Organizing your Life
For many individuals, life can only be summarized by one word: chaotic. The term, which is described by Merriam Webster as “complete confusion and disorder,” is something that has become commonplace in our lives. From managing and juggling your home, work, relationships, finances, health, errands, and everything in between, life can certainly be described as chaotic.
So, how do you transcend life’s “noise” to rise above and organize that same chaos that seems to wreak havoc on your life? Is it even possible? Well, it’s most certainly possible, but it will take some awareness and consistent effort on your part to organize your life into something that’s less likened to an unpredictable mathematical system.
Building Better Routines
Life is a series of routines that are based upon habits. These habitual sets of behaviors are aggregated together to form our typical day. For the chaotic person, routines are generally interrupted by unexpected occurrences that result from either a lack of planning, some form of procrastination, or the result of some constant or on-going emergency or crisis in life.
For example, when relationships, health, or financial problems reach epidemic levels, life tends to get more chaotic and less organized. When you’re so busy dealing with something that’s taking so much of your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical resources, it’s difficult to get centered and make any progress.
However, by building better routines, you can help to manage the day-to-day chaos and help bring some order to your life. Without positive routines, life merely becomes a set of responses to stimuli that are hurled from every direction. Without a routine in place that will help to promote both a happy and healthy lifestyle, along with a positive response to things outside of our control, life can take on a very disastrous tone.
How to Organize your Life
Organizing your life, then, boils down to developing and managing better routines and habits that can help to better assist you as you tackle your day-to-day duties. The problem is that most of us don’t take the time to get organized from the ground up because we’re too busy tackling what’s happening in the here-and-now. You have to break this pattern and eliminate the cycle once and for all.
So, how is it done?
Well, organizing your life starts with a complete make-over from top to bottom. In this life-overhaul, as I like to call it, not only do your daily routines change, but so do the habitual responses to external stimuli. What do I mean? Well, when you’re not organized, and something arises that needs your attention, you’ll learn to address it differently. You’ll tackle the important things first, then move onto the things that might be urgent but aren’t so important to deal with immediately.
Start by Decluttering your Life
To start organizing your chaotic life, you have to declutter your life. You have to remove all of the “fat,” so to speak, and focus on the important parts. How is this done? Well, grab a pen and paper, or whip out some digital device you can transcribe your thoughts onto.
Step #1 — Build a Mission Statement
As strange as this might sound to you, the first step to organizing your life and decluttering your mind is to build a mission statement. And if you thought that mission statements were only for companies, then that’s where you’re wrong. Building a mission statement helps to give you a brighter and more precision-based focus on what you want and don’t want in your life.
So, how do you write a mission statement?
Well, you have to think about what you want out of life. What is important to you and what isn’t important to you? To start out, separate a piece of paper into two columns. On the left-hand side you’ll write down single words for what you want out of life. On the right side you’ll write single words for what you no longer want out of life.
For example, on the left-hand side you might write out words like: love, contribution, community, family, religion, integrity, travel, business, and so on. On the right-hand side you might write out words like: conflict, deceit, fear, defeat, anger, sorrow, regret, and so on.
When you have your list, look at what words you came up with. Then, organize those words from most important to least important. Take the top 5 on each side and draft a mission statement out of it that’s three or four sentences long. For example, you might say:
“I am committed to contributing to my community, growing as a person, finding and loving someone wholeheartedly, and building a business from the ground up with integrity. My plan is to travel the world and share experiences with people that will allow me to see life from a better perspective. I will no longer tolerate or involve myself with people that help to bring about conflict, deceit, and anger in my life. I will no longer feel sorrow, or regret my decisions. The past is the past and now it’s on to a better and brighter future.”
So, why is this so important? Because when you don’t have a mission statement in life, you’re shooting in the dark. You don’t have a target for what you want and no longer want in life so you’re caught simply responding to things based on patterns and routines. By building a mission statement you’re laser-focusing your life and organizing your mind in the process.
Step #2 — Set Goals
To build on the mission statement, you need to set some clear and concise goals. Goals will help you to further your agenda in life by giving you a target of what you’re aiming at. Now that you understand the things you want and don’t want in your life, put some spatial recognition to it. Figure out when you want certain things by, why you want them, and specifically be able to measure your progress towards it.
