Do you know people who make organization look effortless? Do you want to just mess up their desks? Kidding. Sort of. 😉 You can make being organized look easy, too! With just a few simple habits you can be more organized, improve your time management, and get things DONE. Don’t miss these 5 habits of organized people you can adopt today!
5 Habits of Organized People You Can Adopt Today
Very few of us are “born organized.” And even if organizing came naturally to us in the past, the likelihood is that life (aka marriage, kids, home management, day jobs, pets) got in the way and blew us significantly off the organized course.
But there are a few simple habits you can cultivate that will help you to be more organized.
Let’s jump in to the 5 habits of organized people you can adopt today!
Why Organization Matters
Before we jump into the habits, let’s talk a little about why organization matters.
Because you may be wondering why you should bother re-creating these habits of organized people….
Will it really be worth your time?
You have so little energy anyway. Shouldn’t you put that into building your business? Or your family? Or, hello, naps?!
I understand the urge to dump the habits and organizing projects for an afternoon snooze (#beenthere #donethat), but there are some big benefits to investing in organization and building organization supporting habits.
Here are a just a few reasons why organization matters.
- Saves you time and money
- Decreases stress
- Provides a sense of competency and satisfaction
- Makes it possible to find what you need when you need it
- Improves your health (Don’t believe me? Check out this article)
The many benefits of organization could fill an entire post or two, but these are the biggies and hopefully they’re enough to convince you that investing time and energy in organizing will pay off.
Now that you’re on board the organization train, let’s continue our journey and talk about the 5 habits of organized people you can adopt today!
One habit of organized people is that of keeping lists. Writing down what needs to be done, upcoming appointments and meetings, ideas you want to remember, and future tasks frees up valuable physical and mental energy. It also saves you time that can be invested into your business, your family, and your passion projects.
By keeping lists you:
- clear space in your mind that can be dedicated to other things
- never have to wonder what needs to be done now or tomorrow or next week
- always have handy those brilliant ideas that came to you during your shower/on your run/in the bathroom, ahem; and those nuggets are on your list for when you’re ready to implement them
I don’t know about you, but the first one is enough to make me want to keep lists!
How to Adopt the Habit of Keeping Lists Today
I recommend starting with a brain dump to get all of those things sloshing around in your brain onto paper.
Be sure to choose a notebook, digital document, or binder that will be dedicated to keeping your lists. Always keep your lists in one place, so you can quickly and easily find them.
Start a timer for 10-20 minutes and just write. It doesn’t matter whether the things you write are giant projects, piddly tasks, or items that seem completely unrelated, just write until the timer goes off. Get those things down on paper and clear some space in your brain!
Once your time goes off, set the list aside for a bit. If you think of other items, add them to the list.
Categorize Your List
After you’ve had a break, go back to your list and categorize the tasks on it.
I like to use colors or symbols to sort items based on the following categories:
- Items that have deadlines
- Urgent tasks that need to be completed yesterday
- Larger projects that need to be further broken down into manageable, bite-sized pieces
- Tasks that are bugging me or weighing on me
- Items that are recurring and have to be completed on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis (more on this below)
- Important tasks, meaning that they relate to my highest values or overarching goals (family time, reading time, buying new tennis shoes because my health is a big focus right now, etc)
- Tasks that I WANT to do (this is an important one!)
Once I’ve denoted tasks based on these categories, I will create a plan of attack ensuring that I spend time each day or each week completing tasks with deadlines, making progress on big projects, knocking out tasks that are weighing on me, and setting aside time for important tasks and things I want to do.
There are millions of unique ways to begin keeping lists, and this is just what works for me. You can use this as a starting point then tweak it, or you can develop your own system.
The important thing here is to start keeping a list (or lists, if that feels right for you), so that you aren’t trying to remember everything. Free up space in your mind and energy to devote to people, projects and goals!
Learn more about the brain dump technique and how to incorporate it into your regular routines in this post: 6 Things To Do on Sunday for the Best Work Week Ever!
This habit ties into the one above, and it is where you’ll really start to feel some energy being freed up!
You may be familiar with this scenario:
It’s Monday morning, and you have a meeting you didn’t prepare for, which is already causing stress. As you move the pile of papers on the kitchen counter so you can whip something edible together for breakfast, you see dentist appointment reminders for your kids. For today. Then your husband comes into the kitchen with a packed bag. “Oh, honey, did you forget that I’m leaving on XYZ business trip today and won’t be back until Wednesday night?”
Aaaaaaaaand cue the corner huddling, hysterical crying, and “Why me?” blubbering.
Yeah, I’ve #been there and #donethat, too.
This is no way to go through life, my friends. Thankfully, building your planning ahead skills will help you avoid a whole lot of this mess!
