Making the time to get organized is an investment in yourself and your business.
With everything going on in the world around us – family matters (both big and small), serving clients and customers, marketing our businesses, running errands, working on our finances – who has the time or money to organize? YOU DO! Organizing does not have to take forever or cost money. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.
Take all the time you need.
How much time do you have to organize? Half a day or whole day or a week would be great, but most of us are not that lucky. If you want to get organized as quickly as possible, it is worth setting aside an appropriate chunk of time to achieve that stress relief. To get twice as much done in the same amount of time, enlist a friend, family member, or professional organizer (bonus: we bring experience, ideas, and answers).
If that much time is not a possibility (at least at the moment), then utilize pockets of time. Do you watch TV, watch commercials, ride the bus, wait at the doctor’s office, take car trips, wash the laundry, arrive early for meetings, lie awake at night, etc.? If so: there are plenty of organizing tasks you can knock off your plate without upsetting your schedule:
- Sort through the contents of a drawer
- Go through your magazines and catalogs
- Clean out the refrigerator
- Go through your CDs or DVDs
- Sift through your closet (or part of it)
- Clean off a shelf'
- Clear off your desk
- Go through accessories like shoes or purses
- Organize your computer desktop or a set of sub folders
- Organize photographs (into a scrapbook or box, if that's your thing)
- Purge some files
Find something else small to organize that is quick and will give you a sense of accomplishment. These tasks may seem small or insignificant on their own but any progress is better than none. And, if you think about it – these little tasks make up the things that drive us nuts every day.
- Your overstuffed and disorganized file cabinet is full of things you haven't seen in years and may not even need.
- There's probably a decent amount of stuff in your closet that's worn out, out of style, the wrong size, etc. If you feel frustrated about not finding anything to wear or not having room for anything new, clearing some space will help.
- If you feel stressed out before you begin your work day, its likely your desk is a mess or you know you need to access something and you'll have to spend your morning searching around on your computer for it.
You get the idea. We often tell ourselves that we don't have the time to get organized – or we really only think about it once a year (December, or January, or spring cleaning). But if you're seeking more ease, more joy, more free time, more money – you can't afford to to NOT get organized.
Make it part of your routine.
Like planning or budgeting, organizing is not something you can do once (or even once a year) and achieve any level of success with it. Sorry to burst your bubble. The best way for you not only make progress, but maintain your efforts and improvements, is to make organizing a regular part of your life.
- Organize your desk at the end of every day
- Schedule 15-30 minutes every Friday afternoon to tidy up your office before you wrap up work for the week.
- Consolidate notes on a regular basis (each Friday, I gather Post-its and other random scattered notes and put them in my project management system.)
- Check in on your supplies monthly and re-order anything you're running low on – so you always have what you need when you need it.
These tiny actions, done regularly, will help you cut down on chaos and the stress of disorganization.
A small budget is no excuse.
Not enough money for a custom closet, garage or office set up? Not a problem. Go shopping – in your house. Do you have wood scraps from previous projects? Use three pieces to create a free-standing shelf to better utilize wasted shelf space. Do you have random screw and nails? They make great hooks for light weight items. Are there empty baskets, containers, or shoe boxes around? These can function as low-cost pull-out drawers. Would you like to find something in the junk drawer? Create drawer dividers with card board, wood, empty plastic containers, check boxes, etc.
I love mugs, but how many can one person drink from? I use mugs to house different kinds of pens. I use a $2 photo box to store the packing materials (like tape, stickers, labels and thank you cards) that I send out with my planner orders. All my extra cords and cables are in a similar box.
Taking the time, however you fit it in, to organize your home, office, files – whatever! – is an investment in yourself, your well being and your bottom line.