Establishing Organizational Habits

Resting easy once you’ve done a ‘deep clean’ and gotten really organized only leads to the return of the mess that had you feeling so frenzied in the first place.

The best way to combat the ebb and flow of organizational chaos is to establish some simple habits that will keep things stable without feeling like you’re constantly battling to keep your life together. Here are ten good habits that will get you on your way to living an organized life.

#1: Make a to-do list
The best way to start establishing habits is by seeing them written down and organized on a list. Keep your list handy, whether on a clean sheet of paper, or in a notebook like Buttoned Up’s CrossItOff.list and relish those moments when you complete a task and cross it off.

#2: Use the 80/20 rule to winnow your list
The Pareto Principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 rule or the law of the vital few, basically states that in any pursuit, 80 percent of the consequences stem from 20 percent of the causes. Read through your to-do lists and bring to the top of the list the items that will have the biggest impact on your overall sense of organization.

#3. Delegate Something On Your List
Consider this, if you were able to assign one or two tasks that collectively consumed 15 minutes a day to another person, you would gain an extra 91 hours a year! On a more modest scale, that means you’d gain an extra 1hr 45min per week. How you might use that extra time to do something you really want or need to do?

#4. Take a Commercial Break
Once a week when the family is all together watching TV, take the time during commercial breaks to tidy up one room of the house. You will be amazed what a few people can accomplish in just two minutes and two seconds!

#5: Write the Family Calendar for the Week
Sit down with your family after dinner on Sunday to discuss people’s plans for the week. This way you can plan in advance with your spouse about coordinating rides for your children. If there is an open evening, have your child bring a friend home or plan a fun family outing.

#6: Set up a Mail Center
Create a system with an area for all in coming mail. First, get rid of all that junk mail! Keep a stylish trash can beside your mail center. Then set up a mail depot with different one slot for bills, one for correspondence and a third for miscellaneous items.

#7. File Time
It’s far too easy to let well-ordered files get backlogged, thus creating the need to start all over again. By setting aside a specific time each week to sort and file new documents (and shred outdated ones) you can keep your personal information organized and up to date.

#8. Set up a YUNK box
YUNK stands for ‘YoU Never Know’ and represents all the things we are afraid to get rid of. Use your YUNK box as a container for all the things that you ‘never know when you will need’ or may want to revisit in the future, like that brochure for the relaxing vacation in the Caribbean.

#9. Build In Organizational Checks
When it comes to getting organized, consider what your own organizational checks are, and how you handle them. For example, if your home feels chaotic, have a family meeting to make sure the calendar is up to date and that everyone is taking care of their tasks.

#10. Schedule Some You Time This Week
Write in your calendar when you will be taking time JUST for yourself. It probably sounds counter-intuitive, but you will get more done if you. Some great ideas are getting a pedicure or massage, grab a coffee and sit down with a book, or take stroll through the park (without your cell phone).