But where to start?
I’m so glad you asked. 😉
How to Adopt the Planning Ahead Habit Today
Part of planning ahead is being current. You can’t plan ahead if you’re behind!
Being current includes things like:
- Opening mail
- Dealing with clutter
- Chipping away at laundry mountain
- Menu planning
- Buying groceries
- Paying bills
- Deciding on and writing down goals, maybe even making a little progress on them
- Scheduling time to spend time with your family (what’s scheduled gets done!)
- Calendar upkeep
- **Maintaining routines (BTW every item on this list is completed in conjunction with my regular routines; see more below)
So, consider kicking off your planning ahead habit by getting current. And check in with your brain dump. It will help you with not only getting current but with the next step.
Once you’re current, you can start really planning ahead. This is an area that deserves its own blog post (or twenty), but I suggest starting with a calendar or planner routine. Check out this post for a step-by-step process and tips: Add Hours to Your Day with One Simple Tool.
Another habit of organized people that you can start cultivating in your own life is building routines.
Just as keeping lists frees up mind power and energy, so does building routines. But with one very important addition: building routines cuts down on decision making and decision fatigue.
No longer will you sit down at your desk and wonder what you should do at this time on Monday. You’ll have an established routine that helps you know what to do.
As with keeping lists, there are as many different approaches to building routines as there are people in the world. And routines are rarely static. I’m a big proponent of routines, but I’m always shifting things slightly to see what will work best for me.
How to Adopt Building Routines Today
A good place to start when building your routines is to go back to the brain dump that you completed earlier and look at your recurring tasks.
Can you cultivate a morning routine that will get your day started in the right way and help you complete daily morning tasks in the process?
Are there tasks that you repeat daily that could be completed in a block each day at a similar time? What about recurring weekly tasks that could be scheduled and completed together?
Can you build a routine that includes fun or nurturing activities you love that will add energy and excitement to your days?
Spend a little time thinking about the questions above then choose one routine to start building, slowly and little by little.
Here are a few routines that I’ve shared on the blog that might be helpful:
- 5 Essential Morning Routine Elements
- How to Build Strong and Lasting Business Routines (this post isn’t just about business routines)
- The Ultimate End of the Work Day Routine
- How to Develop a Paper Processing Routine
- 6 Things To Do on Sunday for the Best Work Week Ever
Whatever routine you opt for, start slowly so you can sustain the changes.
Constant Improvement Through Tweaking
Organized people are always improving their habits and routines through tweaking. This ensures that they’re as effective as possible, avoiding extraneous steps or actions, and saving time.
How to Adopt Improvement Through Tweaking Today
If you’re just getting started with keeping lists, planning ahead, and building routines, you might not have much tweaking to do. And that’s perfectly okay! Put your focus into the habits above first, then as those habits are establish, you can start tweaking.
If you have one or a few of the habits above already established, think about what’s working and what’s not. Then experiment with changes that address the components that aren’t working.
Scheduling Regular “You Time”
The final habit in today’s post is a little different, but it’s incredibly important!
Organized people build regular time into their schedules for down time or fun time.
And we need to do the same.
Otherwise, the work we did on the steps above is moot, because we’ll burn out and end up huddled in the corner, hysterically crying, blubbering “Why me?”
How to Adopt the “Me Time” Habit Today
Take a look back at your brain dump, paying special attention to any items that you put in the “Things I WANT To Do” category.
Or, if you categorized your brain dump tasks differently, look over your list and highlight any items that get you excited or make you sigh and think “if only.”
Then build some time into your schedule to do those things. This time might feel like fluff, but it’s not. This time is non-negotiable.
Find something you want to do and make it happen. Even if only for 30 minutes.
And FYI, “me time” can include napping. Whoo-hoo! 😉
5 Habits of Organized People You Can Adopt Today
After cultivating the habits we talked about today, you’ll no longer feel the need to mess up the desks of those peeps who make organization look effortless. You’ll be one of them!
By implementing and building these 5 habits you’ll be more organized, improve your time management, and get things DONE. You’ll also free up valuable brain space and energy that you can use to cultivate important goals, make progress on passion projects, and spend time with the people most important to you!
Don’t forget to pin it!
If you enjoyed today’s posts, you might also find these related posts helpful:
- 4 Simple Ways to Organize Your Life with a Tickler File
- Instagrammers to Follow If You Love Organization
- 5 Ways to Beat Business Burnout
Thanks for being here today!
Join the Office Organization Challenge!
Each day for 7 days, we'll tackle one office trouble spot, get it decluttered and organized, and create processes to KEEP it that way!
Take back your work space, beat overwhelm, and make the most of your business building time!