Five Things You Can Do To Organize Your Life RIGHT. NOW.

keep-calm-and-organize-351Do you feel: frazzled, overworked, strained, anxious or just plain stressed out? While many problems take a lot more work to solve, there are at least a few ways that you can organize your life RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT, and it won’t even take that long.

Sometimes, the smallest things can lift a huge weight off your shoulders, help you accomplish other tasks more easily, or otherwise just make you feel even the tiniest bit better about your life and where it’s heading right now. Sometimes, you just need to do something small to help get your life organized and get you a little less stressed.

Here’s five things you can do – right now – to help get your life organized!

1. Purge your email. Most of us are constantly connected, but sometimes emails can build up… whether they’re important contacts you need to respond to, spam emails you need to delete, or coupon offers you’ve been holding on to. Sort through it. Respond to the emails that require a reply; mark items as spam as appropriate. Delete coupon offers that have expired or that you know you won’t use. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, go in and unsubscribe yourself from half of those email lists you’re getting but never even bother to read.

2. Make a to-do list. Whether it’s short-term tasks you need to accomplish in a few hours (or a few days) or longer-term deals that entail a lot more work and time, make a to-do list. It’ll give your life and time some structure, set some goals for yourself, and keep you on track. Plus, there’s nothing like the quiet satisfaction of crossing a task off once you’ve accomplished it.

3. Plan out your calendar. Doctor’s appointments, birthday parties, meetings, soccer games, etc. Buy a planner (if you don’t have one!!) and write everything down. This will help in a few ways: first, you won’t have to worry about forgetting events if you’ve got them in your planner! Second, it’ll make it a lot easier to schedule future events if you have a handy calendar ready for easy reference.

4. Clean up your cell phone. Delete old texts. Move old photos to your SD card to save space, or better yet, delete photos you don’t want anymore. Remove apps you don’t use, and clear your cache to free up even more space. Our mobile devices are some of our most precious items nowadays, and it’s important that we make sure these things aren’t contributing to our stress.

5. Do that one thing you’ve been putting off. What is it? I don’t know. Maybe you’ve been dreading making that doctor’s appointment, or calling your mother-in-law. Maybe you don’t really want to go to the grocery store (but hey, you have to eat sometime). Whatever that “thing” is that you’ve been postponing…. go and do it. You’ll feel a lot better without the stress of that impending event weighing on your shoulders.

I hope these tips can help you feel less stressed and more organized! Anyone else got any tips they’d like to share?

Small Ways to Clean Up Your Life

Sometimes, even the smallest of tasks can help us feel better about our lives. We all have so much going on, all the time, that it seems to never end. But here are a few things you can do in a matter of seconds or minutes that will clean up your life just a little bit and help you feel a little less frazzled and a little more organized.

  1. Erase your text messages. Keep the most important ones but clear out the rest. You’ll save your eyes from the clutter, save your phone the storage space – which may help it run better – and make a small cleaning adjustment to a device you probably use every day.
  2. Clean out your email. This might take a few minutes, but sort through email. Toss the junk or the things you aren’t using. The emails you might need in the future, make folders for them to get them out of your inbox. For instance, I have a folder for each upcoming trip I’m planning; the folder has all my confirmation for bus tickets, events, hotels, etc. It’s an easy way to keep everything organized & right at my fingertips without having to search through my inbox.
  3. Weed out your “following” or “friends.” Social media is great, but how many people on there do you actually TALK to or care about? If there’s accounts that you shrug at every time you see a post from, or someone on your Facebook friends who is constantly posting things you don’t care to see…. maybe it’s time to consider breaking that virtual tie for now.
  4. Clean out your bag. Something you use daily, it’s bound to get filled with all sorts of things, including some meaningless and useless trash.
  5. Write it down. If there’s something you’ve got in the back of your mind like “Oh, I need to do this later!”… write it down NOW. You won’t have to think about it any more, and it’ll clear some space in your mind. This also goes for story ideas and other creative endeavors.
  6. Write. Just write. If it feels like you’ve got a lot going through your head right now, write. Just free write – anything you feel. Express yourself, describe your emotions, your worries, your plans. Get it out of your head and onto tangible paper and you’ll feel a little bit better.
  7. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and delegate portions of tasks or tasks if you think other people might be able to assist you!

I hope these are helpful. They may seem like small, insignificant things that you may not think will make a difference, but it often amazes me how completing small tasks such as these helps me to feel better. It alleviates stress, helps me feel as though I’ve accomplished something, and gives me a visual PROOF that I’ve done something productive. I can’t quite put my finger on why it feels so good to clear out my old text messages or the old photos on my cell phone that I don’t need anymore; I think it’s the idea that I’m in control and able to get rid of the old, essentially useless trash in at least one aspect of my life, and all I need to do is hit a couple buttons to do so. Weeding out my following on Twitter does the same thing; I can’t quite say what I like about it, just that I know it feels good to clean things up every once in a while.

The Thing I Do (Almost) Every Day

I can’t say that I exactly have any sort of “daily routine.” Some days I sleep in a little more than others; sometimes I shower before work, other times I wait until I get home. Sometimes I tackle a big project first thing, other times I work on smaller things and ease my way in. But either way, there is ONE thing I do almost every day that helps me to stay organized and on-track and helps me not completely lose my mind.

I make a to-do list.

Almost every day, I sit down and either write or type out everything I need or want to accomplish that day. My lists include all sorts of things, from TV shows or hockey games I plan to watch, eating dinner, cleaning my emails, going to the store to purchase something, making a blog post (like this one!), responding to someone’s email, tasks I need to complete at work, etc. I include everything from minute tasks to larger ones that I may eventually break down into sections to make them more manageable.

Let me tell you: it helps.

I feel a sense of accomplishment whenever I’m able to check something off my list, even if it’s something as small as returning an e-mail from my aunt in Pittsburgh to tell her how my week is going. You can break the list down into things that are absolute priorities that day and other tasks you simply wish to achieve if that helps as well.

Some days, I may not accomplish everything on the list, but it’s still important that I make one. It allows me to see what I need and want to do that day, prioritize things based on how much time I have and how important each task is, and get to work. I realize that for some people, this may actually be stressful because they’ll feel pressure to complete every single thing on their list on a daily basis – but see what works for you.

Making a to-do list keeps me focused and driven and most of the time, it only takes a few minutes of my time. I may add things as they come up or as I remember “Oh crap, I need to get that done today!” but either way, I’ve found it extremely helpful and I encourage anyone reading this to give it a try.

For the next seven days, make a to-do list each day and see if it works for you!