Try a couple of the tips below to start. When you’ve conquered those, add another, then another and so on.
Create an organized home that looks and functions the way you want.
- Learn your ABCs: Always Be Clearing–the instant you realize something is no longer useful, get rid of it.
- First get rid of the clutter, then organize what’s left.
- Each closet should have a basket in which to immediately put things that are no longer wanted—when it’s full, it’s time to donate.
- Give everything a “home” and be sure to keep things in their homes except when in use.
- Put your most frequently used items in the easiest-to-reach places.
- Write notes so you won’t forget anything.
- Group similar items together.
- Break down overwhelming projects into manageable pieces until it feels doable.
- Return items immediately after use for instant retrieval next time.
- Set time limits for tasks–some tasks are not worth the time spent on them.
- Do your most demanding work during your peak energy levels.
- Use small pockets of time (10-15 minutes) to complete quick tasks.
- Put instruction manuals in a binder sorted by category (e.g., electronics, appliances).
Here’s what successful executives know—that you need to know.
- Prioritize according to Stephen Covey’s four quadrants of time management: First, do what’s Urgent And Important, then Not Urgent And Important, followed by Urgent And Not Important, and lastly Not Urgent And Not Important.
- Set a time budget for tasks. Some tasks are not worth the amount of time spent on them. Parkinson’s law states, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”
- Position often-used equipment and supplies within easy reach and put things used less often farther away.
- Make SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound.
- Set a timer for tasks if you tend to get distracted.
- File labels should reflect how you think of the information being filed.
- Focus on one task at a time—studies prove multitasking wastes time.
- Gain productivity every day by creating to-do lists the day before.
- Sort mail every day by your next action; e.g., act, read, file.
- Delegate tasks that don’t require your expertise.
- Eliminate clutter—you can’t remember everything in those piles.
- Organize your workspace according to how it makes sense to you.
- Use desktop and drawer organizers to keep papers and other items organized.
- Grab your reading material when you expect to wait (e.g., medical appointments).
Consistency is the key to success. Doing some of the things some of the time won’t work. Done regularly, new habits will replace old habits and you’ll start getting better organized. Good luck!