Organization differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people. Disorganized people waste time searching for old items, fritter money away by purchasing replacement items, and risk their reputation by missing due dates and appointments. Although some people seem to be "natural" organizers, even the most disorganized person can acquire organizational skills by developing new habits and practicing them.
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Begin with a step-by-step plan, according to organizational expert Steve Pavlina. (Reference 1). The scope of your organization project will influence the level of detail in your plan. If you are not used to planning, don't worry--this too is a skill you can acquire. Start by planning how to improve your organization during a 24-hour period. Create a checklist of things to either throw away or move from one place to another. After you have successfully completed a few days worth of organization, graduate to planning for a week, then for a month, and eventually for a permanent organization system.
Once you have created a plan, stay focused on your ultimate goals. Clutter often results from bad habits. For instance, you may be used to throwing your clothes on the floor instead of the hamper. One way to keep focused on the day-to-day activity is to set a future goal of an organized work or home space. Improve your focus by setting aside time each day to focus on your organization project, and eventually it will become a habit, according to author and motivator Stephen Covey (Reference 4).
Some people become disorganized because they save every piece of paper and item that comes into their lives. If there is little to no chance you will use an item, throw it away or donate it to someone who could use it. Be practical with the plan you create. If your plan is to spend three hours a day organizing your papers, but you only have an hour in your schedule, devise a different plan. Creating a system that is practical for is extremely important to your organization, according to author David Allen (Reference 2).
Organization is directly connected to time management. Make sure there are not too many items packed into one day. Allocate enough time for all the things in your life. Give equal time to work, health, and family and friends.