25 Ways to Get Organized In Busy Seasons
Clutter. Distractions. Piles. Sifting. Sorting. Man I hate disorganization.
I'm heading into a bit of a busy design season and whenever I have to focus too hard in one area, everything else feels a little off balance.
With a to-do list a mile long, the house doesn't get cleaned as often. My paper clutter piles up. Messy bun, oversized tee + leggings turns into a daily uniform. I forget more details. I miss more phone calls. I eat more junk food. Workouts, reading, & going to bed early are a little more rare.
During a busy season or big project we need focus and rest more than ever. So little by little things need to get back in order. I'm going to choose one thing every day to put in order.
I created this list to start moving in a more structured direction. I hope it helps you too!
25 Ways to Get Organized In Busy Seasons
1. End Of The Day Routine
What are five things you can do at the end of the day to make tomorrow a little easier? Some examples are a quick house/office pickup, loading the dishwasher, picking out clothes for tomorrow, writing a to-do list, etc. With these things out of the way, you can start your day with less stress.
2. First Thing Routine
What things do you need in your morning to wake up well? These are the things that make you feel normal. Basic appearance, healthy breakfasts, working out, reading the bible or the news, etc. Get in the habit of doing 5-10 of these same things every morning.
3. Roundhouse Clean
Every morning spend 3-5 minutes in each main room of your house picking up. It helps to start in the same room every day and do a complete circle. Don't bounce around from room to room putting things away. Just carry items with you to the next room and put away as you go so there's no getting sidetracked. Having a clear space can really improve your focus when you sit down to work.
4. Turn Your Process Into A Workflow
Do you have a clear process to your work or do you always feel unsure where to start? Actually write out the steps to take in order from 1-10. Then pin it up somewhere you can see it until your workflow becomes a habit.
5. Make-over Your Inbox
Your mental space is just as important to keep clear as your physical space. Emails coming in from all sides can be continually cluttering up that mental space. So makeover your inbox a little... Use that archive feature! Create a folder/label for things to be dealt with this week. Then delete delete delete.
6. Fine Tune Your Schedule
Are you trying to cram too many things in? Busy seasons are not the time to be volunteering for everything and agreeing to every possible event. Do some editing and fine tuning so that you can have time to get your work done and focus when you're most creative.
7. Create Systems for Major Work Zones
Separate the areas of your business (or house) into zones. Then figure out what you can do in each one to automate, delegate or just minimize your work. Once that's done, create an upkeep list for each zone and tackle one a week.
8. Blaze Through Your Paper Clutter
This one's important and feels so good to tackle. When your paper clutter is dealt with, you'll actually be able to find what you need instead of frantically searching at the last minute. Divide your paper into grouped piles and then file away or trash them.
9. Put Photos Into Albums
If you're a blogger, photographer, or designer especially you can't afford to have a ridiculous amount of excess, random, unnamed photos floating around. And if it's your family photos, you'll really want to preserve these precious memories. So do yourself a favor and take one evening to get rid of the extras and create some categorized albums/folders/boxes. Name one of them "To sort" if you need to make it a continual process.
10. Create Master File Folders
It's amazing what having a folder for everything can do for your process. Even if you have to open up ten sub-folders to get to the one you want, it's still faster than searching through hundreds of random thrown-together files. If you created Work Zones in #7, why not create a master folder for each zone to start. Then break it down from there.
11. Schedule a Regular Workout Plan
During crazy seasons, the first thing to go is your physical energy. You can only accomplish so much before the battle for a nap wins out. Make workouts a part of your regular schedule a few times a week and FORCE yourself do it (even if it's just 8 minutes on the 8Fit App). You'll have so much more energy to blast through things that need done.
12. Organize Your Desk
Starting your day at a cleared workspace is so nice. Even better if it's clean and decorated with things that motivated and inspire you. Get rid of everything on your desk and declutter at least one main drawer for essentials. Only put back what you love or need to use regularly. Store/throw the rest away.
