Today I’m going to share with you 10 little things you can do EVERY DAY to be more organized, let’s dive in.
Wake Up At The Same Time Every Day
One of the most powerful “mind hacks” or “brain hacks” I’ve learned in my 30s is the power of my internal clock. Our body is designed to follow a 24-hour cycle called the Circadian rhythm which carries out essential functions and processes in our body from things like digestion to energy, but most notably our sleep-wake cycle.
During the day, exposure to the sun and light triggers our internal clock to generate alertness and keep us active. As the sun sets, our internal clock triggers the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Our Circadian rhythm aligns our wakefulness with day and our sleep with the night. The best thing we can do to support this is consistency.
If you’re going to bed at 9pm some nights and midnight other nights and waking up at 7am some mornings and sleeping until noon on other days, you’re making it really hard for your circadian rhythm to stay stable and do its thing.
On the contrary, if you go to bed approximately the same time each night and wake at approximately the same time each morning, your circadian rhythm is going to be much sturdier and more balanced. I wake up at the SAME exact time every day, 5:15.
I know this might sound utterly insane to some people, like on Saturday and Sunday you’re up at 5:15? The answer is yes, I am. Unless I’m very sick or maybe it’s a vacation or something, I’m awake at 5:15 every single day. Because of this, my circadian rhythm is pretty dang balanced, I may feel a little tired when I first wake up but within usually about 5 minutes, I’m awake. And at night my body is naturally primed for sleep at 10pm and I fall asleep quite quickly and sleep a fully restorative sleep without waking much, if any, at night.
So, what does this have to do with organization?
Well, I think one of the most effective keys to organization is routine and consistency. If you have that never-ending feeling of running around like a chicken with his head cut off (which is literally the worst idiom ever I just can’t think of a better one at the moment), then you likely lack consistency and routine in your day.
Have To Do Lists
I’m a big believer in the daily to-do list. And it doesn’t matter how you do this, use an app, use the notes on your phone, carry around a notepad, it doesn’t matter. What matters is every day you’re writing down what you want to do that day.
Here’s the thing, our brains aren’t all that reliable for keeping information. It tends to have a “use it or lose it” rule. So, letting all the things you need to do rattle around in your head, one, isn’t doing your mental health any favors and, two isn’t a reliable method for getting them actually done.
Take 5 minutes each day and just brain dump all the stuff you need to do onto a piece of paper. You’re taking the tasks out of your brain and putting them down on paper where you can now see, remember, and prioritize.
Learn To Prioritize
Once you have your to-do list you are going to want to prioritize it.
The first step to this is getting stuff out of your brain and onto a list. This way you can see it all at once and start to decide what needs to be done now and what can wait until later.
One method I love is the Eisenhower Matrix. This is a simple matrix that contains 4 quadrants with urgent and less urgent on the x-axis and important less important on the y-axis. Take your to-do list and start filling in where they fit on the matrix.
The first quadrant, being urgent and important, are going to be the tasks you want to do first, these should take main priority.
Things in the second quadrant, less urgent but important, should be things you should schedule soon, they can sometimes get pushed aside for other urgent matters, but are often vital things to your day or business, so make sure to look at your calendar and see where you can fit them in in the near future.
The third quadrant is urgent but less important, these are usually the little interruptions in your day that aren’t critical but need to be taken care of. Often these are things you can delegate or automate. Is this a task you can give to someone else; can you ask your spouse to help, can you pass this off to a coworker?
And the fourth quadrant is the less important less urgent things. These aren’t necessarily things that shouldn’t be done; however some may be and may just fall off your list with time, but often you’ll find this ends up becoming more of a list of ideas and brainstorming. These things may move into other quadrants later.
Create Time and Space To Be Organized Each Day
This step is something that’s crucial to making numbers 2 and 3 even happen. It seems kinda silly that you need to schedule time to schedule, but you do. You need a set amount of time each day or week, to review your calendar, make your to-do list, prioritize your to-do list, see what’s been completed and what hasn’t, and schedule out tasks. You need to physically give yourself a little time each day for this.
Typically, every morning I spend about 10 minutes with my to-do list. Writing it down, prioritizing it, and scheduling out what I’ll be completing today. In the afternoon I usually spend another 10-20 minutes with my calendar, looking at what’s coming up, scheduling out tasks, organizing, possibly starting tomorrow’s to-do list.
As far as more physical organization, I do a 15 minute clean up every night when my husband puts our son to bed. I also do a 10 minute clean up before I go to sleep every night.
These are times I have SET to tackle organization. You need set time and space each day to attend to these items.
