How to Organize Your Life: 10 Habits of Really Organized People
There are only 24 hours in the day and you should spend at least 8 hours sleeping. It just doesn’t seem like there’s enough time for everything.
However, most people know of that one individual that seems to get everything done on time or even early.
People are quick to label other people who are highly productive as robots or inhumane geniuses whose only interest is getting their work done. However, that is a cruel and inaccurate accusation.
They’re not super-human, and they don’t possess any magical powers. They are certainly not robots and most of them probably like having fun as much as any other person.
The things that set them apart are their habits, organization, and time-management skills, which give incredible boost to their productivity levels.
It is possible for you to reach the same heights they do. All you have to do is try and adapt some of their tricks and habits to boost your productivity. Good organization is key to success.
These habits could change your whole lifestyle, as well as help you not only achieve carrier success but also help you in all areas of life.
Here are just some of the many simple, useful habits and techniques that are sure to make you feel like there are far more than 24 hours in a day.
1. WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN:
As opposed to what you may think, highly organized people don’t keep every single thing they need to do in their heads. They know that it’s impossible always to remember everything.
That’s why they write everything down, whether it be in a notebook, with pen and paper, or in their phone notes.
The key to organization is not to get your brain overwhelmed with tasks and things it needs to remember.
That way, the brain, will only be able to remember little bits and pieces of information. As an example, if you’re listening to a two-hour-long lecture. After it, you surely won’t be able to remember everything that the teacher talked about during the lecture.
Yet, if you take notes, you will be able to remember much more, as well as refresh your memory each time you re-read your notes.
Human brains are incredible, they’re like a super-computer, but they can forget, mix up things, and make mistakes.
But, when you write something down, you can always revisit what you’ve written, and that way, you’ll never forget it.
It surely happened to you to forget something you were convinced that you wouldn’t.
Writing things down shouldn’t be just about writing down to-do lists, and obligations, you should also take notes of important meetings, write down any creative ideas you think of, or many other things.
There are surely so many good things you think of in a day and then forget, just because you didn’t bother to write them down.
Natalie Rich, a professional organizer, also wrote about how important it is to write things down. She’s a fan of the old-school way of writing tasks and reminders down into a notebook.
But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter in which format the text is, as long as you incorporate this very easy and useful habit into your everyday life.
2. ORGANIZED PEOPLE DON’T MULTITASK:
Multitasking might look like an efficient way to get more things done, but in reality, it doesn’t help you be more organized, or more effective.
Some researchers say that multitasking can make you 40% less productive than you would be if you were to commit to just one task at a time. Some go to as far as saying that it makes you dumber and lowers your IQ points.
It doesn’t matter if you’re doing multiple at once or just quickly switching from task to task. If you’re multitasking, you’re also probably not paying close attention to any of the things you’re doing. That way, you won’t be able to give you undivided effort to a certain task.
When multitasking, you’re training your brain to have a short attention span. If you do this often, you might notice that you can rarely do things for a long time, before losing your focus. The brain focuses on the newness of the task for a short period of time and then gets bored.
Organized people focus on ‘deep work’ instead.
‘Deep work’ is a highly useful ability to direct your attention to one single task, without any distractions on the side. To understand and develop this ability, you must learn the difference between shallow and deep work.
‘Deep work’ has been a well-known term for a long time. It became more popular after it’s been connected to Bill Gates’ success. There are hardly people present on the internet today that don’t know who Bill Gates is. Bill Gates is a worldwide famous businessman and CEO of the company Microsoft.
His work habits consist of him avoiding multitasking and focusing on one single task. He puts all of his concentration into what he’s doing, which can be mentally draining.
So much so, that he’s been known to fall into a deep sleep during coding or working, and then wake up an hour later, continuing with work.
Nobody is forcing you to do the same things, or as intensely as Bill Gates, but keep all of this in mind next time you’re doing something, while mindlessly scrolling through the social media news feed at the same time.
3. KNOW WHEN TO TAKE A BREAK:
If you’re organized and productive by nature, that doesn’t mean you are able to be like that all the time. The key to keeping and not losing the will to be organized is to take breaks often.
Organized people know when it is time to take a break, recharge, and rest. If you don’t take breaks, you will burn out and lose your motivation.
Doing something different than what you were doing before will help you clear your mind and be more willing to get back to work, as well as help you concentrate more intensely when do you get back to it.
