I love everything that relates to organization. Whenever I see books on staying organized, I have to take a peek. I love baskets, storage containers, nifty organizers, and tips and tricks for organizing “things” and utilizing space. I am not always very good at staying organized myself… but I do love trying to be organized.
However, even harder than keeping “things” organized, is keeping “life” organized. I don’t know about you… but schedules, responsibilities, goals, plans, etc. can be really hard to keep organized. Sometimes I feel like my head starts spinning if I can’t stay on top of everything.
One day when I was reading in Proverbs, this verse really jumped out at me…
“Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.” Proverbs 27:23
Now, I don’t have any flocks or herds to care for and look after… but this principle can still apply to my life. I may not be caring for sheep or cattle but I do have …
- A relationship with God that needs to be cultivated and guarded.
- My wonderful fiance’ who deserves my love, my time, and my attention.
- A full time job where I ought to work my best.
- A Sunday school class of girls who need to be taught the Word of God each Sunday.
- This blog and you (my readers) who are ready and waiting for a new post each week.
- A bedroom that needs cleaned and organized.
- An up coming wedding that needs to be thoughtfully and wisely planned out.
- And…. so much more.
Ultimately, God does not want any of us to be “control freaks”. But we are supposed to do our best to manage the resources, responsibilities, and things He has given us. And I am so thankful that God will give us the strength and grace to do the special things He has called us to do.
And, how about you? How are you managing your life, your to-dos, your schedule? Are things crazy and a bit out of control? Or are you doing your best (by God’s grace) to wisely manage and steward what He has called you to do in your life at this time?
Over the years, as my life has gotten busier and more things have been added to my schedule… I’ve been sloooowly learning how to keep my life organized. I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t, but today, I want to share with you a few tips for getting and staying organized… especially when life is busy.
3 Tips for Keeping Your Life Organized (Especially When You’re Busy!)
1. Maintain Your Home Base
I’m talking about your home or your bedroom, you’re own personal territory. If your house or room is a disorganized wreck, you’re life might be heading in the same direction.
To be honest, my bedroom (at the moment) is not overly neat and tidy. But it’s not a wreck either. Gazing around my room, I see a gold picture frame for our wedding sitting on my futon, a computer camera lying on my dresser, dishes for my hope chest to my right, loose rose petals from my florist, and a washed and laundered baby onesie that needs to go back to work! (Random I know).
My point here is that you don’t need a perfectly clean bedroom, where every single thing is in just the right place…. but a comfy cozy spot you can go to for rest and a sense of calm. And a place where your most important and necessary possessions are kept. (When you’re busy, it’s important to know where the most important things are kept – have a spot for them!)
I’m working at keep my “home base” semi-organized. I know where the important things are… and my room is still my place of rest and retreat after a long day.
Here are some tips for maintaining your “home base”:
- Take a few minutes to clean up each day. Whether it’s a few minutes before bed or before work, make the effort to put things away and clean up a little every day.
- Have a place for papers. Stray papers are my worst enemy! But I am learning to either toss them, file them, or place them in a “catchall paper box” hanging right next to my bedroom door.
- Put clothing away. Instead of leaving clothing lying all over the room, decided to either hang it up, put it in the laundry, or designate a special spot for worn, but non-dirty clothing – just don’t let it get out of hand!
- Have a home for the most important things. My most important possession all have a designated home. My Bible, my computer, my phone, my purse, my hairbrush, my makeup bag… each one has a special spot in my room. This makes it soooo much easier to find them and put them away!
Make an effort to maintain your “home base”. and it will help keep your life organized… especially when you’re busy.
2. Schedule It In
Scheduling to-dos into the day or week is so important – and personally it saves me time and time again! Knowing what you need to do, and when you need to do it is key to getting everything done.
