10 Best Tips On How To Organize Your Life (2020) – Learn Essentialism
Do you ever feel like there are things you want to do, yet there’s so little time? Or maybe you have too many ideas, but don’t know where to start? In this article, we’ll explore the 10 best tips I know on how to organize your life.
You see, the skill to organize your life isn’t innate. It’s a learned ability – even to those who we think have it all figured out. So if you ever feel like you’re confused about what to do, or how to get your life in order, read on. I’ve created this article just for you.
1. Learn To Prioritize
“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” – Greg McKeown, Essentialism
The first key in putting order in your life is to learn how to prioritize things that are most valuable to you. Not everything should be a priority. After all, if everything’s a priority, nothing is. So you must choose what you’re going to put energy into, day after day. Try this:
- Step 1: Write down everything you want to accomplish in your day. In short, create your to-do list.
- Step 2: Determine the #1 most important thing you need to do. Just pick one, then put the #1 beside it. If you can’t ask yourself the question, “If you could only do one thing today and feel productive, what would it be?”
- Step 3: Decide on the 2nd most important thing. Then put #2 beside it.
- Step 4: Choose the 3rd most important thing and put #3.
- Step 5: Once you have those, commit to finishing them in order. Do #1 first, then #2 after. Once you’re done with the first one, that’s the only time you start the next task.
All the others in your to-do list are done ONLY after you finish your priorities.
Now, you don’t have to work on one task in one fell swoop. The brain can only handle so much mental activity. So you can break it down into smaller chunks of time. For example, work on a task for 30 minutes, then break for 10 minutes. After that, go back to work.
Scheduling mini breaks helps keep your mind fresh and sharp. The only important thing you must remember is to do one thing at a time. Focus your energy on accomplishing that task, and you can be sure you’re using your time in the most effective way possible.
2. Plan Your Tomorrow Tonight
To do the first tip, you need to plan ahead. And the best way to do that is by planning your tomorrow, tonight. That means before going to bed, list down the things you’re going to do.
Now, there are a lot of benefits you’re going to get from doing this. First, you won’t have a blank start. Once you get out of bed, you know what to do and the order of your priority.
Second, and probably something you’re not aware of, is that your brain works on your plans. Meaning, it processes it and gives you ideas on how to finish it the fastest way possible.
As you sleep, your brain works to process everything that happens in your day. It solidifies information and stores it as memory. While that happens, it connects old pieces of information into these new memories. And that’s how we form new ideas.
So if you plan your tomorrow, your brain processes it so you can be more productive. Later tonight, put it into practice. Jot the single most important thing you must do tomorrow on a paper. Then let it simmer in your mind. This is one of the best tricks I know on how to organize your life.
3. Choose One Tool And Stick With It
Believe it or not, one tool (or ecosystem) is enough to help organize your life. You don’t need to maintain a ton of “duct taped” productivity tools to keep you in order.
Truth be told, you have a powerful computer that can help you organize. It’s handy, powerful, and convenient to use. What is it, you ask? It’s your smartphone!
And the thing is, it has some default apps that you can already leverage. As for me, since I’m using an android phone, I use Google Calendar for reminders.
The ones I can’t put in a calendar, I create an alarm to remind me. I also use Google Keep and ColorNote to jot down my ideas. It syncs into my email so I don’t experience any hassle in backing it up.
That’s what I mean by an ecosystem: everything is kept in one easy-to-access environment. You can also use Evernote or Notion. These are free, but when you upgrade, they let you use some cool features.
Use Journals, Too
If you like the process of writing and note taking in analog, I suggest you keep a Journal. This will help you keep everything in order: your schedule, experiences, things to track, etc.
Bullet Journaling is great, too! I find that a system for journaling helps keep you accountable. You don’t have to do everything the system says. In fact, I encourage you to create your own.
4. Remember That “No” Is The Ultimate Productivity Hack
Most of the time, people lack the time and energy to do what’s important because they say yes to too many things. Instead of evaluating everything that falls in their lap, their default response is to agree.
The reasons vary. They may want to please others, feel important, productive, involved, or whatever. But as they say yes more and more, their attention and effectiveness declines. They’re spread too thin to do the few things that actually matter.
You and I know better. As essentialists, we know that saying “Yes!” is far too valuable a response that be default. We respectfully decline on others’ tasks so we can focus on the critical few that make a difference. Now, it’s different from person to person. That’s why you need to be aware of what you value most.
You might be thinking that when you say “No” a lot, people won’t come to like you. In my experience, that rarely happens when you tell them your reason why. Try this:
“Hey *Name*, sorry but I’m afraid I have to decline on [insert what they want you to do]. The reason is because my hands are still full with the [insert your priority] and saying yes to you would be unfair. I know I can’t give my 100% to your project since I’m going to be spread too thin. Thanks for understanding!”
When you’re respectful of your and their time, people will come to respect you more. It’s the little actions like these that earn you the trust and respect of your colleagues.
5. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!
Another one of the best tips I know on how to organize your life is by simplifying it. You don’t have to own all the stuff you have in your room or house. In fact, when you actually evaluate what you have, you’ll find that 80% of the time, you use only the 20% of items in your house.
Do this simple experiment: for a full month, observe the things that you’re using daily. If you want, you can even note the things you’re using. The coffee mugs, plates, pillows, clothes, gadgets, and all the other things you use. At the end of the month, you’ll notice that you’re using only a handful of items much of the time.