This means that productive people know when to stop working. The break can be short, like a bathroom or a lunch break.
Sometimes, it’s making time in the workweek to go to the gym or do something as simple as watching an episode of their favorite tv show or reading a book.
When you’re taking a break, you mustn’t be thinking of work, because that way you won’t be able to relax and recharge your body and mind properly. So try to distract yourself with something else.
The researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign proved how important breaks were in their study back in 2011.
They examined four different groups of people. All of the groups were working on a very demanding assignment for fifty minutes.
A group that took the most breaks showed the best mental performance after all of them finished.
4. SEPARATING YOUR BUSINESS AND PERSONAL LIFE IS IMPORTANT!
Organized people, always try to separate their business life and work from their personal life, as much as possible. That way, they achieve the perfect balance between family and business.
Focusing solely on work while you’re at the workplace will help get further and help you climb your way up to the top of the ladder of success. Separating business and work doesn’t mean you should completely ignore your colleagues and try not to be friends with them.
It does mean, however, that you should put work first. Enrich your social life by having friends outside of work, too. When you’re working, your brain needs to be focused on what the task in front of you is.
On the other hand, when you’re relaxing, you shouldn’t think about work at all. Your brain has to have enough time to think about other things. Dedicate enough time to your family, as well as yourself.
Here’s one interesting example of a person who took this useful habit very seriously.
Maya Angelou was a famous American writer, known for her books ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,’ ‘And Still I Rise,’ and many others. Maya Angelou was a very accomplished writer, as well. She won many different awards, including the prestigious Pulitzer Prize.
She was known to go as far as to rent a hotel room in which she wrote every single day. She would start as early as seven in the morning and work until two in the afternoon, every single day.
In the hotel room, she had nothing that could distract her from writing, which helped her achieve all of her success.
5. EVERYTHING HAS A PLACE, AND IT SHOULD BE IN ITS PLACE!
Organized people always keep their environment tidy and organized as well. Space that you’re spending time in can have a huge impact on your mental well-being and also affect your productivity. That’s why it’s important not to work in a messy, cluttered environment.
Keeping your environment free of clutter is easier said than done. To have a clean space to work in, organized people often get rid of different things they’re not using.
Not everyone is ready to let go of things that are just taking up space in their home, even if they are aware that they’re not using them.
If you’re not ready to get rid of things yet, try to at least pack away things that you aren’t using enough to justify their presence in your living area.
Those things can be put somewhere where they’re not going to bother you, like an old closet, attic or a basement.
Keeping a tidy room or office also means that every single thing needs to have its space. When an item isn’t being used, it should immediately put back, so you don’t have to clean it up later.
The human brain likes order, so seeing a cluttered space can negatively impact our mood and even lead to anxiety, depression, and more stress.
A messy environment doesn’t just impact our mood and mental state, but also our ability to focus not just on work, but on any other task that requires any capacity of mental strength.
Important research in 2009, proved that mothers that lived in a messy home, and unorganized had higher levels of cortisol than mothers who lived in a tidy one. Cortisol is also known as the ‘stress hormone.’
So clean out your living space day by day, little by little, and you’re sure going to notice a difference in your motivation and mood!
6. ORGANIZED PEOPLE SET GOALS:
Organized people are goal-oriented, meaning they often set goals for themselves to achieve.
It doesn’t matter whether those goals are short-term goals like daily tasks or long-term goals that will take more time.
By setting goals, an individual is more aware of what they need to do. When you have a goal in mind, you are more likely to think through all the steps required for you to accomplish it. That way, you can plan a precise and detailed strategy.
While long term goals will help you direct your energy in the right way, short-term goals are also important. They will keep you motivated.
Nothing feels better than going to bed, knowing you have completed every single thing on your to-do list.
It is important to have goals. No matter how far and unreachable, or simple and plain they may seem. Without them, life can feel meaningless.
When that happened, he could’ve easily given up and stopped trying.
However, because he didn’t give up and had long-term goals he managed to regain ownership of Apple with his company NeXT Computer, which he founded in 1985.
Setting goals is thought to be one of the crucial habits that helped Steve Jobs achieve extraordinary success during his career.
7. THE ART OF ‘TIMEBOXING’:
If you’ve never heard of timeboxing, it is a practice which many famous, well-organized people use. Presumably, the most famous person that is connected with this method is none other than Elon Musk, a billionaire and CEO and product architect of Tesla, Inc.
