I’ve had a few people ask me recently what my secret is for juggling a career, a relationship, friendships, and now a family. I’m definitely still figuring it out, but one of my best tips is staying organized. If you ask me, a person can never be too organized. We’re all so overscheduled nowadays. And when you have a lot on your plate, organization is key. Life is bound to get busy and when it does, having your thoughts, space, and life in order can be the difference between success and failure.

Today I wanted to share 10 common habits of the most organized people out there. If you can adopt them, they are sure to bring a bit more clarity and precision to your life…

1. They write everything down.

Making to-do lists is a given. But for ultra-organized people, it goes beyond that. No matter how good your memory is, you’re bound to forget the small details every once in a while. So anytime there is something important you want to remember—from the name of the acupuncturist your coworker recommended to the funny short story idea that came to you in your sleep to your brother-in-law’s birthday—just write it down.

2. They give themselves deadlines.

The most organized individuals know that it’s not just about having a to-do list. It’s about having a specific deadline assigned to each task you want to complete. By checking tasks off by a certain time and date, you will avoid leaving anything important until the last minute.

3. They take breaks.

Stopping in the middle of the day to de-clutter your desk isn’t always just a form of procrastination. Taking a few minutes to catch your breath and get your space in order can help you be more productive when you return to the task at hand. So if you need a breather, go grab coffee if you must, but consider an “organization break” as an even more productive alternative.

4. They have a home for everything.

Extremely organized people won’t bring anything home unless they know exactly where they are going to put it. This means being more selective in what you purchase, and also having proper storage solutions. Here are a few creative storage solutions I love and some tips for organizing your craft supplies.

5. They have shared online calendars.

Organized people know that having shared online calendars makes for so much less back-and-forth when you are trying to schedule something. So consider syncing your Google or iCal calendar with your closest colleagues, family members, or anyone else who would benefit. And for times when you are trying to set a meeting with a larger group, I highly recommend using a scheduling tool like Doodle.

6. They have a detailed email filing system.

You might think it was a little bit ridiculous if you saw how many different folders I’ve created for filing my emails (er… 26). But the fact of the matter is that having a detailed filing system makes it easy to go back and find old emails in a snap.

7. They tackle one task at a time.

Trying to do too many things at once can lead to chaos. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, try taking a step back and focusing on one thing at a time. Prioritize the items on your to-do list and start either with the items that are easiest to check off or the most important. I promise that your to-do list will be cut in half before you know it.

8. They have less stuff.

The more stuff you have, the more likely it is to become disorganized. Organized people love to eliminate the clutter and regularly purge items they no longer need. This also includes learning to walk away from bargains. As far as the space in your closet is concerned, it’s better to purchase one investment piece you really love than five so-so tops you found on sale. Also, consider donating items you no longer need. It’s easier to part with your possessions if you know they are going to a good cause.

9. They delegate.

Asking for help is never a bad thing; in fact, it’s the quality of a good leader. Organized people know when it takes a team to get something done and are just as good at organizing people as they are at organizing objects.

10. They set their alarms 15 minutes earlier than they have to.

Being an early riser gives you some uninterrupted time in the morning to organize your home, your workspace, your thoughts or whatever else needs it. Not having to rush out the door also ensures that your clothes and toiletries won’t end up strewn across the floor or counter, and will instead be put back in the appropriate place. Click here for my tips on becoming a morning person.

What are the best tricks you have for keeping your life organized?

xo Ilana

Team LC

 Photo: The Paper Chronicles