Saturday, November 26, 2011

Simple Things to Do Now to Be More Organized in the New Year

I know that Thanksgiving is barely over and Christmas is rushing toward us at a dizzying speed, but think for a moment how many times you've said to yourself "Next year I am going to be more organized" as a New Year's Resolution.

Now, I am a very lazy person.  You may not agree with me, but I am.  And I live by the rule that while necessity is the mother of invention, laziness is the mother of efficiency.  I don't want to work - not one lick!  So, to have more time to enjoy myself being with my kids or doing crafts or really anything other than work, I try to be as organized and efficient as possible.

If this your resolution for 2012, and even if it's not, here are some ways to help you start getting more organized and keep you that way.

  1. Buy yourself a calendar.  Whether it's a large paper or dry erase wall calendar, an app for your smart phone, or a small pocket planner you carry with you, get one and start using it.  You already know when birthdays and anniversaries are - write them in.  Two weeks before each, pencil in "get gift for ______________".  If you're not sure what to get the person or couple, make that the day you email or call for suggestions, then follow through the same day (at least within 24 hours).
  2. Make your bed.  It sounds really strange, but I get more done on the days I take the 5 minutes to make the bed.  It starts the day with that "something accomplished" feeling.
  3. Set out your clothes at bedtime.  Include everything from socks to earrings and in between.
  4. To make #3 easier, sort your clothes in your closet by item, color and length.  I start with shirts, then skirts, then pants, then dresses.  You can squeeze in vests and jackets/blazers between shirts and skirts if needed.  I also only generally buy pants and skirts that are black and navy blue. This makes it much easier to buy shirts and accessories because everything goes with black or navy.  Grey and brown are good neutrals, too.  You can always add color with a blouse and accessories.  Oh, and by the way, if it doesn't fit or it's been out of style for a really long time (I'm so sorry to tell you, but Hammer Pants are NOT coming back!), donate it to charity (and get a receipt!).  That's right - out it goes!  Be strong!
  5. And sort your shoes, too.  Go from flats to heels to boots.
  6. Take your vitamins.  Set the bottle next to your clothes for the morning so you don't forget.  It's a lot easier to tackle the world when you feel better, and vitamins will help you stay healthier and more focused (PS - I'm not a doctor, I don't intend to replace your doctor, I am not giving medical advice, this is just a suggestion from a friend).
  7. Make a basic menu.  I'm sure by now you know what nights will have holiday parties for December, when the kids' activities will be, etc.    Use a basic calendar that you can print from word processing software, and write down what's for dinner.  Use this menu for a few bigger shopping trips instead of making a bunch of last minute dashes. 
  8. Use your crockpot.  I love the fact that I can do my chopping and peeling in the morning when I have more energy.  If you need the morning to get ready for work, do your chopping after dinner and get the  crockpot ready to go for the morning, or set aside some time on a weekend to do "chop and store" for items like onions, celery, and carrots.
  9. Start some good financial habits - save your receipts for EVERYTHING, pack your lunch, make your own coffee drinks, put leftover loose change in a jar.  These will not only help you develop a better budget, they will help you cut expenses and start saving money.
  10. Be resolved and determined to do it.  Most coaches will tell you any sport is more than 90% mental, rather than physical.  Keep your head in the game, your eye on the prize, and don't give up if you stumble.
I hope these are as helpful for you as they were for me!

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