So what exactly is timeboxing?
Timeboxing is a time management practice in which an individual assigns a fixed unit of time for a certain task or activity. Those units of time are called ‘time boxes.’ The purpose of using time boxes is to set and restrict the quantity of time devoted to a single task.
Planning your day out in advance is a great way to boost your productivity and help you achieve more. Giving yourself a time limit will help you not stretch out your obligations and take longer than it’s necessary to complete them.
Let’s admit it! It is in human nature to postpone things you don’t want to do, as long as possible.
When given time limitations, you are more likely to get everything done on time.
Simply, when you get up in the morning, write down everything you need to do for the day. Try to write down the time it will take for you to complete each thing on the list.
You don’t have to do it on paper, either! There are many apps for desktop or mobile that can be useful when you want to plan out your day.
The downside of this method is that you will have less unstructured free time and that you will have to commit to this pre-determined schedule in order to succeed.
However, a lot of that unstructured time free usually goes by unnoticed, on social networks, Youtube or the internet in general.
Following a schedule can be a problem, but it will surely help you be more organized. If it’s something billionaires like Elon Musk, or Bill Gates use, why wouldn’t it work for you?
It will, however, take a bit for you to get used to planning your time like this. Another tip: Make sure that the schedule is realistic!
If you make a realistic schedule, you will most likely stick to it. Incorporate free time and breaks into your daily schedule. Nobody can be focused and working 24/7.
Try to change up your schedule every day until you find the one that works best for you and then stick to it.
8. WHAT IS ‘THE EISENHOWER MATRIX?’
Another great way to organize your responsibilities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix, also referred to as the Urgent-Important Matrix.
This a tool many organized and productive people use. The Eisenhower Matrix is a method of prioritizing daily assignments based on how urgent they are.
It helps you realize which obligations and tasks require you to take immediate action, and which ones can wait.
This useful organizational tool was developed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States.
How does the Eisenhower Matrix work?
The Urgent-Important Matrix consists of four quadrants, with four different names: Do, Decide, Delegate, and Eliminate.
The first quadrant, called Do, is going to be for your most important tasks. This means that all of the tasks written in that quadrant should be of maximum priority.
So if you, as an example, have an assignment due until tomorrow, then it belongs in the ‘Do’ section.
The second quadrant is called ‘Decide,’ and as the name suggests, it is for things you need to decide on. It is for tasks that are not as important, or at least not as urgent as the tasks in the ‘Do’ section.
So, because of the fact that they aren’t urgent, tasks in this quadrant can get rescheduled for some other, more convenient time. Generally speaking, this quadrant should be for goals that are not as easy or quick to achieve or ones that will help your personal goal.
One simple example is: going to the gym. Being physically active is crucial in order for your body to function properly. You know that will benefit you in so many ways, even in the long-term.
However, sometimes you might not be able to make time to go to the gym. So, if you can’t make going to the gym your first priority, reschedule it for when you have the time.
The third quadrant or the so-called ‘Delegate’ is for tasks that aren’t of high importance but are urgent.
You might be wondering, isn’t something that’s urgent, therefore important too? Not necessarily. Tasks in this quadrant can deceive us and make us think they are super important, while in reality, they won’t provide to our productivity.
For instance, those can be technicalities like filling out forms or replying to e-mails. In the grand scheme of things, these things are not of higher significance.
The four and the final quadrant is ‘Eliminate.’ Tasks that are wasting your time and not helping boost your productivity, and time structure, belong here.
You need to identify how many of those tasks you do in a day and try to get them to a minimum.
Examples of tasks that belong in the ‘Eliminate’ section are scrolling through your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, as well as playing games on your phone or other things you are doing to procrastinate.
The Eisenhower Matrix is a proven way that will make you more organized.
By dividing your tasks into these four categories, you are more likely to get the important things done, as well as be aware of when you are wasting your time.
Another useful tip is to separate your business obligations from obligations related to your personal life. That way, you will have a better perspective and a clear mind.
9. ASKING FOR HELP IS NOT A BAD THING!
Not everyone can do everything by themselves. No matter how organized and successful they may be. You might think that organized people have everything under control because they do everything by themselves.
Regardless of what you may think, this couldn’t be more further than the truth.
One important thing that organized people do is asking for help when they know they need it!
Organized people know that asking for help doesn’t make you stupid or incompetent in any way. If nothing else, it shows that you’re self-aware and willing to learn from someone who knows more than you.
