This post has been sitting in my drafts since last January (gasp). It’s time to get it out there. Now you can only imagine how many posts I have that are half-written and in the works! I hope I make 2015 a year of getting it all out there.
This is quite a lengthy post but about a topic that is of great interest to me; organization! It is something that is useful at all times, so a reminder, at least for myself, is always helpful.
Develop your routines
Take some time to think about and develop the sacred rituals and routines of your life. I use the word “develop” for a reason. It implies something that is built over time, developed, nurtured, watered, grown, created, loved. It is a process. If you want to create a routine that can be sustained over time, put it together piece by piece. Look at your day in different sections – morning, afternoon, evening and night – or perhaps, morning, work, evening and night, and examine each “section” and think about what kind of routines and flows could you implement to make your day full and vibrant.
Design your day. Make a list of the kinds of things you would like to have happen in your day to day schedule. Meditation? A daily walk? Reading? Journalling? Exercise? The possibilities are endless and personal to you and what you value.
Once you have done that, start implementing routines one at time, instead of trying it all out in one day and never being able to pull it off again. If you work on these routines gradually, one at a time, you will start to get used to them till each new routine fits snugly into your day.
Live by your values
I believe that living a life of integrity reduces internal emotional stress. It builds inner strength. Find out what is important to you and try to make your life move in that direction.
Get rid of things that are too old, you don’t need and don’t use
It is not that I am promoting super-minimalist living, but by limiting the amount of “stuff” you own, you create the rare opportunity to actually value and care for the things that do exist in your life. Ultimately, you should need, use and like everything you own.
This can be attained by periodically getting rid of things that are out dated, things that you don’t need, and things that you don’t use. You have to get rid of the old in order to bring in the new.
If we grasp onto the old and still continue accumulate the new, we will just keep getting “more and more” whilst strengthening greedy tendencies and yet never fully valuing anything we own!
If you find that an item has become used for ware, take a moment to find an appropriate way to get rid of it- whether that be through donation or a good old fashion walk to the garbage can.
You can donate the clothes that you don’t wear anymore, the clothes that you have matured out of, or that you simply don’t feel comfortable in any more.
I believe that every item we own exerts a certain energy into our home and also takes away some of our energy, because we are mentally always aware of that item, even if we do not use it much or like it very much. So the more items we clutter around ourselves, the more dispersed our mental energies become. It becomes harder to focus on the things that matter.
Take care for self care. Whatever this may mean for you. For me this means massages, long walks, face masks, bubble baths, manicures and pedicures, writing poetry (or just writing in general).
Update different areas of your life periodically
When you start getting rid of the things that clutter your life, you can more clearly assess the state of your life as it is right now. You can se it for what it is. And every so often you can decide to “update” it.
Create a system whereby which you periodically update different areas of your life. You can replenish old stock, take inventory, rejuvenate, refresh. Keep your life progressing, moving forward, changing for the better.
Systematically you can look at different areas of your life and make changes in that area so that it is on track. Every month you can choose a new life area to update. Choose an area of your life that has lost its vibrancy and could use a “boost” of your focus and attention and start there. Focus on that area and make all the improvements necessary in that area – set new goals, make new plans, update old things, put your attention on it. By doing this, your life will always feel “refreshed”
For example, this month you might decide you want to focus on cooking. This month you want to learn a few new recipes to keep things fresh and exciting in the kitchen! Or perhaps you want to implement a new organizational system? Or make some serious improvements in your fitness and health?
This is very similar on the post I wrote some time back on Life themes. Check it out for more inspiration!
Honour your daily rituals
Do you sometimes find yourself rushing through your daily routines? What are you rushing towards? These daily rituals are the very essence of your life. They make up your life. Make them sacred. Celebrate them. Love them. Deepen them. Create beauty in all that you do. Make every act you do beautiful and peaceful. Do your laundry in peace. Prepare your dinner in peace.
