I’ve always considered myself a relatively organised-ish kind of person, but some days it feels like I’m completely incapable of being a functioning adult with my life in order. It’s almost as if there’s a finite amount of life admin my brain can deal with, and anything that falls outside it finds itself in the ‘Too Hard’ abyss.
If this also describes you, fear not: you can actually trick yourself into being more organised – and make everyone around you think you’ve got your business sorted, even if that’s not the case. All you need is a few sneaky tricks that’ll do all the hard work for you.
Yes, you’re essentially cheating, but at least you’re only cheating yourself. Scatterbrains unite!
1. Label your alarms
Did you know about this iPhone function? I didn’t, until a wise friend showed it to me about three months ago. Now I’m hooked.
It’s an awesome tool if you find important appointments or even simple promises (“Yes, of course you can borrow my copy of Gone Girl, I’ll bring it to work tomorrow…”) tend to go in one ear and out the other – it’ll bring them to the forefront of your mind first thing in the morning. If you’re the type who needs several alarms to rouse you, all the better:
IOS and Android phones both support this function - just go into the clock app and you should see an option to 'edit' and 'label' your alarms. If you're not overly forgetful, some people use this function to wake themselves up with nice affirmations and kind messages to themselves instead; alternatively, the words 'SERIOUSLY, WAKE UP!!!!' never go unnoticed.
2. Phone = personal assistant
Can't afford a personal assistant? No problem - you already have one in your handbag. Nope, I don't mean there's a mini Peggy Olsen hanging out in your favourite tote, although how great would that be? I'm talking about your beloved phone. It already serves as your mirror, your social life, your photo retoucher (oh hey, Instagram), so why not use your favourite device to do all the hard work and remind you of things you keep forgetting? Use those note and alarm functions to their full capability and you'll be the master of your own
3. Befriend your calendar
Recently, one of my Facebook friends posted a status declaring how much more organised her life has been since she set her Google calendar as her internet homepage. So simple... so ingenious. Seriously, I would never have thought of that.
It's all very well to have a calendar on your wall, but let's be honest here - you spend more time looking at your various screens these days. So get a digital version all up in your face. It's also a good idea to use your Google calendar regularly in a way that appeals to you. Love pretty things? Make sure you colour code your schedule. Love ridiculous wordplay? Write your reminders in rhyming couplets or haikus. Whatever works for you, find a way to do it - it'll help you stick to the habit.
The basic tenet of mateship is this: friends don't let friends be scatterbrained messes.
If you really struggle to keep on top of things, enlist some help in the form of a diligent housemate or pal who can prompt you ever so gently if you forget to do something important. Of course, as they are your friend and not your PA you can't abuse this system, so only use it for big commitments.
Also, here's a good trick for being one of those super organised people who always bring their lunch to work: make a pact with a couple of your colleagues that for each day of the week, one person will bring lunch for the whole group. So on Monday, one person prepares lunch for everyone; the next day, someone else does. And so on. That way, you only really need to be organised enough to make one or two lunches in the whole week, and you won't be stuck eating the same thing every day.
5. Be smart about lists
To-do lists: every Type A's best friend. The appeal is obvious - if you write things down, there's a chance they'll stick in your mind/memory. And if not, the list is right there to remind you. Also, physically ticking things off a list is weirdly satisfying.
It sounds tedious, but if you use lists smartly they can get you sorted. First, figure out what's best for you - if a bright post-it will catch your eye, keep a to-do list on one in a visible place in your room or wallet. Some people love keeping lists in diaries or notebooks, so pay a visit to Typo and get yourself a really cute one. Otherwise, get one happening on your phone.
To make your task list look like it's actually achievable, break it up into categories like 'Work', 'Life admin', 'House stuff', and so on.
6. Write it down
You have to be honest with yourself - if you know you're a scatterbrain, stop relying in your memory so much. Writing things down as soon as they pop into your head pays off, especially if you have the kind of mind that suddenly recalls important commitments in the middle of the night. Trust me, you'll have forgotten again by the morning, so grab a pen and the nearest scribble-able surface. A mini blackboard or whiteboard is a truly excellent idea. Blackboards seem to be having a moment right now (have you seen how many weddings are being signposted with blackboards?), so jump on the trend and get one for your room.
Do you have any tricks for staying organised?