How to Get Organized for the New Year
There are plenty of stories about why we don’t get organized on a daily basis; not enough time, space, motivation, etc. As a professional organizer, I’ve heard them all. But, doesn’t it feel better when you’re organized and everything is functional and streamlined? Absolutely.
Here is a simple 3-point checklist to get you started and moving into this shiny New Year. Breaking your to do list into sections can make it feel less overwhelming. See each checklist I’ve described as something to schedule into your calendar and relish the feeling of accomplishment, and having your home and space how you like it.
#1: Complete last year.
January is naturally, partly, about completing the holidays. You may have holiday decorations, gifts and other celebratory items still in place. Schedule the time to clean up and store it all away. Enjoy the gifts you received and make sure to send or complete any remaining gift-giving and thank yous sooner rather than later.
#2: Don’t jump into the whole year yet.
Stay in January and get organized in the areas that will help you stay focused on your schooling, home life, family, health, etc. Make a list of these areas that you need to get more on top of in the coming months. Examples include:
- Find all of your school paperwork
- Make sure all forms are signed
- Talk to school staff, teachers, counselors, finance office, etc.
- Get the class schedule, family and work schedules synced up so that nothing is missed or double-booked
- Re-check family needs to make sure they are covered
When I teach my Lifestyle Balance class at FRCC, my students are always surprised (and relieved) to realize this fact: Your future will be better served when you take care of your daily life in smaller chunks so that everything gets done well the first time. Taking care of your daily life well keeps you from working harder so you don’t have to go back and fix things that weren’t done.
#3: Answer: What do I want this year to be?
It’s a curse and a blessing to set New Year’s goals and resolutions. Research has shown for decades that whether a person says they’ll “start that diet” or “start exercising,” the results are too often the same; they stop within a few weeks of the New Year. Habits and patterns are something that don’t change quickly, so don’t try to change them quickly!
One of the best ways to stick to your goals for the New Year is to ask one holistic question like, “What do I want to be different this year?” This is right up there with goal setting of course but just very simply, think of it this way, “What do I want this year to be?” The best answer is “more peaceful.”
Peace comes from the inside out.
When we are at peace everything works better. You can then define what “more peaceful” will look like for you and set smaller, doable daily goals. Some examples include:
- Better communication with my family
- Not worrying all the time
- Breathing more deeply and not freaking out about how I’m going to do it all
- Starting earlier on each project so that I don’t cram it all in at the last minute causing myself stress
- Asking more questions that will help me learn better
- Spending less money on things that have a short-term return on happiness and use
Define each day’s, week’s and month’s projects and goals to be met through the filter of peace and see how everything gets done with much more ease, calm and genuine intention.
Happy New Year!