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The Best of the Best Habits of Highly Effective Organizers

Habits of Highly Effective Organizers

The bottom line is, life isn’t perfect, things don’t go as planned and they can (oh no not again!) spiral out of control. That’s being human and humans have bad days. It only becomes a sore point when chaos becomes a habit. And, constant undesirable habits, like entanglements that are really hard to climb out of and break away from, turn into a migraine. 

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Organized people move through the world differently. They have a different way of thinking, and they navigate the day with assuredness. When chaos hits, they shift gears. If a task is overwhelming or time-consuming they forge ahead because they know all too well that disorganization can multiply and the price of procrastination is unthinkable.

Organization is a mindset. A skill. And just like any other skill, whether it’s solving a Rubik’s cube or whistling with your fingers, it takes consistent daily effort to cultivate.

So, just what does it take to cultivate the habits of highly effective organizers? Actually, it can be very difficult for many people especially when organization doesn’t come naturally to them. It takes a lot of hard work. Such as trying to identify what keeps you from being organized. It means trying different techniques until it becomes a process.

15 Habits of Highly Effective Organizers

Here are some of the consistent traits of highly effective organizers. 

They Guard Their Time like a Sacred Vault

When you want something done quickly and effectively, ask an effective organizer because they sure do know how to manage their time. Effective organizers know that the greatest currency in life is time. Therefore, they make time for the things they need to do but also for the things they want to do. They realize that doing things that need to be done efficiently gives them more time to spend on things they enjoy. Such as celebrating birthdays or other milestones, talking to or spending time with friends and other fun things. As you develop the habits of an effective organizer you realize that if something is important to you, you find the time for it.

Recommended Reading: How to Avoid the Blunder of Time Traps

They Run On Time

Effective organizers know to expect the unexpected and plan for it! You may run late because you get stuck in traffic (which totally happens) but an effective organizer anticipated the traffic and compensated for it by leaving 15 minutes earlier. If you want to develop this habit start setting alarms or reminders on your phone. Better yet, set these for 15 minutes earlier than needed to prepare for the unexpected. Being early instead of on time is far preferable than being accidentally late. This habit will have you feeling calmer, more relaxed and completely in control.

Obstacles are not a Problem

Adding on to my point above is being aware of the possibility of obstacles and distractions. Now I know these obstacles are usually not your fault but allowing them to derail your progress is. We live in a world that throws a series of distractions and unavoidable obstacles at us every single day. Effective organizers know this and don’t let these things take them hostage or sabotage their time. They know that it may not be their fault but also that they can turn it around and find solutions. This differentiates the super organized from the super disorganized.

Prioritizing is Their Bible

Effective organizers understand the value of prioritizing and stick to their priorities. Sure, sometimes priorities change as what becomes most important can change. Their well-managed to-do lists focus on important tasks and non-priorities are expertly scheduled for later. A smart habit to develop as you become a more effective organizer is to be able to distinguish between priorities and regular tasks. This takes some effort but once you get it right you’ll realize how overwhelming it was to try and focus on 10 things at once. If you’re not sure which items are most important, ask yourself, what’s the most important thing for me to get done right now? What must get done and what can wait? Your priorities will then come to mind.

Procrastinating is Not an Option

Procrastination is just not an option for super organizers and they’re unlikely to put off something until tomorrow that can be done today. Effective organizers aren’t easily swayed from taking action. They’re human and may have doubts but they push through. The keyword being action. Any action (no matter how small) can help you to overcome procrastination and organized people know this. To develop these habits imagine yourself in the future. Think about how you’d feel then if you’ve done what you need to compare to how you’d feel if you didn’t do it. This change in perspective can really drive you to take action in the present.

They Focus

Those who can organize effectively have an uncanny ability to focus on one thing and focus well. They know that multitasking isn’t effective and certainly doesn’t mean organized. An effective organizer knows how to stay mentally focused on a single task so that it can be done quickly and well. Practice being mindful and paying attention when doing a task instead of trying to do everything all at once. Cultivating this habit will help you complete tasks faster and much more effectively.