Goals are an important to decluttering your mind and organizing your life because they give you something to move towards. So, how do you set goals the right way? Well, read this post on goal setting first. Basically, you need to specifically define what you want. So, if you want to own your own business, what kind of business is it and when will you open up shop? What do you need to do in order to achieve that goal and specifically when do you plan on doing it?
If you want to travel the world, how many cities do you want to see by when? Specifically write out all of the cities you’ll visit in your life and when you’ll do that. This way, you have a moving target. Your goals can also then be broken down into milestones that will help you to see what you need to achieve this week, month, and year. It’s so important to organizing your life. Without a concrete set of goals we’re like fish that are floundering out of water.
Step #3 — Home & Office Organization
If you’ve ever heard the saying “Clean house, clean mind,” this is completely true. In order to organize and declutter your life, you have to organize your surroundings. When your home is messy, cluttered, with things strewn all about, it’s difficult to have any sense of mental organization or purpose.
Most of us live with clutter surrounding us; we bask in the chaos and plead that we have our own system. Well, it doesn’t serve us whatsoever. To organize your life, do a deep clean from top to bottom. Everything from your house, to your car, to your office, all needs to be cleaned and fully organized.
If you don’t organize and clean your surroundings, your mind has a funny way of cataloging your to-do’s in the depth of your subconscious and using it to help you put other things off. If you have trouble with procrastination, decide that you will spend just 10 to 15 minutes each day cleaning and organizing. Everyone has 10 or 15 minutes. What you’ll come to find is that you’ll end up doing more than spending 10 or 15 minutes once you get started. The hard part is simply getting started.
Step #4 — Eliminate Stress
Everyone has stress in their lives. In fact, we can’t simply say that we’ll eliminate all of the stress in our lives because we’re at the mercy of external forces at times that includes other people and situations. We can be at the mercy of others but it doesn’t mean that our mental state has to suffer because of it. If you can eliminate stress you can focus more on the things that matter to you in the long-term.
And, when you have a mission statement that you can look back it from time to time, you can help to put stressful situations into perspective. If there’s a problem on the horizon, think about how you can resolve that problem while adhering to your mission statement. Your mission statement will almost be like a constitution for governing your life. You can see what things fit and what don’t. And, for the things that don’t fit, you can come up with some policies for eliminating them from your life.
The other important factor to eliminating stress in organizing your life is that stress can come in the way of our goals and what we want. It can help us to lose sight of what we’re reaching for. That’s also why the goals are so important here as well. The goals will further allow you to put things into perspective. if you have a problem, try to look at it from the perspective of serving you in the long term. Your resolution of that stress or problem will eventually inch you closer to your long-term goals.
Step #5 — Manage your Time
I’ve written about time management before in the past. I’m a strong believer in carefully managing your time by using the Eisenhower principle where everything is categorized by its level of urgency and importance. Everything can fall into the category of either urgent or not urgent, and important or not important.
When you can organize your daily tasks and look at things that come up as fitting into these four quadrants in life, then you can better tackle the things that are important. Most of us are busy responding to things that are urgent and not important. We’re also usually busy doing things that are both not urgent and not important, such as mindlessly watching television for hours on end.
The goal here is to tackle the not urgent but important quadrant of things that need to be done in your life. These are what help you to strive towards your long-term goals. So, to better organize your life and declutter things, by using your mission statement and goals, you can help to make daily lists that will allow you to effectively manage your time much better.
Step #6 — Building Better Routines
Life is a set of routines and habits that become ingrained in us. There are some must-have success habits, and there are also other habits that will help us to achieve long-term success in life. In order to organize your life and declutter things you have to build better routines. This doesn’t take an enormous amount of effort on your part; it just takes consistent and daily action to build the habit over time.
Since we’re all a set of habits that have become ingrained in us as the years have dragged by, changing or rebuilding new habits is going to take time. This is why most people have problems with things like weight loss, over drinking, over smoking, and so on, because all of these things are based on routines and patterns that have become habitual in us. We will always revert back to what we know until we can completely redefine those things so that we can grow.
This really is the key to organizing and decluttering your life but this step doesn’t work by itself. You must adhere to all six steps if you want to achieve some sort of organization in your life. Get started today with these six steps and commit yourself to live not only in adherence to a mission statement, but also in accordance with a set of goals that you’re constantly striving towards. You’ll realize, over time, just how effective this method will be to allowing you live a happier, healthier, and more successful life.