Are you juggling plates and watching many of them fall at your feet in pieces? Or maybe you’re wearing dozens of hats besides your own. Or, perhaps you feel like a hamster on a wheel and you can’t get off. Busyness can be exhausting and definitely not conducive to staying organized!
When my kids were young and in the throes of sports, school, and extracurricular activities and I was getting my business up and running I felt like an octopus with my arms being pulled in all sorts of directions.
Even with all sorts of technology at our fingertips, you’d think that life would become easier, but sometimes it isn’t.
Thankfully, for me, with time has come wisdom. Now that I’m an empty nester it’s much easier for me to take a step back and see a little clearer. I now know what (overwhelming) things need to go and what (not so overwhelming) things can stay.
Recently I had a conversation with a busy friend who feels like she is being pulled in all sorts of directions with commitments. I shared some no-nonsense easy-to-implement organizational tricks that have helped simplify my life. I thought I’d share them with you too.
Tip and Tricks to Simplify Your Life (and Keep it That Way)
- Calendars. I have used both calendar apps and paper calendars. Pick what works best for you. The benefit of using a calendar app is that, if you carry your phone everywhere, you will have it with you at all times. Here are some of my favorite calendars:
- Calendly if you have a business where you need to keep track of scheduled calls this app is for you!
- Cozi Family Organizer this app will help you manage your life and keep your family in the loop.
- Our Home will help you stay organized with less effort as you manage tasks and events.
- Note Pro Undated Daily Planner this twin-wire binder planner is made so you can jot tasks and appointments inside from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
2. To-Do Lists. This simple organization tip seems like a no-brainer but is often overlooked. Grab a piece of paper and draw a line vertically down the middle. Label one half “do now” and the other half “do later”. Those tasks in your life are hanging over your head, go on the “do now” side so that you can get that monkey off your back and breathe a little easier.
3. Password Keepers. In the past, I used the same password over and over simply because I didn’t think I could remember them if I created separate ones for each account. Anyone who knows enough about cybersecurity knows that this is a big no-no! Password keepers are designed to store your individual passwords securely and protect them from a security breach. I’ve used both Keeper Security and Last Pass. Both are easy to use.
4. Laundry Duty. If you’ve got kids over the age of 13 then this means you have “laundry helpers”. Assign a laundry day to each child. Buy baskets labeled “whites” and “colors” to make it easy for them.
5. Family Boards. Buy a large wipe-off board or corkboard. Staple or tape ribbons on it to create a designated space for each child’s name. Mark events or duties in each space such (game times, school deadlines, etc). Hang the board in a location where the family can see it often.
6. Stoplight. On Sunday night grab a piece of paper and draw two vertical lines (creating 3 columns). Draw a red circle at the top of one, a green circle on the top of another, and a yellow circle on top of the last one. In the red column list the “must do” tasks for the week. In the yellow column list the “must get to soon” tasks for the week. In the green column list the “still got time” tasks.
7. Wardrobe Maintenance. Do you find yourself buying clothes, but rarely donating any? Several years ago, I decided that I would thin out my closet after each season. Here’s how I did it. Every time I took a hangar off the rod and wore a clothes item I would replace the hanger on the rod in the backward position. At the end of the season, if any of the hangers were still frontward facing, I knew I had not worn that item and it was time to donate it. Before I knew it, my closet was filled with things I actually wore, not just amassed. Try the same things with your shoes (return them to the shelf in the backward position).
8. Hmm, I Didn’t Even Know I Had That. Once a quarter set aside a few hours to go through your house (cabinets, drawers, storage) and find things that you “didn’t even know you had anymore.” Recently I found a cheese tray, a tablecloth, and a punchbowl I got for a wedding gift almost 30 years ago tucked away in the back of a cabinet. My life ran smoothly before I knew I even had those items so off to the Goodwill store they went!
9. Peaceful Mornings. Simplify your morning rush by setting out important things you’ll need in the rush of the next morning. Make lunches, lay out clothes, sign school notes, pack backpacks, fill diaper bags, etc.
10. Keep a Running Grocery List. Take the guessing out of grocery shopping. Hang a piece of paper on your refrigerator and jot down needed items as you’re in the kitchen preparing or eating meals. Snap a pic of the list before you head to the grocery store so you have it once you’re inside. To make your “kitchen life” even easier consider using shopping apps like Instacart or check into prepared meal deliveries or find simple time-saving recipes on Pinterest.
11. Eliminate paper. Contact credit card, utility, investment companies, etc. and ask to go paperless. Save online transactions to a file on your computer or phone.
12. Unplug. Unplugging is good for the soul, great for relationships, and a simplifying lifesaver! Have a no-technology rule at the dinner table and on date nights. Turn your ringer and notices off from time to time. Silence your phone at bedtime. Control your texts and emails by tackling them each day (if not, they will multiply like rabbits!). Delete the ones you don’t need for future reference. Unsubscribe to unwanted email solicitations.
13. Everything Gets a Home. Adopt the motto “there’s a place for everything and everything in its place.” All toys get put away before bedtime, mail gets sorted and filed as soon as it’s opened, junk mail immediately goes in the trash, torn/ripped/broken things get thrown away (instead of hoping they will magically repair themselves), etc.
14. Clean As You Go. Toothpaste splattered on the mirror? Grab a Windex wipe and clean it right away. Don’t be tempted to keep a sink full of dirty dishes, make a habit of washing each dish (or putting each dish in the dishwasher) when done with it (a full sink can be downright depressing!). Notice a lightbulb is burned out? Change it right away.
15. Show Yourself Unlimited Grace. Out of all of the tips and tricks, this one is the most important. Don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself some slack. No one is perfect. No one is born with organizational skills. Habits need to be cultivated. Give yourself plenty of grace when it comes to simplifying and organizing your life.
“Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.” Charles Warner
I hope you’ve gotten some value from these organizational tips and tricks, make them your habits one by one (a give yourself gobs of grace!). Slowly you’ll become more organized, more productive, and your life will become more simplified!
Need help organizing your thoughts, controlling your mindset, initiating entrepreneurial ideas, turning your expertise into a profitable business, or believing in yourself? Reach out to me! I’d love to help you.