Highly organized people use systems and processes that get them the results they want. These systems keep them on the right path without letting temporary setbacks affect them. You too can learn their habits and behaviors and turn your life around in a matter of weeks.
Take the first step toward a happier, more productive life. Organize your life in a way that your lifestyle itself will fuel you to do more and achieve more. By adding and removing certain things that you do, have and surround yourself with, you can begin your journey to a more organized life.
Here are 20 ways to organize your life now.
1. Back-up all your data
You probably store your important documents like images, ebooks, and login credentials on your computer hard drive itself. But they can easily be lost if the drive crashes or if your computer gets stolen. Therefore, it is very important to back-up all your data on the cloud using services like Dropbox or Google Drive.
2. Organize your life by donating used clothes
By donating your old or unused clothes, you not only will create space in your wardrobe but also do something good for others. You can give them away to charity organizations or homeless people in your area. Decluttering your wardrobe will eventually help you declutter your life as well. Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a must read if you want to adopt a minimalistic lifestyle.
3. Clear your medicine cabinet
Every medicine has an expiration date. You could get into serious trouble by using a medicine that is past its expiry date. A cluttered medicine cabinet is the last thing you want in times of emergency. Medicines should be properly labeled and easy-to-find. Getting rid of medicines that are near expiry is an easy way to organize your life.
4. Clean up regularly
Cleaning up your room every single day will keep harmful germs and bacteria away. An unclean room invites all kinds of pests and insects too. Hence, organize your life by investing in a good vacuum cleaner.
5. Use the recycling bin/trash basket
Don’t throw your trash under the bed or table. Keep a recycling bin or a trash basket in every room of your house. Empty the trash basket every day by throwing its contents in a dumpster near your house.
6. Delegate unimportant tasks
It’s a bad idea to waste your time doing low-value tasks which yield very less output. To organize your life it is important to focus on things that are highly rewarding. So, delegate the unimportant tasks to a virtual assistant or a freelancer. I use Fancy Hands for general tasks and Upwork for specialized ones.
7. Use a money management app
Money management apps like Personal Capital and Mint help people manage their expenses, savings, and investments. You can become financially organized and aware within just a few days after you start using these apps on your phone. They are like your personal financial assistant.
8. Get away from social media
It’s no secret that social media paints a false picture and makes its users feel insecure and unhappy. Regular usage of social media will make you very disappointed in yourself. To get a hang of your life, you first need to have high self-esteem and appreciation for what you have.
9. Sign up for a gym membership
Gyms like Planet Fitness let your workout for mere $10 a month. Plus, most of these gyms have state-of-the-art facilities. Even if you are generally fit, working out will release brain chemicals like endorphins that make your mind more sharper and thoughts clearer.
10. Read every day for at least half an hour
Successful people dedicate more than an hour to reading each day. Reading streamlines your thoughts and gives you a different perspective on life. It is also the quickest way to get rid of negative thoughts and indecisiveness.
11. Organize your life by going paper-free
In today’s modern world, it is criminal to waste natural resources like paper. Moreover, there is an app available for almost everything. It is easier to organize your life when you have fewer things with you. So, replace paper with an app or apps. I use Things 3 to organize my tasks and projects.
12. Label stored food
Labeling stored food will save you time and energy. Also, you are less likely to pull your hair out in frustration as you won’t have to search the entire kitchen to find a single thing. Put the food items in jars, label them and keep them in a place where you can easily reach them.
13. Clear your credit card debt
Credit card debt can put you in immense stress each day. As a result, you will find ways to escape reality and constantly identify yourself as a victim. So, find clever ways to pay less interest and clear your debt as early as possible.
14. Get rid of toxic people from your life
Staying in the company of the wrong people will never make you feel stable, confident and self-reliant. Every time you attempt to do something good, they will drag you down to their level. Getting rid of toxic and negative people will help you organize your life in an effortless way.
15. Keep a journal
Journaling allows writing without the need to filter your thoughts and feelings. However, to get results fast, you need to make it a daily habit. Journaling apps like Day One and Memento have free versions that are more than sufficient to help you organize your life.
