Doesn’t life feel like a juggling act? We are balancing family commitments, finances, work..and just when we feel that we have got everything sorted, something demolishes our sense of balance.
Something or somebody is always throwing a spanner in our works. When we look at all the things that need to be taken care of, they end up overwhelming us and our constant complaint that ‘there is no time to spare’ or ‘I am too busy’ doesn’t help either.
The end result: the pile grows, we feel more exhausted, but we still choose to ignore.
So what can rescue us?
A little bit of organization and planning can help.
Most of us are way disorganized so we must be willing to learn and practice. Here are a few simple tips which, when applied consistently, can help reduce overwhelm and add calm to your days.
1. Determine the Cause of Your Lack of Organization
Why do you feel cluttered? For some people, busy schedules get in the way. For others, lack of motivation is usually the culprit.
Being busy has become a normal course of our life and it no longer feels odd because somehow ‘things are getting done.’ But what goes missing is that feeling of relief and calm.
For me, it has always been being lazy. Laziness has its own causes, usually fear or insecurity, which we generally try to ignore.
To start organizing your life, you need to acknowledge the cause and change it.
2. Take Baby Steps
Organizing our space feels like such an uphill task. And often we are clueless where to start. Like whenever I look at a pile of clothes in my closet, I usually wonder why I got all these clothes. And I don’t wear half of them for unknown reasons.
Which aspect of your life do you think can do better with a little bit of organization? Whatever it is, the trick is to throw that overwhelming feeling out the window and focus on one step at a time.
- Pick a category. (Let’s go with clothing – it has the power to outwit the best among us).
- Select an item of clothing and see if you still like it and/or need it.
- Repeat until you have two spots – ‘ clothes you still need’ and ‘no longer need.’
This can be applied to all the miscellaneous stuff that we put in our drawers. We always end up finding some ancient relics in there. : )
3. Don’t Think in terms of – Either This or That
Is there one thing owning which will make you forever happy and satisfied? I seriously doubt that we can ever feel this way. Because life evolves and so do we. There will always be new people, new choices, and new opportunities.
So our approach should be to keep making progress while taking care of different facets of our life. And what is the best way to do it? Build skills that will help you organize your life and maintain a happy, healthy life.
Here’s what you can do:
- Break down projects into more manageable, smaller steps.
- Set a time limit so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
- Acknowledge what you did vs what you did not get done as it will help you to keep yourself motivated.
4. Focus on Your Priorities
In all the melee, we forget why we are doing what we are doing. Everything seems to continue on auto mode and we are snapped out of this perennial funk when something happens that forces us to take notice of our disorderly lives.
Before we get used to living based on uncertain values, we need to figure out what is important to us. Once we know it, that will help us organize our lives and eliminate distractions without feeling overwhelmed.
- List the top 3 priorities of your life to help you figure out what needs to stay and what needs to go.
- Manage your time and place realistic boundaries to remain focused.
- Harmonize your decisions and priorities.
5. Stop Procrastinating
It is a tough nut to crack. We all just love to procrastinate and how satisfying it feels to keep putting things off. But we all know that we are just conning ourselves.
If a small task like making an appointment or paying a bill is pending, try getting it done as soon as possible. For larger tasks, breaking down into smaller tasks makes them more manageable.
One way to get things done is to set a timer and do a particular task during that time. Remove distractions, the common culprits being our phone or the internet. You are likely to continue working after the timer goes off because you have managed to make headway on a project you had been postponing ad infinitum.
6. Don’t Seek Perfectionism
Seeking perfectionism is like chasing a dangling carrot. If you are in the habit of working on a task until it is ‘perfect’ you are likely to leave a lot of unfinished tasks.
Similarly, if you keep waiting to start tasks until you are in the ‘right mood’, the waiting time will be really, really long.
When you reach a point where it is good enough, move on to the next item. If you think a project can be improved, try taking a break and come back to it after finishing a few smaller tasks. You will end up getting more done in the same amount of time rather than wasting time on an unperfected task.
7. Declutter Regularly
Just like the clutter in our mind, when things around us are all over the place, we are generally not able to decide where to start. But all the stuff can’t remain organized on its own. So:
- Choose an area in your life that needs to be organized. It could be rooms in your house or just a closet.
- Check if you need all the stuff you have been hoarding over the years. Throw out unnecessary items.
- Get organizational folders and containers to stay organized. You can also use shoe boxes and label them.
I know staying organized is not a cakewalk. Usually, we try to multitask, thinking that working on lots of little tasks, one after another will get the job done. But what normally happens is that we see little progress, no completion and then we get discouraged.
All that can change if we try. We all deserve to live a happy, productive life and by using these simple tips I think we all will start to see and feel the positive differences. It is all about making a start, isn’t it?