Are you aware that Get Organized Day is celebrated every year on April 26th?
During this day, people can declutter their homes and offices. The reason? A well-organized space helps you save time and makes you feel more focused and mentally clear. Aside from increasing productivity, getting organized also boosts happiness, peace of mind, and a sense of accomplishment.
With that in mind, here are 20 ways to celebrate Get Organized Day.
1. Set specific work hours.
Clearly, this isn’t possible for everyone. But, if you’re a freelancer, business owner, or fortunate enough to have a flexible schedule, then this is a must. “If you don’t, you’ll run the risk of procrastinating, missing deadlines, or becoming easily distracted and falling behind,” explains Choncé Maddox in a previous Calendar article.
“It’s important to set your work hours because you also want to know how much you can realistically accomplish in a workday,” Choncé emphasizes. “I use block scheduling and a to-do list to organize my tasks for the day.” By doing so, I can see what my day will look like and what I will be doing.
“Once I get toward the end of my set work hours, I know it’s time to wind down and start wrapping up,” she says. “This helps me transition into other areas of my life without feeling stressed out or ‘guilty’ for stepping away from my business.”
2. Embrace your natural inclinations.
“Organizing your life and thoughtfully crafting your habits and routines can quickly become a self-defeating exercise in aspirational living,” notes Fadeke Adegbuyi over at Doist.
- “I should wake up at 5 a.m. every day.“
- “I should really switch to veganism.“
- “I’m not going to watch any more movies.“
Here’s the problem. If you’re a night owl who does your best work at midnight, then forcing yourself to wake up at 5 a.m. is counterproductive. The same is true if you enjoy a good steak or watch a film to help you unwind. Instead, opt for habits that fit your natural inclinations to organize your life.
“Be realistic about yourself and embrace what you can conceivably commit to for the long haul,” suggests Fadeke.
3. Use the right apps.
Make no mistake about it; organization is made easier with the help of apps. Don’t overdo it, though. After all, it’s detrimental to clutter your phone with apps that have steep learning curves, are distracting, or become irrelevant.
When it comes to apps, keep it simple. Take advantage of a cloud-based calendar or project-management app to help you stay organized and productive. And, in my opinion, apps that serve various functions.
Take Google, for example. Signing up for a free account gives you Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, Meet, and Keep. With one app, you can communicate, collaborate, and keep yourself organized.
4. Clear your headspace.
I get it. It would be much easier to get and remain organized if you went paperless. But, at the same time, whenever something pops in your head, writing it down helps clear your headspace.
You can also better understand and organize your thoughts by keeping a journal. Furthermore, it is almost like releasing them from your mind when you put them on paper – allowing you to move on. Overall, you can use it to eliminate all the mental clutter going through your head.
If you want to reduce the amount of paper in your life, consider using a whiteboard or note-taking app.
5. Stop overextending yourself.
Do you find yourself taking on more than you can handle? Even if you actually enjoy the challenge, want to keep yourself busy, or like helping others, this will eventually backfire. As a result, our schedules get cluttered, and nothing gets done.
However, you “don’t use this tip as an excuse to take on less,” states entrepreneur Renzo Costarella. “Once you know how much you can produce, only take on jobs that you know you can deliver on.”
People will lose faith in you whenever you constantly promise something and don’t deliver. Not to mention, how can you stay organized when you can’t even finish your own work? “Remember, it’s always better to underpromise and overdeliver than the latter.”
6. Be like a chef.
Even if you don’t aspire to be Gordon Ramsey, you can still learn a lot from how chefs organize their kitchens.
The system that makes kitchens go is called mise-en-place, or, literally, ‘put in place.'” explains NPR. “It’s a French phrase that means to gather and arrange the ingredients and tools needed for cooking.”
In the culinary world, however, the term has a deeper meaning. Many chefs refer to it as their religion. Through focus and self-discipline, it transforms the lives of its practitioners and helps them manage immense amounts of labor and material.
