With the new year just beginning, I hear many people say, “This is the year I’m going to be more organized!” And while the sentiment is great, it’s not always that easy–or it is, if you have the right tools.
Find a system that works for you.
Sure fancy spreadsheets are efficient, but if a paper or envelope method will work for you, by all means, use them. There are many ways to get to the end result and finding something that you are able to do will ensure that you’ll be able to make it last. I am a list maker and use to do lists for everything. I have two main lists: one at the office and one in our family kitchen. I write everything that needs to be done on these lists, no matter how big or small it is.
Devote (enough) time to your project.
To get anything done, you’ll need time to accomplish your task. It’s important to set aside enough time to make your project happen. Last year, I wanted to run 1000 miles. This wasn’t going to happen just by hoping that it would get done. I figured it would take me about four hours per week to log the miles. Meaning I needed to schedule time to get up an hour early or schedule someone else to pick up the kids after work. Both options took planning, but the payoff meant that I’d accomplished my goal on schedule.
Prepare for interruptions.
While you’re working on your projects, something will come up that will detract you from your organization. Plan for this. Make a note of your stopping place. Plan your project in small segments. Or enlist a helper that can keep you on track. Recently, I updated all of my kids clothing and shoes tubs to audit what we had and update needed sizes/categories so I (and family members) knew what needed to be purchased. I do this every 6 months and the project takes time. This round, my project took all day, and I was interrupted a dozen times. But my project stayed on track because I divided each task into small projects and left myself distinct points of where to pick up the project again.
Assess (and celebrate) your success.
It’s important to know what you’ve achieved and celebrate your accomplishments. Find a way to track and celebrate your success for each goal. After each day of running, I listed my distance on the calendar next to my gold star. At the end of each month, I’d list the miles logged and at the end of the year, I was able to easily keep track of the distance needed to get to 1000 miles. Along the way, I also celebrated my success. Each month, I’d purchase a new song for my running playlist. And after I completed my 1000 miles, my husband took me to a fancy dinner.
By following these key principles, you encourage yourself to keep the momentum for organization whether you’re a beginner or an expert. That will the key to ending the year being able to say, “This year I was more organized!”