used to you giving up before you even get started.
And when that habit is built, our brains (master maintainers of the status quo) will do everything in their power to keep things that way, until you take control.
It only takes ONE DAY of not hitting snooze to get you back on track. So put your alarm across the room, go to bed extra early so that you are fully rested in the morning, and get up when it rings.
If the need to get back in bed is too strong, make yourself go brush your teeth before you get back in bed. Once you’re up there, a little bit more awake and a heck of a lot more proud, you’ll stay up there.
And once you break the snooze habit once, you’ve changed your perception of yourself as someone who ‘always hits snooze’ and you are free to be the person you want to be.
Set a priority for the day
Living with intention and finding balance in your life starts with deciding how you want your day to look and feel.
Every morning as I write in my gratitude journal, I set a priority for the day.
Some days it is “draft the next blog post” and other days it is “make the kids laugh.”
Creating a vision for how I want my day to have gone when I get in bed at night helps me block out all the distractions and hone in on what’s important to me on that day.
If you feel that time has been passing you by and you want to take control and make big things happen, take a few minutes in the morning to set your priority for the day.
It will help you focus on big things of impact rather than the minutiae of distractions.
Declutter your digital devices
With the amount of time we spend on our phones, tablets, and laptops these days, decluttering digital devices is so important.
Organized devices serve you rather than taking from you.
- Make sure the apps on your phone are ones you use regularly and want to continue devoting time to
- Make sure the photos on your laptop are organized and searchable
- Make sure your Facebook friends and the people you follow on Instagram are accounts that inspire you to live the life you love
Overtime, our phones and computers become cluttered with apps, files, and contacts that take away time and energy from our lives rather than helping us show up the way we intend to.
Well organized digital devices minimize the time you spend looking for things, scrolling mindlessly, and comparing yourself to other people.
Take a day this month to organize your digital devices and you will feel free.
By taking some time to dream, plan, organize, simplify, and build productive habits, you are setting yourself up for an amazing year and a meaningful life.
Life happens. Things get messy. And all of that is okay.
Once you’re in a space where you’re craving more simplicity and structure, take on the ideas in this list that feel right to you and organize your life one little habit at a time.
It’s incredible how much impact each one of these actions has had on my life in the past year, but all of them combined together over time have helped me build and live a life that I love.
What is your favorite organization hack that helps you show up intentionally? Let me know in the comments below!