The New Year is just around the corner, and with it comes the ever-popular resolutions. A pretty common one is the desire to become more organised, and sort your shit out. Every year there’s someone promising to be on time, get up early and have their life together in the new year. How often to you hear people saying they’ve achieved that come February? I’m guessing pretty rarely.
Now you’re wondering, who am I to give advice about getting your life together? My life certainly isn’t perfect, and I’ve still so much to improve on. It is, however, far more together than it used to be! I’ve come a long way from the girl who slept through every lecture, followed 13 tv shows (no exaggeration, it was almost impressive), and whose only hobby was going out getting pissed. I’m a much happier human because of all the changes I’ve made to my life in the past year. I will admit, sorting my shit out wasn’t on my list of New Year’s resolutions. It’s not that long since I thought self-development was a bit cringe, and wouldn’t be caught dead browsing the self-help bookshelf. How times have changed! It’s only looking back that I realise how far I’ve come in the last few years. So here’s some of my top tips for a more organised, productive, and happy 2017.
#1 Invest in a diary or planner
This step is essential. There’s a plethora of different planners around these days, so there’s definitely one to suit you! You could alternatively opt for an planner app, but I feel having a physical diary to write on is far more effective. I use a Self Journal, which I absolutely love and couldn’t recommend enough! I’ve also heard great things about the Productivity Planner, which might also be worth a look. A fancy planner is by no means necessary – a regular diary from a stationary shop will work just fine too! I’d recommend a page-a-day one so you have enough room to plan your day. Once you have a planner, it’s time to use it! Map out your day, assigning each task its own time slot. Timetable in everything from the walk to work to your lunch hour – sounds crazy at first, but it really helps with productivity! If you’re someone who struggles to switch-off, scheduling in some downtime is essential. Doing this alone step alone will help you get so much more organised.
Each morning (or the night before), decide on the 2-3 things you need to get done that day. It’s easy to spend time on emails, social media, and being ‘busy’, all the while getting nothing concrete done. Focus on the tasks that will bring you towards your goals, and do these first. I’m so bad for procrastinating, so I find it best to just get right to it! Learning to say ‘no’ to things is often important too, something I learned from reading ‘Essentialism‘ by Greg McKeown. Every time you are presented with an opportunity, ask yourself whether it will bring you further towards you goals. If it’s a ‘fuck yes’ then do it, if not, it’s a no.
#3 Write shit down
Got a great idea? Pissed off with someone? Unsure of your goals? Write that shit down. Journalling is a hugely helpful tool when it comes to self-development. I’ve only recently started to journal, and can’t say I’m an expert on the practice yet. I can, however, say that I’m definitely a fan! Have a blank journal to write down your thoughts, worries, and ambitions. Whenever I’m feeling stressed (not often, I’ll admit) I make a list of absolutely everything I’m worrying about. Seeing it all on paper, can be a little scary at first, but stick with it! I go down through the list, and write down what I need to do to get rid of each worry. I find this really helpful to do before bed – get all of your thoughts onto paper so they’re not keeping you up all night! One of my goals for 2017 is to start journalling regularly – it’s a game-changer!
#4 Be aware of your influences
I spoke about about this before in my No Negativity November post, but it’s so crucial that I’ll mention it again. Jamie Alderton (if you’re not following him, get on that) has mentioned this may times, and it’s such an important concept. The people you surround yourself with, both in life and online, have a huge impact on you. Most of us aren’t really aware of this influence until it’s really thought about. I get that in real life it can be hard to control who you hang around with, but there’s no excuse not to do it online! I recently culled my Facebook friend list (if you’ve just realised we’re not friends anymore then soz hun), and my newsfeed is so much better now! You can easily get rid of the constant negativity that some people share by simply deleting them. If you want to be less drastic, you can just choose ‘hide from newsfeed’ for all these friends, as well as ‘like’ pages. Unfollow everyone on Instagram that doesn’t give you value, and instead fill your feed with people who actually inspire and help you towards your goals. This can have such a positive impact, so stop letting social media make you feel like shit! Obviously you can’t remove all the negativity from your life, but removing a lot of it will help get your head in a better place.
#5 The morning routine
One thing successful people tend to have is a morning routine. I finally got around to having a proper morning routine in November, after reading Pat Divilly’s book ‘Upgrade your life‘. For the month of November, I got up at 6am each morning. I had a freshly made omelette, planned my day, did some mindfulness meditation using Headspace, and set myself up for the day. Once I got into the routine, I found that I was more awake for the rest of the day, without touching coffee. From the girl who couldn’t stay awake in lectures even with coffee, that’s pretty miraculous! Everyone’s morning routine will be different, and there’s no ‘right’ way of setting one up. The important thing is to just have one. Plan out your ideal morning minute-by-minute, then set your alarm and go do it.
Those are my top tips for getting your shit together. I’d advise to start with one thing at a time, and gradually build new habits into your life. If you launch right into everything at once it’s easy to get overwhelmed and give-up, so slow and steady wins! Remember, consistency is key – pick one thing and keep at it until it sticks.
Hope that was helpful for you guys – let me know if you try out any the tips!
Wishing you all a happy (and productive) 2017 – let’s get shit done.