Summers used to be all about hanging out with friends, lazing around and staying up till the sunrise but now that we’re older, summers tend to go a bit differently. Personally, I like to take my time to improve myself during the long summer vacations. When I finished my GCSEs I finished an online Creative Writing course and after finishing my first year of college I gave learning Korean a try. Despite the fact that every summer I try something new, I always lose focus by the end of the holidays and in turn, I end up showing up to class in September feeling unmotivated and confused because I let the end-of-term chaos roll into the new term.
This time around, I decided to ask myself a few questions because usually at the end of the academic year I end up very confused and tired. Some questions I asked myself are “how was the first year of university?” and “what could I do better in the second year?” and after doing some self-evaluation and reflecting on my first year of university (I made a *post* about it – you should check it out!) I came to the realization that at some point throughout the year I lost sense of my goals and how I was planning to reach them.
In order for me to find some motivation and feel more in-tune with my goals and aspirations, I came up with a way to get myself organized again. Through following this ‘recipe’ I am able to be self-aware and proactive about the way I spend my time, the things that are going to help me reach my goals and the things that won’t. Here are seven tips for becoming a more organized person.
Keep a tidy work-space
Personally, this is an important part of how I keep myself organized and focused and although I know that some people thrive off of chaos and an organized mess, I am not that person. I need my work-space, be it my desk, the dinner table or my little corner in the library, to be tidy and efficient for what I am planning to do.
Preparing the night before
This is also very important. How many of us hear the sound of the alarm in the morning and dread getting out of bed because even though the day just started, we have a hundred and one tasks to do from the get-go. It’s no surprise that we are so overwhelmed as we are always on the go, hustling and trying to reach our goals but I believe that would be easier if we started enjoying mornings a little bit more. Therefore, I take time to prepare my meal, my clothes and my bag for the next day the night before, that way I don’t wake up and immediately feel overwhelmed.
Cluster similar tasks together
I honestly don’t know why I didn’t think of this before when it’s such a no-brainer. Instead of jumping from one task to another (doing the dishes to studying for finals) it’s easier to just cluster together similar tasks. For example, it’s easier to answer emails, make phone calls and listen to a lecture one after another because they all involve your laptop/phone and thus you can move from one area of your to-do list to another more seamlessly.
Focus on short-term goals on your to-do lists
It’s easier to get muddled up, confused and anxious if we overload our to-do lists with tasks that have to be done, say, next week. If it can’t be done today it shouldn’t be on today’s list because seeing so many irrelevant tasks is bound to make us anxious about not being able to tick all the boxes. By focusing on short-term goals and breaking down our to-do lists in a practical manner we’ll feel less unmotivated and beat-down at the end of the day.
This is important not only because nobody likes people who are always late but also because ‘the early bird gets the worm’. I can clearly and proudly say that I have NEVER been late to anything in my life and this is partly due to my anxiety and the fear of walking in and everyone staring at me and partly because I want to always make a good impression. On a daily basis, I make sure to arrive wherever I’m headed to at least half an hour before the set time. This allows me to work with the small inconveniences of every day, city life such as traffic, no service on the tube, etc.
Give yourself rewards for completing tasks or staying on schedule
I think it’s safe to say that we are all only human. It’s natural to feel depleted and tired sometimes and therefore rewards are a great way to motivate yourself to keep going and to take care of yourself. I wrote a whole blog post about self-care which you can check out *here*.
Be aware of what works and why it works(metacognition) and don’t be afraid to change your time management techniques if they are not working
When it comes to things such as the way you organize your life, it’s easy to assume that you can follow the same ‘recipe’ for the rest of your life but in reality, we are ever evolving creatures and our habits, goals and states of mind change and grow as much as we do which is why it’s critical that you review your organization/time-management techniques every so often while keeping it real with yourself. Some questions to ask yourself when doing this are “is this working for me?” and “are my techniques still relevant to my goals and my dreams?” More often than not the answer will be ‘no’ but that is the beauty of change. Allowing change to happen is important because it will give you something to work with when you’re feeling like your life isn’t going according to plan. So don’t be scared to be critical with yourself and embrace change!
So here it is, a (long) list of my organization tips and the reasons why I think they could be helpful to you too. Thank you so much for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post which is all about my favourite books!