Be aware of all your commitments and responsibilities
David Allen, author and creator of the Getting Things Done productivity system describes what he calls “open loops”. These are basically the list of things we have committed ourselves to doing but either have not completed them or have not kept track of them in some way (other than mentally). When we have too many open loops – an internal sense of pressure builds within us – stress.
Open loops can be anything from big projects (making a commitment to write a report by a specific deadline) to small ones (running into your friend at the cafe and mentioning that you will e-mail them some information they needed). Big or small, when these commitments are not effectively tracked and recorded somewhere, after some time it can feel like our life is slowly unravelling.
Take a moment to write down ALL the open loops you can think of in your life right now. Just dump it all on a piece of paper. Then go through that list and make decisions regarding the next step you can take on them.
You have these options.
1. Trash it. Decide you no longer need or want to commit to it. Take whatever action you need to take to relinquish your commitment.
2. Schedule it. Is it something that can only be done on a specific day? Put it into your calendar and make an appointment to take action.
3. Delegate it. Can you get someone else involved in this? Can someone help? Does someone else need to be involved in this? Contact them. Set it up.
4. Do it. Can the item on the list be completed in 2 minutes? If yes – then do it right now. If no, then schedule it (#2).
So, start getting your life organized by being aware of where all your commitments and responsibilities lie. What are you neglecting? What needs more attention? What do you need to do? Where are you going? What is the next step?
And whenever a new responsibility of commitment enters your life, take the time to understand the nature of it. what exactly does it require? When does it start and when does it end? How much will it cost? How much mental energy will it take? How will it impact your life? How will it impact the life of those around you? Try your best to understand all these things before committing, and when you do commit do so with the full knowledge of your commitment. When you take the time to really understand and digest your responsibilities, it is rare that you will become overly stressed by it – because it cannot surprise you anymore.
Unplug – find life away from the computer screen
Interact with life, not a computer screen.
Everything has a purpose
We should try to design your life so that everything serves a purpose. Everything in your life should add value in your life in some way, it should help you develop into a better human being. And you should be a person that adds value into the environments and relationships you inhabit too. Things that have an elevated purpose have an inner pulse of power within them. They add energy to your life. The add strength and soul. Things that are purposeless or even degrading are like a vacuum and suck up your life energy.
When everything you own serves a purpose, you won’t feel the urge to go overboard and own many of the same things with sight variations. Everything has significance and you will create habits of using certain things for certain purpose s- and in this way you can avoid hoarding and collecting a bunch of clutter – none of which gets used very much in the end because there are too many options.
Becoming aware of always trying to serve a higher purpose encourages purposeful, intentional living.
Start saving. Repay debts. Free yourself. .
Everything belongs somewhere
When setting up my home, I try to follow these principles when it comes organization:
– Everything has a home –
I try to make it so that everything has a home. When I clean and organize my room, I literally pick up each item and ask myself “Where do you belong?” and put it there. Nothing floats around from location to location. whenever I bring something new into my home (new purchases etc) the first thing I do is find a home for them.
Whenever everything has a home, for the most part I know where everything is, so I don’t usually have to search for something because I already know where it is supposed to be. Simple, but so efficient and time saving! And helps to keep an organized home.
– Keep the “homes” as concealed as possible –
I personally don’t like to see a lot of clutter. So I do my best to find homes for things inside drawers, wardrobes, under the bed, under the desk etc.
– Keep the most used items of your home the most easily accessible. –
Well, it’s just good sense.
Nourish your body
Enjoy being conscious of what you bring into your body.
My friend Laura once said “my packed lunches are my works of art”
Make time for friends and building relationships. Have long conversations, reach out, send an e-mail, make a phone call, plan something special to do together.
Clean and organize as you go
Whenever you use something, you can either leave things in worse condition than when you found it, or exactly as you found it, or you can leave things better than they were you used it! Whatever we do and use, we can make a little bit of extra effort to leave it running a little bit smoother than it were before. Whatever you take out, you put away. Whatever you put away, you QUICKLY organize.If you do this consistently, it really does not take much effort or time at all, because everything already has a sense of order. So you will never have to spend too much time on cleaning. I find this method much, much more convenient and easier than doing a huge deep clean and having things get dirty and messy by the next week – that is so exhausting, and makes me dread cleaning. But when you maintain cleanliness and organization on a daily basis, it takes like two minutes. Done!
