This is a repost of the article of the same name on www.whatson.ae
Shelina Jokhiya, professional organiser and founder of Decluttr Me, shares her advice for sorting out your home, thoughts, to-do list and more this summer.
While helping clients decluttering and organising their home, office and life, I often get asked what are my top tips for staying organised. Over the years I have built up tricks and habits to keep on top of everything (especially when juggling life as a solopreneur, home owner and social media addict). Here are my favourite tips that I use on a daily basis:
- Create a to-do list. I use the app TickTickon a continuous basis. It syncs on my computer and phone so I can update wherever I am. The beauty of this app is that it allows me to create projects and then lists within these projects (which follows the “Getting Things Done” principles that I have implemented into my life).
- Write down everything. Take it out of your mind and reduce the stress of trying to remember what you were thinking about before. I write down my reminders in TickTick and any other notes in Evernote. Having my phone by my side even when having a shower (I have a small towel next to the phone to wipe my hands – yep I am organised!) helps me to quickly drop those thoughts into one of the two apps before I forget again.
- Use one tool and stick with it. Stick to one that you are comfortable with and keep on using it. If you prefer to write in a notebook, use that notebook for everything. If you like to use apps on your phone or computer, use that, but be consistent.
- Don’t multi-task. I used to think I could multi-task, but the reality was that I was jumping between different projects and wasting time rather than focusing on one matter and finishing it quickly. Now I just do one thing at a time.
- Do it now! Don’t throw the dress on the floor, put it in the laundry straight away or hang it in your wardrobe. It will take five seconds.
- Use FAT. File, Act and Toss for everything you touch or see (emails, paper, food, clothes, etc).
- Have a place for everything. If you don’t have a place for the item: a) find a place for it b) get rid of it c) or get rid of something else to enable this item to take its place.
- Keep backups. Buy two 3TB (terabyte) hard drives. Save all your files, music, movies, pictures in one hard drive and make a duplicate copy. Store them in different locations. Add an entry in your calendar to update them every three months.
- Scan copies of your important documents. Spend half a day scanning and saving important documents such as your birth certificate, education certificates, passports, residence visas, land titles, insurance policies. Put them in one folder and mark it “Important Personal Documents” or something similar. I would save these files in a cloud-based service such as Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud so you can access them at any time wherever you are in the world.
- Check the expiration date on food. I check the expiration date of the food in my cupboards once a month. I find items that are close to expiring and put them in the front of the cupboard or on the counter to use next. Anything expired is thrown away immediately and I make a note in my shopping list (on Evernote) or any items that I need to replace immediately.
- Create an inventory of pantry items. Keep an inventory using a note book (online or offline) so that you and the household know when items are due to run out and to ensure you are not overstocking.
- Unsubscribe. In this part of the world, I notice that companies love adding us to their mailing lists and spamming us. I spend a few seconds to Act (remember FAT in point 6) and unsubscribe from any spam emails.
- Clear the hotspot. Every house and office has a hotspot for clutter. Usual suspects are the sink, dining table, entry hall console, lounge table and bedside cabinet. Take note of these places and tidy them up daily using FAT.
- Delegate the cleaning and organising. Start the family as soon as possible to build their organising habit. They say a habit takes 21 to 30 days to be formed, so if you start today they should be organising pros by the end of the summer holidays.
- Store your passwords in a safe app. How many times do you forget your password and then start looking for them on various pieces of paper? Not only are you susceptible to fraud happening on your online accounts, but it also means you waste precious time looking for the passwords. Store them using a secure app such as 1Password and Lastpass. The ultra secure apps ensure that you can find your passwords whether on your computer or phone.