If your organizational skills are still living in the dark ages, then perhaps its time to turn a new leaf and blaze into the new decade with a whole new plan to get organized as hell. Being organized can bring balance to your life, cut down on pesky procrastination, and help you build better systems to keep your mental health in check.
Here are all of our favorite organization tips you need to stay super organized in 2021...
Do It The First Time
The biggest productivity tip I ever received in my life was to do it the first time. Whether it is a simple task like doing the dishes or a big task like doing your taxes, doing it right away (when possible). Getting into the habit of putting things off, especially smaller tasks that absolutely do not need to be put off, will open the floodgates to piled up daily tasks and physical clutter that can cause some serious stress.
Do things the first time. Instead of putting another letter into the junk drawer, promising to deal with it "later", deal with it right then. Instead of cleaning the house on (some) weekends, put your stuff away when you're done using them so that you don't have a mess to clean on the weekends. Instead of replying to an important email later, take the 3-5 minutes to reply to it when you are sitting at your computer anyway.
By taking care of these things right when you're already semi-dealing with them, it frees you up in the future.
Delegate Repetitive Tasks
We've all got a mind-numbing recurring task that we have to deal with, from paying our bills to doing laundry. For these kinds of tasks that literally could be done by anyone at all... pass them off to someone else who can do them! For bill payments, set up recurring payments so that you don't have to remember to do so when the deadline is approaching. If you don't have a laundry machine in your house, then drop your dirty clothes off at a laundromat that offers a wash and fold service. (You'd be surprised how cheap it is to have your laundry done for you.) Set up timers on an easy and affordable irrigation system so that you don't have to remember to water your plants. Set your coffee machine on a schedule so that coffee is made for you first thing in the morning, freeing you up for a more joyful morning routine.
You don't have to be an organized person to get sh*t done. You just need to offload whatever you can to make space for other things.
Find a Calendar That Works For You
Sometimes the simple tricks are the most effective. Invest in whatever kind of calendar suits you the best. Some people adore their Google calendars whereas others love a physical wall calendar pinned above their desk. Whichever calendar you choose, get one that has more than enough space for jotting down important events, meetings, and social events under the date so you never skip a beat.
My favorite feature that Google calendar offers? The "reminders" tool, which allows you to set simple reminders for smaller tasks that you want to remember to do but don't necessarily want to add it to any list.
Cut Down on Physical Clutter
Besides the fact that physical clutter is just annoying to look at (and to clean), it's also not so good for your mental health. In a world where Capitalism beats the living hell out of you, we've come to place far too much value on our things and not our mental health. Becoming attached to our things and measuring our success through how many things we have has rendered us immobile in the mission to improve productivity and get an organized life.
Get rid of things that you don't use regularly and aren't essential to your mental health. For example, I could easily toss countless duffle bags I have stuffed under my bed but I would never throw out my espresso machine.
This is especially true for paper clutter and anything that makes it to the junk drawer. Keep important documents, sure, but get rid of the rest. Donate clothes to charity (or sell them to cool sites like ThredUp), sell big ticket items on Facebook Marketplace, toss things that are just getting in the way... and for the love of God, stop buying more random shit. Decluttering your life is the most important thing when you're trying to figure out how to have an organized life. I promise you that you'll feel better for it.
Make a (Shared) Checklist to Free Up Mental Space
My favorite digital tool right now is Asana. Admittedly, I was reluctant to use it at first because I didn't want another task to add to my already long list of daily tasks... but the amount of mental space I've cleared up since converting my life to this digital checklist is insane. Whether it's my grocery list or tasks in my daily routine, Asana has helped me remember all of the little details that my brain somehow forgets throughout the day.
I used to use a paper planner, which was really just a journal that I wrote reminders in each day. If that's your way of organizing your life and it works for you, then go with it. For me, however, it became unruly with too many pages to know where anything was. Plus, if I forgot my journal at home when I was out grocery shopping, then I had to rely on my brain to remember what was on my shopping list... and that was never fruitful.
With Asana, I can access my shopping list right from my phone and check each item off of the checklist as I add them to my cart. Not only that, but I can also share the running list with my partner so that he can add to it whenever or grab things from the store when I'm not around. It is one of the best ways I've found to make grocery shopping a breeze.
This tool, of course, can be used for anything. I also set up recurring reminders to send my invoices each month, check on projects, or follow up with emails. It has basically served as my very own professional organizer that I can fit in my pocket, ensuring that I never forget anything ever again.
Move Everything to Digital
One of the easiest (and most eco-friendly) ways to decrease paper clutter and increase productivity. I use Google Docs to store important documents and folders so that I can access it from anywhere that has WiFi. I use Notion as my personal notepad to keep track of ideas, projects, meeting notes, or just brain dump. (Evernote is a similar tool that could work too.)
I use Asana for my checklist needs and I use Airtable to coordinate projects with others and task management. I use Google Calendar to keep track of what I have planned for each day and the Reminders feature for anything that doesn't deserve a checklist or document.
Honestly, I have zero paper clutter and a pretty damned organized life. I owe it all to these digital tools.
Use A Period App
If you are someone who struggles to keep up with your monthly cycle, then a period tracker app can be an amazing way to get to know your body a little bit better. Using a period tracker helps you to stay in the loop when it comes to your cycle, and you can even jot down mood changes and weight fluctuation so you know exactly when you will feel great and when to expect to feel like crap. This all adds up to being able to organize your time in line with your energy levels which makes for better balance in body, mind and spirit.
Organize Your Home
Yes, it may be time to Marie Kondo your life, including your closet, your bathroom, your kitchen, and your yard. If you tend to have piles of crumpled clothes and wear the same shirt ten thousand times, perhaps knowing what is lurking in your wardrobe will give you a boost of 'new year, old you in a nearly new shirt' kind of vibes. Treat yourself to a simple hanging closet organizer and suddenly uncover lashings of space as you start to fold and hang t-shirts and sweaters.
As for your kitchen, donate any utensils, plates, bowls, or appliances that you don't use weekly. Organize your spice rack and toss all of the random mostly-empty bottles and bags you have lying around. Choose your favorite cleaning products and stick with those, opting not to replace the rest when they run out. Hell, you could even make your own homemade cleaning mixes and save space and money. Do the same for your bathroom, your yard, and anything else that needs organizing. Marie Kondo that sh*t and become the organized person you know you can be!
Use A Wallet App
Finances have finally gone digital. No more counting pennies from your purse and trying to split the bill with a tired old calculator. As many of us have smartphones in our hands at all times, it works to download an amazing wallet app. Apps like Venmo make it super easy to keep organized when it comes to money. Send money, make purchases, split bills, keep tabs on spends and finally get your finances in order rather than avoiding the ATM at all costs.
Practice Meal Planning
Stick it on the fridge and map out your meals in advance. This is an amazingly easy way to cut down on grocery costs, reduce food waste, and pay attention to the nutrients you are putting in your body. With an easy meal planning pad, there will be no more midnight takeaways or forgetting that you already bought five packets of pasta. Perfect.
Which organizational tweaks will you be introducing to your life? Share in the comments.