Five Techniques to Organize Your Life

Kelsey Howard is MentorOnlineMagazine (MOM’s) first official editor intern. This is Kelsey’s first article. Please let her know what a great job she did on her very first attempt. I am very pleased to help Kelsey advance as an online editor, so she can get to New York City! — Tamara Patzer

Five Techniques to Organize Your Life

By Kelsey Howard, MOM Editor Intern

Often throughout the day most find themselves wondering, “How can I become more organized?” because we see the disorganization in our lives as a setback. Here are five tips that will lead you in the right direction for a more organized and simple lifestyle.


Purchase a planner!

This may seem simple, but purchasing a planner can be harder than it looks. Countless times I have received a planner and vowed to record important dates and too many times I have failed. I first started out with a free planner that was provided by my school and I found myself questioning where I last placed it and neglecting to write down assignments and important dates. After wasting several free planners, I decided that maybe if I had a planner I liked, it would help me to use it. Even better was the fact that I spent my own money on a planner. I purchased a two-year Vera Bradley planner for $36. I know that $36 is costly for an organizer, but the benefits have been tremendous. I purchased a planner with a design I loved, one that provided me with fun and unknown holidays (July 30th is Cheesecake Day!), and one that would fit my lifestyle perfectly. This meant including months, semesters, and daily calendars to write on.  I now carry my planner with me everywhere and constantly find myself checking it to see what school or work assignments are coming up or if I am free to spend time with friends.

 Designate a space!

We often find that our life at home, school, and work becomes cluttered very easily. It is important to have a room, or even just an area, designated to you. Disorganized rooms can become a reason that individuals prefer to work outside of their home. I usually find myself studying or writing at my local Starbucks. I know I can’t afford a $4 Latte every time I need to study for a test or write an article, so I have designated an area in my room to be an uncluttered “me space.” I have a large desk, computer chair, printer, and office supplies there. I also have a desk calendar on the top of my desk so that I can easily see my schedule. You don’t want your space to be boring, but to reflect on you as a person. It is my dream to one day live and work in New York City so above my desk is a picture of the Manhattan skyline, a desk lamp with “New York City” written across it, and most importantly I have framed photos of my family and friends. Make sure that anything you incorporate into your work space brings a positive attitude to your life.

Keep Track of Your Family!

If you have a family, live with a roommate, or have ever lived with another person at some point in your life, then you know how hard it can be to keep track of others schedules as well as your own. Whether you live with a parent, a significant other, kids, or all three, then this “family binder” will come in handy for you! Keep track of important dates for each family member in the household, so that all it takes is a quick glance to see what needs to be done each day. Each person in the family binder should have their own section to write dates as well as a combined section where each person should write dates. This allows for each person to be organized as well as allowing the family to make time for each other and extracurricular activities. This planner can be made using word processing software.

Envision your goals!

People who see their goals in some way throughout the day are twice more likely to complete their goals than those who do not. For instance, because my goal is to work in N.Y.C., I have pictures on my desktop, on my walls, and on my desk and I am making sure that I take every step necessary in order to succeed.  Find a place that you look at each day. This could be your computer, desk, refrigerator, or anywhere else. Then find a picture that represents your main goal. This could be anything from a classroom, if you desire to be a teacher, or a pair of running shoes, if you want to make more time for exercise. Make sure you post your visual in a way that makes it interesting and fun!

 Set a routine!

It is no good to keep a planner or family binder if you don’t look at it once in awhile. Make sure you make it a point to glance at your planner every day. Every morning when I wake up I check my planner to see what I need to do that day. Choose the time of day that is most convenient for you. Whether this is in the morning, while you eat your breakfast or at night after a day of work, make sure you do this repetitively so that it soon becomes a routine for you. This will help you to keep a clear head and an organized lifestyle throughout the day.

If you start by implementing these techniques into your everyday life it will soon become automatic and you will see yourself slowly becoming organized in different ways as well.

Kelsey Howard

Kelsey Howard is Mentor Online Magazine (MOM) editor intern. She will be taking the reins of MOM until May 2012, so let’s give her plenty of help and feedback, so she can become a great magazine editor and mentor. 

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