How to Get Organized to Stay on Top of Your Life

Several notepads are spread across my desk. My head is full of what needs to be done. I don’t know where to start and I’m afraid that I will forget something. Does this sound familiar? If it does, this article is for you. I will reveal a system that helped me to get organized. Today, I stay on top of everything! Learn how to have it all, and under control. 

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I applied this system when I started to get serious about my life plan. I understood that I (alone) am responsible for the course of my life. From that day forward, I wanted to take action in all areas of my life. I had the desire to improve the relationship to my spouse, my health and fitness level, my family life, and my professional capacity. Additionally, I started this blog.

You can imagine that everything at once is quite challenging to handle. I needed a system that allows me to stay on top of everything. By having the desire to manage my life successfully, I disciplined myself to get organized by applying a three-step system.

  1. Create a capture list
  2. Create a wish list
  3. Review lists regularly

Are you ready to get your life back by being an organizational genius?

Excellent! Let’s get organized!

Create a capture list to get an overview

This is a master list for everything that comes into your mind. Write everything down that needs to be done. Your capture list is critical so you don’t forget anything. 

Over the course of a day, we have many thoughts and ideas. Thoughts are fleeting. I’m sure we all have thought ‘Oh, I’ll remember that’ and then forgotten it completely ten minutes later. Therefore it is recommended to write everything down. 

Getting your thoughts on paper is one important point, but it is of similar importance to have everything in one place. Having all thoughts written down, but on different notepads left in different places is just as confusing as trying to keep everything in mind. 

The capture list is the place where you collect all ideas, thoughts, and everything that needs to be done. It’s an either digital or physical list.

Tip:

Structure the capture list to make it easier for you. Examples of how you could structure the list are:

  • Professional and personal life
  • Business, family, self-improvement, health and fitness
  • Blog, home, community and miscellaneous tasks

Choose what best suits your focus in life or create a structure that is in line with your life.

Create a wish list to enjoy life between busyness

This is a second master list, this time list things you love to do.

I like to separate the lists because sometimes we get so busy, that we only do the things that need to be done and forget about the things we love to do.

If the wish list items are on the same page as the capture list, the fun stuff is often overlooked because we prioritize ‘everything else’ as more important. But ‘everything else’ never stops.

By having a separate wish list, we can make sure to pick at least one item each week and give ourselves the time and pleasure of doing it.

Examples for the wish list:

  • List of books you want to read
  • Spend time and have fun with friends
  • Doing something for your big dreams
  • Spend time with your spouse/family
  • Spend time in the nature
  • Focus on your favourite hobby
  • Holiday trips
  • List of YouTube videos you would love to watch
  • Learning a language

I recommend having both lists – the capture and wish list – in the same place or folder to maintain the principle of having everything in one place. It is also beneficial to carry these lists with you so you can add items as you think of them. E.g. your mobile phone would be an ideal place.

Review your lists regularly to get organized and stay on top of everything

You might agree that the two lists above help getting an overview, but do not guarantee organization. It is possible to work through the lists and still being unorganized by doing less important tasks before the important ones.

It is crucial to look at the bigger picture. Keep the priority of each task in mind and plan ahead, considering all deadlines and timeframes.

Six simple steps form the process.

  1. Determine clearly your outcome. What is your desired result by doing the items on your capture list?
  2. Define the most important tasks. Which tasks are critical and would have the biggest impact on achieving your desired outcome? What is most important for the next week?
  3. Create timeframes for these items and schedule them for the upcoming week. Add them to your calendar like you would a meeting.
  4. Choose three to five smaller tasks that are done quickly and add them to your weekly schedule.
  5. Review your wish list and pick at least one item that you want to do this week. Put it in your calendar and set a reminder.
  6. Take action and enjoy!
Get organized summary

Two master lists help you to keep everything in mind.

Reviewing your lists regularly guarantees that you do the right things at the right time by planning ahead. They help you to stay on track with everything by creating a bigger picture. 

How do you get organized and how could the lists stated above enhance the quality of your life? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below.