Life can get hectic, so it’s easy to fall behind. Whether the house has been getting a little cluttered, work has been feeling chaotic, or meals never seem to get to the table on time, many people are struggling to keep up. I personally felt myself slip after I caught COVID-19 back in April of 2020; for a long time, I just didn’t have the energy to keep up, and it took a good year before I was able to start reclaiming healthier routines. It wasn’t easy, but breaking past that standing inertia was the hardest step.
Reorganization takes time and energy, making it a daunting undertaking when the to-do list is already so long. Like with any investment, the return is often well worth what you put in, even if the initial push might be a hard one. Need some help getting started? These seven strategies might help.
Start Each Day With a Plan
Most of us feel pressed for time these days, so no one wants to waste it unnecessarily on logistics. Even having too many options to tackle can slow us down by stalling us with decisions and other time-consuming actions such as the gathering of supplies. By having the day mapped out, we can know exactly where we’re going at each step and be prepared for all that we need to tackle. Some people also find it beneficial to jot down a few notes at the end of each day in preparation for the next morning’s plans.
Some people are able to keep on top of everything without the use of aids, but most of us need a little help staying organized throughout our days. While reminders and other forms of communication to ourselves might seem unnecessary, we do sometimes need help staying on track. Make visual reminders for tasks you want to complete, create a calendar for important events, and have a spot to write down grocery items as they run low. Simply having it written down and visible can make a surprising difference.
Break It Down
The bigger the task, the more overwhelming it often seems. Why even bother when it feels like you might as well tackle Mount Everest or K2? Remember that even climbing to the highest summit in the world comes in steps. There are multiple tiers to clear, each being tasks in themselves.
No matter how big the chore, there’s always a way to break it down into more manageable chunks. Take it as slowly as you need; what’s important is that you make steady progress. For example, if the whole house is a mess, pick just one room to clean today. Break it down further by area if the whole room feels like too much.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
Another great way to break down projects is by time. The Pomodoro Technique can help make an effort feel less daunting by setting clear limits for both work and breaks. The idea works around the use of a “pomodoro” (tomato) timer; some people might be more familiar with an “egg timer.” Once you’ve decided on a task, set the timer for 25 minutes and see how much you can get done in that span. When the timer goes off, give yourself 5-15 minutes to do something enjoyable away from work—and then get back to it, setting the timer again for 25 minutes.
When you reach your fourth break, allow yourself a good 20-30 minutes. Repeat the full cycle as needed until the project (or the work day) is complete.
Make the Space
There’s only as much organizational space as we create, and we may find a few small investments can make getting and staying organized easier. Have folders for important papers and receipts, drawers for household staples, space-saving tiers for kitchen cabinets and hooks or a bowl at the door for keys. Storage containers, closet organizers and the like help to create designated spaces for more items—and when everything has its spot, it’s less likely that chaos will take over an area.
How often does the end of the day come, and no one is prepared to make dinner? Is breakfast or lunch ever an afterthought? Having something ready ahead of time can make the difference between a good meal and a hastily thrown together, low-nutrition mess. Pick two days each week to spend an hour or two chopping veggies and cooking meat.
Make sure to keep everything separated and follow safe food handling recommendations. without fail The World Health Organization offers detailed information on several different food-borne threats to watch out for and how to prevent them.
Plan a Donation Drop
No matter who we are, we’re bound to accrue items that eventually just end up taking space. Whether we’re holding on to clothing that no longer fits or tools and gadgets that no one intends on using again in the foreseeable future, we can simplify our homes and work areas by clearing out the clutter. Find a charitable organization in your area that takes gently used clothing, housewares and devices, so nothing useable goes to waste.
Getting organized can take planning and a bit of effort, but it can pay off in the long run in the form of saved time and peace of mind. These are just a handful of helpful tactics, but there are likely many more. What are your favorite ways to get and stay organized?