Self-organization – more precisely the lack of it – can make life unnecessarily difficult. The tasks are piling up on the desk, chaos is spreading, the deadline will not be enough … Quite a few get lost in the little bits of everyday life, get bogged down in multitasking or simply fail to organize their lives better. This guide will show you in simple steps how to be organised and get a grip on life and work.
Smart self-organization is an essential key to productivity, target achievement and satisfaction. But how to be organised so you manage to keep track of all the tasks and the tight time?
How to be organised: why is organization so important?
In school, during studies or training and also in professional life – you can benefit from self-organization in every situation in life. Nevertheless, many find it difficult and instead look for excuses, blame the short time on poor leadership qualities of the boss, the high demands of the customer or the bad working atmosphere. In some cases this is true. Often, however, if you follow the steps for how to be organised, you can save a lot of problems. For example:
You save time
The first benefit of knowing how to be organized is that a clear order and good organization can help you to save a lot of time, as you can identify and remedy unnecessary time wasters. Self-organization also helps to work on tasks faster and thus to have more time for other things at the end of the day.
After all, everyone has probably already experienced that they just kept putting things off, only to panic shortly before the end and succumb to the annoyance of not having started on time.
You have less stress
Stress often arises when we have the feeling of losing control, of being unable to cope with the upcoming projects or of not being able to meet expectations. We get hectic and put pressure on ourselves to do anything. Self-organization can ensure that this stress is avoided before it can even arise.
The more organised you are in your work, the easier it will be for you to maintain an overview, set priorities and do the right things at the right time so that you can do everything in peace in the end.
You achieve your goals
Anyone who acts and decides in a disorganized way tends to get lost on their way and in the end no longer arrives where they actually wanted to go. It’s the same at work. If you set out to do something but keep losing sight of that goal, you end up falling by the wayside.
But when you know how to be organised, however, you will work specifically towards your goals and ultimately achieve them – regardless of whether you have perhaps taken a detour in the meantime.
You will be more successful
Self-organization can help you get things done better, be more productive, and work more efficiently. Sooner or later, your supervisor will also notice this. In this way, you may have the chance to take the next steps in your career .
In addition, self-organization often leads to more initiative , as you can better assess yourself and your abilities and want to actively use them to advance professionally.
How to be organised: implement simple steps
After so many advantages, of course, the question remains: How can we learn more self-organization? First of all, it is important to step beyond your own shadow and allow yourself to change something about yourself and your own way of working. Only those who are really ready to do so can change something in the long term and organize themselves better. Otherwise, this process usually succeeds in five simple steps that will change your previous organization:
Write it down
Sounds unexciting, but it does a lot. Especially the writing of important tasks, appointments and deadlines is the first major step toward better self-organization. Many are aware of this, but only a few implement it. It ensures that you have an overview at all times, that you can always remind yourself what is coming up and, more importantly: you have your head free to really focus on things to do.
Even a small to-do list , which may only take a few minutes to create, can influence your daily routine and ensure that you work through the individual points in a concentrated manner instead of messing up everything without actually accomplishing anything.
Not to forget how incredibly satisfying and motivating it is to check off the individual items on the list and thus make it clear that something has been achieved.
Work on your concentration
Distraction is perhaps the greatest enemy of self-organization. Yes, there is always something that is more attractive or supposedly more important than the actual task : a colleague rushes into the office with an urgent question; the phone rings or the youtube video being forwarded is just too seductive. All of this gets us out of step. Even more: According to studies, it takes an average of eleven minutes to find your way back to the original thought.
So when you increase your concentration , you are doing something for your self-organization at the same time. You learn to finish a task you have started before doing anything else.
Sure: breaks are important and should be taken. But timing is just as crucial : stop interrupting important tasks in the middle. This requires a high level of discipline , but is worthwhile in the long term.
Break down tasks
Multitasking doesn’t work. Still, many try again and again. Pity! As a rule, it only leads to more mistakes being made , important things being forgotten and in the end a worse result that everyone is annoyed about.
Instead, set priorities and work through upcoming tasks in sequence. It is a fallacy that it can be done faster or better if everything is tackled in parallel. In the end, you won’t really do any of the tasks right.
By the way: If there are not several small tasks that can be processed one after the other from the start, you should break down large projects into small sub-steps and tackle them piece by piece. This will make it easier for you to even get started, as you are not facing an almost insurmountable mountain, but only partial stages .
Stick to schedules
For many, deadlines are synonymous with stress and are therefore demonized, but with such a judgment you should not be too hasty against any deadline. Fixed schedules in particular can give you the structure you need for your self-organization . However, the prerequisite is that you actually adhere to it.
At the beginning of the process, set a deadline for how long you want it to take and don’t be tempted to extend it . Since man is a master at fooling himself, one reason or another will surely come to mind – but stand firm and stick to the deadline.
Parkinson’s Law by British historian and publicist Cyril Northcote Parkinson describes why this is so important . It says that work expands in proportion to the amount of time available to do it . If there is no time limit, it will take you much longer for each task.
It may be difficult for you at first and it sounds strange, but it will be good for your self-organization if you put a little pressure on yourself in terms of time. You simply do not give yourself the freedom to dawdle and procrastinate – but please always within the limits so that you still have the opportunity to actually accomplish the tasks.
Unfortunately, self-organization doesn’t happen overnight. It will take you some time to get used to the new approaches. It is also not ruled out that there will be setbacks that make you feel like nothing has improved.