Habits of Highly Effective Organizers
They Live by Systems and Routines 

An effective organizer knows how to create systems and routines that work for them. They develop a personal navigation system that helps them identify priorities and manage tasks without getting overwhelmed. Similarly, they know to keep things simple when it comes to systems. You can develop this habit by finding simple solutions to organization or time management problems in your life. Also, make sure that the systems you create work for you (not just because it works for others). Becoming more organized is about working with your personality and lifestyle rather than against it.

Follow a to-do list and Leave a Buffer in case of Last Minute Surprises

A to-do list can be super handy when used in the right way and organized people know this. Their to-do lists aren’t covered with an endless amount of tasks that just keep piling up. They may schedule a bunch of  To-Do’s  but their priorities come first. They tackle the big and hard stuff and then on to the rest. This technique also allows you to leave a buffer of free time in case of last-minute surprises.

Recommended Reading: The Amazing Power of the To-Do List

They Minimize

Effective organizers know that minimalism creates peace of mind – so they minimize. A cluttered home and life just won’t do and they manage their belongings to avoid the chaos. One way to cultivate this habit is to regularly take stock of the items in your home and simplify it when needed. Recycle, donate, or give away items you no longer need when you first get started. Thereafter, make sure to take one item out for any new item that comes into your home. This helps you to maintain your minimizing, simplifying, and organizing efforts long-term.

They Keep Up

An organized person knows that organization requires continual upkeep. They understand that systems need to be maintained and managed to function optimally. Effective organizers take time to catch up on things before implementing and maintain simple systems that work for them. One way you can develop this habit is to create different organizational systems that are easy to manage and that fit your lifestyle. That means putting things back in the correct place after using it, archiving emails to clear your inbox each day or actually just filing away papers so you know where to find them again.

Habits of Highly Effective Organizers
They Check Emails and Messages Daily

We live in a digital world and our lives are constantly filled with emails and messages and an endless number of notifications. Effective organizers understand this and have a dedicated time-slot to read and reply to emails or answer other messages. Instead of letting these communications distract or overwhelm them, organized people expertly manage their time to include this activity. This allows them to stay up to date with emails and messages while clearing their inbox daily. Instead of reading and answering emails as they come in, create a habit by scheduling time for this activity so that you can give your full attention to it.

Organized People Surround Themselves with an Army of Support

As an organizer myself who has helped plenty of disorganized people, I know all these things are easier said than done. Organized people know that no matter how well their systems work, life happens and can derail all their efforts. Surrounding yourself with an army of support in terms of family, friends, influencers, and professionals can help keep you accountable. As you become a more effective organizer, you’ll realize that a support system helps you to build good habits and keep them up.

The Organizers Golden Rule: Have a Place for Everything

You’ve probably heard the saying “a place for everything and everything in its place?” Well, that’s something that organized people take to heart and it serves them well. Once they decide where an item goes, they make sure to put it back there after use. To get into this habit start small by putting a bowl near your front door for your wallet, keys, and sunglasses. This is a super simple system that prevents you from losing the things you use most often when walking out the door and builds the habit of putting things in their place.

They Choose Simple Solutions 

Effective organizers know that simple systems work best when it comes to organization and that more complex systems get too complicated to maintain. But how do you go about choosing simple solutions for complicated organizational issues? Well, you use organizational tools and products to help simplify your life. This is a habit that requires some preparation and a good understanding of what you need help with. Just buying any organizational items won’t help and could lead to clutter issues. Rather, carefully select things that solve specific organizational problems. Putting a bowl near the entryway like my point above is one example. Other ideas could be using baskets for storage and aesthetic or installing hooks on the back of a door to hang coats and jackets.

