My favorite time of year used to be back-to-school season – okay, it’s totally still my favorite time of year.
I would walk into the school supply aisle, and my parents would basically have to push a leash on me to stop me from going crazy. I would have one thought in mind: I need everything. And after a little begging, and the occasional crocodile tears, I would usually leave with way more than what I actually needed.
School would start, and the same thing would happen almost every time. I’d start off strong – a notebook and folder for every subject, a planner to write down important dates. But then, I would slowly start to introduce all of those other unnecessary purchases into my daily routines. And to make matters worse, I was known for buying extra supplies mid-year. Before I knew it, I had a binder that held some assignments and a notebook containing others, my notes were a mess and I couldn’t focus on the work because I was too distracted by trying to figure out how to work. It was a recipe for organizational disaster.
I had everything I needed to be organized, but I was so far from being truly organized. That’s because I was focusing on organization, but not organizing with intention.
Thankfully, I’ve found a system of organization that makes life easier, and doesn’t drag me to the point of no return. All it takes is a little simplification, intention and time to really nail down an organizational method that will work for you.
Step back and assess the need.
Before you decide to buy a new organizational product, like a planner or calendar, step back and assess what you’re really going to use it for. This will keep you from doing two things – wasting money and adding more clutter to your life.
If you can’t say this is the planner that I will use to keep track of my blog posts and important meetings – or, this is the notebook I will use to write creative ideas and keep lists, put it DOWN!
Subtract before you add.
Have you ever seen someone who has pages and pages of apps on their phone? Or stacks of notebooks that either aren’t being used or are old and outdated? Yep – they are called hoarders and that stuff around them is called clutter. Before you decide to purchase more organizational tools, eliminate the old ones. If you’re getting a new planner, get rid of the old one. If you have one list making application, don’t download another.
If you’re making a mid-season move, like introducing a new planner because the old one wasn’t cutting it – give yourself a week or two to transfer any important dates or notations. But that’s it – a week or two, and then, it’s clutter and needs to be tossed.
Simplify as often as possible.
Don’t stress yourself out by creating one hundred systems that you now have to track. If you don’t really need an app, paper planner and phone alerts to help keep you on track, then don’t implement them all. Look at what really bests helps to meet your needs, and stick with that. Less is definitely more.
Accept your own uniqueness.
Just because your friends all rave about their favorite productivity app or go on about how they couldn’t live without their planner doesn’t mean that their system will be an instant fix for your organizational needs. If you are a more visual person, a moleskin with open space to write and doodle freely may work better than your best friend’s planner ever could.
Before you click download, before you drive to Staples, step back for a second and assess the root of your organizational system. As yourself, am I organizing with intention? Does everything I use serve to help me meet a need? Are the tools I have just taking up space and prohibiting maximum organization?
Have you been organizing with intention?
(photo via apartment therapy)