16. Get over the habit of procrastination
Popular self-help author, Mel Robbins says procrastination is always a result of some kind of stress in life. Stress could be due to problems in areas like finance, health, or relationships. So, identify the root cause of your stress and work on it; it’ll eventually make you more productive.
17. Plan your entire day
Without proper planning, it is difficult to get things done on time. Planning your entire day in the morning or the night before allows you the space to think and be free as you already know what the next plan of action is going to be.
18. Keep your sleeping hours fixed
REM sleep is very essential for being productive and alert during the day. You should get at least 8 hours of REM sleep every night. If you work or occupation requires you to stay up at night, get an eye mask and earplugs to help you sleep well during the day. I use Bose’s Noise Masking Sleepbuds. Although a bit expensive, they have been one of my best investments.
19. Be more social
Humans have naturally evolved to thrive when they are surrounded by other humans. Isolation makes you lazy and slothful. Just going out once a day will help you be more positive and upbeat. So, organize your life by being more social and friendly.
20. Get an accountability partner
Having an accountability partner provides you that chip on the shoulder you need to stay on your path. Moreover, you can also share your concerns and issues with them. Try to help your partner as well by giving constructive feedback which can help them be more organized.
Most of the methods or ways mentioned above will have an immediate impact on your life. In my opinion, procrastination and poor personal hygiene are two things that stop people from progressing in life. They also affect self-esteem and eventually makes you disorganized.
5 Tips to Increase Your Focus
Low attention span or difficulty in focusing is becoming a common problem for many. With so many entertainment options readily available, it has become easy to be distracted and to procrastinate. Our work takes the hit and that, in turn, makes us feel bad. Instead of dismissing your lack of focus as something you have to deal with, learn to increase it.
Like our body, our mind needs exercise too. The areas we consider to be weak can be built up if we put our mind to it. Just because our focus isn’t as strong as we would like it to be, doesn’t mean you have to accept the fact and do nothing about it. Try to better it. There are things, practices, and exercises that if done regularly, can help you increase your focus.
If you didn’t know, meditation has different types that focus on different areas. Mindfulness meditation can help you boost your attention span significantly. Not only that, meditation in itself can help you relax, and become calm and collected. Now, that your mind has relaxed and is free of a thought jumble, it becomes easier to focus on things that actually matter.
Meditation for just 10 to 20 minutes a day will help you increase your focus and attention span. Start your mornings by focusing on your breathing for a few minutes, followed by your meditation ritual. You can also do some light breathing exercise just before doing something that requires focus to clear your mind.
2. Include practicing mindfulness in your day
While mindfulness meditation helps you become more aware and helps increase your focus. Practicing mindfulness throughout your day will help you fight distractions and focus on the tasks at hand. Mindfulness simply is being very attentive to every aspect of the task you are doing, and also noticing every small detail about your task.
It can seem like it isn’t easy, but it is. What I do is that I imagine I am writing about whatever I am doing – not informative writing but descriptive. So, suppose I am eating my lunch, I will pay attention to the cutlery, the color of my food, the smell, the taste, the texture of each ingredient. I will focus on chewing and swallowing, on the feeling it gives rise to.
What we usually do is that we focus on distractions while eating, and our primary task somehow becomes secondary. Our focus shifts towards our phones or the shows we are watching. This is what happens with many of our tasks.
3. Don’t listen to music while working
Many of us have the habit of listening to music while working on something. While it helps people most of the times and can be a good thing, it does the opposite for people with poor focus. If you know the song, then you are most probably going to sing along, and that stops you from giving your all to the task at hand.
Let’s say you are doing something that is going to be using the same parts of your brain, then will doing those things together make sense? No, right? When you are doing something that uses motor functions like your household chores, then listening to music is fine, but not while reading if you don’t have a high focus level.
4. Build your willpower
Willpower will allow you to ignore distractions like playing songs or using your phone and will help you to stay focused on the task at hand. Consciously saying no to yourself whenever you feel like doing something else is very important and a skill that you should definitely develop if you want to increase your focus level.
Your attention span will be served well with intentionally trying to focus and also having strong willpower isn’t only good for building your focus but also for being productive. At the end of the day, what you do or do not do boils down to your willpower, saying no to distractions depends entirely on your willpower.
