Thursday, 20 June 2013

10 Easy Steps to get Organised - for Home and Office

Today we have the lovely Alison (great name by the way!) from The Thrifty Issue join us and share her 10 Easy Steps to get Organised in the Home and Office.

Don’t pay hundreds of dollars on time management courses, or thousands to hire a professional consultant to get you organised.  Here are 10 easy and free steps to guide you on the path of organisation.   

There are no blitzes, huge clean-outs or expensive diary systems.  Just simple tips.   

1.      Distractions 

Are you surgically attached to your mobile phone?  Perhaps the TV is turned on, and stays on for the entire day?  Is your email and Facebook buzzing you every time someone makes an update?   

Set aside specific time for replying to emails, Facebook and internet browsing.  If you are not specifically watching a TVshow, turn it off.  All distractions should be turned off, including the notification settings on your mobile. 

2.     Allow Some Fat 

Need more hours in the day?  Find you’re running from one event to another.  You have meetings backed up one after the other and just … can’t … stop.   

Try allowing some fat.  When a meeting is scheduled for 9am to 10am … then put it in your calendar for 8:30am to 10:30am.  This means nobody else can steal that time from you.  Allow for travel time, and always add 30 minutes either side of your meeting. 

Use that “fat” time productively.  Debrief yourself, do any last-minute preparations, update your calendar or to-do list with action items.  Delegate or share what you can.  Action any urgent emails before your next appointment, but don’t get too involved. 

3.    Be On Time 

Are you notoriously late for everything?  You’re madly rushing around all the time and never have time to get anything done?   

Steps 1 and 2 will help you be on time.  Another trick is to get ready super early.  We also set a timer to go off 5 minutes before we need to walk out the door.  If there is spare time after we’re completely ready, that’s when we can drink coffee, watch TV, catch-up on Facebook etc.  Try and remember “Work then Play”. 
4.     Procrastinate 

Procrastination is one sure-fire way to get distracted and fall behind.  Remember “Work then Play”.  Schedule the toughest or least desirable job first thing!  This will give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  My husband mows the lawn first thing Saturday morning, then we can enjoy the fruits of his labour all weekend.  Particularly when we hear everyone in the street mowing late Sunday afternoon! 

5.    Quick Check
Do a quick scan of your desk or the room before you walk out.  Is there something you can pick up and put away?  Pick one 2 minute task to do before you head home after a hard day’s work (i.e. wash your coffee mug, tidy your papers, empty your bin).  Make sure it is something quick, you don’t want to get caught up with distractions.

6.     Put Away, Not Down 

Don’t put things down, put them away.  Nothing further said. 

7.     Notepads 

Avoid complicated systems.  One notebook divided into “To Do Today” and “Notes” should do the trick.  Keep it with you and whenever an idea pops into your head, don’t distract yourself from your current task by deviating. 

Write your idea down under “Notes” to be done later.  You can use your calendar/notes phone app for this as well.

8.     Review and Re-write 

Pick your time: Either go to bed 10 minutes early every night with your notepad, or do it first thing in the morning.  Review the days activities and tick off your completed items.  Anything not completed, re-schedule for the following day.  Keep it simple.   

I also have a “Reminder” note stuck on the front of my notepad.  It reminds me to consider… “chores, home projects, me, kids, food, work, family and friends”.  I don’t try and do all these things in one day, but it makes me consider the big picture.

9.     Learn to say no 

If your list is becoming too long or your calendar too cramped, learn to prioritise and say “no”.  If you can’t say no, then defer those items to a time when you’re not so stretched.  Ask the other party for a raincheck.   

10.   Reward Yourself 

When going through your “to-do” list, give yourself a pat on the back each day for everything you have achieved, whether that be completing a task, turning up on time, saying “no”, or just being able to have 10 minutes to yourself at the end of the day. 

We’ve provided you with a free printable summary page to stick on the front of your notepad or at your office desk.  Print it here and refer to it regularly and refresh your memory.  

Hi, I’m Alison and I created The Thrifty Issue because I enjoy sharing ideas and creating things with my family and friends, on a budget. The Thrifty Issue is a place to visit for stylish, funky and fun ideas on saving time, money and stress. A place to meet, greet and explore come and join us here.


  1. Thanks for this list! I am definitely a procrastinator and easily distracted. Time to knuckle down!

  2. oh how much I LOVE this. I am such a recovering procrastinator and this gave me so much motivation to juggle the zillion and one things I need to do in a day in a much smarter way. Thank you x

  3. Great ideas for organising one's home, study or offices. They are practical too. Thanks for sharing.

  4. You are right. You do not have to pay someone for you to know time management or how to be organised. You can find simple yet effective tips somewhere, like this blog. Thanks.


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