We all know someone who is super organized. They are always on time, they never miss a deadline or appointment, are always prepared and can always find what they are looking for.
I’m sure we also all know someone who is not so organized. They live a life of constant disarray, never being able to find their keys, their wallet or their passport. They are always late and they live life in a mild state of constant panic because they are always unprepared.
Of course, then there are those who are in between. They mostly manage to get where they need to go on time, they don’t always lose their keys and they are generally ready for the day ahead.
Does it really matter whether you are super orgainized, very disorganized or somewhere in between? You may think not, but the skill of organization is a very useful one to have.
This is why I have created this organized lifestyle guide for you.
If you’re interested in creating an organized home and life— so you can have more of what matters and less of everything else— then keep reading for everything you need to know.
What Does it Mean to Be Organized?
Let’s get started with the basics- What is organization?
For some, being organized is all about material possessions. Being able to locate what you want when you want it. Having a home for everything and everything in its place.
For others, being organized is all about time management. It’s about maintaining schedules and to-do lists in order to get the most done in the least amount of time.
For me, being organized encompasses these two things and more. I certainly need to know exactly where my keys are and to be able to put my hands on something within a couple of minutes. It doesn’t however mean that my home or work office is arranged like a display. I still want the place to still feel homely and lived in.
I like to use systems and processes to manage my time but I do it so that I can get done what I need to do and then take time out for myself and my family.
I use lists to keep track of things and reduce the workload on my brain but at the same time I am not a slave to them. They are living documents that change as my day, week and year go on.
I use my organized lifestyle to create freedom and enable myself to take advantage of opportunities that arise as well as to limit the effect of negative influences on myself and my family.
What are the Benefits of Being Organized?
- Reduced stress
- Increased productivity
- Setting an example for children and co-workers
- Greater capacity to respond to the unexpected
How does having an organized lifestyle reduce stress?
Someone who has mastered the skill of organization will encounter less stress in their lives for a number of reasons. Firstly, they will not waste time and energy looking for things they need but have misplaced. This so often happens with car keys and wallets. There is nothing worse than being ready to leave the house for work or other event and be unable to go until the keys are located. The stress and worry about being late do not make for a good start to the day or event.
Then there is the organization needed to be prepared for certain events. Consider the traveler who must catch a flight tonight but cannot lay their hands on their passport. Then consider the traveler who, upon reaching the airport, discovers that their passport has expired and they are not allowed to board the plane. These two problems can be avoided with a little bit of prior organization.
Someone who is organized will have control of their calendar or daily schedule and know exactly what commitments they have in the days ahead. This allows them to be prepared in advance if required. A disorganized person may forget they have a birthday party to attend today and then encounter the stress of trying to buy a suitable present and get there on time. This is stress that can be avoided.
How can having an organized lifestyle increase productivity?
When we are organized, we know what we need to do this month, week and day. We are then able to make effective plans to complete those tasks.
Consider the student who has an assignment due on Friday. The disorganized student will begin the work on Thursday evening and either have to stay up all night to complete it or submit a substandard piece of work on Friday. The organized student however, will look at the task in advance, break it down in to smaller, manageable sections and then work on these throughout the week. This allows them time to consider, reflect and edit their work all without being stressed due to time restrictions.
The organized person will also find it easier to begin a task and be less likely to suffer from procrastination and lack of motivation. This is due to the planning and scheduling an organized person engages in to manage their time.
How can having an organized lifestyle set an example to others?
As a parent, co-worker or leader, there will be others who observe the way we go about our lives and our work. Whether we like it or not, they will be making assumptions and watching the example that we are setting for them. This can then influence the actions those people take.
As a parent, I want to raise children who are on time, can be relied upon to do the things they promise to do and live their lives in a way that do not make them a burden upon other people.
As a co-worker I want my colleagues to be able to rely upon me to complete my share of the work. I want to be able to reduce the load for others rather than increase it.
As a leader, I want to lead by example. I do not want to set expectations of others that I do not model in my own working life.
How can having an organized lifestyle allow us to respond to the unexpected?
It does not matter how organized we are, life happens to everyone. No-one is immune from flat tyres, traffic jams, illness and the myriad of other difficulties that happen in life. The organized person however, has strategies in place to reduce the impact of these unexpected events. For example, they allow time in their day for delays that might occur in their travel time. They know that it is a bad idea to leave home at the last possible minute and make allowances in their routine to ensure this does not happen.
Life can also offer opportunities that the organized person is better placed to respond to. Someone who is organized will have the mental space to consider an unexpected employment opportunity. An organized person knows what their commitments are and whether they are free to take advantage of whatever positive opportunities come their way.
