We all know someone in our lives who is super-organised - they never miss a deadline, they are always on top of tasks, they don't seem frazzled by life's unexpected events. So, what can we learn from these people with organised habits? Instead of being envious or thinking you could never be that way, it's important to remember that organised people didn't magically become that way. They have turned a variety of tools and systems in their lives into daily habits, which then allows them to approach their day with greater efficiency, productivity and focus.
The great news is that it means anyone can become organised! It's just about incorporating 1 or 2 new routines into your week and sticking at them until they become a habit and natural part of your everyday routine. Let's have a look at the 25 habits of a highly organised person.
1. Stay on top of daily messes
Organising is all about staying on top of the daily clutter. Knowing where to send everything in the home once you've used or dealt with it is key to preventing clutter build-up. So, clean the dishes after each meal. Make the beds each morning. Store things off the kitchen counter. Put toys in their baskets after play-time. Clean out and re-pack bags at the end of the day. Staying on top of these daily chores is the best way to stay in control [and on top] of daily home maintenance.
2. Do a 10 minute pick-up at end of the day
Ending each day with a quick 10-15 minute clean up, where items are returned to their designated homes, has numerous benefits. It prevents those daily messes from turning into out-of-control clutter, provides a clean slate for the next day, and allows you to better relax in the evenings as you're not surrounded by chaos. Getting family members to help out (especially children) is also a great way to encourage family 'teamwork' and cooperation.
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3. If a job can be completed in less than 2 minutes, do it straight away
Just as important as staying on top of those daily messes are those 2-minute jobs. They may be small, but if you leave everything to do in one big hit, it can be an exhausting and overwhelming way to start (or end) the day. File paperwork, sign a form, iron a shirt, take out the rubbish, scrub the pot, make an appointment - if it will only take 2 minutes, then do it now! Taking action quickly means you can move onto the next task and use your time more effectively.
4. Have a multi-tasking attitude
Having a multi-tasking attitude is all about being able to use your time more effectively. It doesn't mean trying to do 10 things at once, but rather taking advantage of those times when you can achieve more than one task within the set time frame. So, if you're filing paperwork in the home office, do a quick desk clear-up while you're there. If you're doing the grocery shopping, then post letters and buy birthday cards at the same time, rather than making 3 separate trips. It's about trying to achieve as much as possible in any given time.
5. Have a home and a purpose for every item
Every item in the home should have a purpose and its own place . This means being more selective about what you purchase, and having great storage solutions in each room of the house to easily store the things you do own.
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6. Do whatever you can daily to get rid of the things that you do not love, use or need in your home
Organising and decluttering means making continuous and consistent decisions about what should stay in your home. A quick weekly declutter means there's no chance for things to build up - if you no longer love, use or need an item, then it is okay to let it go. Regularly purging is about having the ability to hold onto less 'stuff'. Keeping the home in order is much easier to maintain with fewer possessions.
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7. Deal with paperwork as soon as it enters the house
An organised person prevents paper clutter piles by dealing with paperwork as soon as it enters the house. Take 5 minutes out of each day to do the following quick tasks - place any unwanted or junk mail straight into the recycle bin, pin invitations or notices of upcoming events somewhere easily visible, mark any upcoming events onto your calendar, file paperwork into actionable folders and choose one day of the week to batch and complete all paper-related tasks. No more piles of paper on the kitchen counters!
8. Implement an email sorting system
Having a good email system is all about designating a set time in the day to deal with it effectively. Once a day for half an hour or less is ideal for reading and addressing emails and implementing easy-to-follow email filing systems. Answer emails, delete unwanted, unsubscribe from the junk, and archive emails you want to keep into labelled folders.
9. Maintain the order on your desk
A quick clean and organise of your desk at the end of each working day is essential for leaving with a clear mind, and allowing you to start afresh the next day. Whether it's a home office desk, or one at work, a tidy and clutter-free desk will mean greater productivity and a more balanced approach to your day.
10. Have a set routine for the start and end of the day
Having a routine in place for the start and end of each day means you don't have to think about the steps involved in preparing for what's ahead. For the morning, this could involve doing exercise, preparing breakfast, getting the kids ready, early dinner prep, school drop-off etc. In the evening, it could be laying out the breakfast supplies for the next day, preparing school-bags and lunches, getting bags ready and checking your planner or calendar to see what's ahead for the following day. Whatever your routine, the whole family should be able to easily follow it and help where possible.
