Post Updated on September 17, 2020
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a control freak trying to navigate the concept of “letting things be.” Though I talk a lot on this blog about the importance of acceptance and patience, I will admit that I like things to go according to plan. Who doesn’t, right?
When I don’t feel in control of my life (which is 99 percent of the time), I start to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Of course I’ll never feel in control of everything, but I’ve found that it’s possible to feel like I have things (mostly) together with the help of a few tools and routines.
Though it takes effort to keep life organized, it’s worth it because it reduces my tendency to overthink and overanalyze things. The last thing I need is disorganization to clutter up my head more. When my work and home life feel organized, my mind can feel a little more at peace.
In this post, I’m sharing five tips and tools that help me keep my life and thoughts organized so I can worry and stress less.
How I Keep My Life Organized
1. Google Calendar & Asana
Lately, Google Calendar and Asana have been my saviors when it comes to staying on top of my workload. Though I absolutely love stationery and will always convince myself to buy a planner each year, I simply can’t keep track of my life with a physical planner. I know I won’t use it consistently. Since so much of my time is spent at a computer, it makes the most sense for me to use digital tools to plan my life.
These days, I use Google Calendar to keep track of appointments and plan out my schedule. Since I usually have my phone on hand, it’s easy to see if I’m busy right away rather than having to whip out a planner from my bag or risk leaving a planner at home. Here’s a walk-through video of the way I plan my day with Google Cal.
For my daily to-do list and project planning, I use Asana. I watched this tutorial on how to manage daily tasks with Asana, and I’ve worked out how to have it automatically compile my daily, weekly, and monthly tasks so I never forget them (let me know if you’d like a detailed plan of how I do this!).
2. Cleaning Schedule
Since moving into an apartment, I’ve been trying to stay on top of chores and making sure the place stays clean. I’m naturally good at keeping things organized, but I am not the kind of person who likes to clean.
One thing I’ve done is created an evening habit of cleaning the kitchen before going to bed. I’ll wipe down the countertops and stovetop, put any dishes into the dishwasher, and put away any clean dishes. Walking into a dirty kitchen in the morning is not my favorite thing, so this habit helps me feel like my life is somewhat together.
I’ve also been setting certain days of the week to do laundry – usually on Tuesday or Thursday. Having designated days for laundry means I don’t let anything slide for too long, and I don’t have to worry about not having clean clothes because I’ve forgotten to wash them.
Related Post: 40+ Practical Tips To Declutter Your Home
3. Savings Files to the Cloud
I mentioned this in a blog post here, but I store all of my digital files in the cloud. I use both OneDrive and Google Drive (not really sure why I have both), and I try to keep everything organized in different folders.
This has helped me so much when I need to access files on my phone or on another computer if I don’t have my laptop with me. I’ve destroyed too many computers in my life (RIP to the MacBook that I spilled water all over after three months of owning it), so I try not to save anything directly to my computer. This gives me peace of mind and saves me time.
I also use Friday as my admin day to organize and delete files on my computer, update my computer if needed, and get my inbox down to zero if possible. I also have these admin tasks as part of my weekly routine in Asana so I’m reminded to do them every week.
Related Post: How To Declutter & Organize Your Digital Files
4. Meal Planning
Now that I’m cooking for myself and my boyfriend, I find that I get stressed out about food more often. I’m okay at cooking, but I never know what to make and I’m not very good at making meals up on the spot (kudos to my mom for being that person!).
An app that’s been saving my butt lately is MealBoard. You can import recipes from websites and blogs straight into the app, and it’ll generate a shopping list for you based on the recipe.
You can also create a meal plan and decide what you’re going to eat for each meal, and you can track your grocery inventory so you know what you need whenever you’re in the grocery store.
5. Brain Dumps
I would not be half as organized as I am if I didn’t regularly get my thoughts out of my head on to paper. Often we think things are way more hectic than they really are because we let our to-dos float around in our heads for too long.
By simply making it a habit to get my thoughts out on to paper in the morning or before bed, I’m able to a) organize them into to-do list items or b) recognize that they are issues I probably don’t need to worry about.
After dumping out my thoughts, I can put certain tasks into Asana for a later date and forget about them until I actually need to think about them. Thoughts become less overwhelming when you actually force them out of your head.
Freebie: Free Brain Dump Worksheet
How Do You Keep Your Life Organized?
Do you use any tools or have any tricks for keeping your life together? Share them in a comment so the rest of us can stay organized too!