Five Ways to Stay Organized & Get Your Tasks Done // Living in Style


One of my all-time favorite characters is Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation. She's absolutely nuts about her job, but she is driven, passionate and gets things done. You would think with all the things she gets accomplished in her day-to-day life, she would be the most organized person with this pristine and immaculate home. But if you're a huge P & R fan, you'll remember when I recall Season 2, Episode 14, "Leslie's House" that our leading lady is actually a hoarder, keeping boxes and boxes of paperwork along with newspapers from decades prior. This results in her house to be a huge phenomenal mess.

That's me: I love getting my hustle on and planning multiple projects for myself, but in all reality, I am not the most organized person. I have a huge battle with procrastination and self-defeating thoughts. I tend to get so overwhelmed because I'm trying to manage too many things. Although I still manage to get things done within deadlines, I have the habit of juggling a few projects at the same time, causing me to struggle. Hands down, I struggle real bad. 

Recently, I've been on this journey to get my life organized, cleaning out the storage unit in my head from negative thinking & co-dependency, while sorting through all the junk I've been keeping. It has inspired me to examine other aspects of my life and really change the way I manage everything, especially my projects, both personal & work related.

Through trial and error and just finding what works for me, I wanted to share the five ways I stay organized and get my tasks done:

1. Write Everything Down.

For me, using a pen and paper to scribble away my to-do list really helps with holding myself accountable of what I need to do. A great way to better organize my thoughts is to release all the clutter in my brain on paper and see it all listed in front of me. Plus, writing down a to-do lists helps me with memorization and I'm more likely to remember what I need to accomplish for the week. Once the task is finished, there's nothing more satisfying than crossing off each task from the list.

If pen and paper isn't your thing, then utilize your mobile device. There are so many different apps to download & use on your phone to help keep you organized. A few of my favs are:
-Outlook Calendar (iPhone or Google Play)
-Vantage (iPhone; not available for Android)
-Awesome Note (iPhone; not available for Android)

2. Set Realistic Expectations

One thing that I had a struggle with (and still kind of do) is setting realistic goals for myself. I used to write down everything I wanted to do for a day and would end up disappointed when I only accomplished 3 out of the 10 things on my list. The reality is, I can't plan my day down to a perfect T. Things are bound to come up and interrupt our "perfect plans" allowing set-backs to potentially happen throughout our day. So instead of trying to jam in 10 projects in one day, I space out my activity times.

I also make sure I'm fair to myself. I'm more of a morning person. I tend to get more things done after a good cup of coffee than I would in the evening time after dinner, so I make sure to plan my personal activities in the morning. If I have to do work late at night, I plan it out and try to incorporate good hours of restful sleep in between my late nights of work throughout the week.

That's another thing: If you plan well, you can break down the amount of time you work on a project on your list. My fiance, Gedalya, is a organized person who can get things done. I really admire him for that because I tend to be more of a chaotic mess and get distracted. One stand out piece of advice he gave me was to space out my times spent working on a project. If you know you're gonna need 5 hours to do one activity, divide the hours and spread them apart throughout the week. It's less stressful to think of working on a project for 1 hour instead of 5 hours.

3. Remember Your "Why?"

Another great piece of advice that I've adopted from Gedalya is developing your "why?" Basically, your "why?" is the reasoning to back-up why it's important for you to accomplish the things on your list.

No matter the task, ask yourself why you need to get these things done. A few example questions I ask myself when I'm in a funk are:

What drives you?
What's the purpose of your work?
Why do you need to get those chores done?
Why do you need to work out today?
Why do you need to go to the grocery store & meal prep?

Also, think about what will happen if you don't do these things. What are the consequences of you not accomplishing your task for the day? A simple fill in the blank statement like, " If I don't do_______________, I will _____________________."

If I don't do my blog work, I will ruin my relationship with this brand.
If I don't do
chores today, I won't have a clean space to live in or clean clothes to wear.
If I don't
workout, I will feel sluggish, tired and depressed.
If I don't
go to the grocery store and meal prep, I will feel remorseful later for eating junk and won't meet my fitness goals.

4. Never "Do it Later"

As a procrastinator, I always have the excuse, "Oh, I'll do it later." To the core, I know I am lying to myself because "later" eventually becomes "never". Then, I'm left feeling stressed because I didn't get X, Y & Z done and it's down to the deadline of that work related task or our apartment becomes such a hot mess that I become frustrated with it all.

The goal of being organized is simply this: To take control of what you have to do by making the choices to do them and figuring out when.

If you see a task from your list that is still undone and start to think of how you'll "do it later", ask yourself:

Will I actually do it later?
Do I have a spare moment to do the task now?

If you can easily do the task, then what's the point of doing it later? Do it now!

On the flip-side, if you genuinely can tell yourself that you'll do a task later, then plan out when you're going to do that task.

5. Prioritize Your Tasks

For me, I can easily lose focus on the big task at hand and start doing other tiny tasks, that I never seem to get my big tasks done. To combat this, I take my list of tasks for the week and prioritize which needs to be done first. I plan out which days I'm going to dedicate my time to do the major tasks first and then sprinkle in when I'm going to do the smaller tasks. Although there's a lot that needs to get done, it's more efficient to work with a game plan to successfully execute each project in a timely manner.

Now, my question for YOU!
What are some ways you guys stay organized?