Jillian's Tips on Getting Organized
This is about as self-explanatory and straightforward as it gets. The goal is not necessarily to become neater, more orderly or more punctual - although those things certainly don't suck. Rather, it's about becoming ready for what life has to offer. Often we're hampered by our disorganization, and we can't take advantage of today's opportunities. One way to become more organized is by asking yourself what being disorganized is costing you in terms of achievement, work, health, relationships and self-esteem. Doing so can help motivate you to change. Stop thinking of clutter clearing as a tremendous chore, and start thinking of it as one of the most effective self-improvement tactics available to you. Keeping your environment at home and at work organized can benefit your mental and physical health in a multitude of ways. It's essential for time management, thus allowing you to do and accomplish more in your day.
Additionally, studies have shown that people who live in a cluttered environment show signs of mental distraction and are quicker to become overwhelmed and stressed. By streamlining your life you streamline your thoughts.
By clearing things out and organizing your life you're also making a statement that you're ready to let go of all the superfluous crap you've been needlessly hanging onto and open yourself up to new possibilities. Every magazine and piece of paper you recycle, every book you give to the library, and every knickknack and item of clothing you release to a new owner creates space in your life for new insight, energy, joy and experience to come in! It's amazing to witness the transformation and freedom gained by being organized.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Schedule time to declutter. Put in 15 minutes every day to straighten up. This means do your dishes. Put your clothes in the laundry. Organize your paperwork, etc. By breaking this stuff down into small daily increments you won't be overwhelmed with a mess at week's end.
Lead by example and use positive incentives with kids. Many parents can get overwhelmed (moms in particular) when trying to wrangle the family to keep things clean and organized. Although draconian measures might seem like your only option, they seldom work, and leave you feeling even more depleted and defeated. Your best bet is to set the tone for your family by keeping yourself organized. Additionally, establish positive incentives for kids. For example, offer them a small allowance or the privilege of extracurricular activities like cheerleading or hockey if they keep their rooms clean, take out the trash, wash the dishes, etc. Kids crave structure, and giving them healthy boundaries allows them to feel secure and helps to prepare them for the real world. Once you establish these ground rules, be sure to remain firm in your resolve. Once you backtrack, you jeopardize your authority and your ability to maintain the rules of your house.
Make an action file. Each day, sort mail and drop incoming paperwork into the appropriate file. Bills to pay. Things to file. Then take 10 minutes over the weekend to manage the business of the week so you can jump into the new week with a fresh start.
Create a daily to-do list and prioritize tasks by order of importance. At the beginning of your day or before you go to bed each night, take a moment to sit down and think about what needs to get accomplished immediately in order to move your life forward and achieve your long term goals. For example: if you are trying to lose weight, put a trip to the market for healthy groceries at the top of your list. If you need to make time to get to the gym, make sure to write down the task of organizing a carpool with the other moms at your kids' school. Taking care of small immediate goals will equal out to big results in the long run.
Manage your time properly. Be smart with your time. Don't be afraid to ask for help or to delegate chores to loved ones or co-workers. A smart person knows they can't do it all, and has the ego strength to reach out when necessary. For example: try asking your friends and family to watch the kids when you want to squeeze in a workout. Take turns with your spouse: one person watches the kids, while the other prepares a healthy meal instead of resorting to a drive-thru.