10 Steps for Mastering An Organized Lifestyle
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2016 has come and implemented itself into our lives, right? And if you’re like me, then this burst of energy has suddenly taken over your body. It feels kinda like a miracle, doesn’t it? However, this is also the time of year when burnout makes the first appearance in our lives. Heading into that third month, you either find yourself thriving or barely surviving. You are most definitely not alone. Taking the crucial steps to stay focused and organized creates the means to make a successful year. One that can be both memorable and profitable.
I wrote this post because my family and friends are always asking me how as a single mom do I manage to work, blog, run, write-publish books and take care of a household while looking so stylishly fabulous after doing so? I thought about that question for a while because believe me when I tell you that I don’t feel like this person my friends all see. This post has been in the making for several years now. There’s really no magic formula for life survival skills, although, I might have to add a good movie to the list of helpful little things you’re about to read.
1. Make a to-do list – sounds simple enough, right? Yet so many people let this valuable habit slip by. A list of the things you need to handle gives you the peace-of-mind you need to start the day right. In these days of super fast technology, anyone can find themselves overwhelmed by a shower of tasks. The to-do list will help you rank and focus on the right items first. Which leads me right into step two. I use Trello to help organize my life and Evernote to blog while I’m on the go.
2. Don’t Put Off the hard things – I’m guilty. I confess. Wearing no less than ten hats comes with a hitch… Some of my tasks truly intimidate me. I sometimes find myself browsing through the list and tackling the easy items first. What happens next? The difficult and usually most important tasks get pushed off until the next day. The solution? Make the to-do list. Prioritize the items, start from number one and work your way down the list.
3. Organize Your Mail/Streamline Your Email – This is one of the most difficult tasks for me to handle… I’ve learned that to tackle this one, I have to sort through mail on a daily basis. Otherwise, the pile grows yet again. A few things you can do 1) sift through your mail as soon as you get it 2) toss out sales flyers, etc. And other things you don’t need to keep 3) Have a designated area for mail. When the area fills with paper then you know its time to purge. For email, follow steps 1 and 2. For step 3, have one mass email client such as Gmail or Typemail that you can use to handle all incoming emails. It’s so much easier to keep up with your inbox when everything sits in one place.
4. Read over your list of goals every day. This one is super important and sits right up there beside the to-do list. Reading over the things that motivates/inspires you each day will help you stay on track.
5. Clean the Kitchen – Everyday. This one’s a no-brainer. Not only does it make your house look and smell fresh, but it also prevents bug and rodent infestations. Coming home to a clean kitchen after a hard day at work or waking up each morning to make that magical pot of coffee in a tidy space works wonders on the psychological soul.
6. Balance Your Checkbook Once a Week – Do not let the convenience of modern technology put you into that twilight zone, aka bill pay, where nothing exists because you now have automatic payments and don’t need to worry about anything. Check. Your. Bank accounts. I got hacked several times in the past few years and if I hadn’t been paying attention to my checking and savings account balances, then I would have lost hundreds of dollars. Entrepreneurs this tidbit especially applies to you. Keep track of those business expenses. Hire someone to help you if you’re not accounting savvy. I most certainly am not.
7. Pick One Day of The Week for Grocery Shopping – I used to make what I call panic runs, those mini trips to the grocery store four or five times a week that not only consume time, but also made me frantic. After settling on Thursday evening as my official grocery shopping day, I now have peace of mind in knowing that my household is well-covered for meals. This was a tough habit to kick, but I did it.
8. Make the Bed – Produces the same effects as number seven. I don’t know what it is about my bed being a hot mess all day, but I feel crazy if I come home and find my sleeping digs in a state of chaos. This is the main reason I make sure that this step gets handled everyday even if I fall behind on some of the others on this list.
9. Create Designated Times for Tasks – I write & publish books, am a fitness freak, work full-time, have kids, a house and pets. So how do I manage to take care of them all? Well, I have designated times for each task. Right now, I’m working on this article at 5am, my muse’s magic time. The best way to discover the ideal moments for handling tasks is to write/memorize those times when you have free moments and then spend some time over the next couple of weeks working on your tasks during the various hours of your day. Eventually, you will work towards a schedule that provides ideal times for taking care of your priorities.
10. Get Plenty of Rest – Another no-brainer. However, you’re probably wondering if I’m able to get any sleep with that superwoman schedule I just listed in step 9, right? If you focus on prioritizing your tasks as suggested in step 9, then eventually you’ll discover a schedule that will allow you to handle each item on your daily must-do list like a pro. You’ll find some items will only take an hour or less each day and others might not need to be handled but once a week. My secret? I have a 10pm cutoff point for working on all things business related. I’m an early riser so this rule allows me to get no less than 6 hours of sleep which gives me plenty of rest time. Adjust your schedule based on your own lifestyle and this little guy’s playtime routine.
Smile when you master the things on this list. Because I promise you that these are my best kept secrets. The answer to that mysterious question people always ask… “How do you manage such a hectic life as a single mom?” Well, now you know.