I don’t really know if this is an issue for many people, but I am a chaotic tornado with a short attention span for anything that isn’t one of the following: reading, sleeping, eating, or being vegan. It’s been quite bothersome and I’m ready to really work on it (I’m almost 24 and I feel it’s about time I addressed the skeleton in my highly disorganized closet). I’m going to find out the best ways to get organized and implement them into my daily life (terrifying for someone who doesn’t do anything with any semblance of a routine). This actually has me laughing a little bit and shaking my head at myself for trying to take the plunge while still holding on to the edge with my fingertips in a last ditch attempt to remain unorganized and carefree…Alas!
The first step I took was to make 5 daily goals and put them on a checklist. The reason for only five goals is that it is easy to get overwhelmed with projects, which is counterproductive. While I only crossed out two of the goals the first day, it was much better and actually quite refreshing to accomplish something I had planned. Yes, I planned something. Weird, yet somehow satisfying. I then made a list of things I want to accomplish within the year, and made a list of things I want to do with my life. I now have concrete goals to work toward and a direction in which to move. Knowing how important it is to get a good night’s sleep, I have given myself a bed time of 11:30 PM in order to wake up feeling refreshed and less like a zombie who just happens to be an internet junkie.
I decided to make a general schedule for the next day, which included my goals, and spread it out into time blocks to help me stay focused. I put this schedule on my calendar, along with the goals I had set for the month. I also pre-made a smoothie for work the next day in order to save time getting ready.
Though I did have a bit of trouble going to sleep so “early,” I woke up the next day feeling more energized, and even a little excited to be on the trepidatious path to what I can only picture as an alternate version of myself who schedules everything and doesn’t ever have unkempt hair. I’m sure there is a happy medium between the two, and I’m definitely seeking it out. The second day I accomplished all 5 tasks on my list, using a trick my mom had when I was a kid. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes and get as much done as possible within that time frame. No distractions! Even after the time was up, I had the momentum to keep going and finish the tasks I had listed.
I have really gotten a bit gung-ho about the bed time and scheduling, and even had extra time to go to the library to get more books today. I have downloaded a calendar and notepad on my phone and have been allotting time slots for cleaning, meals, walking my dog, and the gym. I’m still trying to find a routine I can stick to, because my work schedule is not static, but I feel I will get there in due time.
I think one of my biggest hurdles is the tendency to “hyper focus.” By this I mean, I get lost in something I find interesting and can’t help but dive into a book, subject, or certain tasks without coming up for air. Normal people can perhaps put down a book every so often, but I literally cannot put the book down until I have devoured it. It’s the same when I’m on the internet googling something I find fascinating. I will research a subject until it’s four in the morning and my eyes stop working. Luckily, I found a neat little trick, which is to set a timer every 20-30 minutes to distract myself and focus on something else. I haven’t had the chance to try it yet, but I just got an entire series of books from the library and hopefully this will help me pull myself out of them–if I hear it (I’m infamous in my family for seemingly having entire conversations while reading a book…and being unable to recall them).
While on the subject of organization I came across some very interesting research concerning multi-tasking. Apparently not only does multi-tasking reduce productivity by 40%, but it breaks down the brain’s ability to focus. As a waitress, multi-tasking is utterly essential, and this information was a shocking wake-up call. I am constantly taking on ten things at a time, at work and in my life, only to feel rushed and stressed out (which explains why, when I have 10 tabs open, I never reply to my messages). Instead of spreading myself so thinly by trying to be everywhere at once, I really need to try to take small steps to accomplish one goal at a time in order to do it properly. Multi-tasking also gives me the opportunity to get distracted and procrastinate–two of the least organized traits I can think of!
I really do feel proud of myself for taking these small steps to a more organized life, and I already can feel my memory becoming better with the focused perspective I’ve gained in three short days. It feels good, and I honestly look forward to becoming a better and more productive version of myself in time.
What are your tips for staying organized?
Also see: How to Declutter Your Life
By Jessica Ferguson: Simple Living – Could You Live in a Tiny House?
Photo: Jodimichelle via Flickr