Organisation is fundamental in achieving our goals. I would even go as far to say that organisation is fundamental in all aspects of our lives, growing up I remember seeing this quote at school
If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail
It really stuck with me, because it was so true. If we didn’t prepare for our tests, we wouldn’t get good grades. The same can be said for the goals we set ourselves. If we don’t adequately prepare and plan to achieve our goals, we will be doing a disservice to ourselves. It’s setting ourselves up for failure. Which will only make it more difficult to pick ourselves back up and keep going.
I know organisation and planning does not come easy to everyone, so here are five ways to become more organised. These practices help me stay on top of the things going on in my life and they can also help you become more organised and achieve your goals.
Use your calendar
I have a notoriously bad memory, and as a consequence I would sometimes double book myself because I wanted to do EVERYTHING. I would agree to a plan, and then another and before I knew it I had to be in three places at the same time!
I started to really utilise my calendar app on my phone, about four or five years ago. It has been a total game changer. It helps me keep track of things I need to do, where I need to be and when I have free time. It might seem like a very basic thing to do, but I know so many people who don’t use a calendar and rely on their memory to do things and that doesn’t always work.
Not everything needs to go on your calendar; for instance if you have a fairly regular work schedule you don’t need to put it in. However, whilst I was at university I was working casual hours, so I did have to put that in otherwise I wouldn’t always remember when I had a shift. Beyond work, I would add in any workshops, social events, fitness classes and trips. Anything that wasn’t a regular occurrence, I would add to my calendar. It made my life so much easier!
To-do lists are your best friends
For things that don’t warrant a calendar posting. I would make to-do lists on my phone using a notes app. I use Google Keep because it syncs across all my devices and can be accessed from the web too, so there’s no excuse not to keep on track.
I would generally keep a to do list for assignments that were due, with a little checkbox by the side to tick off when I completed them. I would also make a list for errands I needed to do on the weekend, or things that needed to be done on a specific day like sending emails, booking appointments etc. To-do lists are also handy for making shopping trips easier and stress-free, especially since I’m guilty of buying things I don’t necessarily need when I do a food shop and forgetting essential items.
The little tick boxes that come as an option with Google Keep are also a nice way of keeping track of what has been done, and definitely brings me a sense of satisfaction when I tick something off.
Make it visual
I’m not typically a visual person, in the sense that I don’t tend to do mind maps or vision boards. Though, doing these do help some people to visualise their plan of action for reaching a goal. Creating these visual reminders can make it easier to keep track of what you have done so far and what you still need to do.
If like me, you’re not a fan of mind maps or vision boards. Try placing some other visual reminders somewhere you are likely to see it day-to-day. For example, if you want to travel around South America, and you need to save a certain amount of money to do so. Setting your phone wallpaper to a map of South America, or having a physical map in your room can help remind you why you don’t need to eat out three nights in a row.
I’m also a huge fan of just writing things down on a Google doc. It helps me to organise my thoughts, and to create a more solid plan of how I’m going to achieve the things I want to do.
Regular check ins with yourself
Once you’ve got the writing things down part taken care of, it’s important to revisit what you wrote down. It’s all well and good adding events to your calendar, but if you don’t check your calendar or set a reminder for the events, you’re still likely to forget. Likewise, making a to-do list is redundant if you don’t actually do anything on it.
Revisit your mind map or vision board, check that everything on there is still relevant. Update your phone wallpaper to something else that will remind you of your goals. It’s very easy to get accustomed to things and become lazy.
De-clutter your mind & your space
I cannot work in a messy environment. It makes it difficult to concentrate, and to find things! Keeping your space organised and tidy, is one less thing you’ll have to concentrate on, meaning you can focus your energy on following through with your plans and turning your goals into a reality.
Likewise, taking the time to meditate and clear your head space will allow you to work more efficiently because you won’t have a million and one things fighting for your attention at the same time.
All of these tips are tried and tested by yours personally, so they do work! I hope they can help you in any way, even if it is adopting a variation of one of the tips. If you have any other advice to share with everyone, leave a comment!
Article photo by Estée Janssens