There is overwhelming evidence out there that shows how being more organized helps you feel better. Just tally all the things that not being organized causes in you (stress, time-wasting, fatigue)...
And now think of their exact opposites.
If you thought less stress, more productivity and more energy, you got it! That’s exactly what experts like Dr. Eva Selhub, author of Your Health Destiny point out — when you’re organized, this is what you get.
Additionally, Dr. Selhub mentions that “being organized is about having more time for yourself and enabling you to live a more balanced life”.
Even little organization tweaks in your daily life can lead to improved sleep, a more focused mind and a healthier lifestyle.
Here are 7 tips to get you started so you save time, take control and overall feel less stressed. Ready to get started? :)
1. Organize Your Environment
According to Heidi Hanna, Ph.D. and author of Stressaholic, “when we have chaotic surroundings or a fragmented mindset, the brain can perceive this as a sign that there is more demand for energy than our current capacity, which triggers the stress response”.
So given that the brain is scanning the environment all the time, it’s should come as no surprise that a messy environment requires more energy on the brain, causing more stress and even anxiety.
In that same vein, a study done at Princeton called “Interactions of Top Down and Bottom Up Mechanisms in the Human Visual Cortex” found that when sitting at a place, a fraction of the brain is being devoted to each object lying around.
Subconscious as it may be, that brain activity requires energy. So if you sit at a messy desk with lot’s of things lying around, it’s going to make you more fatigued than if it was organized and had less clutter.
The bottom line is clear then: If you want to be a more organized person, start with your environment and your brain will thank you.
If you want some tools to help you organize your home and car, some of our favorites are the Busy Life Trunk Organizer, Premium Foldable Organizer and Car Seat Organizer. They’re a huge help to reduce clutter and feel less stressed!
2. Start Small
If you’re living around clutter and the very thought of organizing all of it is making you stressed... just start with a space that’s nice and easy to sort out.
Michele Rosenthal from Rewire Me recommends finding a drawer or a cabinet that you access frequently and starting there. As you see, it doesn’t even have to be a very large space.
Once you decide on where you’re organizing, pull everything out and spread it around. Then you can think about what things you really need or are ready to throw out. You can then re-arrange everything to fit your current needs.
As with most tasks, the hardest part is getting started. But I can almost guarantee that once you get done with that little drawer or cabinet, the desire to organize will hit you and you won’t stop there.
With something small like in the above example, and with whatever you decide to organize, ask yourself if the space you’re organizing is really all it could be.
When you have a bunch of items and a space waiting to be filled with them, you not only have the task of organizing at hand... but the opportunity to get creative and give it a new purpose.
It helps to think about what you currently use the space for.
- Is that really working? How could it be better for your actual needs?
- Once you organize it, will it be easily be cluttered up again in a few weeks?
- Could it be used for something else instead?
Depending on the answers, you can organize more conscientiously and even enjoy the process. Don’t be afraid of change either. If you find something doesn’t work, you can always make little tweaks later.
4. Let Go
In the same way as the questioning of what each space could be used for... be ready to question whether you really want to keep certain items while organizing.
It doesn’t mean just throwing them in the trash. If you find stuff you no longer have use for, you can recycle them, give them to someone else that may need them or store them where they won’t clutter up your daily life.
The goal is to declutter so you have room for what you really need, which helps the organization in your home, office or car.
5. Take A Step Back
Be careful as you go through this organization process. As we start to organize, sometimes we get into what Ari Meisel (author of Less Doing, More Living) calls “perfectionist mode”.
That’s where we want to tackle everything at once and forget to allocate time for breathing and closing our eyes.
What started as half an hour organizing a drawer turns into futile attempts at controlling every little thing. Suddenly you have five different to-do-lists, a super-tight smart phone calendar and an obsession with scheduling.
The spark to organize is nice and necessary. But remember that, as Dr. Selhub pointed out, the idea is to free up time and live a healthier life. So try not to take it to the extreme.
Every now and then, take a step back and be comfortable with the fact that you won’t organize everything at once.
6. Finish Things
But in the long run, do make time to finish what you start. It will help with your peace of mind and reduce stress caused by the disorganization.
According to a study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, women who used the terms “unfinished projects” or “cluttered” to describe their homes were found to be more depressed and fatigued than those who used words like “restful”.
You may know the feeling. Every time you see an item on your to-do list that you’ve been postponing or walk by an unfinished project in your house... you start to feel anxious, guilty and stressed all over again.
It’s been proven that this provokes a natural decline in cortisol. So for your health’s sake, try to put perfectionism aside and just get it done. It is scientifically proven that it will make you feel more relaxed.
7. Organize Up To Your Bedtime
There are several small actions you can take around sleeping that will result in you being more organized and feeling better.
For example, a survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that 75% of people claimed to get a better night’s sleep when their sheets were fresh and clean. It was also reported that people who make their beds every morning are 19% more likely to get a good night’s rest.
There you go! Even little tasks like making your bed and regularly changing your sheets can help you sleep better, and in turn make you feel less stressed and more in control of your life.
However, be sure not to take it to the extreme either. The same survey found that bringing last minute tasks to the bedroom is a common cause of sleep deprivation, which causes exactly the opposite of what we want.
So by staying organized up to your bedtime we mean stop writing emails, modifying your schedule or adding things to your to-do lists right before you go to bed. Try to do more passive things instead. Like reading a book or meditating.