These days, we’re all busy juggling projects, deadlines, and work demands with family life and personal time. When the chaos of a hectic lifestyle looms, getting and staying organized seems like just another never-ending task to cross off an already long list. But what you might not know is that keeping your physical space tidy could actually make your life simpler in the long run by decreasing your stress and anxiety, and impacting your health, well-being, and relationships in a myriad of positive ways. And keeping that tidy environment doesn’t have to be hard. Here are a few habits to cultivate that will make organization automatic and easy – so you can devote more time and energy to the things that matter most.
Create a to-do list
Trying to keep track of things in your head will likely leave you feeling distracted and disorganized, a mental perspective that has a tendency to spill over into your physical surroundings as well. As David W. Ballard, the assistant executive director for the American Psychological Association, said in an article for the Huffington Post, “We spend a lot of mental energy trying to keep track of all the things we need to remember.” So don’t waste time and energy trying; every day, write down a list of items you need to accomplish, and keep a notepad close by so you can jot things down throughout the day. This strategy will help increase your productivity by keeping your mind free to focus on one task at a time.
Don’t let things pile up
Think twice before you throw another file on your desk at work, or relegate some old pens to the junk drawer at home. Small things have a tendency to pile up over time. If you spend two minutes or less organizing at the end of each task, or ten minutes at the end of the day, staying tidy will seem far more manageable.
Give everything a home
Attempting to organize without containers is like trying to live in a house without closets or cabinets. To avoid chaos, develop an organizing system that includes containers, drawers, baskets, and bins. Then hold yourself and your family accountable to put items back in their proper places each and every time you use them. This strategy will significantly decrease the amount of time you have to spend organizing later.
Be a ruthless purger
If anything is better than organizing, it’s purging. After all, the less stuff you own, the less time you have to spend on cleaning and organizing it. Minimizing the things you own can also make you feel less anxious and stressed. So start on one area or room at a time, and get rid of everything you don’t want or need. If it works for you, use Marie Kondo’s popular KonMari organizing method of holding each item and asking yourself if you truly need it or if it brings you joy. If you don’t or it doesn’t, throw it out and enjoy the freedom of having more space and time.
Keep it paperless
Nothing has the power to make you feel overwhelmed like stacks of bills, paperwork, receipts, and junk mail. Reduce this stress by spending a few minutes each day sorting through your paper piles – Better yet, sign up for paperless billing on each of your accounts online, or download an app like Genuis Scan to digitize each piece of paper with the touch of a button. The fewer piles you have to contend with, the more in control you’ll feel on a daily basis.
Break up tasks
If you’ve already let clutter get the best of you, don’t get discouraged or overwhelmed. Simply tackle one task at a time, one day at a time. If you prioritize organizing one thing a day, whether it’s the corner of a desk or an entire room, soon you’ll be back on track!
Good habits make a big difference, and they can make keeping your home and office tidy much easier over time. In all likelihood, you’ll also feel more productive, healthy, and empowered, and even have more energy and time. Let us know on Facebookand Twitter if you have any other organizing habits that make your life easier or simpler. We’d love to hear from you!