How to organise your life in 2021: part 1

2021: new year, same me, but with better organisational skills. At the beginning of every new year, I like to set intentions. Things I’ll try to incorporate more or less in my routine. I say ‘try’, because I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. But, I’ll try my best. This year I need to put my focus back on organisation. This series will try to show you how to organise your life in 2021.

Example of a yearly overview
Bullet journal year overview

One thing I noticed about myself in 2020: I wasn’t as organised as I usually am. Not even close. That resulted in me forgetting things or having to quickly try to still catch that deadline.

I know that planning and organising is difficult for many people. I, however, am quite good at it. So, let me take you on a journey to a hopefully at least 90% organised life.

Example of a bullet journal key to organise your life
Key bullet journal

By now you should have already gone through the first steps listed in the first post in this series (linked below). So, take your list of tasks and let’s get cracking!

Let’s organise!

Now, let’s get planning!

I personally prefer using a bullet journal and designing everything myself, so I’ll show you the lay-outs I use. If you don’t want to use this method, that’s absolutely fine as well.

Example of a monthly overview to organise your life
Monthly overview bullet journal

I like to start with an overview of my month, so I can add in any (online) events I’m going to (I know, Covid19, but just humour me) or meetings I have to attend. That way I know when I’m not available. Add birthdays as well, so you won’t forget them.

Urgent tasks

Take your list with tasks and highlight the most urgent ones. With urgent I mean: things you have to finish that day or week. Are they big or small? Or a mix of the two? Be smart about it. Is there anything you could do right now? Do it! I’ll wait. Maybe you could even finish some of those tasks in 15 minutes. If so, add them to your morning or evening routine. If you, for example, still have a load of dishes to do, why not chuck your dinner in the oven and in the meantime do the dishes. The kitchen will be clean before you start eating! Dishes sorted.

Tasks highlighted in the different categories
Urgent tasks highlighted per category

If the problem is that you have been procrastinating something because you just hate doing it, set your timer for 15 minutes. You will be surprised as to how much you can get done in such a small amount of time. Promise!

Plan the rest of your urgent tasks according to your energy levels. So, if, for example, you have to clean the house and finish an important work project, plan them wisely. I am especially awake in the morning, so that’s when I try to do all the work stuff I have. I’d rather clean when I’m less awake, because I can then crank up the music and have a bit of a dance party while cleaning. Instantly awake!

If I can give you a little tip: try to write down how long each task would take you, that way you’ll get a better overview of how much you need to do and how long it’ll take you overall. It’s a good way to know if you have to free up a whole day or only an afternoon.

Recurring tasks

Next up: recurring tasks. Try to organise those on the same time and day every week. I, for example, have to plan my classes every week. So, I take time to do that every Wednesday. As a consequence, once Wednesday comes around I already know what I’ll have to do that day. After some time it’ll also become a habit, so you’ll never forget it!

Example of a filled in weekly overview
Weekly overview bullet journal

Are you still with me so far? I know it’s a lot to take in, but it’ll soon be easy to stay organised if you keep at it. It won’t take this long every week either. I promise!

Tips & tricks to organise

All that’s left now is to organise the rest of your tasks. I’ve a few tips and tricks up my sleeve for this part, don’t you worry! First of all, try to only fit 3 important tasks a day. Three is the magical number. Besides these three, you can still add stuff like wash my hair or cook dinner; these are small tasks and are more put in our dairy as reminders. My weekly setup accomodates just that. The three main tasks are listed at the top, and underneath I can still put a few small tasks or reminders.

Option of an empty weekly overview to organise your life
Weekly overview empty

Second of all, we all have these very big tasks, don’t we? The ones that are just staring us in the face and laughing at us. Well, no more! Add the task to your dairy on the day it has got to be finished. Then divide that task into smaller achievable goals.

Let’s say for example you have a theme month at school, I sure do. In March it’s black history month in my classes. It’s too much a task to prepare all of this in one go; we’re talking about 10 classes. So, my first task would be to plan my classes: ‘What do I want to address and how do I want to teach this?’ After that small task, I’ll just set aside slots of time to work on the classes until it’s all finished. My deadline is the last week of February. So, I definitely do not have time to procrastinate, but it’s still manageable, because the task doesn’t seem that big anymore.

Finally, make sure you don’t put too much in one day. It’s fairly easy to feel overwhelmed. In the beginning you’ll probably organise too much in one day, but that’s okay. It’s all trial and error. I’ll also put up more posts about how to organise your life. By the end of 2021 you’ll be an organisation expert!

Here’s to 2021 being a better year and having loads of things to organise!

x Evelien x

The first post in this series:

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