How to Stay Organized On a Busy Schedule

Jon Fesmire | September 24, 2019 @ 8:45 AM

Adult life is full of responsibilities, from working, to paying bills, to raising kids. You may feel like you don’t have much time to straighten up, so your office and home end up disorganized, which makes staying on top of tasks even harder.

If you implement the tips in this article, however, you’ll find it easier to get all your work done and stay organized.

Establish a Morning Routine

What you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. Make yourself a healthy breakfast, and try not to include too many carbohydrates, which can weigh you down. Make your bed, take a shower, and, if you enjoy coffee or tea, make yourself a cup. Get dressed in clothes for work, even if you’re going to work from home. While you’re eating breakfast, you can work on the next step.

Keep a To Do List

Keeping a to do list may sound cliche, but this is one of the best tools around for getting things done. A to do list is simply a list of things you want to get done on any given day. You can split it into categories, write it in order of priority, or whatever works for you.

Recently, we wrote about a variety of planners you can get for your to do list. Many have additional features that may resonate with you. You might also want to use a small, blank Moleskine or other notebook. If digital is your thing, consider using Evernote.

A to do list is different from a schedule in that the tasks often can be done any time during the day, while a schedule tells you when certain events, such as meetings, are happening. You can write a scheduled event down on your to do list, of course.

Get a Desktop Inbox

A desktop inbox is a file organizer that goes on your desk, used to organize papers you need to deal with. These could be bills, invoices, contracts, correspondence, and so on. Ideally, it should have several levels so that you can prioritize the paperwork by what needs to be done as soon as possible, in a week, and in more than a week.

As mail or other paperwork comes in, sort it into the organizer based on when it needs to be done, and check the top stack every day.

Keep Your Area Organized

Don’t let things just pile up on your desk. Throw out or file papers you no longer need. Put your tape and stapler in your desk. Make room for a family picture or two. An organized area leads not only to more efficient work, but to less stress. Write this on your daily to do list! Something like “straighten up” should do, to remind you to organize your desk and pick up at home. If you do this every day, it won’t take long at all.

Examine Your Work Habits

While you may feel like you’re busy all the time already, take a serious look at your work habits. Do you ever find yourself procrastinating when you have a big task, and wasting time? Do you work slowly the first few days of the week, then get in a groove as Friday approaches? Or, when you have a big task with a deadline, do you put it off until a few days before its due? This can make you feel busy when in fact you need to manage your time better. Once you have a sense of where you may be wasting time (unintentionally!), you can do the following.

Spread Out Your Work

You have a big project due in two weeks. It’s going to take research, organization, and a lot of writing, but you have a whole two weeks, so why worry about it? Well, we briefly covered this above. You don’t want to procrastinate and end up rushing to finish the task a day or two before its due.

Using your to do list, you can spread the work out over the two weeks and not only get it done, and well, but get your other work done, too. This can also help you feel less busy. Here’s how.

Break Up Big Tasks

Large tasks, like writing a pamphlet, designing characters for a game, or learning all about a new technology, are intimidating when looking at the entire task. The trick to getting any large project done is to break it up into smaller tasks.

Let’s say your company needs a long product manual written, and that’s your job. You could break it up into topics, then organize those topics in a way that will be easy for readers to follow and learn. Next, you could research each subject, one at a time, and finally write the manual one chapter at a time. Spread that work evenly over the weeks, and you should have it finished by the deadline.

Now that you have a clearer picture of the art of organizing your tasks, office, and home, we encourage you to implement these steps. Stick to them, and you’ll find life a little easier.

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