10 Effective habits of organised people
Never underestimate the power of organisation - the world's most successful individuals all have something in common; they're all organised and highly efficient (ok, so maybe some of them pay somebody to be organised for them, but that's besides the point!) Being more organised can help you to achieve your goals and be more successful, both at work and in your personal life. After all, nobody wants to be the friend who is always late or the employee who forgets about important meetings. Whether you run your own business, work in an office or are employed in a more hands-on job, here are 10 tips that will help you to be more organised and get on top of things! You can thank us later, when you find a gap in your highly-organised schedule.
#1. Become a list-maker
We can't emphasis this enough - list makers are organised people. Whether you naturally love making to-do lists or just have a bad memory, writing stuff down can help you not only to remember it, but also to aim to achieve it. From a list for your weekly shop to a detailed list of tasks to complete at the office on Monday morning, making lists helps us be organised and prioritise our work. You can also use lists in your personal life to remind you of things you need to get done at the weekends or on your days off work - try it, we promise you'll find it makes your life so much easier!
#2. Tidy your desk
Yes, you might know that the file for that important client is to the right of your leftover sandwich and underneath that other file from whats-his--name, but nobody else will know that, will they? Working in a cluttered, untidy space can raise your body's levels of cortisol, the stress hormone which is released when we feel under pressure. By ensuring that your work environment is clean, tidy and organised, you can gain control over your work, which suddenly makes deadlines seem less scary and also makes it easier to relax!
#3. Buy a diary
For many of us, our smartphones and tablets contain our whole lives - not to mention our schedules - but bear with us. Keeping a traditional paper diary or Filofax can be really helpful. The act of writing something down in your diary helps your brain to remember it, and it's also a great alternative for when your smartphone battery dies - they really don't last that long, do they? Whether you opt for a tiny pocket diary or a larger Filofax with customisable inserts, this is a great way to keep all the information you need for your day in one place. Think of it as a backup to the technology you know and love.
#4. Set yourself deadlines
If you work from home, or even if you work in an office where your boss isn't breathing down your neck every five minutes, it's easy to think, "I'll start that task now," and then be sitting there working on it three hours later. When it should take you an hour. We've all been there, but by imposing deadlines for yourself, you'll find you are more productive, and more likely to tick everything off that to-do list come 5pm. Which means plenty of time for a workout at the gym and a more relaxing evening, without worrying about work! Setting yourself deadlines works for your life outside of work too - think "I'll beat my best 5K time by the end of June," and you're more likely to do it than if you just aim to beat it by, say, whenever. Your health and fitness goals will seem more achievable if you set yourself regular incremental deadlines.
#5. Get a head-start
We're not suggesting you give up your hard-earned weekends to work from home - of course we're not! The Expertrain team loves weekends as much as you do, but getting a head-start on your week's work can help you to be more organised and productive when you hit the office first thing on a Monday morning. Banish those Monday blues (and get rid of that feeling of dread on a Sunday night) by starting a to-do list on Sunday evening. Even if it's as simple as planning out your schedule for the coming Monday morning or replying to a few emails, it can help you to start the week in a more positive frame of mind. A week that starts happy has a better chance of ending happy!
#6. Banish procrastination
We all love to procrastinate, but have you ever found that when you actually sit down to do that thing you were procrastinating over, that it isn't actually as bad as you thought it would be? Yup, us too. Procrastinating is a real thorn in the side of your productivity, and the longer you leave doing something, the harder it will be to do it. That's why leaving your essay for uni or your presentation until the last possible minute is never a good idea - it will seem like an impossible task! Resolve to do things when you have time. Write down one thing right now that you need to do. Then take a few notes about how you are going to do it. Then, do it, now! Not later, not tomorrow, not next week - NOW. Doing things straightaway relieves stress and worry and makes it less likely that you'll lie awake feeling anxious. Get a happier life by banishing procrastination.
#7. Throw out what you don't need
Do you really need 26 packs of multicoloured post-it notes or 10 different box files? Hmm, we didn't think so. Either throw stuff out or find a new home for it, like say, in the office's stationery cupboard. By eliminating clutter that you don't need from your work space, you will feel instantly less stressed and more organised - plus the less clutter you have, the easier it is to keep your desk clean and tidy. Which means more time to take a proper lunch break and enjoy a healthy lunch or a lunchtime workout!
#8. Don't be afraid to delegate
Not all of us are good at delegating, and if you're working in a junior role, this might not be something you're able to do at work. However you can always ask for help if you need it, both at work and at home. Getting the kids to help with the washing up or tidying their rooms leaves you free to focus on other things, whilst in the office you might be able to offload some filing and photocopying onto the new temp who's looking for work to do. If you have a colleague who you think is more experienced at a specific task than you, don't be afraid to ask them for help. Working as part of a team means you'll enjoy a great end result!
#9. Stick to your schedule
Nobody likes a control freak - somebody who is totally inflexible and gets angry and frustrated when things don't go exactly the way they want. There's a fine line between being a control freak and sticking to your schedule, but we recommend walking this line as often as possible! Sticking to a daily schedule helps you to realise what time things need to be done. So if you work from home and take lunch at one, make sure you try to do that everyday. If you've scheduled your afternoon to get through a mountain of paperwork, don't let other work get in the way - unless it's urgent. If you do have to juggle your schedule, make sure you plan out a new schedule so you're still on track to get things done and stay motivated!
#10. Take regular time-out
Taking a ten-minute coffee break might not seem like a great way to get on top of your mounting to-do list, but trust us, it does wonders for your productivity. If you're sitting at a screen all day at work, it's important to take regular breaks, not just for your mind but also for your body. Sitting stressing out over a problem or issue you can't solve won't do your creativity any favours. Sometimes 5 minutes of fresh air, a cup of tea or even a wander around the office to chat to colleagues can help you find a solution, or at least boost your energy levels, which should make tackling that challenge easier! Make sure you take time out away from work too - half an hour to sit and read, take a bath or go for a run can help you to lower your stress levels and feel happier.