“Clutter isn’t the stuff in your closet, it’s anything that gets between you and the life that you want to be living.”
Staying organized is a key element for maintaining a structured and disciplined life. It helps keep us on track, outline action steps for goals, and establish a sense of order, among other things. The purpose of organization is to assist in simplifying life. With simplicity, we leave space for greater, more important and more complex matters that in some way or form require our attention. When you’re not worrying about an outfit and where your keys are in the morning, you have extra time for meditation. Instead of rushing or delaying project schedules due to distraction, poor time management or any other inhibitor, you can execute the project with ease.
Organization can look like different things for different people. This idea brings to mind every artist movie and the artist functions in “organized chaos.” However, not everyone can operate in organized chaos and can benefit from some organization. As someone who is borderline (completely probably now) OCD, it is extremely important for me to stay organized. Combine OCD and creativity, if I don’t stay organized, I will easily lose track of things as my focus is either diverted due to an off-angle saltshaker or design inspiration from a floral bouquet. So here are five things you can do to stay organized.
Create a morning and nighttime routine. Developing a routine is easier said than done, but when you start and end your day structured you can reap various benefits. Your routine doesn’t have to be anything complicated but should get your day started out on the right track and encourage productivity.
Purchase a planner. And use it! Make it a practice to plan out your day, your week, your month, your year. There are so many different types of planners... goal-setting, hourly, customizable. Whatever you need, you can find or design a planner for it.
Make a to-do list. I like daily to-do lists because these are something that you refer to and see frequently. Preferably you can do this as a part of your morning or nighttime routine. Write it on a physical post-it or on your desktop sticky-note. Wherever it is, make sure you can access it easily and cross it off.
Your to-do list should suit your daily lifestyle. Depending on your work or personal life this can include anything from critical project tasks to simply clocking in time on a language app. Whatever is on your to-do list, though, should be a priority or essential for the specific day. Of course, you can do a monthly to-do list that designates monthly priorities or goals that you want to accomplish.
Schedule regular-de-clutter days. Clutter can weigh you down without you even realizing it. The struggle to let go of things that entirely material is hard. There’s a fear of perhaps needing it one day, but if you haven’t used it in 3...5... 10 years! You can let it go. Clutter takes away valuable space for future potential and can suck the joy from a room.
You can take ten minutes out of your day to work on a section of your room. Plan a regular spring and fall cleaning. For my fellow academics, I know this can be really hard. I know you—we have stacks of books, piles of papers, boards filled with timelines and more. It’s an organized chaos, but we can do better. Purge old publications, type notes and lectures, and create a digital archive.
Digitize it. If you can scan it and record it, do it. The more you make digital, the less clutter and more space you have. Of course, there’s a warranted fear of losing everything once it’s digital. We don’t know how long technology will last or how it will develop, but what is sure is that it’s not going anywhere (unless the robots arise).
Making your own digital archive will help you keep everything neat and organized in a manageable space. Scan old photos to immortalize. Upload your favorite movies in mp4 format to your file manager. Store important (excluding things like credit information, SSN, and birth certificate, etc.) documents in clearly labeled folders. The key is storing in two places. Instead of your home and a storage unit, you have your computer and an external hard drive that takes up 4 square inches. You’ll know exactly where to go for them.
What do you think of these tips? Do any of these items help you stay organize or do you stay organized a different way? Let us know in the comments below.