5. Increase your focus gradually
Like any habit, you need to start slow. Like when starting exercise, you are advised to start slow because your body might not be able to take it, the same goes for anything mental. The best way to stay focused is for you to start using the Pomodoro technique. This lets you start working in bouts so that you can start with a short amount of focusing time.
You traditionally work for 25 minutes and then take a five minutes break. After you have repeated this four times, you can take a longer break. Because you know that you have to work for only 25 minutes, it becomes easier to focus. This is a great way to start out.
All it boils down to is will power and persistence. If you are really dedicated to increasing your focus, then you will find it easier to do things to help. I would say, convincing yourself is the hardest part, so start out by taking small steps. Don’t decide to start being completely focused for the whole day, that isn’t going to happen. Use these tips to slowly but gradually increase your focus.
9 Signs It’s Time To Change Your Mindset
Changing your mindset about money and relationships can be life-enriching and have a massive impact on your life. It can open up virtually limitless opportunities for you in a short period of time. There are clear signs that you can look for to know whether you are going in the right direction in life or not.
Here are 9 signs that let you know that it’s time to change your mindset.
1. You are in denial
Tough circumstances can sometimes take their toll and can make you delusional. People who are in a difficult place in life simple deny that they are unhappy. They pretend as if nothing is wrong and everything is going the way they want it to go. They are in denial. Denial is a primitive defense mechanism that has existed since prehistoric times. You know it’s time to change your mindset when you find yourself denying reality.
2. You feel no gratitude
Being grateful is the quality of being thankful for what you currently have. Having a job, no shortage of food, living in one of the best countries in the world, etc are some of the good things we are blessed to be born with. You should change your mindset if you don’t notice these good things and are too caught up in your own life. Here’s a tip to develop gratitude: Write down five things you already have that you cannot live without.
3. Your relationships are a mess
Relationships have always been key to the survival and growth of human beings as a species. They provide you physical and emotional intimacy. This keeps you sane and functional. If your relationships are a mess, you should take a step back and test the situation. Are you at fault? If yes then think about how you can change and adapt to make your relationships better.
4. You see yourself as a victim
If you find yourself blaming other people or situations and are feeling dreadful all the time, then you may have a victim mindset. Don’t get me wrong. I am not denying that bad things don’t happen to you. But it’s your response to them is what makes you a victim or a victor. Great people like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi had to go through discrimination and atrocities in their life. But they dealt with it with courage and conviction.
5. You are clinging to old friends
There is nothing wrong with staying in touch with your old friends. In fact, old friendships should always be cherished and celebrated. But the problem arises when you cling on the people you know and find it difficult to make new friends. This is because you have gotten too comfortable with what you have and are not willing to risk losing them. You can change your mindset by introducing yourself to 5 new people each week.
6. You feel guilty
Guilt is one of the most disruptive feelings that can turn into poison and destroy your entire life. People usually use it as a weapon against others to get what they want. It is extremely unhealthy to be around a person who is making you feel guilty all the time. Evaluate your social circle and see if there are such people in your group. If you are feeling guilty, you can change your mindset by not blaming yourself for every wrong thing that happens.
7. You are only seeing the dark side
Seeing only the downsides or the negative aspects in a particular thing or a situation is a learned behavior. Most people acquire it early in their childhood from their parents. It’s a symptom of being a part of a dysfunctional family. But everything you learn can be unlearned. You need to become aware of how your negativity is affecting your life. To get motivated and stay motivated in life, you must focus on the positives.
8. You are not learning new things
The day you stop learning new things, you stop growing as a person. Learning and experiencing new things makes us feel alive and awake. No matter how old you are, it is necessary for the development of your brain. Try learning musical instruments, a new sport, board games, new skills at work, etc.
9. Your life is not moving in the direction you want it to go
This is one of the most common dilemmas faced by millennials. They may have everything they want but they still feel unsatisfied with their life. If this sounds like you, you can change your mindset by knowing what you want from life. Don’t just achieve things because it will make others happy. Being better than others might momentarily make you feel good but that feeling is not long lasting.