5 Key Elements of an Organized Lifestyle
1. Positive Attitude
2. Goal Setting
3. Routines and Systems
4. Personal Health
ELEMENT #1: A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
A positive attitude leads to many benefits. When we look at the world through the lens of ‘a glass half full’, we can focus on the positives in our lives and build upon those. We use our achievements as a stepping stone to reach higher and achieve more.
Another consideration is that it is not always necessary to do something perfectly. If there is a choice between doing something perfectly and not getting it done at all, I will choose done over perfect every time. This is often why people struggle with procrastination. They worry about the time and effort something will take to achieve. If we allow ourselves to be happy with our efforts, rather than focusing on the end product, everything becomes easier to achieve.
More posts about overcoming procrastination:
ELEMENT #2: GOAL SETTING
An organized person sets and works towards goals.
When we set goals, we capture all of our hopes and dreams in to actionable tasks. There is scientific evidence that states that when our goals are written down, we are much more likely to achieve them than if they stay as a thought bubble floating around inside our heads.
More posts about goal setting:
Here are some resources to help you set and track your goals:
Setting goals enables us to take action. When we have written down what we want to achieve and broken those down in to our actionable tasks, we are then able to make a plan to achieve them.
ELEMENT #3: ROUTINES AND SYSTEMS
Organized people have productive daily routines. They set morning and evening routines and use these to manage their tasks and their time.
For example, they use their time in the evening to determine what is on their calendar for tomorrow and ensure that they are prepared. This allows them to complete any preparations while they have the time to do so rather than having to rush in the morning.
They update their to-do list regularly. Organized people know that it takes more than just writing a list to be productive. They refer to it regularly, update it frequently and manage it so that they are in control of what needs to be completed. You might be interested in creating a Kanban board to keep track of your to-do list.
They prioritise their tasks and ensure that they are making the best use of their time. They know that it is more efficient to complete the most difficult tasks first while they are fresh and to complete the simpler tasks later in the day when they are starting to feel tired.
They understand the importance of allowing space between scheduled tasks to ensure they have enough time if something runs over or they are interrupted by something that is unexpected.
I have created The Lifewrangling Planner to help you get in control of your to-do list. It will assist you to list your tasks, prioritise them and then to schedule them appropriately. By using it you will know how much time you have and whether you will be able to complete everything on your list before the day begins rather than being surprised and disappointed at what you have not achieved by the end of the day.
Organized people track their progress towards their goals. They have broken their large goals down into manageable parts and determined their schedule for completing each part until the entire goal is achieved.
More posts about using a planner:
Here is a resource to help you effectively plan your week:
One of the systems I use is The Two Minute Rule. This blog post discusses the two minute rule in relation to decluttering but it is a system I use consistently to get things done quickly and easily and prevent my to-do list tasks from building up. Read more about that here.
Lastly, I consistently use my smartphone to set alarms and reminders for a variety of things throughout the course of my day. This helps me to keep on track and ensures that I do not miss important appointments when I am deeply engrossed in a task or idea.
ELEMENT #4: PERSONAL HEALTH
An organized person understands that there are limits on their time and attention. They know that they cannot give 100% of their attention to their work, their family and their friends without also making sure they take care of themselves.
They understand the importance of disconnecting from work while they are at home. I like to think of this as compartmentalisation. I try to segment my life so that when I am at work, I am 100% thinking about work and when I am at home I am 100% thinking about home. This can of course be difficult to achieve at times and as with everything, rules are made to be broken but it is the intention to do this that is the most important part.
If we are constantly available for work when we are at home, this affects the quality of our relationships and our ability to be productive in this area of our lives. We should not have to choose between work and home. This is why rules and laws are in place to protect workers and their private time.
An organized person understands that it is important to get quality sleep so that they can recharge and be ready for whatever the new day brings.
More posts about self-care:
- It’s Important to Schedule Time to Care For Yourself
- How to Declutter Your Mind and Get a Good Night’s Sleep
- The Social Media Time Thief
ELEMENT #5: DECLUTTERING
The organized person appreciates that it is not possible to be organized and surrounded by clutter.
How easy is it to lose something we just had in our hand when we are in a room where every possible surface is covered in stuff? Important items simply fade into the background amongst the clutter.
Clutter prevents us from being able to find the things we need when we need them.
- It steals our time and makes us late.
- It creates a sense of overwhelm and affects our relationships with others.
- It costs us money re-buying things because we can’t find the one we own.
- It makes cleaning and housework frustrating and time consuming.
Find out everything you need to know about managing clutter here:
BONUS TIP: How to Declutter Your Closet
Sign up for a free video training on how I organize my closet to make getting ready in the morning quick and easy.
I hope this guide helps you take the first steps towards achieving your organizing goals!
If you enjoyed it, be sure to pin this blog post or bookmark it for later, because I’ll be updating this guide as I publish new posts— I still have a lot to say about organization!
If you have any questions or feedback, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org ! I’d love to hear from you!