I always liked the idea of being organised and of having my daily tasks neatly written in a pretty diary, I always wanted my files to be organised and labelled without a single piece of paper out of place and the idea of having everything in complete order did sound extremely appealing but those were all thoughts and to-do’s. I thought about it, it sounded good, but I never did it until a month ago…
You would think prior to the month that I organised my life (mostly at work) that I forgot things or didn’t complete things but I did, but I used my mind for all of it. My mind was filled with my to do lists, where I had left things, what I had to follow up on and miraculously I did it all and never forgot anything important but it just wasn’t working for me. Despite getting everything done it was the most unproductive way to do it and my mind needed some space to think about other things.
Cue the 2016 diary that I now use daily, my notebooks have stopped gathering dust because I am actually using them (Laura from Whimsy is Forever actually wrote a great post about actually using notebooks that I could so relate to, read it here) and my mind has some space.
I definitely feel more organised, my space looks more organised and I can tell you at any given time where something is, or what needs to be done because I took the time to sort myself out.
These are the tips that helped me that can maybe help you
The diary routine
I have had a diary every single year but barely ever wrote in it. Now it is the first and last thing I write in every day. In the morning I come in and start with my to do list in my diary, in the afternoon before I leave, I copy across whatever still needs to be done. I obviously add and cross off during the day (NOTHING beats the feeling of physically crossing something off a to do list). So my diary is full but my mind isn’t, which is fantastic!
Finding a system
I tried numerous ways of doing my daily tasks until I found the one that worked for me. For example with emails – I used to flag everything that was outstanding (in my inbox and my sent items) but when I was busy, I would never go back and unflag it when it was sorted out. This meant that once a week or so, if I had the time, I would have to sift through all of those flagged emails and see what had been done and what not. I now flag super important sent items, plus write them in my diary. I don’t flag anything in my inbox but rather leave it unread until I have managed to sort it, obviously when I have an answer and am attending to it I will be going back to that email to reply which will then mark it as read and it doesn’t require an extra step for it to be removed from my email tasks.
Those damn files
Gah, we all hate filing but it is such an important part of staying organised. I have also found that if you have your files marked correctly, in perfect order and have them arranged alphabetically or monthly then it doesn’t feel like such a chore to keep up with the filing (this is an obvious one but I had never sat and properly arranged my files and it has made such a difference).
The state of my affairs
I now work with a mindset of “If I were to get sick or have to be off for a week, would my work be in a good state for someone else to work with?”. We all know how trying to do someone else’s work or to help them can be a mission if you don’t know what is going on so I try and keep everything up to date and organised so that it will make it easier for anyone who had to step in for me. This obviously makes my work day easier and more efficient because everything is up to date and done properly.
One thing at a time
This is still a habit I am trying to break, I tend to not finish one thing before I move on. I do a few things at once and then stop them and do something else and then come back and finish them. Just like that last sentence, this way of working doesn’t work properly. I have found that I use less time if I finish one thing and then move on to the next. I still do it but I am trying to stop it.
The right tools for the job
If there are things you know will help you get/stay organised, invest in them. I use my diary, notebooks, highlighters, clips (those cute ones in the image), you name it and they all assist with my productivity and organisation.
A cluttered area equals a cluttered mind. I try and keep my surroudings as simple and fuss free as possible so that I have space and so it is pleasing to the eye.
Those are just a few of the changes I made – simple and obvious to some but they weren’t for me, until now. Do you have any tips for me? I would love to hear how you stay organised.