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You know that I love to be organised. It keeps me on track and it keeps my mind clear. Organising things is decluttering for the mind as well as the home. Especially when It is done using paper, it’s the only way that I can stay on top of things. Whether you love to be organised or you are never organised and are striving to be this year, let’s make 2020 the year of organisation!
I’m going to share a few tips around keeping organised this year, and I will also suggest a few products that will help you if you don’t already have systems in place. Staying organised should be about making your life run more smoothly and it needs to be easy otherwise it will just be chaos again in no time.
OK, I’d recommend starting with at least these few things to help you.
A notebook, any notebook. I’d suggest A5 for ease, but go with whatever you fancy. This will now be your ‘everything you ever need to do’ book. I run mine as a bullet journal (I shared a few simple tips around getting started with a bullet journal here) but you do what you want with yours. I will say as an advocate of bullet journals that they need not be pretty, ‘doodly’ or artistic, as mine is certainly not. I would also suggest a dot grid notebook, if you are looking to pick up a new one for this. I find lined a little too regimented and blank too unstructured, so a dot grid feels perfect for me. Do you find this? Just me?!
You will then need a diary, planner and/or wall calendar. Think about what you use currently, if anything, and what you can see working most effectively for you. For example, we have a calendar for all of us where all special occasions are noted, along with plans, activities, appointments and reminders for the month. It’s all in one place and we can all refer to it. I do then have a planner for work.
If you do not already have one, I’d also recommend getting a storage file system, something like this. I don’t have this particular one, as I already have several, I have one to keep all statements, bills and household documents in, one for my cards stash and then one for the kids documents, such as their red books, school stuff and account statements. It means that everything always has somewhere to go and I also know where everything is when I need it. Every house needs storage like this, I think.
I have included Amazon links here so that you can grab some of these products quickly and easily, at the click of a button. If you’d rather browse and shop, Poundland and Wilko often have some pretty stationery in stock, supermarkets usually have a decent range and you could try a Paperchase or stationers for some of the more specific items.
If you would prefer to organise digitally, you might like to check out a few organisational apps to see what works for you.
If home organisation is your current priority and you know that you need to get a few things in to help you, I’d suggest that you take a look at Pinterest or YouTube for inspiration. They have loads of content there, but a word of warning, these are at the pinnacle of being organised, so if you’re just setting out, do not be too daunted and give in. They are the minority, few homes are actually that well organised, labelled and in baskets!
How to begin your year feeling organised
Now that you have all of the organisation basics that you need, you can start to sort everything out. For the purposes of this post, I will concentrate more on home life, as you are likely to keep a separate goals, tasks, actions and plans diary for work, as I do. But the principles are always the same.
Tidying and decluttering is a good place to start, and you can then begin as you mean to go on. This can take some time if you have not done it for a while, but the good thing about it is that once you have done it, you should find that you save a lot of time in the long term. You will no longer have to spend time tidying up and you will be able to find anything whenever you need it as it will have a place.
After you have done this, you can start to plan ahead and use some of your organisational tools. You might want to start with these 6 ridiculously easy ways to get organised, as these are the basics for me. They are the foundations to keeping every plate spinning.
Set a couple of hours aside to set up your calendar/planner/apps, file all that you need to and then start working on your task lists, which is where that notebook comes in.
Create pages in your notebook for projects and tasks over the next twelve months, and then begin breaking them down into monthly tasks, which should make them look a lot more manageable. These are likely to be the bigger commitments, such as holiday planning, home renovations, arrangements for special occasions and so on. You will then begin each month with a task list, with some of these commitments listed at the outset, and you will then add in other priorities. This then gets broken down into weekly/daily tasks so that you are creating to-do lists.
Daily to-do lists are key to staying organised, but they do work best when you have taken ten minutes to stand back and review the month first and added in any monthly goals. This is important as it helps you to think ahead and prepare for upcoming events and projects, rather than suddenly realising on the day that you need to get something repaired urgently or you have to rush out and buy a birthday gift for your friend and get it to her…belatedly! That’s what you’re trying to avoid doing this year!
In addition to working with a system like this, I shared my tips to organise your home recently which includes a few habits that might help.
How to stay on track
Habits and that notebook. These are going to be the most important things for helping you to stay on track.
A lot of these things work when they become habits and ongoing best practices. Jotting in your notebook each day, tidying up as you go along, preparing for the next day the evening before and so on. And as with all things, habits can take a while to bed in. Prioritise the ones that you think you’ll benefit from most, get those habits ingrained, and then add more.
The notebook, or app if you prefer, will really make a difference if you use it effectively and consistently. You will get to a stage where you won’t want to be without it. Everything you need to do should be in there, and then any other thoughts you have can be captured there. Along with annual, monthly and daily tasks, you can jot down ideas for your son’s birthday party, items you need to pack for your upcoming holiday and this week’s shopping list. Keep it all in one place and get it all out of your head. I shared a few reasons to use lists here, I wouldn’t be without them!
I’d also suggest that if you can feel things spinning out of control, or you’ve forgotten to use your task lists for a few weeks or chaos in the house is starting to build up again, accept it and just go back to the start again. Do not berate yourself over it, we all have times like this, but if you have started with some of these good practices, you will no doubt be missing them now as you felt the benefit of them.
Just because you started the year well and then lost it all in March, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get it back next week. Any time is a good time to get organised, and being a bit more organised today than you were yesterday is only going to be a good thing.
Will 2020 be the year that you get organised?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links