However, don’t let that discourage you. After all, self-organization is a long-term project that will accompany you for the next few years. So go for it and don’t give up too quickly just because success doesn’t come right away. Only with the right practice and experience will you be able to use your self-organization properly and benefit from the positive effects.
How to be organised: a question of habits
In order to learn how to be organised yourself, you first have to let go of a few legacies. Specifically: Get rid of bad habits and make room for new and better ways of doing things.
Sounds simple in theory, of course, but in practice how to be organised it is often a big challenge. The old processes , which have often been practiced over years and established as an unconscious routine, are too deep and too firmly anchored.
Changing previous habits and actually implementing the tips above therefore takes a certain amount of time (which you should give yourself). According to studies, it takes up to 66 days to replace an old habit with a new one …
The path to better self-organization begins with jumping into the deep end: just start! At first it feels strange and therefore uncomfortable. But over time it will get better and you will become happier. Not least because you can achieve more of what you set out to do …
The 5 principles
Write down all the tasks, because writing them down relieves your head and prevents you from forgetting something (also applies to ideas). Written form is the core of every self-organization.
Self-organization only works if you do it regularly. (Is that a truism? If so, why do most of them fail at this point?)
The simpler your way of self-organization, the more likely it will survive stressful phases and the more likely it will become a routine and habit. A simple to-do list that you can use every day is better than a sophisticated planning system that you will no longer use in the first stressful phase because it is too time-consuming.
You should choose an organizational method and tools (PDA, schedule book, clipboard, etc.) that best suit yourpreferences and personality.
Self-organization must also be practiced and trained. You don’t learn to play the piano by reading a book and resolving to play the piano every day. Why should one be able to learn self-organization from a book and a resolution? You can only learn self-organization by practicing it, looking where the problem is and improving little things until you have a method that works well for yourself.
12 tips to organize your daily routine
- To-do lists
We face new challenges every day. So that you have everything at a glance, you should create to-do lists. So you deal with your goals anew every day – the short-term and the long-term. That motivates!
- Set priorities
Set three priorities a day. Come what may, these three tasks are done. So you will never again overlook what is really important! All other to-dos are less relevant. Ask yourself: which of the three priorities is the most difficult task? Do these first! The longer you put off things, the more difficult they become to implement. So get the biggest challenge of the day out of the way as quickly as possible.
- No more multitasking!
We re especially proud of our multitasking skills. But first, it leads to stress and second, it doesn’t go any faster when we multitask. On the contrary: We then work less cleanly and take longer. You actually go faster if you focus on just one thing and do it quickly from start to finish. Your nerves will thank you.
- Create routines
How can you better organize your daily routine? Always do things at the same time. Routines make our lives easier. They make us work more organized and therefore faster. They also bring calm into your everyday life: you know what’s coming.
Are you particularly productive in the morning? Then you are the fastest during this time. Do not put off important work until the afternoon.
- Organize the daily routine better by setting deadlines
Some of us can get lost in tasks. Hello perfectionists, we are looking at you! Unfortunately, we usually don’t have the luxury of devoting ourselves to just one thing a day. Many other to-dos are waiting to be checked off.
So make sure you don’t get too bogged down in things. Set deadlines for yourself. With anything that is not one of your top priorities, you don’t have to desperately strive for perfection. Otherwise the really important things will fall by the wayside.
- Clear out your life
If you want to better organize your daily routine, you should do one thing above all: clear out! Both the workplace and the apartment. In this way, you not only eliminate possible distractions, but also create more peace for yourself through more order.
- Plan meals in advance
Shopping and cooking takes time. Especially if you want to live healthy. After all, you don’t want to target the delivery service every day as a stopgap solution. How do you save time? Plan the main meals for the week in advance. Think about which snacks should be on the table. Then you know exactly what to get at the supermarket. You no longer rush off every other day because something has been forgotten.
- Consciously plan breaks
Just power through until nothing works? If you have a lot to do, you often try to cancel all breaks. But unfortunately you cannot trick the body. You are not a machine. Sooner or later you will need a break. Even on a full day, you should consciously plan breaks. You do everything faster when you are refreshed. With a fresh mind and rested body, you are more effective in every way. Sometimes a cup of coffee in the afternoon is enough to relax. So take time for yourself regularly and refuel!
- Eliminate distractions
Oops, already wasting a quarter of an hour on Facebook. Little time thieves lurk everywhere! Social media is just one of them. Gossiping, watching TV, online shopping: save these relaxing activities for your breaks. Because then you can enjoy it consciously and fully – instead of with a guilty conscience. As the saying goes: anticipation is the best joy!
- Get enough sleep
What does sleep have to do with time management? A lot! Because how quickly will you do your daily to-dos when you stumble into the day overtired? If you want to save time during the day, you have to function. You have to be the best version of yourself. A healthy lifestyle with good food and adequate sleep are essential for efficient time management.
- Dare to say “no”
Taking on more and more tasks even though your schedule is already overflowing? Not a good idea! Some of us have a hard time saying “no”. Unfortunately, this often leads to us getting bogged down because we want to please everyone. And in the end we suffer from self-inflicted time pressure. Only accept additional tasks if you can and really want to cope with them. And when they are urgent.
- Accept help
Do you feel overwhelmed? Then you may need some help. Young mothers in particular have to do a lot each day. Unfortunately the day doesn’t have 45 hours! You have to make prints somewhere.
Perhaps you have been thinking about employing a cleaner for a long time? Ask yourself what work you don’t necessarily have to do yourself. This also applies to the distribution of tasks at work. You don’t always have to do everything by yourself! Free up more time by handing in some tasks.