How to Stay Organized in Life

By Cara Batema

We all have our own shades of busy. Between work, family, the gym, friends, hobbies or any extra stuff we load onto our plates, it can all become too overwhelming to handle. Welcome to adulting, and time to get prepared for the big O (no, not that one)—organization! When you look at someone who seemingly has it all together, you might wonder how they stay organized in life. Take a few simple steps to get your own life on track.

The Calendar is Your Best Friend

Whether it’s pocket-sized or takes up your whole wall, if it lives on your phone or desktop computer, if you use an app or create your own—you need to have a calendar. Use it for your to-do list, and check stuff off as you complete them. Even bribe yourself with candy or some other treat for finishing tasks. Share your calendar with significant others, assistants or anyone else who might need to be privy to where you are. Electronic apps are particularly useful for setting alerts and reminders. Make your calendar less boring by color-coding it, so you can also keep track of what is a priority and what can be placed on the back burner.

Understand How You Work

If you need to up your organization game, first take a look at how you work and what changes you can make to be more efficient. Do you overload your calendar and end up with a backlog of tasks? Are you quite lazy on Sundays and find Monday mornings too stressful? Consider keeping your daily tasks manageable and write a list of “extras” in case you end up with extra time. Set aside time even on “lazy” days to ensure a to-do list or other things are ready to go the next day. For how to stay organized at work, find out what tricks work for you to lessen the amount you’re pushing yourself right up into a deadline. Pick specific days to do certain tasks; for example, maybe Wednesday is always your grocery day.

Make Technology Work For You

Welcome to the modern age, where there is literally an app for everything. Find the ones you like and use them. There’s more than just calendars—consider list apps where you can check off tasks you’ve completed, keyboard shortcut apps to make your typing more efficient, add-ons to your e-mail to get rid of spam. Use a sleep tracker to monitor your sleep to ensure you’re getting adequate rest. It’s difficult if not impossible to stay organized when you’re tired.

Keep It Tidy and Purge

Take a look at your workspace and ask yourself if it’s tidy and if it has everything you need. If you don’t have a desk organizer or a home for every object in that space, give it a place to live. When it’s not in use, it belongs in its home. If you tend to put objects in different places all the time, use a Cube Tracker on them so you can find them easily. If you find your work area getting to cluttered, ask yourself if you simply have too much stuff. Don’t be afraid to purge, as less stuff means you won’t have to pick up after yourself as often.

You don’t have to change everything about your routine all at once, but it might take some trial and error to figure out what organization skills work best for you and you can incorporate into your already-busy life. By following some of these tips for organization, you can learn how to stay organized at work and in life.


Cara Batema is a freelance writer and musician based in Los Angeles. She likes to write about the arts and psychology.

Amos Haley