With a new year comes a new opportunity to assess what we want to change in our lives and to start fresh. Now is the time to create goals and action plans, get rid of clutter, and make our homes a more peaceful space. Staying organized can help reduce stress, promote productivity, and encourage a healthier lifestyle especially if you’re working at home right now. If being better organized in 2021 is one of your resolutions for this new year, here are some ideas to get you started.
Put your workspace in order.
If you are working from home, the sudden move from the workplace may have left your home workspace looking messy and cluttered. It’s never too late or too early to clear out and organize your desk. You can arrange your supplies and folders in an organizer that you can reach easily. However, with a laptop or computer monitor on your desk, you may not have enough room for much else. To help create an organized area, purchase or build a monitor stand that has storage space so you can keep files or other supplies there.
Designate a clutter drawer.
Have a basket or drawer where you can put clutter that piles up during the week. At the end of each week, pick a day to take everything out and put it where it needs to be. This can help you stay on top of clutter and remain organized without letting things pile up for months to an overwhelming amount.
Like keeping your physical space organized can help reduce stress, decluttering digitally can also help lessen your anxiety. Delete any apps that you haven’t used for more than six months, any old photos, contacts, or files. Organize the files on your desktop if you feel overwhelmed every time you look at them and uninstall any programs you don’t use on your computer. Unsubscribe from newsletters you usually delete without opening and delete any emails that have been sitting in your inbox for ages. It may take a while, but you will feel so much better once your digital workspace looks neat and organized.
Organize your Google Calendar.
If you are like me and use Google Calendar to keep track of everything, you know the importance of keeping it organized and up to date. Color-coding different events, tasks, or reminders by category can make it visually useful to stay on top of important things. There may be a slight learning curve if organizing Google Calendar is new for you, but it is easy to pick up and easier to stay on top of your tasks and appointments once you get the hang of it.
Design a plan for the week.
While circumstances may change daily, create a tentative plan for what you want or need to achieve during the week. You can create a to-do list to keep yourself focused and develop steps on how to achieve your goals for the day. Creating a weekly plan can also help your child stay organized with their schoolwork and studies, especially if they are still learning from home.
Invest in a family calendar or planner.
It can be challenging to keep track of everyone’s schedules at all times, especially if you’re working from home with young children that need lots of attention. One way to stay on top of plans is to have a family calendar visible somewhere in the house. It should be easily accessible so that every family member can see it clearly and add their appointments or reminders. Having a physical agenda or planner can also help you stay organized with work deadlines, meetings, or to-do lists.
Prepare the night before.
This is one of the best ways to avoid stress in the mornings and to keep yourself from scrambling to find the things you need at the moment. Clean out your workspace and organize the files you may need in the morning. If you are going to work in-person, set out the clothes you want to wear the night before and anything you know you will need to take to work the next day. That way, you ensure that you will not forget anything important and give you a better night’s sleep!
Create a budget.
Managing your finances may feel like a tiring task for some, but I think we can all agree that it is crucial to know where your money is going. Track your spending by creating a budget or checking your credit card statement and bank account often. There are a few apps out there to help you keep track of your finances and spending.
Though staying organized during the year can feel like a daunting task, it’s not impossible! Once you get started, take it week by week. It may take a little practice and require setting reminders for yourself, but once you have your organizational routine down, you’re set for a clutter-free 2021.
Emily currently lives in Orange County, California after spending four years in Illinois and half a year teaching in Florence, Italy. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from Knox College and an M.A. in Counseling from the University of San Diego and has taught English to native speakers and ESL students for over three years. When she’s not working as a School Counselor or writing, she enjoys traveling the world, playing instruments, and blogging about Millennial experiences at Long Live the Twenties.