Few of us are naturally enthused by the idea of rolling up our sleeves and undertaking an intensive deep clean, whether it be of our desk drawers or downloads folder. We’re more likely to procrastinate than organise our lives. All too often we let pesky distractions get in the way of real progress and then wonder why we’ve had the same to-do lists for months.
Plenty of scholars have dedicated entire books to the matter of getting your work, social and personal life in order simply by starting with a few basic habits. Regina Leeds’ book One Year to an Organized Life tells readers to expect: less aggravation, improved health and the opportunity to achieve more in general.
Dedicate some time to the art of “extreme organising” and prepare to reap the benefits. As a self-confessed compulsive organiser, here are a few simple hacks – endorsed by the experts – to help organise your life and make you more productive.
#1 Tidy space = tidy mind
If your bedroom resembles the lair of a nocturnal creature, it’s time for a spring clean (no excuses – even if it’s not technically spring). Dedicate a day to scrubbing, polishing, dusting and tidying, then vow to keep on top of it. Perhaps you’ll even discover you enjoy it and try your hand at adjusting the feng shui.
LEARNING TO LET GO OF THINGS IS AN IMPORTANT LIFE LESSON AND HAS NOTHING BUT POSITIVE REPERCUSSIONS ON OUR HEADSPACE.
Create headspace by un-jumbling and compartmentalising your possessions and important documents. Think of your living space as a representation of your mind: clearing away clutter (or thoughts) creates room for a clean slate (or ability to focus). Your living space is your sanctuary and should be a place to relax, unwind and feel at ease (without constantly battling piles of washing or hunting down misplaced items).
#2 Out with the old
As our favourite Disney ballad reminds us, Let It Go. Why are you stashing away misc chargers or clinging onto hope that you’ll wear that discoloured, shrunken top you ruined in the wash six months ago? The likelihood is, if you can’t remember the last time you used or wore it, you aren’t going to. “But what if…?” wails our inner hoarder. No! Be firm in your decisions and think about the age-old mantra: less is more.
It’s one task to tidy your space but another entirely to cleanse it of junk. Learning to let go of things is an important life lesson and has nothing but positive repercussions on our headspace.
Psychology expert Linda Esposito writes about the positive effects of minimalism on mental health. She discusses the link between physical and mental clutter, praising those who whittle down their wardrobes to the essentials.
Clearing out doesn’t need to be a stressful or wasteful affair – feel good by giving your pre-loved possessions and garments to charity or earn some extra cash at markets or online (side hustle!). Support sustainable disposal and research ways you can recycle or upcycle before dismissing items as trash.
#3 Revive the diary
It’s true, we write a lot less than we used to. Our dexterity is better put to use hammering away on various gizmos and gadgets whilst there’s far less use for our hard-earned handwriting skills. Whilst we might not need to write often, there’s something therapeutic in putting pen to paper and recording ideas, thoughts and plans.
YOUR GOALS DON’T NEED TO BE FANCY OR UNACHIEVABLE – MAYBE YOU WANT TO CATCH UP WITH AN OLD FRIEND OR GO SEE A COMEDY SHOW.
Offload your mental chatter by jotting down notes on the go with a handy pocket diary. Commit important deadlines, family dinners, fitness classes and birthdays to writing and declutter the busy schedule in your mind. Creator of Bullet Journal, Ryder Carroll encourages “rapid logging” in place of traditional journalling. This streamlined approach to tackling tasks is refreshingly simple.
Taking control of your personal and work life schedule not only feels good but will help optimise your time. In full support of scheduling: “No longer are there the nagging thoughts, in the recesses of your mind, reminding you of what you need to do, or to not forget something. This often drains our mental energy and contributes to increased stress,” says Dana Gionta Ph.D. in Psychology Today.
#4: Goal setting
Make plans and stick to them, acknowledge wasted time and consider how it might be better spent. Why not take up those language classes you’ve always talked about or pledge to read more books? (We’ll overlook the fact these have both been New Year’s resolutions since 2016.)
Take diary updates one step further by setting yourself weekly to-do lists and monthly objectives. There’s a simple satisfaction on ticking off tasks as you nail them. Your goals don’t need to be fancy or unachievable – maybe you want to catch up with an old friend or go see a comedy show. Whatever your motive, begin to focus on not only entertaining the idea but making real life, concrete plans and seeing them through.
These tips and tricks are simple yet effective – they just require just a little attention and perseverance. Seize the next rainy Sunday, hoover in hand and prepare start kicking goals.