“I know people who have it tattooed on them,” says Melissa Gray, a Culinary Institute of America senior. “It really is a way of life … it’s a way of concentrating your mind to only focus on the aspects you need to be working on at that moment, to rid yourself of distractions.”
Many culinary students carry this habit with them outside of the kitchen as well. “You mise-en-place your life. You set up your books for class, your chef whites, your shoes are shined, you know everything you need every step of the day,” says Alexandra Tibbats, another student at the CIA.
So, how can you achieve this level of organization? To start, you need to compose a lit. And, then, become one with it so that you don’t have to refer to it constantly. However, the key to mise-en-place is the mindset.
Be spending time preparing; you’re ready to go. That means giving everything a home so that it’s always accessible when needed. The tenet, however? Working clean.
7. Don’t wait to tidy up.
Organized people don’t put off cleaning the sink or desk with dishes or putting away laundry until tomorrow. All messes are cleaned up, and their personal areas and workspaces are organized.
Keeping things tidy is mainly motivated by the fact that any work put off today will require more attention tomorrow. So, after a long day of work, you may not find your favorite chore to clean up the kitchen; it’s best to just get it out of the way.
Also, tidying up saves us 2.5 days a year searching for lost things.
And, when everything is in order, we’re less stressed.
“Most of us are operating in a state of chronic stress; we’re always on,” David W. Ballard, Psy.D., the assistant executive director for the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence, told HuffPost Healthy Living. So being tidy is how some of us are “able to really stay focused and stay organized do things to manage their stress effectively.”
8. Two things.
Make it a habit to get rid of two things per day to avoid out-of-control situations and clutter. For instance, the next time an empty box sits in the corner, break it down and toss it into the recycling. If you’re trying to declutter your calendar, find an entry that can be delegated or deleted.
Whatever you choose, select two things every day to cut out, eliminate, and discard.
9. The 15-minute pick-me-up plan.
After a busy day, establish a time to pick up and put away everything you didn’t put away the day before. If you’re a parent, then this is mandatory for your kids. Even better, you can make it fun by seeing who can put away the most items in a given time limit.
If you’re at work, you compete against yourself by setting a 15-minute timer to see how much of your workspace you can get organized.
10. Use the recycling bin/trash basket.
“Organizing unnecessary items is wasted energy,” says Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. “It is amazing how much more in control I feel just by ridding myself of now outdated articles I’d like to read ‘someday,’ or countless meeting notes from which relevant action items have already been extracted.”
11. Remember, multitasking is a myth.
This can’t be stressed enough. There is no such thing as multitasking. The human brain just isn’t wired to do more than one thing one at a time.
What you’re doing is switching tasks. As a result, your splitting your attention between jobs. Consequently, this can slow you down, make more mistakes, and stress you out. Plus, it can get messy.
The better solution? Focus on one thing at a time.
12. Divide your desk into specific zones.
“In his book How to Set Up Your Desk, Matt Perman offers a simple system: Move through projects on your desk from left to right. Keep the right side of your desk free and store most of your supplies and incoming papers on the left,” writes Melanie Pinola. “As you start to deal with paperwork or other items that need your attention, move them to the right and then finally off your desk at the end of the day (or back to the left to resume working on in the morning).”
Furthermore, this concept can also be applied to computer work. “If you work with multiple windows or monitors, keep your ‘inbox’–email app, Twitter app, Slack app, tabs of articles you need to reference, etc., on the left,” recommends Pinola. “Keep the apps and tabs you’re directly working on in the right half of your monitor. Move things left to right to organize your projects visually. It’s like Kanban boards, but with paper on your desk or tabs in your browser.”
Remember to use this setup at work and home “to minimize friction switching from one environment to the other.”
As opposed to reacting to events as they occur, making the right decisions at the right time is crucial to success.
Organize your tasks by prioritizing them and boxing the rest. In other words, decide what can wait and what needs to be done immediately. Then, to keep your mind as productive and focused as possible, place everything other than what you’re working on in a small box.
