How many times have you heard someone say, “I just can’t stay organized!”? The problem is that most likely, they believe this is true. And while they may be go through the process of getting organized, being able to stay organized is often harder.
Staying organized is simply a matter of incorporating some easy tips until they become habits. So here are some easy tips to help even the most organizationally challenged person stay organized.
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Stay Organized Tip #1. Write it down!
With so many details and other things you need to remember during the course of your day and week, it’s crazy and expecting too much of yourself to try and depend on your memory. That’s what paper is for!
As soon as you think of something you need to do, write it down. My planner is my second brain and I never – ever – depend totally on my memory for anything.
Why even try when there are tools to help you?
Stay Organized Tip #2. Keep things in one place
Here’s the REAL trick to help you stay organized: once you’ve written something down that you need to remember, be sure to put that information in ONE place.
The idea that you can have a list here and another list somewhere else is a recipe for disaster. The key is to put all of your important information in one place – consistently – and then referring to it every single day.
If you’re keeping multiple lists then you’re wasting valuable time trying to find the particular list you need…which defeats the purpose of having a list in the first place.
Stay Organized Tip #3. Stay healthy
You may not have thought about the connection between health and organization but it makes sense if you think about it. After all, it’s hard to do anything well when you’re not at your best.
One benefit of good health is a good memory – which you need in order to stay organized.
Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep and exercise. Purposely make your physical and mental health a top priority. After all, if your health goes to pot you’re not going to be organized. And what difference would it make anyway?
Stay Organized Tip #4. Use technology to record your thoughts
Does it ever fail that we have our best ideas when we’re in the shower?
Or we remember that oh-so-important thing as we’re driving down the road. Since it’s not always possible to run to our day planner every time we have a thought or idea, make use of technology to record your thoughts as a way to help you stay organized.
Your cell phone most likely has a voice recorder on it. As you’re driving you can record those thought and ideas that pop into your head. If you’ve got Alexa in your house, use that technology to record things you need to remember.
The key, though, is to then take those things you recorded and transfer then to your planner or digital master list. Don’t use technology as another list where things get lost.
Stay Organized Tip #5. Call ahead
If you’ve got an answering machine at home or at work, then you can leave messages for yourself. As soon as you get to work, check the messages you left for yourself and put the reminders on your list for the day or the week.
Stay Organized Tip #6. Use the power of suggestion to improve your memory
Are you one of those people who says, “My memory is awful”?
If you are, then stop it now! You’re programming your mind to believe that your memory really IS awful. Why would you do that to yourself?
Instead tell yourself that your memory is good and that you’re good at remembering the things you need to do. Your attitude is an important aspect of how well your mind works. Set yourself with positive – instead of negative – thoughts about your abilities.
I think it was Henry Ford who said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Follow Henry’s advice.
Stay Organized Tip #7. Use email and technology reminders reminders
There’s nothing wrong with emailing yourself. Most of us are in our Inboxes multiple times a day. By emailing yourself things you’ll have a reminder of what you need to put on your master list or in your planner. It’s a simple trick that will help you stay organized.
Another great tip to stay organized is to use cozi.com. I’ve used this app for several years and it’s a great way to get reminders about recurring events (like birthdays, anniversaries, etc.). It’s also a good way to send reminders to your kids and spouse about things that need to be done without you having to
nag remind them. This app has other functions as well and is definitely worth checking out.
Stay Organized Tip #8. Sticky notes can be your friends
If they’re used appropriately the sticky notes can be great reminders to help you stay organized. The trick is not to use sticky notes in place of your master list or planner. That’s not their purpose.
Instead, sticky notes are good to stick on something as a temporary reminder or memory jogger.
I used to put a sticky note on the back of the front door when I needed to remember to take a food item to a work function. Since going to the refrigerator wasn’t part of my normal “get out the door” routine, this little sticky note was a good visual way to jog my memory (and keep me from having to turn around and come back home to get it once I finally remembered it!)
But sticky notes are only for temporary reminders. You can leave them stuck to the place you need to remember something – the bathroom mirror, the back of the front door, your cell phone – just don’t expect them to take the place of your permanent list or planner.
Stay Organized Tip #9. Make use of timers and alarms
There’s no reason not to make use of the alarm function on your cell phone. It’s not like you have to haul an alarm clock or timer around with you – you’ve got one built in.
If you tend to get involved or engrossed in an activity and forget when you need to leave to make an appointment, then set an alarm. This noisy little reminder will keep you on schedule. Just be sure to allow yourself time to clean up or get ready to transition from one activity to another.
Stay Organized Tip #10. Visual memory joggers
Many of us are visual learners and visual reminders help us not only remember things, but they help us stay focused as well.
Visual reminders are great for keeping us on track to reach goals. If you think back to your school days, there was very likely a chart in the corner where you were given gold stars for achievements. That same logic applies when we’re adults too.
If you’re trying to lose a few pounds, give yourself a gold star or record it on a chart so you can track your progress. Another idea is to create a vision board to remind you how your life will be different if you do whatever it is you’ve decided you want to achieve.
It’s not cheating – because anything that helps us stay organized is smart.
Stay Organized Tip #11. Anticipate problems to prevent them
A lot of the things that derail us are things that we could have anticipated if we’d only taken the time to think a bit.
I’ll give you an example. When we were moving my daughter into her first apartment a couple of years ago, she accused me of being a bit of a worry wart (ok, a really big worry wart!) because I was concerned about the lack of available parking and the fact that we might get towed.
Since I like to pre-worry (hey, it’s served me well in some cases) I called ahead to find out from the apartment complex what the parking situation would be and where we should park so that we did not get towed. I had the information in hand and on moving day while hubby parked the moving truck, I parked the car.
We then spent the next hours hauling boxes, unpacking, and setting up furniture without another thought or worry about our car. One of her roommates, on the other hand, got a nasty surprise when her parents went down to the street to discover that – you guessed it – their car had been towed.
They came back upstairs in a panic because it’s nearly 5pm on a Friday and they need to get to the impound lot. Hubby took them, of course, but it was a lesson our daughter learned that anticipating and planning ahead is not the same thing as being a worry wart.
A bit of anticipation can prevent problems and relieve a lot of stress.
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