10 Tips to Get Better Organized - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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10 Tips to Get Better Organized

May 27, 2015

10 Tips to Get Better Organized 

Do you rush around in the morning looking for things you can't find? Or worse still, do you leave home knowing you forgot to put something in your bag - only to realise later it was your pen drive loaded with an important presentation you had to make in a couple of hours!?

I remember I was standing in those serpentine queues for college admissions, ready with a filled form to submit, when I suddenly discovered I had forgotten an important document that went along with it. Luckily my home was nearby, so I requested the person in front of me to hold my place, quickly hailed a cab, rushed back and returned with the document in the nick of time ... Whew.

Most of us have lived through such instances, only to come out much wiser and a wee bit more organized. But being organized is an everyday task, it's one that needs to be worked on all the time, it has to become a habit, your second skin. It's only when organization becomes an automatic reflex action, can you conduct personal and professional tasks with great ease and success.

And the most organized among us will admit that there's always scope to be more organized. It's a continuous learning, incorporating, adjusting and realigning - your mind first, and then the spaces around you - to become more equipped with your daily demands.

So here are 10 tips that I thought you may find helpful. I'm sure some of you are using them already, if not you can start doing so now and see if they work...

  1. Nothing compares to the to-do list: You may write it down in a notepad, key it on to your phone or on your computer, but the good ol' to-do list has still not gone out of fashion. It can be your single most useful tool in getting organized for just about anything. Depending on the number of things to do you can first break them up into tasks, and further into sub-tasks. So if you're organizing a party, you can first jot down all the basics you need, like: Menu, giveaways, decorations, invitations etc., and then further break the menu point into starters, main course, dessert, beverages etc. Get the drift?

  2. Get monthly calendars, annual planners: If you have a whole lot of work deliverables or simply feel more organized when you have a calendar in front of you with all the dates and days spread out, use it. I download monthly calendars from Timeanddate.com, make print-outs, fill it up every week for the different deliverables I have and post it on the soft-board in front of me. You can also use your phone calendars and make a note of the meetings you have, submissions and events to attend.

  3. Everything should have a home: The common saying goes, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Some of the world's best chefs will vouch for this. They can conjure up exotic dishes before the dreaded timer goes off on Masterchef... because they know exactly where each ingredient in their kitchen is kept. The most organized set of people refuse to change the location of things as it spares them the headache of looking for it all over again.

  4. Go a step forward and label what you can: This is done by very few people, but, I must salute those who do because, it shows tremendous foresight. When you label, whatever you can without it looking unaesthetic, it essentially means the system will live on even when you're not around. Your kids won't trouble you for the names of masalas, your colleagues won't ask you which drawer has stationery and your friend won't drink vinegar instead of water when she opens your refrigerator. So find attractive labels, use your best coloured markers and see how much more organized the people around you feel too.

  5. Put things away as soon as you use them: The best way to ensure you don't lose something is to put it away as soon as you use it. If you take out your hair dryer or anything else you use often, simply put it back as soon as you're done with it. This will not only make the place look as neat as it was but it also helps you find it in the same place next time... If you leave it out, whoever cleans after you will stash it away elsewhere.

  6. Ensure everything you need is easily accessible: Mumbai doesn't have many seasons, but I know friends in cooler cities who put their woolens away at the back of cupboards, or neatly packed away in suitcases, till the next year. Now this is really smart because whatever you use more often should be most accessible. And it's true of anything. For me the books I'm currently reading are at an arm's distance and always in sight, reminding me I have to finish them.

  7. Determine your own system of filing: Files and folders are the greatest inventions. At your office, you can have separate files for different departments, like one for customer service, another for employee resumes... Label them by their contents and year - that way you'll be able to locate them in context. So the next time you need to look up an analyst you interviewed in 2010, you know exactly which file to look for. At home, folders help you store important paperwork. Nowadays you can even scan copies of documents and save them on the cloud.

  8. Make technology work for you: The most beautiful part about technology is that once you feed something in, it's recorded there for good. Take for instance, if you get up at the same time every day, you just need to feed the time onto your phone alarm once. Likewise, if you use Evernote, one of the most popular services to help you get organized, you'll see how every idea of yours can be archived and saved online for future use.

  9. Keep spaces around you clutter-free: If the space you work or live in are tidier and cleaner, you tend to feel and become more organized. One way of doing this is by following point 5, another is by getting rid of all the stuff you don't use. If you can recycle old stuff - great, if you can't, simply trash what is unlikely to be used... ever. But don't hold on to what you don't need and definitely don't let it clutter your space.