Now, there are two ways to simplify your life almost immediately. First is to buy less stuff. This is hard to do, especially if you’re used to buying a lot of things. It takes time to develop the habit of evaluating the importance of every purchase. So take your time.
Second, is to start decluttering. Start by looking at your closet and find out what you use often. The things you haven’t used in a while (within a year), you can decide whether to donate, recycle, or sell.
Declutter is one of the most therapeutic things I know. And the reason is because it feels as if you’re clearing away clutter from your life. This one small habit gives such a big result in life – I urge you to try it.
6. Manage Your Finances
Your finances are a big part of your life. In fact, all your working years are dedicated to build a financial engine that can sustain you throughout your life. That means creating businesses, investing, or earning income through your job.
However, you have to be smart in managing your money as well. In fact, it’s reported that finances and money-related concerns are the number 1 stress of most professionals. Especially millennials.
Here are 3 things you can start doing today:
Automate Your Savings
If you want to have money in the bank, you need to start saving it. It’s the first step in learning how to manage your income. And the thing is, it really isn’t hard to do.
You can set up automatic savings by going to your local bank. Most of the banks nowadays offer something like this as a feature for opening an account. Once you have enough money saved up as an emergency fund, it’s time to look for investments.
One trick I know to help manage your savings is to treat it like a tax. When it’s automatic, you don’t have to pay attention to it. And you control yourself from spending what you saved.
Now, I’m in no way giving you financial strategies or advice. Just sharing what I know works for me and others I know. I suggest you go to your financial adviser for more information on what investment plans fit you.
Automate / Schedule Bills Payment
Next thing you can do is to automate or schedule your bills payment. This will save you time, effort, and sometimes money by preventing late payment charges. All because you took the time to set it up or schedule it.
Tracking your expenses may be hard to do at the beginning. After all, not everyone is comfortable in seeing where they spend their money. But it’s helpful because after the end of each month (or quarter), you can evaluate your expenses.
By doing that, you can optimize your spending. That means you can make sure you’re buying things that are important to you and that make you happy. Consuming isn’t bad. It’s consumption without purpose that leads to unhappiness.
7. Create a List of Your Passwords
We live in a digital world and a big chunk of our life is allotted to using digital programs. This is why it’s important to make sure that you secure your account, especially your passwords.
Now the thing is, for some people, their passwords are something related to them. That’s why it’s easy to guess, especially for hackers. Aside from that, another problem is that because of the many accounts you keep, you tend to forget your password.
For most people, the solution is to use the same password over and over again. And that’s dangerous because when scammers know one of your passwords, they can log into your many different accounts.
This is why you must create and keep a list of your password. Or if you want better security, buy an “password vault.” As for me, I use LastPass because I find that it’s super easy to use and it’s very much secure. It’s by far one of the best ways I know on how to organize your life – especially your digital life.
8. Build Small Habits That Can Improve Your Life
Habits are one of the most crucial things you must be aware of if you want to learn how to organize your life. In fact, studies by neurobiologists, cognitive psychologists, and others say that 40% to 95% of our behaviors are habitual. That’s why it’s important to build good habits. It’s literally going to build and improve your life.
Here are some ideas on what small habits you can build that can help you organize your life:
Now, you and I won’t get this perfect in a snap. It’s impossible! Especially if you’re doing the bad habit for a long time now. The important thing isn’t to get it overnight. It’s to develop these over time.
9. Keep A Bucket List
If you haven’t created a bucket list yet, I suggest you start creating one now. If you don’t know what a bucket list is, it’s a list of things you want to do before kicking the bucket. (Read: before you die.)
It’s like a list of things you want to be, do, or have in life. Here’s the important thing you need to remember: it has to be YOUR bucket list. Don’t put things that you think other people will find cool. Instead, put the things that will make you joyful in life – things that deep inside, you want to do.
Some examples are:
- Travel destinations you want to go to
- Things you want to buy for yourself
- Gifts you want to give
- Food you want to eat
- Experiences you want to go through
Then start crossing one thing at a time. It doesn’t have to be completed right away. You can add to it or subtract the things that don’t matter after some time.
A bucket list will help you on how to organize your life by giving it direction. It’s where you’ll find out the things that are important to you right now. Start making one and enjoy the process.
10. Physical and Mental Exercise
If you want a life in order, you mustn’t neglect the importance of physical and mental wellness. Honestly, physical exercise is one of the hardest things I need to learn how to improve on. Mental exercises like thinking, solving puzzles, reading, etc. come easier for me.
I don’t have any friends or relatives that exercise or go to the gym regularly. And I don’t know the proper routines. But that doesn’t mean I should ignore my physical health. If you want to start getting your blood running through your veins, then start with some stretching. Then build your routines from there.
Exercising will give your body the energy boost you need to keep you focused and productive everyday. You don’t have to be a freakish athletic to enjoy the benefits of exercise – both physically and mentally. Start moving and get your body active.
Final Thoughts On How To Organize Your Life
There’s one fact of life that we all must learn to accept: We can’t do everything all at once. This is why it’s important to try and keep your life in order. You need to prioritize the things you value most if you want to make sure that they get done. Stand at the door of your own schedule.
After all, you only have a limited time here on Earth. And choosing to focus on doing the most important things – the few essentials – will make your life organized. I hope you learned something.
To a life of essence,
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