How to Eliminate Chaos in Your Life and Work

Is your life in disarray? Are you always in a mad rush, looking for something you misplaced?

Then you’re like most of the human population. Disorganization is a natural state. But if you have a desire to get organized, here are a dozen expert tips to get you started:

1. Everything in its place. For everything that you own, designate a place. You can even label some of them, to make it easier to remember. Then simply put things back where they belong when you’re done using them.

2. Start small. Choose a small area and organize it. Come up with a simple system to keep it organized, practice until it becomes habit, then expand, one small area at a time.

3. Create routines. Make routines for everything -- errands, laundry, finances, etc.

4. Clean as you go. Instead of having big cleaning binges, clean right away.

5. All info in one place. Keep all the information you regularly use and need in one place. You’ll never need to look for it again.

6. Put it away now. Done using something? Put it away immediately. Right now. No exceptions.

7. Use an inbox, and empty it. Instead of having papers all over the place, have one inbox for all incoming papers.

8. Keep a simple filing system. If your filing system is too complicated, you won’t use it.

9. Google Calendar. Or some other calendar system. This keeps all your scheduling in one place.

10. A simple system for pending items. For example, create a “Pending” folder to hold these items, and make a note of each item on your calendar.

11. Make your system user friendly. Once again, if it’s too difficult, you won’t use it.

12. Create a landing strip. When you get home, put everything you’re carrying onto a tray near your doorway, or in a similar area. That way it doesn’t get tossed on our counter or table, and you’ll never have to look for it or forget it when you leave.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Disorganization is perhaps the greatest time waster of all bad habits, and can lead to endless daily frustrations. And, yes, it can leave your valiant attempts at improving your diet and exercise routine in ruins.

Organize Your Life – Improve Your Health and Well-Being

It’s important to remember that as a human being, your energy reserves are limited, and must be consistently refilled and recharged to maintain optimal physical, mental and emotional health. Reducing unnecessary energy drains, and re-focusing your available energy on the things that are truly important to you can do wonders for your overall health and happiness.  

Being organized can be both a virtual and literal lifesaver in many areas of your life. For example, one of the most important changes you can make to improve your health and optimize your weight is to cook your own meals, using fresh organic products suitable for your nutritional type -- abstaining from processed foods as much as possible. There’s only one problem -- finding the time to actually do it. 

This is where you may find that part of your problem, which adds to your general disorganization, is that you’re simply overwhelmed by too many tasks and commitments.  

Limiting the amount of commitments you agree to take on (also known as the art of saying “no”) is the first step to slowing your life down to a more manageable pace, allowing you to deal with each task in a more effective manner. 

Over commitment is in fact such a common problem that researchers finally took interest in the phenomena, and tried to figure out why this is. And, according to Gal Zauberman, PhD., and John Lynch Jr., PhD., the reason why you over commit is because you make faulty assumptions about the future, expecting to have more time in the future than you have today.  

Essentially, you believe that the future is perfect: your pantry is stocked, traffic runs smoothly, there’s no need to wait in lines, and other people are on time.  

Today, however, “things happen.” Including losing your keys somewhere between your handbag and your front door, misplacing an important file, and receiving an overdue notice for that bill you misplaced and never paid. Putting a few of the Zen Habits’ organizational strategies in place can save you lots of time by eliminating daily situations like these.

Because as a fact of life, there are only so many hours in a given day, and usually it takes most of them just to get your major tasks accomplished, and, often, the things that really matter get left for “some other day.”

That time-starved, chaotic feeling many of you have, me included, is the reason I'm fond of sharing time-management tips that might save you a few minutes every day to pursue your true passion, exercise, cook dinner from scratch, or whatever it may be that would add value and joy to your life.

Here are just a few tips you can use on the job, with co-workers and at home to save time for the stuff that matters.

  • Planning your work schedule ahead of time can leave up to 20 percent of your workday free for interruptions and emergencies
  • Prioritize the tasks you must do during a given day
  • Start your work day 15-30 minutes earlier with the plan of spending that much more time at home
  • Learn to say no when it comes to time-wasting events that interfere with the things you really love doing

For even more tips on how to organize everything from your personal work space to your kitchen, see my related articles below. And, don’t forget to share these tips with family and friends who might need a few more minutes to spare as well.

+ Sources and References