In a world where chaos is the natural order of the universe, being or getting organized can seem like a destination we will never quite reach.
But what if rather than a destination, we can consider organization as a process. What if instead we saw organization as a way for us to enjoy our lives more fully, by keeping all the things and stuff in our world in some sense of order? And what if rather than wanting to give up and give into the mess, organization could actually be fun?
I’m convinced it’s possible and in this article I’m going to share with you some of my favorite ways to stay organized, while still having fun!
Invest in an Amazing Planner
Not just any ol’ calendar or spiral notebook — I’m talking about getting yourself a heavy duty “master planner” here. What’s a “master planner”? It’s that one place where you keep track of everything in your life. Sometimes it’s necessary to have separate planners for work or home, but the concept of a “master planner” means that one of them contains all the details of your life.
Currently, my master planner is the “Time & To Do” planner by a “teacherpreneur” who created it after trying to juggle her teaching schedule, instructional coaching, and personal life. I have so much respect for teachers and like the rest of us, the creator of this planner struggled with too much to do and not enough time. What I love about this planner is that it helps me organize everything in my head into an “external memory system” so I can see it written out and reference it later. I can see my schedule, priorities, and to-do’s all at the same time. There is even a digital version for those of you who prefer using your electronic devices to help stay organized. Check it out at: http://timeandtodoplanner.com/shop/.
Get Your Friends Involved
Partnering up with a friend or co-worker to sort through your things together is one of the best ways to combine organization and fun. Set a date and take turns trading off helping each other sort, declutter and organize. This approach works really well for both your home and/or work place.
It helps beforehand to identify one or two areas you want to focus on so you aren’t tempted to get off track. I also find it useful to be clear about what I or the other person wants to achieve. Sometimes the goal is to simply arrange and organize; for someone else, it is to sort, toss, and donate. Having designated toss out or donate containers nearby helps to gather the items quickly and working together gives you another set of muscles to move the containers out of the space quickly.
Also, I find it helpful to agree that if an item has a designated spot it goes back to that place. If a place isn’t available, it goes into the donate or toss box. And don’t forget, part of the satisfaction of this organization experience is when you actually drop those donated items off at your local charity!
Update Your Supplies
I love this step, and the start of a new year is always a great time (and excuse) to go shopping and update your organizing supplies. Let’s face it, a new pen, planner, folder, highlighter and sticky note pack makes the task of organizing more fun!
This is the time to invest in and update tools like folders, hole punches, planners, pens, pencils, paper clips, etc., that you really like. I am a little obsessed with the products by Mara-Mi. The products are high quality and the artistic detail in their designs is really beautiful and seriously fun. And with a tag line of “be playful,” their products are a go-to for me when I’m in need of a bit of inspiration to tackle those paperwork tasks. You can check out all their products at: https://www.mara-mi.com/.
Whether you need folders to keep track of all of your papers and receipts, or new bins to put all of your magazines in, new supplies will help you get off to a great start.
Purge Your Inbox
The New Year is a great time to gain back control of your inbox. There is something so empowering about being able to stop unwanted emails from popping up in your inbox. If you are like me, the number of these unwanted emails slowly creep up over the year until the point where I start missing the important emails I want to read.
Recently I realized I was spending about 10 minutes each morning deleting these unwanted emails from my inbox. 10 minutes a day may not seem like much, but when I added up the time this took each week and the lasting frustration they cause, I knew I had to get things back in control.
The first thing you might try when organizing your inbox is to simply locate the “unsubscribe” link next to the subject line or at the bottom of the emails you don’t want. If you can’t find the link to unsubscribe another option is to go into your email settings and create a “rule” so future emails from that address can be redirected or deleted before ending up in your inbox. Also, a one stop website like Unroll.Me can make the process of unsubscribing pain-free!
Update Your Electronics
Technology and I are at times best friends and at other times…worst enemies. When things are good they are very good…and when they are not…I resort to avoidance. In fact I’m a bit embarrassed to say how many iPhone updates I was behind before I realized I didn’t need a new iPhone…I just needed to update the available software. However, updating the software is just a start to getting your electronics organized.
Another step to is to get rid of contacts and apps you haven’t used in years, along with old text messages, photos, and videos that are using up all of your valuable storage. This is also a great time of year to replace any cords, chargers, headsets or ear buds that are needed. Even if you have a love-hate relationship with technology, taking the time to organize and making sure it works for you might make all the difference.
For me, realizing that organization is a process and not a destination has helped me incorporate ways to make organizing just a bit more fun.
What are some of the ways you have added “fun” into your organizing? I’d love to hear from you. Simply add your comment below and I will get back to you.