Nothing really pumps me up on a Monday morning quite like feeling organized.
Picture this: You wake up on a Monday morning, you are working from home today. You get out of bed and make it the goood way, hop into the shower in your freshly cleaned bathroom then get dressed from your tidy closet. Then, you walk over to your desk, coffee and breakfast in hand, and light a candle. Everything you need and nothing you do not is sitting on your desk waiting to be used throughout your day. Now, it is work time, you pull up all of the files you need with ease and open your primary tabs from a fresh browser. Ahhhhh. Wishful thinking? Being organized every day is a tall ask. Life happens.
Next week starts a new month so I thought this is a perfect time to touch on how you can get off on a good foot! I used to have longgggg and tedious to-do lists for myself almost every week. It was overwhelming and fed into both instant gratification (via putting low effort, low priority things on there) and a root of a lot of stress (via putting too many large tasks into one week).
I almost never reached big goals this way and felt extremely unorganized. EW.
I currently focus on putting down things that bring me closer to my goals. Vacuum? Get groceries? Buy shampoo? No. No. Nope. Instead, I plan out specific times I can stop and focus on getting closer to reaching a specific goal and only write down things that are high priority + beneficial to my lifestyle or business. This is not saying I am hyper-productive all day but rather keeps me mindful of the big picture, not mundane things that simply help me tick a box.
One thing I have found very helpful to stay organized without adding 15 things to my weekly to-do list is setting up a reoccurring to-do list on my Gmail that pops up at the beginning of each month. This list is back-of-house tasks that help me stay organized and motivated throughout the month. The best part - I only had to set up this list ONCE and now it reminds me each month so I don't even have to think about it. I encourage you to set up reoccurring to-dos on your desktop, email, or right in Reminders on your phone. Here is my list and why I think each of these is important to my workflow:
- Clean out both personal and business emails. I am good about deleting emails day-to-day, I do this every time I check my email without having to think about it. However, I still take a few moments each month to put everything in the correct folder and empty the DELETED one to make things easier throughout the month. No lost emails for this gal. P.S. check your junk folder once a week, those auto-delete every 10 days.
- Clean up my desktop & BACK UP to hard drives. Once you start doing this it just becomes a habit and each month you'll have less and less to catch up with.
- Purge phone photos. This adds up so fast. Again, this will eventually become a habit and get easier every time. If you have a business insta and struggle to stay on-brand keep your logo pngs, color palette, and imagery on your phone and keep them in a folder so they do not drown in your camera roll.
- Content plan. Not necessary for everyone but for those with a biz Facebook or Instagram this can be really helpful. You do not need content for the whole month, try just a week or two or by doing a little feed planning in an app like UNUM or Planoly to save you some time later. Add it to your calendar!
- Journal/ Reflect. I stop and think about what worked well for me last month vs. what did not and then make changes accordingly. This step usually does not take more than 10 minutes depending on how in-depth you go.
- Set OBTAINABLE Goals and schedule them in my calendar! Goals are only going to get you so far unless you do something to accomplish them. I do not usually hit every goal every month but I am sure hitting much more than I used to.
- Update website! Again, for business owners or students with a portfolio site. Usually, I just have to upload some new photos or tidy up some of the copy.
- Tidy up and toss! Focus on your workspace, or if you are like me and your apartment is 600 sq ft shared with my BF and cat, do the whole damn thing. That pile of mail? Go through it already. Have things to return? Package that up and get it out the door! Oh, and your computer screen could probably use a wipe down. Wait, when was the last time you washed your pet's food and water dishes??? These are not all on my monthly to-do list I mentioned but something I subconsciously do each week. If you have to add one or two things like this to yours until it is a habit then do so.
Remember, you can only micro-manage your life so much. Do what works for you and don't stress about the rest. Life, as we know it, is far from organized — but more on that next week.