How Do I Get My Life Organized?

How do I get my life organized? Here's how
How do I get my life organized. Photo / Getty

“How do I get my life organized” sounds like a huge question. Luckily, it can be broken down into the following smaller and more manageable parts.

1. Home. 

Organizing your entire house is a daunting proposition (even in a one-bedroom apartment) but splitting the task up by room makes it easy. 

  • To get in and out of the house easily every day, it's important to have a neat, organized entryway.  This will help you get in and out of the door more easily, and hopefully, it will make it easier to remember the essentials, like keys, wallets and important papers. 

2. Wardrobe 

Organizing your closet and your wardrobe (and that includes not just clothes but shoes and accessories) can make a huge difference in your life. First, an orderly closet means you’ll get dressed faster and spend less time lamenting that you have nothing (or too many things!) to wear. Second, the process of organizing your wardrobe often goes along with figuring out who you are and how you want to represent yourself to the world.

3. Papers  

You never know when you’ll need the records of your vaccinations, the title to your car, or the name of your landlord from five years ago, but you always know when tax day is approaching.

For both unexpected and predictable occasions, it’s a good idea to have your papers in order.

4. Meals 

If you’ve ever gotten home at 7:00 p.m. having eaten nothing but an apple all day and found yourself staring into a fridge containing milk, balsamic vinegar, and an old bag of carrots, you’ve probably thought that organizing some sort of meal plan might be a good thing.

5. Time 

Because time isn’t tangible like a cupboard or bookcase, this is probably the hardest part of life to get organized. It’s also probably the most important, and learning what works for you in terms of time management will make the greatest difference.

6. Travel 

If you travel frequently, you’ll burn out fast without a good plan for getting and staying organized prior to and during your trips. If you don’t travel all that much, it’s still helpful to be prepared with some organizing basics - it will only make the occasional trip easier.

Here’s how to pack toiletries, how to travel with just a carry-on bag, and how to pack your car for a road trip.

And here is a complete list of travel organization tips, from creating an itinerary to staying organized while you’re on the road.

7. Work 

Of course, for most people, a huge part of being organized in life is being organized at work. 

Isn’t it odd that so much attention is placed on organization when we’re kids at school, but when we get out into the adult world we’re just supposed to figure it out on our own? Seemingly all of a sudden, we jump from tightly enforced schedules, mandatory neat desks, and preparing each day to have the right books in our bags or lockers, to being assigned a computer and an ID card and told to get to work, as if it’s obvious how to keep track of all the necessary stuff and information.

It’s no wonder being organized at work can feel like a skill no one is really prepared for.

If you’re feeling lost in a sea of file folders and deliverables, here are some tips on how to get organized at work.

Organizing your workspace: Where you work can affect your productivity for better or worse. If your desk set-up is doing nothing for you, think about how you might work better at a desk personalized according to your jobs demands.

If you can’t overhaul your entire work area but want to do something to perk the space up - or if you’re just looking for a quick and easy start - try a 10 minute office organization projects.

Another type of organization that’s out of sight but necessary when paychecks are involved: give some thought to how you organize your personal finances.

If you’re setting up a new office space in your home, or want to reorganize the area you currently use, check out these ideas on how to organize a home office.

Organizing your time: It’s always good to show up on time and bring everything you need with you. At work, remembering to do these things can mean the difference between being fired or promoted. Conquer your flaky tendencies with these strategies to help you organize your time.

If your job requires you to perform a lot of the same tasks every day, making a list of them can ensure you get into the habit and never miss something important. It can also help you get things done at the best time of day, rather than waiting until you’re too busy or too tired to start. Read about creating a daily routine to see how this can help.

If your job involves lots of meetings, or if you’re in school, learn how to take good notes.

If there’s no one watching to see if you’re working and yelling at you if you’re not, it can be difficult to actually get things done. Figuring out how to set and achieve goals can help you be your own boss if you’re self-employed or work for someone who is no help in the motivation department.

If you want to be working, but often find yourself reading magazines or sending your friends videos of kittens, take a look at these common reasons why you’re not achieving your goals. Maybe it’s time to adjust your habits or make some larger life changes.

Don’t neglect the rest of your life. If you’re disorganized in general, that’s bound to spill over and affect your work. Read How Do I Get My Life Organized for some tips on managing those other potentially messy parts of your day.