Let’s be honest: being ‘organised’ isn’t a particularly alluring quality; we don’t tend to brag about it. Nevertheless, organisation is a wonderful thing that can make your life easier and reduce your daily stress levels, whether you’re a student, a blogger or an office worker. Looking to declutter your working life? Start here…
Invest in a planner
Buying a cute planner is one thing; keeping it updated is an entirely different matter. When I received a pretty, hot pink Filofax as a leaving present from work a few years ago, I used it for a few weeks before the novelty wore off. Who has time to write things down these days, right?! However, when my workload went a bit mad last year, I dug out the Filofax and, as it turns out, I did have the time to write everything down. What’s more, I stopped forgetting little (but still important!) things and put an end to my morning struggles figuring out what I needed to prioritise on a particular day. If your own thrilling, busy life doesn’t motivate you to start making to-do lists and scribbling down appointments, I can guarantee that Pinterest searches for ‘personal organisers’, and beautiful blogs like Paper Lovestory, will.
Digitise your notes
Yes, I did just say that we all have time to write things down, despite living in a digital age. However, the same cannot be said for proper, lengthy note-writing. If you’re the kind of person who typically thinks up their best ideas on the bus (be they for work, your blog or a uni project), or just someone whose job involves lots of note-taking, it’s time to bin your Moleskine and make things digital. While there are many paid-for note apps available, Evernote and OneNote are great free options to get you started.
Clean up your inbox
There are two types of people in the world: those who open and delete their emails within 24 hours, and those with 4589 unread messages in their inbox. Don’t be the latter – if only because it’s much easier to miss out on important emails when you’re having to sift through swarms of unopened newsletters (and, if you write for a living, endless irrelevant press releases) every day. Firstly, mass-delete newsletters that you never open, and block the senders. Unsubscribe from mailing lists wherever possible; Unroll.me is a handy, free service that can do this for you. Then you can organise your inbox properly. Make your life easier by creating labels to categorise emails, and don’t be afraid to use add-ons to up your email game. There’s a great guide to email add-ons here.
Declutter your desk
If you’re lucky enough to have your own desk space, you should try your best to treat it with respect. Keeping it clean is a basic requirement; keeping it organised is the next step up, but the time you take to set an organisational method in place will end up saving you so much time (and frustration) in the long run: just think of all the hours you’ve wasted trying to find a pen that works, or trying to find a specific invoice from 6 months ago among a stack of identical-looking invoices that you’ve never bothered to create a filing system for. Everyone’s approach to organisation is different, and I would recommend using Buzzfeed and Pinterest for inspiration. My favoured methods, though, are relatively simple: using acrylic drawers to store stationery (so you can always see where everything is without having to waste time scrambling around in the abyss) and storing paperwork in A4 display books, so I can easily flick my way through to finding whatever I need.