Missed deadlines, messy backpacks, untidy rooms. This scene might look familiar to you. You might have a messy student on your hands. Messy students tend to struggle in school because they misplace assignments, cannot keep track of deadlines, and cannot read or find their notes. So how can we help our children get organized? By building better habits, one step at a time.
“Getting Organized is not a Project, it’s a Practice.”
Now I know that it is easy to read that and say “some people are just naturally organized.” While I may agree with you in the most part I do have to say that being organized is not something I desire to be all the time. I feel better when things are organized and I organize things because it helps me think better and feel better but I don’t feel like organizing things all the time. The truth is, being organized is a series of decisions that I have to make every single day, several times a day; it is a practice. You might look around and say, where do I even begin? My advice… start with a list. A to-do list is one of the most powerful tools I use throughout my entire day. My to-do list helps me stay focused and is a place where I can put down all of my thoughts. I am easily distracted and the to-do list serves as an anchor to make sure I get as much done as possible with my day. So how can I make the to-do list work?
Make it Doable
Do not start of your day with a to-do list that has 25 items… that’s just unreasonable. Start with ten items and if you are really efficient add more later on.
Keep it Simple
Don’t add things to your to-do list that require several steps. Break larger projects into smaller steps to avoid frustration. If your to do-list is too long or has too many multi-step items, you will get frustrated and you will give up on it. Make the to-do items straight forward.
If you don’t finish something today, add it to tomorrow’s list. This is a tricky one because we might fall into the trap of putting off an item for several days and just eventually sweep it under the rug; however, you don’t want to be too hard on yourself. Do your best to accomplish as much as you can on your list. If there are items that you don’t get to, don’t beat yourself up, tomorrow will be another day.
Already have a to-do list?
Great! What else do you need to get organized?
Take a moment to think about something that is causing you a lot of stress or taking up a lot of your time.
How can you plan or prepare for that task to make it easier? Is there a new approach you can take to make the task less stressful? Sometimes all we need to do is take a step back and evaluate the way we do things. This time of reflection is necessary to improve the way we do things and become more effective individuals.