Can I let you in on a secret? I like being busy. I don’t mean the frazzled, so busy I think my eyeballs are going to pop out of my head type of busy. I’m an active and outgoing person, and I enjoy being engaged in all different aspects of life. I honestly think it’s okay if you enjoy it and feel good. Whether you need an overhaul or just some minor modifications, here are 7 tips to stay organized when you are super busy. When the scale tips too far there is a problem, but most of the time we all just need some tweaking.
7 Tips to Stay Organized When You Are Super Busy
As a busy mom of 5 kids, a pastor’s wife, a writer and a speaker, people often ask me, “How do you manage it all?”
Here are 7 tips I use in my personal life that help me a ton. They might not all work for you, but you’ll find a great take-away or two. Keep reading, too, because today’s post is part of a series of posts about how to get and stay organized.
1.Use the one minute rule.
A friend shared this and I’ve been using it ever since. If it takes less than a minute to do, do it right now. If it takes over a minute, you get a free pass. Table it to do later — write it on your to-do list.
2. Do a little bit now.
I used to wait until I “had enough time” to do things. I put off the laundry for weeks. I shelved projects until I could devote hours to them. The problem is that there is never a right time.
Instead, do a little bit when you have time. Clean the bathroom while the kids take a shower. The “notes” section of my iPhone has been tremendously helpful for jotting down blog and ministry ideas while I’m waiting in line or to pick up kids.
I just read that most novels are written in 15-minute sections, and this has been a huge motivator for me to start working on writing a book instead of waiting for “just the right time” that might never come.
3. Only put your hands on a piece of paper once.
Don’t set papers down with the intention to deal with them later. Put them where they belong the first time. By this I mean, don’t read the mail and then set the pile down somewhere. Put the bills in a file. Throw away the junk mail. Same with kids’ school papers.
4. Have a place for everything.
It’s tough to put things away if there’s no place for it. You don’t have to get complicated, but have a file for bills, insurance, personal paperwork, and to-dos.
If you are drowning in paperwork, I suggest you ask a friend to come over and help you get a system going. Those of us who are organizer-types like to geek out on organizing stuff. Send us to an office supply store with a crisp $50 or $100 bill and we are like a kid in a candy shop.
Even Family General or the Dollar Store have wonderful organizing options that are doable and attractive for every budget. Maybe you can trade some home-made freezer meals, childcare, or whatever is your gift.
5. Be decisive.
Some decisions will require more time and prayer so can’t be made immediately, but spending days or weeks on simple decisions is emotionally exhausting.
Don’t waste your energy by waffling back and forth about unimportant decisions. If it’s something that won’t have eternal consequence (say, whether the white of your bathroom walls should be “snow” or “ivory”), make the decision within 24 hours and move on with your life.
6. Begin your day reading the Bible.
Start each day by spending time reading God’s word. There is no other advice more helpful or important than this. I use the YouVersion app and read a devotion and section of scripture. It’s on my phone so easy to carry with me. I also like the “read aloud” option and have it read sections of the Bible to me while I get dressed and do my hair and make-up.
You are a busy person and give to other people. How can you pour from an empty vessel? Fill your own reserve so that you have what you need to give to others.
7. Habit, not willpower.
Humans are amazingly habitual creatures. Carefully craft your habits so that it feels weird NOT to be productive.
When I lost 100 pounds and started working out regularly, I hated exercise. I mean I seriously hated it but I love to eat, so I knew I had to work out. I built in every possible routine so that exercise was part of my habits. My workout clothes were laid out the night before. I had my workouts circled on the calendar and told my husband about them. I asked a friend to meet me at the gym. I paid for races well in advance. I invested in running clothes and shoes.
Make it so you put your paperwork command center front and center so it feels WEIRD to NOT file your stuff right when you get the mail. It would be STRANGE not to put the kids paperwork right from their backpacks into their files marked with their names. Of COURSE you will put the bills right in their appropriate file boxes, because that’s what you do every Saturday morning.
Be so boring and routine with this, you feel like you need to pull out the Mr. Rodgers sweaters and slippers.
There you have it — 7 tips to staying organized when you are super busy. Pick one or two that feel right for you and start now.
What tips do you have to share about how to stay organized?