11. Write everything down
A highly organised person doesn't try to just remember everything, they recognise the importance of writing everyday down. The physical act of recording tasks, events, to-do's and goals keeps them in your head longer, reminds you to get them done, and also frees up space in your mind to be more creative. Use a written calendar, planner, diary - whatever suits your needs and lifestyle. Set alarms and reminders on your phone where necessary.
12. Set up a weekly planner or schedule to track to-do's
A weekly planner is the best way to stay on top of your to-do's while allowing you to focus on achieving your goals. Scheduling a time to sit down and map out the week ahead with priority tasks and goals will help you use your time more effectively, be more productive and achieve your goals.
13. Swallow that frog first thing in the morning!
That task that's been niggling and bothering you the most should be the first thing you tackle in the morning - it's called 'swallowing the frog'. Completing the most daunting, dreaded or inconvenient task as your very first thing not only stops you fretting about it, but also allows you to feel you've accomplished something for the day.
14. Make deadlines in order to stick to your goals and get things accomplished
Mapping out your week, month or even year is all about planning, setting goals in the different areas of your life, and sticking to a schedule. But organised people also know it's important to set deadlines for these goals in order to have something to work towards and push themselves even harder.
15. Set up organised systems for your home
An organised home is one where all family members know where things belong, and how to deal with messes, clutter and 'stuff'. This means having set systems in place that are easy to follow and work for your family's specific needs.
16. Be prepared to adjust routines and systems
'Organisation is a journey, not a destination'. So setting up routines and systems in your home is a constant process of assessing what’s working, what isn’t and then taking steps to fix the things that aren’t. As your needs and circumstances change, it means adjustments need to be made. Times of great change, such as moving house, marriage, divorce, having children, children moving out, working from home, a new job, downsizing, renovating, illness or loss of a loved one, will have the biggest impact on your routines. Recognising this and making necessary changes prevents things from becoming overwhelming and keeps everyone on track.
17. Be on top of your finances
An organised person knows where their money is going, and will consistently track their spending, savings and investments. This comes back to the process of writing everything down (#11). Being aware of how and where your money is being used also encourages you to be prepared for emergency situations.
18. Ask for help!
Trying to do everything at once or everything on your own will only cause greater stress and frustration, as well as a less effective use of your time. Recognising when you need assistance, being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, and accepting or asking for help is the best way to prevent these stresses from building up.
Asking for help goes hand-in-hand with delegation - recognise that you can't do everything on your own, and delegate tasks to others. This includes getting your children to help out wherever possible, which encourages them to take on responsibilities and learn the skills of organisation themselves.
20. Don’t procrastinate
The longer you wait to do something, the more difficult it will be to get it done. An organised person is adept at facing problems, tasks and projects head-on with a can-do attitude.
21. Overcome the obstacles
Make it your mission to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible so you can move onto the next thing, and try to never leave a project half-finished. If an obstacle is hit that prevents the job from being done, find ways around it - ask for help, delegate, set goals and deadlines, break a large task into smaller, more achievable parts.
22. Let go of perfectionism
Being organised is not about being a perfectionist, it's about recognising when good enough is enough, and finding balance in your daily approach. Try not to focus too much on the finer details as things will only take longer to accomplish.
23. Manage your time and energy
Being aware of your energy levels and the best time of day to get the most work done is an essential part of effective time management. If you work best in the mornings, then getting up half an hour earlier to power through some tasks will help get you through your to-do list. But if you're not a morning person, then setting aside time in the afternoon or evening would be a more effective use of your time. It's also about knowing how much time you have available, and leaving the right amount of time to do it.
24. Be prepared for any situation
A huge benefit of organisation is the ability to be prepared for any situation that may arise - be it with kids, your finances, or an emergency scenario. It doesn't mean that these things won't still catch you off-guard, but you'll be more prepared and have systems in place to cushion the blow.
25. Plan for some ‘me-time’ and give yourself a break!
Above all, being organised means being able to give yourself a break when necessary. Organisation reduces stress and anxiety in your everyday life, and actually increases the amount of time you can spend on yourself. Which, surely, is the most important thing you should be focusing on in life!