5 Unique Approaches to Get More Organized [in Under 10 Minutes]
Your to-do list is full. You have 50 unread emails. And your home and office are so cluttered that if a fire inspector showed up, you wouldn’t stand a chance of passing …
You need to get organized, and you need to do it fast.
Dumping everything into the trashcan and hitting a mass delete on your inbox isn’t going to fix the problem. Instead, you should get to the root of the issue before it spirals out of control.
When everything seems to be on the front burner and the small fires you’re putting out are threatening to become infernos, it’s time for an SOS — Stat Organizational System.
Luckily, we’re here to help. With these seven tips, you can get yourself (and your life) organized in ten minutes or less.
1. Make a List (and Stick to It)
Take a deep breath, sit down, and stop for three minutes. Yes, three whole minutes. Taking 180 seconds to get a grip and look at the big picture will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Not everything on your list has to be done right now. In fact, most of them don’t. The world isn’t going to end if you don’t finish your entire to-do list by the end of the day.
But, you should complete the most important things.
Get serious. What are the main categories in your life? List them out: family, career, bills, personal motivation, and so on. Then list the top three must-dos in each category, in order of urgency.
Look at the three tasks in each category. Which items on your list, if not done, will result in catastrophic consequences?
2. Prioritize Your Inbox
Depending on your job, you may have an email inbox and a physical mailbox. Both of them should be organized into categories based on priority.
When you receive a message, it’s easy to feel like you have to deal with it right away. But if you have a system in place for responding to messages, you can put some messages off and return to them later.
Folders are your friend, both electronically and in reality. By creating labels for each item that comes your way, you’ll know which messages need responding.
Set a timer for ten minutes and organize your inboxes. Set up folders based on urgency and deadlines.
Common folder labels include:
- Urgent (Respond right away)
- Important (Respond by the end of the day)
- Not urgent (Take your time)
- Personal Storage (For messages from friends and family)
- Documentation (For receipts, tax files, etc.)
Your categories can be anything that pertains to your life. Set this system in place and commit to filing everything where it belongs.
3. Clear Out the Clutter
When things get really dire, the best thing that you can do is start from scratch.
By getting rid of everything that’s cluttering up your desk and home, you’ll free yourself up to focus on the important tasks.
If your desk is keeping you from being productive, start there. Box up everything that’s not an essential office supply. As you go about your day and you start to need certain items, pull them out of the box.
Related: 7 Home Office Organization Tricks for Greater Productivity
Your box will slowly empty, and the necessities will find their way onto your desk. Anything you don’t need every day can stay in the box.
This technique works with your planner, schedule, home, and anything else that is in disarray.
The truth is that non-urgent items are distracting. When you have a bunch of things on your desk, they steal your attention away from the task at hand.
So do yourself a favor and hide them. It only takes a few minutes, and you’ll be far more productive afterward.
Not every item on your to-do list has to be done by you. There are plenty of things on there that you can delegate to other people.
Think about where you could shave a few minutes off your hectic schedule. Can someone else carpool your kids? Can your family or roommates help around the house?
If there are any tasks in your planner that can be handed off to someone else, hand it to them. You’ll feel much better at the end of the week when everything is done. And you won’t be so tired, either!
5. Just Say No
The word no is a valuable one. It can save you a lot of time.
Set boundaries and learn how to say no with tact. It’s probably one of the hardest skills we learn as adults, but it’s also one of the worthiest.
The cookies don’t have to be homemade. You don’t have to volunteer for every PTO meeting. And although some overtime would be nice, your sanity is more important.
Once you learn how to say no to things don’t want to do, you’ll be able to say yes to things that you want to do.
Being disorganized is stressful. But it only takes one small step to switch your mindset from “overwhelmed” to “taking control.”
Getting your life in order helps your brain feel more at peace. And once you organize one aspect of your life, it will spread to the rest. Soon, you’ll find yourself looking forward to those few minutes each day that you spend keeping your chaos under control!