Being organized is the driving force of living a better, more productive lifestyle. With so many responsibilities and limited hours in a day, it’s important to make time for the things you need and the things you want.
Whether you’re a professional, a parent, a college student, an athlete, or take on another important role in life, becoming productive will be the most rewarding challenge you’ll overcome.
Here are 5 tips to lead a better, healthier and more productive lifestyle:
1. Determine your purpose
Like any major project, reflection period, or presentation, the first step is identifying your purpose. Grab a pencil and paper and start thinking about what drives you to want to be a more organized/productive individual. Outline your priorities, goals, and expected outcomes. The more you write, the closer you’ll get to finding your ‘Why?’
Without a purpose, there is no consistency, and consistency is the key to an organized lifestyle. Find your purpose and embark on the road to productivity.
2. Discover what method works for you
The most common mistake we make when taking advice from others is believing that because it worked for them – it’s going to work for you.
Many people turn to a planner or agenda in order to get their life in check. While it’s a very useful tool, the reality is that it might not work for everyone. It might take a couple of attempts but I challenge you to experiment with various organizational methods.
Common methods are:
- Project management platforms like Airtable or Notion
- Sticky notes
- Wall calendars
- Google Calendar or Sheets
Determine what works for you and stick to it. Take time to make time. Sit down with your organizational method at the beginning and end of each week. Set goals for the upcoming week and take notes of the things you missed.
Don’t forget to distinguish between the things you need to do and the things you want to do. Most importantly, recognize your weekly progress.
3. Declutter your space and mind
Let’s face it. How long do we keep “Clean my room” on our to-do list before it’s actually done? Generally, a cluttered space becomes a cluttered mind. Set some time to organize your room, your office, your car, and even your wallet. The more organized the space around you is, the more organized you’ll be. You’ll be able to spend more time focusing on completing your tasks and less time stressing about what’s waiting for you.
4. Distinguish between goals and tasks
According to the National Science Foundation, our brains produce as many as 50,000 thoughts per day. Often times we spend more time thinking and brainstorming than we do on acting and executing. We become extremely overwhelmed with our thoughts that our goals and ideas never make it on paper.
Three simple words that really make a difference: WRITE IT DOWN. Try it! Write down all of the things that keep lingering in your mind. You’ll feel less overwhelmed that you no longer have to remember them and will have more time to plan towards its execution.
Take time during the week to add these lists to your organizational method. Don’t be afraid to have different lists for different aspects of your life. The three open lists I have are: To buy list, bucket list, and to-do List. Check out more lists that might inspire you. Stop thinking and start acting.
5. Don’t be afraid to say “no”
This one is the most challenging step in becoming an organized and productive individual. It’s important to recognize the time you have and the time you don’t.
Be aware of distractions. Distractions are disguised as temporary entertainment. Spending too much time on the phone or on the computer takes away from your productivity. Unless activities are part of your weekly goals, don’t let distractions get in the way of your path.
If something comes up, don’t be afraid to say “no”. That’s not to say that you should let a great opportunity pass you by but instead it shows accountability and respect to your purpose. Make the days count.
Productivity is not temporary. It doesn’t end when you graduate school or when you retire. It’s an ongoing journey. Typically, following a routine becomes stagnant and non-evolving. But following a productive routine is what drives the growth and the changes you want to see in your life. Best of luck on the road to productivity and remember to bring your purpose to life. Let’s talk more about productivity.