Throughout life we develop routines. Good or bad, they help us navigate through our daily tasks. What is the first thing you do in the morning? Do you grab your phone and scroll through social media, or are you like me and immediately get ready and resort to tackling your inbox? Routines are comfortable and familiar, which is why we rarely challenge them, but more often than not it’s those same routines that hold us back from personal and professional growth.
It wasn’t until last week, when I took a much needed break from digital devices that I realized my priorities of late have gotten a bit out of control. It took doing something as simple as organizing my closet for me to realize for me that I’ve lost that punctuality and time efficiency that I’ve always took pride in having.
As an example, a routine for me that has been difficult to break is waking up, getting dressed, and spending the first few hours of the day engrossed in my inbox. For me, replying to emails first thing in the morning always seemed like the most logical thing to do. I wanted to know if there was anything urgent that needed my immediate attention, if someone was trying to get ahold of me, and what potential partnerships were coming through. Next was social media and social engagement. I wanted to promote that days blog post and also see what readers comments and questions I should address. One thing I noticed is that I could spend the entire day at my desk reviewing messages and on social media. It was defiantly a time suck as well as never ending. Before I knew it, mid-afternoon was upon me and I hadn’t even began working on a blog post for the following day. I could never get ahead. My days lacked structure and organization, and my family and home felt the blow because of it. What I realized, is that while there are those urgent emails and message that demand an immediate response, majority of them can wait until a dedicated time in my schedule to do just that. By allocating set times for specific tasks, like curating content for the blog and making important phone calls for my part-time job, I’ve become a lot more efficient with my time. I’m healthier, more rested and fulfilled, and I have more time for the things in life that matter most: spending time with my family, exercising, enjoying my husband, becoming a better cook, and taking a dive into a good book.
Another necessary change within my routine was to become better organized in my life overall. If my home or desk is messy, I somehow feel like my whole life is messy. It causes me a lot of unnecessary stress.
These examples of how I’ve become better organized and also uprooted my work routine in order to make room for improvements can be applied to anything in life: diet, exercise, marriage. I want to encourage you to really uncover what it is that may be holding you back, and to take a proactive approach in disrupting any routines or habits in an effort to make a positive change in your life. Below are a few tips on how I’ve learned to keep it all together….
– Organizing and Work Routine Tips –
Work, Desk, & Life:
- At the end of each week I make a conscious effort to clean out bags and purses – everything from filing business cards and receipts to putting coins in a zip-lock bag. It prevents me from throwing away anything important, and keeps my sanity at bay.
- Organizing my inbox. Despite my rant about Gmail being a dark hole, making sure that my email history is easy to search through has made a profound difference for me. I’ve found that in creating email threads that have keyword rich subject lines is most beneficial. This makes searching through my inbox much easier and I can quickly get to the email I need to reference or respond to. Folders/ threads are also extremely helpful!
- Allocate specific times throughout the day to complete tasks. For example, I’m most creative in the morning, so I set aside the first two hours of my day for curating content for tomorrow’s blog post.
- Creating a weekly editorial calendars. When it comes time to write the blog post I have a topic and/ or outfit planned, and can make the most of that allocated time.
- Keeping a clean desktop & desk is paramount for me. I have to write things down. In additional to an agenda, I have one notebook where I keep all of my thoughts, ideas, to-do’s, grocery lists, etc. I purchased sticker tabs to divide it into sections. For me, it is so much easier to have everything in one place. When I complete something I simple mark through it and move to the next page. It’s also small enough to fit inside my purse, which is nice.
- Turning off notifications on my phone was easily the best decision I have ever made. Therefore, I am only on a social media if I purposefully open an application on phone. When it comes to social outlets, I have zero self control and can get sucked in for hours. I’ve set aside certain times of the day when I allow myself to post and engage with readers and fellow bloggers. It’s been immensely helpful in focusing my mind on important things throughout the day and staying on task.
Clothes, Accessories & Home:
- One of our greatest organizational challenges has been our closets and how to maximize the amount of space we have with all of the stuff we have. To control the chaos, we began routinely been taking in inventory and reorganizing drawers. I’m really OCD, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post (here), so I’ve been known to take unworn clothes, typically work out clothes, pajama sets, and t-shirts, out of drawers to rewash/ refold them every few months. Basically, the Container Store is my best friend. I like to organize clothes by color since it’s always been the easiest way for me to find things.
- Establishing routines to combat clutter and unwanted items on a regular basis has reduced stress, freed-up time, and simplified the way we live in a very positive way. This can even be applied to filing photos for work. I would love to know what organizing techniques you use in any part of your life to stay on track? I’m certain I could improve in some way or another.
- Laundry. Oh, laundry. I do laundry almost every day. It’s one of the things I dread the most, yet by staying on top of it helps keep drawers and closets neat and clean.
- Justin and I are really good about cleaning out our refrigerator before leaving town, as well as, before each trip to the grocery store so we don’t buy more of something we already have. I’ll usually wipe down the refrigerator when we clean it out as well.
I hope these tips help! If there are any questions you have that I didn’t address on staying organized, please do ask! Also, if you have any tips on time management, staying organized, or tackling emails PLEASE share them!