  10. It all begins with a restful mind: The outside environment is a reflection of your inner mind. If you feel disorganized or if the space around you is a mess - with little that you can find easily - it's probably because your mind is not restful or organized, it's moving all over the place and it's unable to clearly compartmentalize or prioritize. If this is the case, do what you can to de-stress and declutter your mind - meditate, take a walk, play a game, sing a song or simply pick up the broom and start cleaning... You'll be amazed how therapeutic even cleaning can be.

I'm in the process of doing spring cleaning in my office and as I empty the paper trays of all the extra paper, old magazines and clippings I had stored, I can't tell you how organized I'm already feeling... Maybe it helped me write this piece with more ease.

Image Source: Frannyanne / Shutterstock


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25 Responses to "10 Tips to Get Better Organized"


26 Nov, 2015

very nicely explained every thing---if practically followed, one can incease his will-power

murli chari

08 Jul, 2015

Your 10 tips to get organised is simply awesome and superb. The tips are very simple yet profound. We can save a lot of time energy and frustration by following these pragmatic tips. Thanks a ton. Keep posting such valuable write up. Kudos to you.

deepak kapote

26 Jun, 2015

This would enhace efficiency and productivity. The 10 tips also favour the KISS policy.

kalyan kumar sandilya

09 Jun, 2015

I think I know it all when you remind but time goes, times comes again, things to find

Like (1)


29 May, 2015

This is really nice and is always in mind, Can you share the ideas on the mess corporates has created for their staff


29 May, 2015

The official trend has become all e-filing, wherein also we tend to put all wanted and unwanted files, photos, articles, etc. suddenly we realise the memory is less. your article is apt even for modern managers , who have a lot of apps to support them, thanks.

Like (1)


29 May, 2015

These are highly essential for people serious in their work. Unfortunately , the thinking these days is, face things as they are.


28 May, 2015

This list is very good. It is nessasary to get organized and to this check list becomes handy.

Like (1)


28 May, 2015

Wonderful tips. Any one can easily follow.

Like (1)


28 May, 2015

Perfectly all right


28 May, 2015

Useful article and links


28 May, 2015

cent per cent agreed!

CN Tilgulkar

28 May, 2015

Very nicely described this can be used any where . Even if we start with one other automatically follows. All the best.

ganesh shenoy

28 May, 2015

One of the best articles I enjoyed on practical living. It is worth reading as much time as necessary to imbibe them in mind. Best wishes for better communication.... Ganesh


28 May, 2015

Yes, even minute things count and the more organized one is the better................you are doing a wonderful job....keep up....

Arulpandi P

27 May, 2015

Valuable and practicable ideas in simple terms. Grateful to the author.

Murli Chari

27 May, 2015

These tips are amazing and simple. It can be implemented by all with great ease. Its just magnificent.

M M Amalsadvala

27 May, 2015

Read your article with interest. Out of the 10 items - the item no 10 is very very appropriate " a restful mind" at all times. Thank you

vasudeo kelkar

27 May, 2015

the article you published is very nice and helpful as usual. I would like to share the same with my friends and family members.


27 May, 2015

Excellent, Hope everybody follows the tips and becomes an organised individual,thereby creating an organised nation. Thank you.


27 May, 2015

Quite a useful tips to make one's life more & better organised.......Thanks

Msp Reddy

27 May, 2015

Hi Rithika, Thought the information is very very useful for executing the Schedule effectively and efficiently with out loss of time and the stress too

Vijay Menon

27 May, 2015

Simple, practical, very useful tips. Liked the article.

manoj sawant

27 May, 2015

Thaks once again as i done the cleaning of all unwanted papers in my Office table now & then again & again dumpping of papers are goning , but after reading this comments i will se that from know onwards all unwanted papers will b in waste basket / for one side photocopy can be used but not on my table


27 May, 2015

Thanks, Ritika I am a retired official (Deputy Director General of BIS). I have collected a lot of papers. Spring cleaning would certainly help me in locating the relevant paper in least time. Asaretired person, I havea lot of time and sometimes cluttering of papers help me in spending my time, which I can use more profitably br reading and re-reading good articles of Ritika and persons like you.Really, I enjoy reading them. Om Khullar

Like (1)

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