Declutter Your Wallet
Ok, this next one maybe isn’t something you need to do EVERY single day, but at least once a week. It’s a simple task to instill an organized brain. Remove any old reward cards, take out the loose change, and go through your receipts. File away the ones you need to hang onto and throw away the ones you don’t.
Give Everything You Own A Place
Definitely one of the best ways to keep physical things organized is to make sure everything you own has a place. One big reason physical clutter accumulates on tables and surfaces is just cause we’re not quite sure what to do with something. When everything has a home that it goes, tidying is a breeze because you know where to tuck everything away. Not to mention, when you need something, you know exactly where it is.
This certainly isn’t something you’ll master overnight. It’s something you have to work overtime to find the right structure and system that works for your things. But in general, if you have something sitting out, ask yourself where it belongs and make a home that makes sense for it. For example, you might keep your pens and pencils in an office drawer, but it doesn’t make sense for you to keep crafting stuff mixed in with that.
Little routines are the backbone of your day and help you stay on track and follow a structure. Much how your circadian rhythm thrives on consistency, using consistency in your routines can help some tasks become autopilot. Essentially, I love tying tasks I NEED to do with tasks I naturally do. For example, every day I eat lunch, right, I need to eat, I typically won’t forget to eat.
So, every day when I go to the kitchen to eat, I spend 10-15 minutes before I eat, cleaning and prepping the kitchen for the rest of the day. I empty the dishwasher if I haven’t already, do any dishes that were made that morning, wipe down counters, put away mail or other clutter, maybe prep something for dinner.
The point is the rest of my day, and particularly the crazy dinner time rush with a toddler and baby, is going to go so much better when I have a tidied kitchen. I know my body will get hungry and go to the kitchen for lunch and so I tie that to the need to have this space tidied midday.
Pick Your Outfit The Night Before
I feel like this one has been told to us a thousand times but man oh man guys it works. Having my outfit prepped the night before is a big game changer to my day. If you watched my video on 3 Little Habits you know getting dressed each day is one of them.
The likelihood that I get myself dressed before noon is 100% dependent on if I put out my outfit the night before. Especially when I have little ones to tend to in the morning, Getting up to my bedroom and finding something to wear, it’s just not something I want to have to fuss with.
It’s all set out for me and all I gotta do it get dressed. And when I get dressed it triggers my brain to say it’s day and time to get things done. When I’m dressed, I feel more capable to handle what the day might throw at me vs if I was in pajamas. It leads to me being more productive and organized with my time.
Let me tell you I’m definitely not one of those people who live in the past by any means. I do fear growing older, I don’t miss my 20’s I am quite pleased and happy to be an “adult.” But, I will tell you gosh darn it the one really disappointing thing about being an adult, particularly a parent, is you gotta decide what everyone is eating for dinner EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Lord, it’s exhausting. Utterly exhausting.
However, I have found it’s about 50% less exhausting when I’m prepared and organized about it. I’m a big believer in meal planning. Every week I make a plan of what we’ll eat that week and which nights we’ll eat it. It gets written up on our calendar and then that’s what we follow. It completely removes the “what’s for dinner” problem and best yet you never find yourself at 4:30 trying to figure out what the heck to eat. You can check each morning what’s on the list and be prepared, you’ll remember to take things out of the freezer to defrost, pop the ingredients in the crockpot, or prep things ahead of time if necessary.
When you have the entire week planned, you can even prep some things the day before to save time. The truth is, the dinnertime rush can be one of the most hectic, unorganized parts of the day. You’re exhausted, the kids are hungry, and everyone is wearing thin. With a little prep and organization ahead of time you can find this time of day running a lot smoother.
Leave your sink clean at night
You didn’t think I was going to end this video without telling you to clean your sink at night, did you? If you’ve been watching my videos for more than a minute you knowwwwww how much I love and preach the clean sink rule.
Every night I force myself to take whatever steps necessary to empty my sink and wipe it clean before bed because in turn, every morning when I come down the stairs I am greeted with a clean sink and it starts my morning off on such a better foot.
The most amazing thing about the clean sink rule is it becomes a ripple effect to other good habits. Often when I am cleaning my sink, I also clear off the kitchen counters and wipe them down. I’m more inclined to check for glasses or plates left out on the coffee table or dining room table so they didn’t end up in the newly cleaned sink. It overflows into the living room as I head upstairs, I pick up toys on the ground, fold the blanket on the sofa, wipe down the coffee table.
Just the habit of committing to cleaning my sink every night, slowly, over time, helped me establish other little routines and habits that kept my home tidy naturally, routinely and made me overall more mindful of keeping things picked up.