If you want to be more organized in life the last thing you should do is write a to-do list.
A to-do list is a tool that organized people use to keep track of all the things they want to do. That’s why you naturally believe that writing a to-do list will somehow make you organized.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Why a to-do list won’t make you organized
When you’re struggling to keep up with the basic daily tasks like waking up and getting ready on time, eating real food, or cleaning. And not to mention if you want something more than just to survive in life, but to thrive and live up to your full potential. Well, then a to-do list won’t help you.
At this point, a to-do list would only make you overwhelmed and even more disorganized.
That’s because you first need to develop the mindset of an organized person in order to successfully use a to-do list as a tool.
The most important traits of an organized person are:
- developed self-awareness,
- strong self-control,
- and internal motivation.
With a little bit of patience and dedication, anyone can develop all those traits and become more organized.
3 Things To Do To Be More Organized In Life
Self-awareness is the first step to being able to regulate and control your behavior. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t understand it.
Disorganization is a symptom of an underlying issue that you have to define so that you can fix it. That’s where writing comes in.
Writing out your thoughts will help you define and organize your thoughts so that you can get a clearer picture of yourself.
Write your thoughts
Difficulty in being organized in life usually goes hand in hand with a struggle to organize thoughts. It’s hard to think clearly when you have a head that looks like a whirlpool of half-formed thoughts about desires, regrets, grievances, and responsibilities.
Writing out thoughts will help you fully form your thoughts so that you can make sense of what they truly are. Pick one thought at a time, focus only on that one thought, and write at least one full sentence about it.
If you’re thinking about a problem then write a possible solution.
If it’s something that you want, write about it in great detail. What is it that you want and how will it make your life better?
Sometimes it’s hard to remember even one thought that you had during the day. What you can do is try to catch as many thoughts as possible throughout the day so that you write one full sentence on that thought in the notes app on your phone. Then when you have the time open up your diary and go through the list.
This will get you into the habit of finishing your thoughts. That little habit will make a world of difference in your mind. Once you learn to finish your thoughts you’ll gain better insight into the workings of your mind.
Lists are cornerstones of organized living. You can start organizing your life by making a list of anything from groceries to priorities.
Lists are helpful in a few ways.
First, a list will give you a clear view of a subject. That will make it easier to understand exactly what you want.
Second, it will help you see what takes priority, what is essential, and what is unneeded. This will help you plan.
And third, it will help you make quicker decisions. Because it will eliminate those moments when you don’t know what you need to do next.
If there’s chaos in your mind and you struggle to begin, start by creating a list of all the thoughts most frequently popping up to create some space. Then move on to making lists that will help you organize.
List of lists you can make that will help you organize your life:
- Accomplishments list
- Cleaning list
- Daily checklist
- Expenses list
- Future projects list
- Goals list
- Grocery list
- Habits list
- Ideas list
- Implementation intentions list
- Meal planning list
- Passwords list
- Priorities list
- Responsibilities list
Indecisiveness and decision fatigue are real problems that are holding you back.
For every task you have, write an action plan. That is a checklist of all the steps you have to take to finish a task. It can be terrifying to think “I have to finish this BIG THING”, but once you break that big thing into small steps it loses its terrifying greatness.
A clear and detailed plan will help you stay focused. Because you won’t have to spend time and brain energy worrying and wondering what’s next. But you will follow a plan, one step at a time. All the while knowing exactly where you stand. At any given moment you’ll know what you accomplished and what more you have to do to complete your plan.
When you battle procrastination, having a plan will give you a fighting chance.
Most often procrastination stems from uncertainty about what you should do next and a fear that the task at hand is too big that you won’t be able to complete it successfully. A step-by-step plan helps you in both cases. You have a clear view of all the tasks, which are reduced to manageable steps that are easy to accomplish.
Take control of your environment, thoughts, and habits by eliminating everything that doesn’t give value to your life. Clear out the noise, chaos and negativity that drain your energy. So that you can create space for everything that you want in your life.
Declutter your things
Clutter around you creates clutter inside you. Messy and crowded living spaces can cause constant mild anxiety, feelings of overwhelm, and chaotic thoughts. While neat and clear spaces will give you room to breathe and help you calm your mind.
The best way to declutter is to mercilessly go through all your things and remove everything that isn’t useful or it doesn’t bring value or joy to your life.
Declutter your thoughts
Once your living space is nice and tidy it’s time to tidy up your brain space.
Over a course of one week pay attention to the thoughts you have and write as many thoughts as possible. Like negative thoughts, and descriptive thoughts about yourself. Write on your phone or in a notebook whichever is more convenient.
Our inner dialogue is often very negative and limiting. This will give you a better understanding of your inner dialogue so that you can change it to be more uplifting and motivating.
Internal motivation is the ability to motivate yourself without needing external incentives like rewards or deadlines. It’s a quality of highly organized and successful people. And it all starts with the way they talk to themselves.
Once the week is up, read your list and take note of the negative thoughts. Then rephrase them to make them more positive.
Declutter your habits
To declutter your habits first you need to know all the habits you have. You may not be aware, but late-night youtube video binging is a habit if it happens regularly. And scrolling through socials
Track your days for a week. Write every single thing you do each day. Write down all those scrolling sessions and their duration, when and what you ate, and every single thing you do.
Then when the week is up go over your logs and try to notice a pattern. Look for time-wasting habits and resolve to eliminate them.
You can develop internal motivation by actively and regularly engaging in activities that are meaningful to you.
Engage with routines
Organized people have systems and routines in place that help them get everything done and not waste time.
Building a routine rewires your brain in a way that you no longer need to exert yourself to do an activity but you have an internal motivation that makes you do it.
You can create a winning morning routine like this one that will set you up for a productive day. Or a calming evening routine like this one that will prepare you for a night of deep and restful sleep.
Make a step-by-step plan for parts of your day so that you know what to do in each time period of the day. You can write a checklist and check-off items as you accomplish them to give yourself a little confidence boost.
Engage in physical activity
Physical activity is important for brain health as well as the body. Confusion, apathy, and a lack of motivation and willpower are all signs of chemical imbalance in the brain. Exercise stimulates the production of “feel-good” chemicals that make you feel confident and motivated.
Find time in your day for physical activity. Whether it’s a quick warm-up routine at home or an hour-long weight-lifting session at the gym. Chose one activity that suits you best and you know you can keep up every day.
Regular exercise will give you a sense of self-control and that feeling will spread to all other areas of your life.
You CAN Become More Organized In Life
Nobody was born organized. That is a skill, just like any other skill, that takes time to learn. And you too can train your brain to become more organized.
By developing self-awareness, self-control, and internal motivation you will become an organized person. You will know exactly what you want and what you need to do to get that.