If I promised that I could help you get organized in five simple steps, would you believe me? Or would you think I sound like an infomercial on late night television? Personally, I hate a “get rich quick” scheme in any form and hesitate to believe any promise that suggests “following this step and that step” will make a difference. But as I’ve worked toward helping my life coaching clients become more organized, I’ve been able to narrow it down to five steps based on these three principles:
1. Being organized is not about doing life perfectly.
2. Being organized is not about being more capable than anyone else.
3. Being disorganized is not a character flaw.
Being organized may be a natural talent for some but a developed skill for others. Once we know which camp we fall into, we can begin to put into play an organizational system that works within our God-given wiring.
Some of us will have the ability to see life and schedules and objects and responsibilities in a systematic way, where everything has a place and there is a place for everything. Others will see it all like a mosaic created out of broken shards of glass. It comes together, but before it does, it looks like a mess. And maybe even after it comes together, it still looks like a mess to onlookers when it makes total sense to the creator.
So if we’re all wired differently, is it really possible to promise five key steps for organizing your life?
Yes, because these steps are based on principles, not techniques.
5 Steps for Organizing Your Life
These five steps and the suggestions for how to implement them are principles that will require a willingness to think differently about how you do life and a determination to put that mindset into practice over the long haul. Real change doesn’t happen overnight, but when a series of overnights are strung together. So as you determine how to put these steps into practice, give yourself at least a month of working at it before you give up.
1. Start with God
It may seem impossible to get up earlier to devote time towards reading your Bible and praying, but if you can squeeze out 15 minutes, it can make all the difference in gaining focus. Time in the Word will help guide and establish your priorities. And any time spent in prayer is valuable for unloading your concerns at the Cross and shifting your heart and mind towards seeing God work. If you need guidance on how to implement a starting point with God, grab Abide, as it will guide you in cultivating a quiet time with God.
2. Use a Calendar
It may seem like such a simple solution, but it’s truly impossible to be organized without having a calendar. There’s got to be a “home base” somewhere in your life to not only record commitments but to all block off time to focus on daily chores, bigger projects, and relationship priorities. Whether you choose to use a printed calendar or a digital version, find one that allows you the space to see a month at a glance as well as a daily schedule.
As the home-manager of six schedules, we’ve found that Google Calendar is the best option for our family because we can color-code for each person or type of commitment and we can share the calendar with each other. While it’s a little overwhelming to look at, I’m grateful that all the information is in one place. I also use a printed calendar to help me plan week-to-week and day-by-day–more on that in the next step. These are some great calendar options, but my favorite is the Restart Planner.
3. Write It Down
It’s not only the big things that need a spot on the calendar, it’s the little things, too. Each hour is measured out for us. Every chore will take a set period of time. Every appointment requires “the before and after” minutes factored in, even though we tend to ignore that need and then we’re constantly running behind. So what’s the solution? Well, it requires taking a few minutes to write it all down.
I’ve found having a printed calendar where I can mark off what I’ll be doing each hour is quite helpful, and is usually the first thing I’ll do in the morning — either right before or after my quiet time with God. Sometimes I’ll grab a piece of scrap paper and draft a schedule for the day, which helps me realize that certain tasks are going to be put off.
4. Make Reminders Your Friend
Bottom line, I can’t afford to hire an administrative assistant, so I’ve made every reminder feature available my best friend. Whenever I book an appointment with a doctor’s office, salon, friend, or client, I put it in my Google calendar and automatically set a couple of reminders to come at me through email and pop up on my screens. Seriously, this is a lifesaver! You might also want to consider these reminder apps:
5. Create Your Habits
Getting organized is really about getting into a routine built off habits. For example, you likely already have a habit of dropping your clothes in that one spot each night before heading to bed. So what would it look like to change up that habit? Or maybe you leave the dishes in the sink until the next morning, but of course, then you’re starting behind the eight ball. What would it look like to cultivate a new habit of tackling the dishes in the evening so that you start the day with a clean sink?
Your habits are your habits, and if you don’t like them, you have permission to change them.
So what habits do you want to change? Consider these typical areas of life that depend on habits and pick three to work on for the next three weeks. Once you have new habits in place, consider the next ones you’d like to focus on:
• washing dishes and unloading dishwasher
• laundry cycle of washing, drying, folding, and putting away
• evening routine . . . getting to bed and the state of your home
• morning routine . . . getting out the door
• bill paying and filing
• desk management
• the “pile up” place or “dump it” ground
• shoes and coats and book bags, oh my
• the yard
• meal planning and prep
If this idea of getting organized and developing your own routine is daunting to you, start with step one and focus on that for a week before introducing step two, and so on. Within six weeks, you’ll have a new level of focus and be well on your way to becoming a more organized version of you.
“Organize My Life” Coaching Package
If you’d like help getting organized, I’d be happy to come alongside you as coach. Feel free to request a free consultation appointment and jumpstart the process by completing this intake form, so that we can make sure coaching is the best investment for you.