Disorganisation can lead to any number of problems, from lateness and forgetfulness to poor performance and unnecessary stress. Learning to be a more efficient person will work wonders for your mental health and help you optimise your time so you can live the life you want. Not sure where to begin? Start with these five simple tips.
It might sound obvious, but wearing a watch is hands-down the best way to manage your time and avoid being late. Even though we all carry phones, it’s easy to lose track of time when you become absorbed in an activity. Once you get into the habit of wearing a watch, it becomes second nature to glance down and check how things are tracking. Plus, watches can be a stylish accessory that adds a little extra personal flair to your overall look.
Jot it down
When something gets added to your list of things to do, actually write down a list. As a Psychological Science study showed, writing things down helps us process information more effectively and increases memory retention. “The very nature of handwriting means you have to write and organise as you are thinking,” University of Melbourne’s Jared Hovarth tells Huffington Post Australia. “That kind of organisation affects how you are interpreting the information… It’s the way the handwriting forces you to organise your thoughts that leads to deeper processing.” A handwritten list has the added bonus of being a physical reminder of your priorities.
A clear working and living space makes for a clear mind. There’s nothing quite like a cluttered desk or bedroom to enhance stress and disorganisation. When the area around you is tidy it’s easier to find things and therefore increase workflow. It’s also easier to focus on the task at hand, a study in the Journal of Neuroscience proves. Messy spaces encourage distraction; comparatively, tidy spaces promote clarity. Enhance your efficiency and destress the mind by keeping an orderly house and office.
If you have a plan, it’s a lot harder to fall behind or slip up. Keep a diary or calendar at work so you know what appointments, meetings or deadlines you have coming up. This will enable you to manage your time so you can achieve everything you need to do. Similarly, it doesn’t hurt to plan your social and personal life, too – to an extent. Organising catch-ups with friends and family in advance ensures you see the people that are important to you, and planning activities and exercise sessions mean you guarantee balance in your life. However, you don’t want to get into the habit of planning every hour of every day. This will quickly begin feeling restrictive and claustrophobic and leave no room for creativity or relaxation.
Taking some time to yourself is undeniably important for promoting positive mental health and clarity – both of which aid efficiency. Without obligation-free time, it’s impossible to slow down and refresh. Arnie Kozak, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont College of Medicine says neglecting to spend some alone time only increases stress levels. “Solitude is an essential way to replenish our energy,” he says to NBC News. “Without [it], we are bound to be more stressed by the unrelenting busyness of life, the massive amounts of information we wade through every day, and the energetic demands of being around other people.” Kozak adds that “to enjoy time alone is to know ourselves better and feel less pushed around by the expectations of others and the culture we live in.”