For example: I write blog posts and Sunday school lessons on Monday or Tuesday evenings, chores get done on Thursdays (before or after work), and date nights are normally on a predetermined evening each week. I try to schedule special appointments (like doctor appointments and wedding related meetings) on my day off or early in the morning before work. And if I have to make supper the next day, I try to prepare meals (crock pot meals!) in the evenings right after supper or before bed. Of course, all of this changes sometimes, but at least I usually have a good idea of what needs to get done and when.
So… since scheduling is so important to staying organized. Here are some quick scheduling tips! 🙂
- Make a List. Think about all the routine things you need to do during an average week. This could be work, school, grocery shopping, meal planning, blogging, teaching, writing, spending time with a special someone etc. etc. etc. List everything that must get done and is a high priority in your life. Then make a second list for all the things you would like to get done. This could be: shopping, spending time with friends, working on special projects, etc. Review your lists.
- Take a look at your week. Get out your calendar and take a look at your typical week. Decide when you will do all the things that must get done and write it down. After you’ve scheduled in everything that needs to get done, fill in the cracks with the other things you want to do. Basically, scheduling can be like a puzzle. 🙂
Once you get a good idea of when you will work on certain things, you may not need to write it down every week. I actually do most of my scheduling in my head instead of on paper. This can be a bad idea though. Sometimes when I have a really busy week, without seeing everything written down, it feels overwhelming and my head starts to spin! (Although it all works out in the end anyways!)
But… if in doubt, write it down and schedule it in! 🙂
3. Be Flexible
This is something I learned a lot last summer when I worked as a camp counselor. We had to be flexible. Some days our schedule got changed around because of the weather, an unforeseen problem, or even because of sick staff members. However, our camp director was always reminding us to be flexible – it was always a fun, yet needed reminder.
I am learning that the same thing goes for everyday life as well. I have to be flexible because sometimes, things come up and schedules change. Surprises happen too. For example: last week my fiance’ and I got an extra date because he came home for a day. So, I pushed some of my Tuesday evening to-do’s onto another day. In that particular case, it was totally worth it to be flexible with my schedule! 🙂
It’s important to be flexible with our schedules and with our time. If we’re not flexible, we will get frustrated when things don’t go as we planned. Sometimes, we need to schedule things in and then just go with the flow. But, here are a few tips to help you be more flexible.
- Add margin to your days and weeks. Margin is extra space or time. Try to leave some empty space in your schedule each day and week. This will allow time for rest and relaxation, and will also serve as extra time for those weeks when things get moved around or don’t get done when you planned.
- Switch things around. If some unforeseen things are popping into your day or week, take a look at your schedule and switch some things around if necessary.
- Ask for help. If your week is going crazy with lots of unplanned happenings, ask for help! Ask a family member to give you a hand, and most importantly… ask the Lord for strength and the grace to be flexible.
- Relax. Remember, that it’s okay if something doesn’t get done. Sometimes when the need to be flexible arises, something might fall through the cracks. Especially when it’s a really busy week, little things might not get done… and that’s okay.
Remember, life happens. Schedules change. Surprises come. So…learn to be flexible. 🙂
The tips I shared with you today are things I have been learning (especially in the past few weeks and months) and have been trying to put into practice. I am not always as organized as I want to be… and sometimes I have to stay up late to get things done… and sometimes things fall through the cracks. But if we do our best to 1) maintain home base 2) schedule things in and 3) be flexible… we are well on our way to keeping our life organized – especially when we’re busy!
Over the years I have read a lot of books about time management and organization. A lot of them have been great – but here are a few of my favorites!
- Life Management for Busy Women by Elizabeth George – this one is great because it’s from a Christian perspective… and Mrs. George talks about keeping first things first – like your relationship with God! She also focuses on other life priorities like husband, family, home, health, etc. I would highly encourage you to read this book!
- How to Have a 48 Hour Day by Don Aslett – this is not from a Christain perspective… and the author sounds like the energizer bunny on steroids. However, this book is a very motivating read, and has some super great tips and suggestions.
What Do You Think?
- How do you keep your life organized and stay on top of everything?
- Do you have some tips to add in the comments?
I would love to hear from you – I love getting new tips and ideas for staying organized!