It is also useful when you know that something would take you a lot more time if you were to do it by yourself.
So next time you’re struggling to do something, and you know of a person who might help, ask them! You’ll need to control your pride and your urge to prove to yourself that you can do it alone. And the truth is, you might even be able to!
But the fact is, someone could show you an easier, less time-consuming way of doing said thing, as well as teach you something you didn’t know before. Besides, more often than not, people will consider your reaching out for help as a compliment!
In the article, Julie talked about how asking and offering help can build meaningful relationships between human beings. Humans are dependant on human contact, so asking for help and reaching out to other people is a very natural thing that shouldn’t be frowned upon.
10. FOOD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU’D THINK!
There is the famous saying that goes ‘You are what you eat!’. However, not enough people know the importance of food and bodily health.
You even might be wondering how this relates to your organization and productivity.
It is a well-known fact that bad diets can lead to many different health-related problems. But, have people ever stopped to consider how an unbalanced diet can affect the brain?
You can have the best possible work habits and organization skills, but that all won’t shine through unless your brain is in a well-enough condition. Unhealthy food that lacks vitamins and minerals, can affect your brainpower and your memory.
That’s why many nutritionists always talk about the importance of the so-called, ‘brain foods.’ Foods that help the gray matter remain healthy, which contributes to your mental well-being.
Here are just a few brain foods: blueberries, avocados, broccoli, eggs, tomatoes…
An American business coach and motivational speaker, Jim Kwik, believes that healthy eating is the number one habit we all need to develop, but especially if we want to be organized and successful.
Sadly, changing your diet from the root is probably the hardest habit to develop. Many people all around the world are struggling with their relationship with food every day.
It is not an easy task, and it requires enormous mental strength and willpower. If you want to start eating healthier, try slowly making changes to your diet.
If you do everything at once, it will feel like one of those quick diet plans with no long-time results. Healthy eating is a lifestyle choice, not a month-long program.
Incorporate brain foods into your everyday routine. Try to make alternative, healthier versions of your favorite foods. Allow yourself to have a ‘cheat meal’ sometimes, but it shouldn’t be too often.
Your mood is very important, and it can affect your productivity too, so let yourself enjoy the things you like, from time to time! It is all about balance, after all!
11. WAKE UP AT 5 AM
Last but not the least, waking up at 5 AM, is a habit so important that it can and definitely will, turn your life around!
Many entrepreneurs like the mentioned Steve Jobs practice(d) this habit.
It’s so important that there’s a book named 5 AM club that speaks about personal development and excelling in entrepreneurship, health, wellness and spirituality.
It all revolves around waking at 5 AM every single morning, without exceptions.
Of course, you need to get up as well, it’s not enough just to wake up and fall asleep again.
The thing with waking up so early is that there’s a circadian rhythm by which your organism is programmed to function.
We, as a society, have destabilized that rhythm by waking up too late and going to bed to late.
Healthy sleep is the most important energizer in the world and the healthiest sleep happens between 9pm and 1am. That’s when your body’s programmed to release most of its dream hormone, melatonin that also regulates function of other hormones.
If you spend that time awake, there’s simply no way you’ll compensate for that lack of sleep no matter how much you sleep later.
Another thing that happens when you rise at 5 AM is the alteration of your brain waves from beta to alpha.
You literally become more mindful by means of transient hypofrontality or decreased activity in your prefrontal neocortex where all your cognitive functions take place.
By calming down your mind you become more focused and your will power gets heightened.
Simply put, waking up at 5 Am is one of the most natural and most effective ways of getting into the state of flow which is defined by psychology as state of optimum human performance.
Not to mention that your day will last so much longer and you’ll have some quiet hours for yourself and a head start before the most of the world around you wakes up.
You’ll have the time to finish everything on your to-do list and you’ll feel reinvigorated. However, there’s a sacrifice to be made. You’ll fall sound asleep before midnight so say goodbye to toxic nightlife, parties and drinking.
Nowadays it’s all about personal development. A significant part of society has developed the economy so that people can afford some time and leisure for themselves.
Science, notably neurosciences and psychology are at their peak and providing us with knowledge on how to take the wheel and organize our lives in order to become the best versions of ourselves.
However, there are so many temptations and distractions to mislead us from the path of virtue that most of the people are still underperforming.
You have the knowledge of how to steer your life towards health, wellness and well-being. The rest is up to you.
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