“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” - A. A. Milne
It’s not uncommon for to-dos and commitments to feel overwhelming. When your life is moving faster than you can keep up, a sense of unease can weave its way through your body - and that doesn’t feel good!
In turn, stress starts to bubble up as you begin to worry about when you’ll get everything done - and who you should aim to please first.
But here’s some good news…
We often think lack of time is the core problem. It’s not! It’s not the amount of time you have that matters. It’s what you’re able to accomplish in the time that you do have.
This is where organization counts.
If you’re always reacting, you’ll find yourself on the back foot - and that’s frustrating because you’ll feel like you’re always playing catch up.
But take back control of your life by organizing what you can, and you’ll free up bandwidth, time, and energy. In turn, you’ll feel more spaciousness, freedom, and peace of mind.
Best of all, organization doesn’t need to feel rigid and routine. Find the tactics that work for you, and you might actually create the space you’ve been craving.
Here are FIVE tips to try.
- Get it out of your head!
You’ll be surprised how much bandwidth and energy you eat up through overthinking.
When a laundry list of things you have to do [and people you have to please] is constantly swirling around your head, the intensity starts to rise. In turn, it’s harder to think straight or focus which means your productivity plummets even further.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to get everything out of your head and onto paper.
• Make a to-do list.
• Jot down things you have to remember and do in your journal or notebook.
• Capture dates on your calendar
• List out your errands
With words on paper, your brain no longer needs to hold all that information - because it can trust you won’t forget. Best of all, you get the pleasure of a dopamine hit every time you check something off! [Don’t underestimate the power of this.]
With the help of pen and paper, you get to reclaim headspace, focus, and energy and redirect all those resources onto tasks and activities that really do move the needle.
Not only will your brain [and your life] feel more organized, but you’ll find the overwhelm will dissolve a little too.
- Leverage your schedule
Your schedule provides an invaluable insight into your life. Chances are the things on your schedule get done. With that in mind, are you using your calendar/planner to its full potential?
Whether you use a Self Journal, a Self Planner, or a calendar, these tools are incredible for organizing your time and your life.
Instead of leaving things to chance, make space for them - not just meetings, but date night, playtime with your kids, phone calls to the people you want to feel close with. Schedule in time to make your meals, go to the gym, or do the exercise class. Make time for your to-dos AND make time for the fun activities, which light you up.
The more diligent you are with the way you allocate your time, the more organized you’ll feel [and the less stress will show up.]
- Prioritize your tasks
There are so many things you could do.
But not every task is created equally. Some tasks act like levers to trigger a big impact. Other tasks are more inconsequential and while it might feel good to check them off, they don’t make a big difference to your life.
When organizing your tasks and your schedule, take a moment to assess your priorities too.
Then prioritize your workload using a tool such as the Weekly Action Pad or the Eisenhower Matrix.
The Eisenhower Matrix is a powerful time management framework that can help you categorize tasks and make your workload free more manageable. You can grab a free PDF download here.
- Organize your goals
As humans, we have an inherent desire to continually get better. It’s one of the reasons we always have a desire for more. It’s not that we’re not satisfied. Instead, it’s your growth needs calling! You don’t arrive at your final destination when you break through that glass ceiling! Instead, a whole new plain of possibility opens up for you.
This is why who you become as a result of going after your goals is just as important as the goal itself.
The journey along the way shapes who you are - because goals force you to get out of your comfort zone, face your fears, and step into a bigger and bigger version of your best self.
This is the real power of goal setting…
When you set goals, you create a context of what’s important and where you want to go. Through the process of developing a goal, you decide what’s important - and what’s less so. In this way, goals become a compass that helps you figure out which tasks to do - and which to drop.
So don’t leave your goals to chance.
Instead, figure out the action steps you need to see through to move the needle in the right direction. Set yourself a deadline too because it will create the urgency to move.
And remember, it’s not the giant leaps alone that make the difference.
The momentum you create through your daily habits is equally powerful because consistent actions ignite the compound effect - which leads to exponential growth.
For more tips about organizing and setting goals, watch this training video.
- Organize your thoughts and ideas
Are you the type of person who has a million and one ideas?
Our ability to think, innovate, create, and problem solve is one of the joys of being human. Ideas really can change your world. It’s as Jim Rohn said, “Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea.”
The problem is a lot of our good ideas and insights get lost in the flurry of life. Ideas and insights are often fleeting… there one second and gone the next as a new thought loop kicks in.
This is where notebooks become insanely valuable.
You can use them to capture your ideas as they show up - and then write through the chain of thought to see where an idea has the potential to lead.
Discover 20 ways to use notebooks to boost your productivity, creativity, and performance.
Journaling is a process and practice that’s equally valuable.
Daily journaling can help you organize your thoughts, strengthen your mindset, and help you understand the way your life is unfolding. As Socretes said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”
For more journaling tips to boost your effectiveness, check out this podcast.
It’s great to be spontaneous and go with the flow. There’s freedom in feeling you can do what you want, when you want.
The challenge is to balance that desire while being productive and effective.
Fortunately, organization will help you get your ducks in a row - so you’re able to do more in less time… giving you the spaciousness inside which your best self can flourish.
You’ve got this!