So, if you think you exhibit one of these signs, you can begin by acknowledging and accepting that there is work to be done. You can seek help from a friend or a therapist to get to the root of the issue and solve it permanently. Most often, talking about your problems itself will lead you to the right solution.
7 Easy Productivity Hacks to Make More of Your Day
A lot of people still believe that by trying hard and pushing their limits, they will be able to get more work done in the day. This is not true. By using all your willpower to get more done, you will feel jaded at the end of the day. Willpower is a limited resource. If you go by your day without learning many tried and tested methods to increase productivity, your body and mind will eventually break down.
According to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity in American workers has been decreasing at a steady rate since 1973. The 2007-2018 decade has seen some of the lowest levels of productivity. This is a worrying fact.
Here are 7 easy productivity hacks to make more of your day.
1. Follow a morning routine
Starting your day with a preset routine gets you into work mode right away. Morning is not a time to think and ponder. Get out of the bed as fast as possible and begin your morning routine. I know some people like to plan their day in the morning, but I feel that it puts you into a contemplative mood. It is something you want to avoid getting into. Especially, if you want to take massive action.
The best time to plan your day is the night before. A morning routine should consist of things like working out in the gym, a quick meditation session, a morning walk, filling up your gratitude journal, etc. A morning routine is a productivity hack that indirectly affects the quality and quantity of the work you do through the day. Hence, it is regularly practiced by productive people.
2. Keep your phone away during work hours
Productivity in human beings has always suffered due to many distractions. Even before the advent of smartphones, there were distractions like emails and phone calls. But they were quite manageable and the degree of damage wasn’t that severe.
In today’s world, smartphones are the major cause of lack of productivity. It’s impossible to get good quality work done with a smartphone beside you. A study done by the University of London identified the link between smartphone overuse and loss of productivity. They concluded that constant checking of smartphone for new notifications is hurting the level of productivity in the workplace and at home.
3. Batch your work
It takes a lot of time and effort to switch from one type of task to others. Human beings are creatures of habit and we like to cut effort wherever possible. Batching minimizes the effort and energy wasted in task-switching. This productivity hack has been implemented in all kinds of industries. Moreover, it also increases your concentration as you have fewer things to think about.
4. Plan ahead
Planning is a lot more than creating a to-do list or an action plan. To plan and do all the things in a day, you need to first brainstorm ideas and also have a clear vision of what you want. As I already said, these things should be done a day before so that you are in work-mode at the time of execution. Day planning is different than project planning. Factors like your energy levels, possible distractions, and your surrounding environment should come into consideration before writing an action plan for the day.
5. Use technology to boost productivity
Productivity apps like ToDoist and Toggl are helping freelancers and entrepreneurs to become more aware of how they are spending their working time. These apps can change your perspective on work in a matter of weeks. I use an app called Trello to organize and rank my tasks with the help of boards, lists, and cards.
6. Learn to say “no”
Are you one of those people who say “yes” to every request that you get from other people? You feel guilty when you stand up for yourself and put your own interest on the line. You are brought up the self-critical parent who have drilled into you that you need to be good at everything in life and that you are a bad person if you fail to do so.
If this sounds and feels like you, you need to learn to say “no”. Once you understand how saying “yes” to everything is keeping you occupied in mundane tasks which you shouldn’t be doing, you will learn to say “no”. Saying “no” is a modern day productivity hack that every one of us should learn first-hand.
7. Listen to music
A Canadian study says that listening to music while working puts you in a positive mood and, as a result, increases work quality. The quality-of-work was lowest when the participants of this study performed the task assigned to them without listening to music. With all this research proving music to be a productivity hack, it is imperative for you to listen to non-lyrical music while doing your work.
It’s great to keep all the above-mentioned productivity hacks in your repertoire. But you should also put them to use as soon as possible. For most people, starting a project is the hardest part. They spend days thinking about things that can go wrong or why it won’t work. By starting early and failing fast, you will always be miles ahead of your competitors.
“Smartphone addiction, daily interruptions and self-reported … – NCBI.” Accessed June 7, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29450241.
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