What if you think that everything is a priority? Well, you might want to use the Eisenhower Matrix. Using this tool, you can prioritize your tasks based on what needs to be done;
14. Block out specific times for email.
Set aside blocks of time in your schedule for checking your email instead of constantly checking your inbox. You should respond to any urgent messages, star any emails that you will need to tackle later and categorize informational emails into folders during these times.
Organizing your inbox will help you stay focused without becoming distracted and ensure that you respond to emails on time.
Unsubscribing from all emails that slip through your spam filter will help you become more organized at work and in life.
As these emails arrive, unsubscribe as soon as they come. Next, you can delete these messages for good and pat yourself on the back to make another step towards the perfect organization.
16. Plan out tomorrow today.
An organized person prepares for the future. Whether that’s tomorrow, the upcoming week or month, or even the entire year. Planning is key.
This could be making to-do lists, reviewing your calendar, packing lunch, or laying out your clothes. You won’t be rushing around in the morning, which is clutch if you have children. And, you’ll also wake up relaxed and ready to take on the day.
It is important to remember that a regular morning routine will help you not only start your day on the right foot. But it will also help you remain productive all day long.
Making a plan.
In addition, you won’t waste time in your schedule when preparing for tomorrow. As Renzo Costarella writes in a previous Calendar article, “If your calendar looks empty day today, then it’s probably a sign that you aren’t getting yourself out there enough.” Instead of waiting, “make a plan and address any necessary changes the night before rather than the morning of.”
17. Delegate, outsource, and automate — oh my!
Even if you’re organized, you still have responsibilities, meetings, and deadlines to meet. However, there is less stress because problems have been resolved gradually.
Identify a task on your to-do list that you can eliminate, delegate, or outsource to someone else. Or, maybe, you can find a tool that automates business tasks like scheduling or responding to emails.
18. Question bargains and freebies.
“Just because there’s a fantastic sale doesn’t mean you have to purchase it,” writes Deanna Ritchie in another Calendar article. “For example, I recently got an email notifying me that there was a buy one, get one deal on sunglasses.”
Sure. It was a great deal. “But, I already have two decent pairs of sunglasses, so there was no need to add to the collection,” says Deanna.
The same idea is accurate when it comes to freebies. Just because something is free doesn’t mean you need it in yours. Like I get a lot of freebies as a thank you from my cellphone provider.
Some of these items I can actually use. For instance, a couple of summers, they gave away a free grill spatula. Since my old one broke, this was something I could use. But, many times, these are unnecessary items since I already one them, like flashlights and umbrellas.
19. Sort at the source.
“My favorite organizational tool is my post office box,” adds Leo. “I visit it once a week (usually Saturday), stand at the counter in the lobby, and sort my mail. After that, I use the P.O.’s trash bin.”
“What comes into my house is only what I need to have,” he says. “Bills and letters and checks go into my inbox (which, by the way, is a box with a lid wrapped in lovely fabric and has a yellow bow on it, so it looks like a present sitting on my office desk).” He keeps all of his reading material on the table next to his chaise lounge, where he reads every day.
20. Audit your calendar.
“The beauty of having a calendar is the fact that you can often control what get’s added to it,” says Choncé. “This is why you should audit your calendar regularly to declutter it if you have a habit of overbooking your schedule.”
“Go through and assess the relevancy of certain meetings and appointments,” she suggests. “Can you consolidate anything? Can you even out your schedule to attend some events in the near or distant future?”
Are you able to address a topic by email rather than in a 30-minute meeting? You should feel organized and accomplished when you look at your calendar. Keep clutter at bay by not adding unnecessary items and tasks to your calendar.
Image Credit: Monstera; Pexels; Thank you!
Editor-in-Chief at Calendar. Former Editor-in-Chief and writer at Startup Grind. Freelance editor at Entrepreneur.com. Deanna loves to help build startups, and guide them to discover the business value of their online content and social media marketing.