It’s once again time to put some New Year’s resolutions in motion. One of the best ones to implement is to make your life more organized and efficient.
Improving your organizational skills offers quite a few benefits. First, you’ll be able to be more efficient no matter what you do. It’s far easier to practice efficiency when you’re not burdened by chaos. Secondly, you’ll be able to lower your stress level. According to the American Institute of Stress, more than half of all the people in our country deal with daily stress. You’ll gain health advantages if you can wean yourself off the stress machine by being better organized.
Want another great reason to have all your ducks in a row? When you’re organized, you leave room to deal with life’s most unexpected surprises. Anything can happen, from a sudden job offer to a change in your private life. The more energy you’ve devoted toward making your life more organized upfront, the more energy you’ll free up for later.
Only you know what needs to be organized in your world. However, any of the following suggestions should help you achieve your organization-related resolutions.
1. Declutter once a month.
Clutter is more than just an eyesore or nuisance. All that stuff can be harmful to your mental well-being, too. Clutter has been linked to everything from the development of anxiety to the loss of focus.
The problem with clutter is that it can get out of hand quickly. Let’s say you spend all day taming your messy office or your trinket-filled den. That’s fine, but without a plan, the clutter will creep back sooner or later. The only way to end it for good is to go on regular decluttering campaigns.
Once a month, mark off at least a day to focus on picking up clutter. If something doesn’t have a home, find one. If you can’t find a place, consider getting rid of the item by selling it, donating it, or throwing it away. By structuring your decluttering efforts, you’ll avoid the clutter getting too massive again.
2. Lean into subscription services.
We’re living in a subscription service era. Globally, more than three-quarters of people rely on subscription services. Why shouldn’t they? The right subscription can ship anything to your door at the cadence you prefer. That means fewer trips to stores and no more running out of the stuff you need.
Companies like Dollar Shave Club and Stitch Fix made huge splashes by revolutionizing the subscription industry. At this point, they’re just two of the countless types of subscription services available. Now, you can have anything sent to you regularly, right down to Nom Nom‘s real, fresh dog food crafted by board-certified veterinary nutritionists. With these services, you can always have just what you need when you need it.
Don’t assume you can’t get subscriptions for a particular product. However, you might be surprised by all the subscriptions waiting for you to discover them.
3. Schedule all your personal appointments.
Many of us spend our lives overcrowding our business calendars. The problem is that a business calendar can bleed into the personal realm pretty fast. Suddenly, you realize that you’re trying to fit gym visits and dental appointments around work. That’s a backward approach and can cut into your work-life balance.
Solving this issue is best handled as a two-step process. First, consolidate all your calendars into one calendar that can be your source of truth. Then, take time to block off all your personal time. Don’t limit yourself to just outside meetings, either. Instead, set aside time for all critical moments, such as family walks or soccer pick-up trips.
You’re actually retraining your brain to weigh your personal commitments as important. Too often, those of us who are high achievers end up making too many time-related sacrifices for our occupations. Prioritizing time for you allows you to enjoy your off-hours without guilt.
4. Delegate like crazy.
Delegation is a wonderful tool to get your life more organized. Remember: When you’re trying to do everything, you’re bound to stretch yourself way too thin. And that tends to be when mistakes happen. By giving some of your duties to others, you set the stage to be able to do your best more often.
Be sure to delegate at home and not just on the job, though. Many people forget that delegating to a partner or child can be just as advantageous as delegating to a colleague. So, for example, if your spouse has time to do something and you don’t, delegation makes sense.
At first, you might find it a little challenging to delegate. But, in time, you’ll begin to get more accustomed to the feeling of passing off some of your to-dos.
5. Set up a household budget.
Want to be more organized with your finances, so you know where money is going? Make this year the one when you finally set up a household budget. Of course, you don’t need any fancy software, either. But a spreadsheet listing your monthly income and expenses is a fantastic beginning.
Once you have your spreadsheet in hand, you can begin to drill down and get your life more organized with your money. You might notice, for instance, that you’re living paycheck to paycheck. In that case, you could consider spending less in some of your “expense” categories.
Nothing feels worse than realizing your spending is out of control. Organizing your finances is a surefire path to money management success.
6. Automate routine bills.
Speaking of money, have you ever missed paying a bill? It’s an awful, sinking feeling. It can also have serious ramifications on your credit score if you’re constantly delinquent. Paying bills on time, every time, is essential for your financial health.
As long as you’re on top of your budget and make sure you have enough money in your accounts, try automating your bills. Many utility providers and other suppliers allow you to give them the ability to pull money monthly. You’ll get an email or text notification receipt but won’t have to take any extra steps.
In addition to making sure you don’t get any “past due” notices, you’ll lower your stress level. Knowing that you have covered your bills removes any concerns that you will wreck your credit.
7. Say “no” more often.
Funny enough, most people don’t say “no” as much as they say “yes.” Yet refusing to add more to your plate can be a good thing. On the other hand, when you constantly take on more responsibilities, you can wind up in burnout territory.
You can plan on feeling a little awkward at saying “no” if it’s not your go-to response. The awkwardness could be even more pronounced if you’re declining more work from your boss. However, as long as you’re upfront about your capacity and not defiant, you can make “no” work in your favor.
Remind yourself that telling others your bandwidth is full is okay. Most people will understand, including your employer. However, by embracing “no,” you’ll bypass the feeling of sinking underwater or getting lost in impossible-to-meet deadlines.
This year, give yourself the gift of organization. Then, you’ll have more room for enjoyable experiences and perhaps become an efficient role model for those around you.