I was a really messy kid. I flew from one idea to the next and left destruction and piles of stuff in my wake. But somehow, I turned into a massive lover of all things systems, planning and organisation ~ it’s crazy how personalities shift.
Honestly, I think I mostly have my anxiousness to thank for making me an organised person. One of the best ways I found to deal with anxiety was to really take responsibility of the elements in my life I knew I could control (and accepting and letting go of the rest, which is still a work in progress!).
I knew that if I did everything in my power to prepare for things, then I could more easily accept the reality of whatever happened outside of my control. Maybe that’s something that could help you too, even if it’s just with feeling a little calmer and less stressed throughout your day. Maybe you just like the idea of being more organised, or you’re an organisation aficionado looking for new ideas. Whichever it is, here are my 9 best organisation tips!
“Organising is what you do before you do something so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” – A.A. Milne
Write things down (like, everything!)
“Your mind is for having ideas, not for holding them” – David Allen. Relatable? Our minds get blasted with so much information throughout the day that sometimes I think it’s a wonder we still remember our own names. Getting into the habit of writing things down is a simple, but underrated habit for how to get organised.
And I really am talking about everything. Be that character that always flips out a notebook ~ the system works and it makes you look pretty cool too.
See a quote you like? Write it down.
Interesting fact? Write it down.
Find out someone’s birthday? Write it down.
Notice that you need a new white t-shirt? (I know you love it, but you can’t wear the spaghetti stained one forever) Write it down.
Bonus tip: Think of handy information it’s good to know on the fly and put it in your phone. Think birthdays, phone numbers, addresses, etc.
Give everything a home
One of my biggest pet peeves is losing things because I know somewhere in my brain is the information needed to find the thing but just like the thing, the information has gone out for a walk without me. Hunting for things takes up so much time!
Giving everything a home is a great way to make yourself more organised. When you know where everything is you can get on with things so much easier, so much quicker and with much less stress.
Need to return the toaster that’s given up toasting two months in? Good thing you know where that receipt is.
Need to mail a letter? Good thing you know where the envelopes are or you’d have to buy another pack!
In a rush? Good thing you know exactly where your keys are or you might have been late!
Bonus tip: put things back in their homes, straight away. Of course, giving everything a home is a brilliant place to start, but things need to be in their homes for the system to really work. I made a point a couple of years ago of engraining the habit of putting things away as soon as I was done with them. Dishes, files, clothes (I feel like everyone has the ‘clothes chair’ problem), everything. Now it’s second nature.
Give everything a time
Just like giving everything a home, it’s an equally good habit to give everything a time. Pick one day a week to have a proper cleanup, set aside an afternoon a month to do your finances, have a set day for doing your sheets and your laundry. I like to have a GYST day every Sunday to just reset, prep myself for the week and keep on top of things. Having that set time means the chores never fall behind, are never looming over your head, and don’t eat into your relaxation time.
I feel like this one makes me sound a little obsessive, but systems can be really helpful. Looking for simple ways to improve things will help you keep getting more organised. Silly things like the way you name files, what you do with receipts, the way you organise your planner. Coming up with new ways to improve your efficiency helps you be more well… efficient!
Make to-do lists at the end of your day
This tip is my biggest, most helpful tip for how to get organised (and happier, in fact!). At the end of your day, write down everything you need to remember to do the next day. This’ll stop those panicked 2 am wake-ups and let your mind let go of work and chores when it’s time to relax. I always like it as a final shut off when I finish work. It separates the worries of my day completely from my evening, because I trust that everything’s looked after.
Have an agenda (and use it well!)
I love my agenda. I think some people shy away from them because they use them only to put the ‘you must complete X, Y and Z today’ in. But I like to include my workouts, evening activities, dates with friends, even silly small things like what I’m planning on having for dinner. That way, when I open my agenda, I have a day planned out I’m looking forward to, even if I still have to get the dreaded X, Y and Z done.
But still, everyone’s different and your lifestyle and planning style will fit some styles of agenda better than others. Here are a few suggestions:
- For detailed: planner
Having a planner will help you keep consistent, detailed records of your plans, notes, and in some planners, even budgets, ideas, expenses and more! From minimal to micromanaging, there are a thousand planners out there so you’ll be sure to find the right one for you.
- For customised: bullet journal
I do love my bullet journal. It’s definitely not Pinterest worthy (although if you are arty, designing a bullet journal can be a lot of fun!), but it sure does do the job! As a self-employed person, my schedule can be very unconventional and I need to plan a lot of things out. So, having the freedom to design my own spreads allows me to do this, as little or as much as I need to.
- For something simple: calendar
If you don’t have too much to plan out, using your phone’s calendar app is more than good enough to keep you on track. It’s quick and easy to use and you always have it with you! Pairing this with the reminders app can be really effective.
Automate everything you can
Tech is built to make our lives simpler (or at least, most of it is) so make use of the automation. Set up your bank payments to go automatically, have reminders set up, have an online to-do list (I love love love Asana for projects and work). Investigate the world of helpful productivity tech. Every so often I love trying new apps from the App Store and this is how I find most of the tech I use.
Do a little every day
If you’ve read any of my other content, you’ll know I love a good routine. Routines, to me, are ways of ensuring you do more valuable things with your time and get more done every day. I know some people see them as limiting, but when you create a routine that you love and allows you to be dynamic and spontaneous as well as incorporate the habits you want in your lifestyle, you’ll be living to the fullest.
Some great organisational habits to include in your routine:
- Dedicate ten minutes a day to making sure everything’s tidied away
- When you walk away from a task note down what point you’re at
- Always have somewhere on hand to make notes
- Plan for the following day the evening before
Prep ahead of time
This will get you SO organised. From meal prepping to packing your bag or planning out your outfits the night before, prepping ahead of time is one of the easiest ways to be organised. You’ll have more spare time in your mornings (or a longer lay-in, the choice is yours!), you’re less likely to forget things and you’ll be less stressed when you know everything’s taken care of.
Meal prepping was probably my favourite habit back when I used to work a 9-5. It kept me eating healthy and balanced, saved me a ton of money and gave me so much more time in the morning and in the evening. Not to mention it’s good for the planet, I didn’t use the oven all week long!
So, there you have it, my 9 best organisation tips for how to get organised. I think the biggest thing is just learning to try and move right now to make something easier for you later. Essentially, ditch the last-minute rushes and the procrastinating. It’s much easier said than done, but once you start doing it, it gets easier and easier every day. Being organised is a trait you have to learn and have to continue to work for, but really that’s a good thing because it means you can start learning how to get organised at any time!
Get your organisation game on! Love, Ella-Rose xx