The new year should be a fresh slate, right?
Of course! Yet some of us are still carrying over the clutter and chaos of the previous year (or decade).
While certain people do work best with mess, it’s not just untidiness we’re talking about here. Even if you work primarily in a creative role, you need to have some structure and organisation to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Getting organised is a priority for a lot of Australians. In fact, according to ABC Australia, it’s the second most common New Year’s resolution.
So, whether you’re finally ready to build up those organisational skills or you’re just looking for some new tips – we’ve come up with some ideas to help you start the year off clear-eyed and focused.
Make it fun: If you’re not typically the most organised person, you’re probably not too excited about getting everything sorted and put into its proper place. Find some motivation by reframing these tasks. Hold a contest with your friends, throw a decluttering party, plan a reward for yourself at the finish line. Get creative and you might find yourself actually looking forward to it!
Picture it: It’s hard to get organised when you don’t really know what needs organising. You might be a spreadsheet fiend who loves to categorise and take inventory of everything. But if you’re more of a visual thinker, taking photos of your space and the things you need to organise might work better for you.
Ruthlessly prioritise: It’s not always easy to tell whether something is clutter or not. If your stuff is starting to take over, ask yourself these questions:
(A) What value am I getting out of this?
(B) How often am I using it?
(C) How does it make me feel?
(D) What would it be like if this wasn’t taking up (literal or mental) space?
Your answers will help you determine what’s worth keeping, what needs to be stored away and what can be eliminated from your pile!
Let technology pick up the slack: There are hundreds of apps that can help you get more organised. From tech-enabled to-do lists that build accountability to scanning apps that minimise all the scraps of paper lying around, there’s an app for just about everything – take advantage of them.
Harness the checklist: Not feeling the digital aids? This decidedly low-tech tool can help you detangle some of the complexity in your life. Use this checklist method to stay on track and avoid simple mistakes.
Colour your world: Calling all visual thinkers! Colour-code your files by category, client, theme, priority or even thinking style. You’ll know what you’ve got and where everything goes with just a glance.
Organise your head: Sometimes the biggest distractions are inside our own heads. Take a “brain dump” break once a day (or at least once a week). Just writing the stuff down that is floating in your head can allow you to let it go and help move it into long-term memory. Even better: Keep a running priority list that you can review and update.
Set yourself up for success every day: Small accomplishments can be the stepping stones to bigger ones by building new habits. Prime yourself to live a more organised and productive life by doing little things like making your bed every morning or packing your lunch the night before work.
Embrace the power of no: The more things you agree to, the more things pile up. This is how our schedules become unmanageable. Unsubscribe from those email lists you never read, protect the thinking time on your calendar and get back into the habit of single-tasking.
Put it away rather than putting it off: Filing things away as soon as you finish with them is a lot easier than dealing with a year’s worth of stuff. Make it a habit to do it now, not later. If you’re having trouble staying committed to the practice, visualise the end result, when you’re enjoying doing the things you love instead of having to dig out and reorganise yet again.
Don’t let another year go by without cleaning up your act! Use some of these tips to make getting – and staying – organised a breeze.