Are you a disorganized person? Do you always get nagged at for not cleaning up your room or having a messy desk?
Do you feel the need to be more organized is a natural habit to others but one you cannot get started let alone be used to?
Being disorganized does not mean only the cluttered physical space you are in, but also your lifestyle as it affects your emotions and performance as well.
Do you take pride in being disorganized? For those who have been embracing the messiness as a lifestyle, a disorganized way of living not only reflects the place you live and sleep in but also the way you do things and handle matters. When you are filled with clutter, it is hard to be think clear or rather be clear about your priorities and what you are doing or you get distracted easily by things lying around everywhere. It affects your focus and productivity especially when you are trying to work effectively.
Though you may not realise it when you are used to disorganized lifestyle, having a clean neat space creates an aura of rejuvenation and energy to your sight and you feel free and comfortable in that space. Imagine coming to a desk full of clutters and papers stacked on top, or a room with clothes and stuffs strewn all over the place, what and where do you start with? Almost immediately, you have to go through the extra unnecessary steps of having to sort of a to-do list on what to clear first, before you even start what you wanted to do. By the time you have cleared up that space, you might be already half drained in your time and energy. You may not feel that you are wasting time searching because it has already become a habit to you.
When you have an organized space, you feel less cramped, more spacious and relaxed. The space invites an open, positive flow of energy as you can walk freely and not get tripped over or not having to work your path out to get across to your room. You spend less time rummaging heaps of clothes to find a crumpled shirt. You generally reduce the unproductive time searching. With less clutter, you feel more open and inviting, energy and mood lifts, just like when you are out at an open field or beach as compared to sitting in a small room with four white walls.
Being organized may seem like a natural act to some, but in truth, this is due to hours and days of conscious effort and building a habit out of it.
How To Be More Organized.
Here are some ways you can start small to be more organized
  • Allocate designated locations (homes) for your important stuffs and those that you use daily (e.g. keys, phones, books, wallet, bags, cups)
  • Put things back to their original spots as soon as you are done with them
  • Bundle things that you use regularly together (for instance, store your games near your computer, your movies near TV console, your shoes near the door, your clothes in your wardrobe, your cosmetics on your dressing table)
  • Categorize them in colours or types. An example, for your wardrobe, you can choose to categorise your clothes into long sleeves, short sleeves, dress or long skirts, shorts and t-shirts folded, scarves with belts and other accessories and so on. For books, you can choose to arrange them in different genres or authors.
To be more organized, make it a habit to clear routinely.
  • It is a simple act to start de-cluttering your space, say once a week so that you get into the habit, but it takes conscious effort and a minute or so for each task. You only have to remind yourself to be diligent about putting things back to their original positions to save hours of housekeeping each time.
  • It is easy to leave your things around after you are done with them like keys, nail clippers and the little accessories. Until the next time you need them again. You may find the effort to return them to their respective locations after use more advantageous than having to search high and low for them the next time.
  • Stacking up unfolded clothes crumple them more so why not do yourself a favour by folding or hanging them up and arranging them nicely to where they belong? You save the time having to iron out the creases as well.
  • Having washed dishes lying around the counter makes them easier to get dirty again. Why not rearrange them back into the cabinet once they have been washed and dried?
  • Having a disarray of shoes all over the entrance of your house looks messy and dirty, why not make it a habit to put them back to where they belong as soon as you enter your house and removed them?
  • For those areas that you visit regularly such as bedroom, study table and kitchen, it may seem too much a task to clean these areas all at once, but if you spare a minute of two to clear or clean up each time you enter that area, it becomes more manageable. On my dressing table, I rearrange and clean up my table over other week when I feel it gets too cluttered or too dusty. In the kitchen, I occasionally pick things out from my fridge and wipe it up so that it looks cleaner and also more hygienic. While the washing machine is doing it’s work and I’m passing by, I wipe the cover off the dust that gathers. I rearrange my study table every other week or whenever I enter my study room to make sure that it doesn’t get too messy for me the next time I want to use it.
  • Have a list of priorities and to-dos to organize your time. Sometimes we get so busy doing things thinking that we were productive but at the end of the day we ask, “I’ve been so busy today, but what have I achieved?” Have you had such days? You get so busy but you don’t know what you have completed. It’s worse when you fought most of your days on urgent issues and left the most important to the last when you could have managed or delegated the tasks. At the end of the day, you get too tired to work on them and these tasks get postponed.
    Tasks can be set quite easily early in the day and be productively crossed off with pride when prioritized right. For instance, before you start your day, you can list down what you want to do for that day. I set my tasks on reminders so that I can be reminded of them if they slip my mind which happens quite regularly. Also, it feels great when you tick off ‘Done’ on the lists. 
  • Then, do a review of your tasks and prioritiesA review on the task / to-do list you create lets you see how much you have done over a week and what remains to be done. That way, you won’t forget to do what’s important and also be able to keep track of your progress, not just do fire-fighting works.
    If you have big projects or exams coming up, all the more you should organize your time effectively. For instance, you have five papers on every day of the week. Which do you study first so that you can manage your time and revision effectively? Do you start with the first subject and start on the second subject a day before the exam? No. It would be too much for you to try to cope for the last paper.  In general, we revise the last subject first because you have the least time to study for that subject if the papers come one after another simultaneously. You can then allocate a few days for the fourth subject and move forward. A few days before your first paper, you start on it. That way, you revise your first paper last and after that paper, you only need to revise or recap the remaining papers a day before the exam. 
    If you have an important project due, time spent on proper planning allows for better organization and delivery on time instead of trying to rush at the last minute. 
  • Run through your days and look at what you are missing out with disorganized habits.

    Planning is one thing, but whether you follow and cross out your to-do list takes time and getting used to. Being more organized comes with effort and practice but it is achievable and it gets easier over time.

    If you have routines, it is even easier to manage and prepare for your days. For example, if you are heading out, you know you  need to bring your essentials you will then check for these belongings before you go out. I’m sure you have seen those who went out of their house, only to return five minutes later because they forgot something, or having to drive back or ask someone to bring stuffs for them because they forgot they needed what they needed. It causes not only loss of time and money but also efforts. 
Organizing In Advance (Visualize)
What about for bigger events or overlapping activities like when you are going camping for several days, traveling to several places at one time, or going on road trips? Before I go on a trip, I need my printed itinerary and passport, money, other currencies, phone, camera, chargers, travel adapter, emergency backup numbers, necessary medication, clothing and toiletries. I keep a checklist of important stuffs I cannot miss not bringing so that I don’t have to rack my brain each time I pack for my travel.
Being able to run through these events (through visualizing the process) helps in better preparation.
Again, let’s say you have a presentation, imagine what it’s like before, during and after your presentation. In general, before your presentation, you will need to prepare your clothing, shoes, slides, computer, cables, audio system, microphone, perhaps printed documents and also, do a run on your presentation. During your presentation, you will need the reference document. And, perhaps your laser pointer as well. After the presentation, you may need to provide more information to audience, answer questions or possibly be in contact with possible partners so you need your name cards and be prepared for answers.

When you run through what you will be doing and what you need, you will be more prepared without having to worry much about what you missed out.

Hope the above tips have been value adding to changes in your current habits and eventually your lifestyle if you are looking to be more organized!

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