As I’m sure you’ve heard, this world is pretty connected. Because of that, you’re expected to be more responsive now than ever before. With that added pressure, it can sometimes be difficult to keep your life in order. You have to stay organized to remember when to pick up the kids from baseball, when to schedule your next meeting with a client, and when you’re dog sitting your neighbor’s rambunctious golden retriever. We all have strategies to stay organized, but some are more effective than others.
Here are some tips that can help you structure your life:
Keep a To-do list
To-do lists are my ultimate crutch. They remind me of my responsibilities and hold me (fairly) accountable to my goals. Often, I find that my tasks migrate from one list to the next as I continually ignore them, but I definitely don’t forget about them. When my tasks are more pressing, I assign dates to them to make sure that I get them done. When they’re more like lofty goals than concrete tasks, I move them toward the bottom of the list. But I still like to have them written down so that I don’t forget about them.
If you’re like me, you prefer to make your lists the old-fashioned way, using pen and paper. If you’re more techy, there are plenty of apps that you can download to house your responsibilities. Feeling less committed? Start with the Notes app already downloaded on your phone. More ambitious folks, check out Any.do, Todoist, Things, Evernote, and Wunderlist—all are applications you can download in the App Store.
As silly as it sounds, extra stuff in your equals extra junk in your brain. For me, it’s really challenging to work in spaces that are filled with clutter. Whenever I sit down to work, the first thing I do is clear my space of any additional items that don’t contribute to my job. It helps me focus on the task at hand. Furthermore, when you have fewer things, you have less to take care of.
You don’t have to do it all. When you have too many responsibilities, it’s challenging to keep track of them and to accomplish them. If there are tasks on your to-do list that someone else would be willing to help you complete, it’s okay to ask them to do so. Of course, you should not take advantage of this. Don’t ask your sister to do your laundry, or your boss to do your job. But think about how to use your resources to accomplish your goals.
Learn to say “no”
It’s okay if you’re too busy this week to dog sit. Sometimes life gets in the way. Instead of accepting additional responsibility, give yourself a free pass to say “no” every so often. It is a powerful tool that should be relied upon
Staying organized is all about creating systems that make sense for your life, and then sticking with them. Know that there are times when you will be busy and struggle to get everything done, but staying organized helps you work efficiently to tackle all of those responsibilities that are (hopefully) now written down on your To-do list.