13. Create An Image Library for Blog Posts/Instagram
It's truly amazing how LONG it takes to find the perfect photo to post. If you take your own photos, the styling, staging, cropping, and editing is just too much work to do for every individual post during busy seasons. It makes so much more sense to spend a day or two taking a lot of photos you can use for multiple things. If you already have a lot of photos, organize them into topics for future use. Then you can just grab one and go.
14. Give Yourself A Little Plan Love
When you're in a chaotic season, the little plans like "What's for dinner?" or "What bills need paid?" can be so overwhelming. Spend one hour and plan the whole week. What you're making for dinner, what you're cleaning, what errands need run, who you need to call, etc. Making these decisions in advance can save you such a headache later.
15. Sketch Out a Blog Outline
If you have a lot of blog posts to write fast, it helps so much to create a template or go-to blog recipe. Structure out how you want the post to flow and then write down all your main points. Then when you're ready to fill in the details, the skeleton is already there for you. Here's mine.
16. Order Your Pinboards
One of my biggest frustrations during busy season is having time to work and then being completely zapped of creativity. When that happens, I always head to Pinterest for visual inspiration. Having your boards organized and full of things that can inspire you and help others can be a game changer.
17. Track Your Finances
Keeping track of numbers can be really tricky when there's a lot going on. I love Quickbooks Self-employed and even just a printable worksheet to jot things down to help me to see everything at a glance. It's also really motivating to see the results of your hard work so find an easy way to keep track.
18. Automate Your Bill Pay
When you have a lot on your plate, the last thing you want to worry about is bills getting paid on time. So set aside a few minutes and get everything lined up to come out automatically. That way you won't have to panic when you look at the calendar or rack your brain to remember whether everything got paid or not.
19. Save 3 Pre-typed Email Response Templates
When we stop to think about it, most of our emails coming in are asking the same questions over and over. What are those top 3 responses that you find yourself repeating constantly? Save pre-written emails so you don't have to spend all your time tracking down the same information and rewriting them. Hours can be saved by popping them in and personalizing.
20. Create Master To-Do Lists For All Major Areas
I feel like it's really easy to get overwhelmed when there are a lot of ideas and requests coming in. One thing that has saved me is dividing up my major areas and writing master to-do lists for each. Examples: Design To-Dos, Home To-Dos, Email To-Dos, Blog To-Dos. That way if an Email task comes in while I'm Designing, I can just add it to the Email list and it won't get forgotten.
21. Put Together Themed Playlists On Spotify
I don't know about you, but for me music can make all the difference in my productivity. The right playlist can help me get pumped up or stick with work longer if I'm starting to wear down. Take some time to create playlists for the different types of work you do (writing, organizing, designing, styling) and for the different moods you're in.
22. Use Starter Designs for Your Forms and Branding
It's really important to be professional and have your legal forms together. Good branding can help bring the ideal clients you want to work with and save you headaches later. If you don't have the resources to hire right now, use Marketing Set templates to give yourself a head start.
23. Write Out A Business Plan
There's a difference between being productive and just being busy. Having a business plan written out can help you be intentional and purposeful about the way you're investing your time. Take some time to put your thoughts in order and then write them down so you remember when an opportunity comes up.
24. Minimize Your Wardrobe
Who has time for sorting through piles of clothes and putting together perfectly styled looks with a chaotic schedule? Minimizing your wardrobe can help get rid of all the excess and help you focus in on what's already working for you. Plan a few go-to outfits for each type of event so you don't have to think about it.
25. Write Out a Priority To-learn List
Sometimes I feel like I overwhelm myself just by reading, taking courses and learning about things I don't need yet. Like listening to a podcast about Instagram when I'm actually supposed to be working on my website. It just makes me feel more behind. In busy seasons, write down a priority to-learn list so you only focus on learning what you can apply right now.
Don't let this list stress you out. You could try one each day for 25 days or add in just a few. Think of how much more organized you'll feel and just get started!
What do you do to stay organized during busy seasons? Share in the comments!
Disclaimer: Affiliate links were used within this post and I may earn a commission for sharing. I do wholeheartedly recommend the products and services I share and all opinions are my own.