‘For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.’- Benjamin Franklin
Recently, I met one of my old friends. He has a similar nature of work as mine, and has the same work hours. But whenever I meet him, I always see him relaxed and fresh. He’s a passionate football player, loves to play drums, is a professional salsa and jazz dancer, great at photography and never looks so busy. Since the time, I’ve known him, I’ve seen him pursuing all his hobbies. He plays football on weekends, gives dance lessons, takes drumming classes, and does professional photography every now and then.
My life was in a mess. I would get late to office every day, never have anything to wear, and forget important things to do. Not just that, I would always end up getting scolded by my boss and could never finish my targets on time. I knew why. But there was hardly anything I could do about it. It had become a habit, and I had no clue how it could be broken.
I asked him how does he do all this. I can’t even finish my regular chores every day and keep piling things up; let alone taking hobbies so seriously. He said, ‘There’s only one thing. I am organized. You are not. I too get 24 hours in a day. It’s just that I utilize my 24 hours smartly. You too can organize your life and be happy.’ And then, he told me to follow just 8 simple steps to organize your life. Since I needed it so badly, I started following his advice. And guess what, I am actually becoming more organized. I started it just as an experiment, but the results were great.
He told me to make a list of all the important activities for the day and go by the list. Now that I’ve started making a to-do list and sticking it at my desk, I rarely forget any important things. It was a little difficult to complete all the tasks on the list by the end of the day, but I slowly developed a habit to finish all the tasks on the list that day itself. A to-do list is the foundation to organize your life.
‘The cleaner your surroundings, the more you like that place. Messy rooms cause irritation and the mind stops working,’ he said. A desk full of office files and papers and no space to work? Keeping a clean office desk and a clean house lets you think freely. And, when your thoughts flow freely, you can work better.
Delegate Trivial Activities
It is not necessary to do everything by yourself. You can always delegate the not so important things to others, both at work and at home. Delegating is one of the most essential managerial qualities. And, I think everyone should learn this skill. It helps reducing your pile of work, and improves your people management skills.
Cut Out Unproductive Activities
Most of us, who have disarrayed lifestyles are usually consumed by unproductive activities. There are so many useless things that we do every day. So many unproductive activities take up our time, that by the time we start working on the important things, we are already tired and exhausted. Try to cut out as many unimportant things as you can.
Have a Wake up and Sleep Time
This was my biggest challenge. I always slept at a random time, which would usually be late night. I had no fixed time to wake up. Waking up early in the morning and sleeping early was the biggest task. I struggled hard initially, but it helped. When you have fixed timings for waking up and going to bed, you know when to start working and when to stop it. Gradually, you will learn to manage your work within that time. Another one of those hacks that will help you organize your life faster than you thought possible.
Important Activities First
The most important things should be finished as soon as possible. Great if they can be done in the first half of the day. Make it a habit to start working on the most important tasks soon after you wake up. What usually happens is that we tend to waste most of the time when we wake up in useless activities. This takes away our morning energy. Try to utilize your morning energy for the best.
A place for everything
Organized people have a fixed place for everything. They divide things into categories and place things likewise. Be it their workplace or their home, they have a fixed place for everything. Clothes, accessories, shoes, books, everything has a place. Every drawer in the kitchen has a label. Once you start doing it, you will understand how it helps save time and how it simplifies things.
Know when to use social media
Social media is one of the biggest distractions of our generation. It is very hard to keep yourself away from it for a long time. Attending to social media while at work was one of my worst habits. It was difficult at first, but I had to follow this. Giving a special time slot for social media is very important. You must know that social media distracts and limit your usage as much as you can. It can be while you are travelling, when you’re just back from work or before you go to bed.
It was hard to believe that within a few weeks of following these little steps, I could save a lot of time. Now I get enough time in the evening to catch up with a friend or workout at the gym without being worried about the left-over tasks. Being organized doesn’t mean being perfect. It is just the ability to live your life the way you want, but better.