They Plan for the Coming Day

Most effective organizers like to follow a set routine and if that’s not possible they make sure to plan for the coming day. This takes place once priorities on the to-do list for the current day have been checked off. Being prepared is a big part of being organized and as you become more organized, you’ll realize it’s one of the best habits to cultivate. To start doing this, plan out tomorrow once you’re done with your tasks for today. Also, stick to a well-structured routine as much as possible.

Cultivate the Habits of Highly Effective Organizers

As you start to incorporate these 15 habits of highly effective organizers into your life, everything will change. Organizing, minimizing, and simplifying will become second nature to you and an important part of your life. You now know that being a highly effective organizer is just about cultivating a series of good habits that serve to make your life easier.

What habits of highly effective organizers do you have?

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Habits of Highly Effective Organizers

Comments 18

  1. I agree with all of these, Ronni. I think I do pretty much all of them, and the funny thing is, I don’t even think about the fact that I am! Most of these just seems innate. I agree with how we guard our time. I do feel like I say, “No” a lot. Sometimes I feel guilty, but as I’ve gotten older, I realize I have just become more aware of what I can comfortably manage. I was talking with a younger person the other day who was considering taking on a new position. As she described her situation, I realized that if she said yes, she would have no white space at all in her week. I cautioned her to think this through. Unexpected things are bound to happen, and if you have no margin for handling them, they will end up causing more stress than necessary.

    1. I don’t think about it either. It’s just who I am and how I’ve always been so I don’t know differently. I think it’s great that you were able to caution the younger person. It’s all about balance and without that, we become so stressed. Who doesn’t need a break or relief?

    1. Lisa, Thank you! I can actually see all of my organized friends and colleagues here as well. I’m glad it resonated!!

  2. Ronni, This is fabulous! I just had to smile as I read through your list and descriptions. You have truly captured what we as effective organizers do and do well.

    1. Thank you, Diane. I think organizers are a pretty strong group of doers. To be honest, from way back, when I was in grade school, I always handed in my homework. It was unthinkable that I wouldn’t. 🙂

  3. Oh, Ronni! ALL of these resonate with me. But I think more than any others is the idea of time being guarded like a “sacred vault.” I visualize my days by blocking out time for appointments and commitments (color-coded, as you might guess.) But it’s not just about the color blocks, it’s also about the white space. I have a gut sense of how much white space I need in a day, month, or week to allow me the time and space to feel rightly-paced. By protecting that white space, it automatically makes room for life’s surprises. But it also gives me the time I need to not be constantly doing.

    1. I love how you said this, Linda. You do seem to know yourself well and it’s such a positive statement that you can identify what you need and you give it to yourself!

  4. I love this. Such a great idea to identify what makes an organized person organized. Being organized really begins with the way that you think about things and the approach you take to solving problems and managing your time and space. It doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people – it’s just not how their brain works. But recognizing what makes someone else organized can really be helpful in developing more organized habits.

    1. Thank you, Sheri! You explained this so well! I really do hope it’s inspiration for people who want to make a change.

  5. I can relate to all of this, especially the cartoon! It reminded me of my first full time job (won’t tell you how long ago that was!). One of my co-workers was always weeks behind on her work, and when she was off sick I was asked to do some of it, and I got her all caught up in just a couple of days.

    1. Amazing! Everyone should have a coworker like you. The question is, did she keep up after that?

    2. i thing the two that helped me the most is FOCUS and ROUTINES. I realized that the mornings is my best time of day. So I do all my focused work then and I do guard that time and don’t let anything else come in. I guess that is part of my routine as well. One thing that has helped is first thing in the morning. I write a to do list of the things I need to get done that day. It helps me get it down on paper.

      1. I am best in the mornings as well. Also, I find that when I write it down I claim it to memory. It’s always worked for me.
        Focus is so important as it helps with distractions and our time management. I love routines because tasks just work with ease!!

    1. The secret is motivation. I am so happy that I was able to help you get start the process! Keep up the good work!

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