Anyone who knows me is aware that I am a hyper-organised person. I live in my diary and Filofax and am constantly making plans and schedules and lists… I cannot get through the day without it, I feel so lost and rushed for time without knowing exactly what’s happening and when.
This might sound like a nightmare to some people, but I genuinely find it makes life so much easier to be this rigid with planning and organisation rather than just drifting through the day unplanned- especially when you have a million things to do!
In this sense, I have decided to write today’s post on some organisation essentials. Next month I’m going to do a post about Spring Cleaning which I do every few months just to keep my bedroom/life free of the inevitable junk pile-up. For now, I’ve compiled a little list of tips that have helped me through my everyday life and turned my days from chaotic and messy to efficient and actually quite calm.
1. Get a diary!!!
This first stage is the MOST important as this is what all of the organisation is based around. It’s no good trying to remember to-do lists and dates in your head because something is bound to slip out and then you’re left wondering what that thing you had to do was- trust me, I’ve been there and it’s really unproductive! I have a Filofax which I got for my 18th birthday. Although you might say that’s quite a boring gift for an 18 year old, my boyfriend knew that I am always making plans and lists so it was actually the perfect thing to get me: I’ve used it every single day since!
Filofaxes are great because they’re very good quality leather and can be refilled with diary inserts every year, plus they come with notes pages, wallets, finance planners, insertable calculators, everything! I also have a calendar that hangs in my room so that when passing I can see upcoming events easily. List everything important that you might need to remember; be colourful and creative to make priority items stand out! (I use highlighters and stickers with mine with I find very effective).
2. Make a to do list
This may sound silly but I always make a list of every single little thing I have to do in a day. I sit down the night before and write out my list, including little things like washing my hair, removing nail varnish (I’m always forgetting and always have chipped bright blue nails for an important event ie interviews), even texting or calling a relative- it all goes onto the list. Writing it out is important because it gets your mind thinking about what you have to do and you’ll be surprised at the things you’ve suppressed that come to surface; perhaps an unpleasant chore such as taking out the bins!
3. Make a schedule
Even though lots of my days are really hectic, I still manage to fit everything in because I make a schedule of all of the tasks that need completing and file it down to the last minute! This might sound completely over the top, but it’s so easy to find yourself taking hours to do one thing and running out of time to do another. I sit down the night before, take the ‘to do’ list and make a schedule that works around any plans I might have. I include waking up, getting ready (taking longer if I need to wash/dry my hair etc) and my night time routine and manage to fit all of my tasks in.
I generally time each task at taking between half an hour to an hour depending on what it is, and group several together such as household chores so that I’m using the time more efficiently. Prioritise tasks that might take longer or ones that are due to be done sooner ie coursework or projects- this way you’ll have more time to do them and won’t be stressing out the night before!
4. Get into a routine
I don’t like sleeping in most days; I know that sounds insane coming from a 20 year old, but it actually hurts my back/chest to stay in bed for too long and often I wake up feeling extremely stiff especially in my ribs. I like to wake up at around 8:30 each day so that I have a full day to make the most of, plus waking up at the same time makes it easier to stay in ‘school/work mode’.
I usually do repeated tasks on a certain day of the week; grocery shopping after planning my meals is done on a Monday so I have food for the week, blog posts are done two weeks in advance and usually on Wednesday or Thursday, my laundry is generally done on a Saturday, changing my bed/hoovering my room on a Sunday that it’s fresh for the start of the week… Getting into little habits of doing certain things on a certain day means that you’ll soon instinctively know when to work around necessary chores and you’ll be able to plan your time more effectively.
My day of rest, ironically, is a Sunday, where I normally have done most of my tasks during the week so I can afford to take it easier. If you establish a routine with waking up, eating at certain times and a nighttime regime, you’ll find that you know when to centre certain things around and you’ll be able to make the most of your days.
5. Don’t overload yourself
I have this problem a lot, especially during school time when I have loads of work to do as well as personal things. The most important thing is not to let everything overwhelm you. By being more organised, you can avoid the gut-wrenching panic of realising you’ve forgotten a certain deadline or not bought your mum a birthday/Mother’s Day present as you’re on the way to her house! I also hate knowing I’ve double-booked myself because I really don’t like cancelling on people, it feels so rude.
By being organised like this you can avoid all of these stressful situations and it’ll make your life so much easier. Don’t pile too much onto one day, plan it out early enough so you can maybe stretch certain tasks out over several days if necessary. Getting things done early is an amazing feeling because you don’t have to worry about it for ages!
I always like to get my Christmas shopping done in November because I hate crowded shops, so I either order online or brave my fellow early bird shoppers and have everything wrapped and stored in my wardrobe by the week after my birthday. The same goes for birthday presents- all bought a month before the actual date so that they’re ready to go by the time it comes around. I also like to make a finance plan that covers the year on a monthly basis, listing essential expenses against incoming money, and budgeting for big things such as bills, a Christmas present fund (it’s so much easier than just spending whatever you have left come the end of the year!).
Less stress all around!
These tips might not apply to everyone- some of my friends think I definitely over-plan but they’re usually the ones doing their Christmas shopping on December 24th and staying up all of the night before a deadline to get it finished. These aren’t my kind of people, I cannot imagine the stress that would put me under!! I know people say that life is very unexpected and chaotic and you can’t have everything written in stone, but I definitely think that my organising the things that you can control, those unexpected curve-balls will be much easier to handle.
I think that with a little organisation, life can be so much easier. Sure you still have to do all of those crappy jobs and chores, but by scheduling them and writing it all down, you won’t forget the important dates and you’ll be able to work with a very efficient system!
I hope this helps even just one person become a little less stressed with their lifestyle!
Have a lovely day!