So here are some tips:
– Leave things better than when you found them. –
– Check on hotspots daily before bed. –
We all have the “hot spots” in our home that seem to build up clutter at a much faster rate than any other place. These should be attended to daily. Before bed, 5 minutes to put it out, and done!
-One word. Storage. –
– Have a cleaning schedule for your deeper cleans. –
– Have organizational systems. –
This is probably just me being obsessive, but, I like having systems to keep my different kinds of stuff organized.
De clutter regularly
This takes maintenance. Have a quick run through your living space once a month with “what can I get rid of?” as a goal. I always feel so good after doing this and also so surprised with how much garbage I have accumulated in such a short space of time.
Address things immediately
Ah procrastination. We do it to our own detriment. It’s simple, set your intention at the beginning of the day that if there is anything you need to do and that can be done right away – that you will do it. Or that if you take some kind of action towards it, reschedule it or delegate it, that you will do that.
Not addressing things immediately just builds mental clutter.
Make your work-out schedule non-negotiable
As soon as you ask yourself “should i go to the gym/work out etc” you are fighting a losing battle. Don’t ask. Just show up.
Act on inspiration
Inspiration can come in many forms and in so many areas of life. When inspiration comes, you must act on it!
Plan your groceries and meals
This means being conscious about your meals, groceries and spending. It helps avoiding wasting food. And it means you always know what you are going to eat- which not only keeps your diet controlled, but it also avoids the 5:30pm WHAT WILL I HAVE FOR DINNER panic.
Prepare for your day the night before
This has been a really welcome habit for me and has made my weeks and days so much more streamlined, so that I can spend my mornings doing things I really want to do instead of standing in front of my wardrobe for 10 minutes trying to figure out what to wear.
Every Sunday night I write out my schedule for the week, noting down any extra tasks I need to do, appointments I need to make, study goals, groceries I need – meals I plan to cook etc.
It only takes 10 minutes in the evening to check my schedule for tomorrow, pack my bags, pick out my outfit, write out a to-do list, and check my meal plan.
I feel like I already start my day at 10% this way.
Create beauty and share it: your gift
Create happiness. Generate positive feelings. Find your art and share it. What is beautiful to you? How can you create it, how can you contribute to it?
I think you have to prioritize expressing this side of yourself always. There are things you do that make your life function and more forward, and there are the things you do that make your life wonderful. Don’t neglect that aspect of it!
Do your work
And this is what makes your life function, and if you do it beautifully, it can be wonderful too! When you work, work efficiently and productively. Immerse yourself in your work. That is the only way it can ever become something.
By doing your work you are contributing something very important into this world. Knowing this will naturally build your work ethic.
Make time each day for some reflection and spiritual practice
I am not here to tell you what you should believe or what you should follow. But if the desire is in your heart, you should follow that.
Live a beautiful life
This came at the perfect time of the year for me. I am in a numerology 4 year and it’s all about organizing. Thank you Malavika. Your insightful post has made my day and year!
You are so welcome! Ah year 4! I am in my year 7.
Great wisdom in your words. Organization is needed and hard to do. I have five books needing a re-write. I need to get organized.
Good luck to you 🙂 What kind of books do you write?
Everything. About love, war and people. I did a lot of traveling in my youth. Left me with many stories to be written.
Thank you so much! You’re amazing. This article is so timely and exactly what I needed to read. I have a lot of open loops and this article has really helped me think about them and create a plan to tackle them this week.
It’s a pleasure, Jessica! I’m glad this has inspired you. I am like a billion open loops at the moment too, and I’m just slowly working through them as well 🙂 Good luck to you!
I was just thinking about my lack of organization today as I got a tiny blog post done, went on to scroll the blogs on my sidebar and found this. Soaking it all up, feel inspired, thank you.
Isn’t it wonderful how life always brings you exactly what you are looking for? 🙂