Getting organized

Getting and staying organized requires commitment. Having some handy tips at the ready to facilitate the process can make things go more smoothly.

Becoming more organized is a popular resolution each new year. However, like many resolutions, people's commitment to being more organized tends to wane as February draws near.

Being unorganized can adversely affect productivity, state of mind, motivation, and even happiness. Sixty-seven percent of people surveyed in an Alpha Phi Quarterly study believed they could save up to 30 minutes a day if they were more organized. And a Huffington Post survey determined worrying a home isn't clean enough or organized enough is the fifth most common stress trigger for Americans.

Getting and staying organized requires commitment. Having some handy tips at the ready to facilitate the process can make things go more smoothly.

1. Determine what organization means to you. Being organized might mean one thing to you and something else entirely to someone else. Some may put form before function. Others may be interested in the aesthetics of a neat-looking space. Once you have a handle on what being organized entails to you, you can get to work.

2. Start with what motivates you most. Perhaps this is a room in the home that has become overrun with clutter. Or maybe it's getting finances organized so you can save for a dream vacation. When you accomplish your biggest goal, the seemingly smaller ones may seem less difficult.

3. Declutter your mind. Think of a busy mind as a computer that has that turning hourglass or spinning color wheel icon when it's stuck on a process. Every application stalls because the computer cannot do everything at once. The same thing can happen in the brain. Sit down and make a to-do list of what's on your mind. Then start prioritizing tasks. This will do wonders to clear your head.

4. Create deadlines for yourself. An open-ended timeline to get things done may promote procrastination. Deadlines may provide motivation.

5. Avoid distractions. Try to remove as many distractions as possible. When working on a chore, hire a babysitter to look after the children or step away from social media so you can focus on the task at hand. Interruptions only slow you down.

6. Think before you acquire. Once you are organized you may have challenges fitting new items into the mix. If you're getting ready to purchase something new, carefully consider its usefulnesss and determine in advance where it will go, and whether or not you have the space.

7. Be accountable to another. Having help getting organized can mean delegating certain tasks or enlisting someone to check in with you to see if you're on target. Embrace this system of checks and balances.

Becoming organized is a process, but once you get the hang of it, it can be easy to stay organized.

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