A few weeks ago I wrote about why I love Bullet Journaling and how much it’s helped me with keeping my life organized. I use my BuJo not just for my daily to-do lists, but also to track habits like exercise, spending time outside, connecting with loved ones and making progress towards goals. I also use it as a notebook, jotting down ideas as they come to me, taking notes on new things that I learn, and making long-term plans and timelines.
A few months ago, I discovered time blocking, a productivity hack that involves breaking your day into “blocks” of time that are set aside for various tasks and purposes. If you’re someone who has a lot of competing responsibilities and activities (and many of us are), time blocking lets you decide how you’ll spend your day so you can allocate the right amount of time to each item on your agenda.
I started using my BuJo to visually block out the different parts of my day using my fancy colored pens — every task or item I need to do is coded with a different color. Check it out:
A Bullet Journal is truly the Swiss army knife of planning tools; it’s a blank book that you can structure and fill in any way that suits you. The only limit is your imagination. And for me, it’s worked incredibly well.
But sometimes I wonder if I’m not taking this whole “organization” business a little too far. I’m extremely detailed and thorough in the way I go about staying organized, but surely not everyone sees the need for this. Surely not everyone is that into, you know, planning. I can almost guarantee that not everyone invests the kind of time and energy into it that I do.
Is there a way this could all be made simpler? Yes, perhaps there is. But I suspect that life would need to be simpler in order for that to happen. Sometimes I yearn for that kind of ease and simplicity; the kind of life where I could just take each day as it comes and not worry about planning or structuring my time. Freedom.
As wonderful as that sounds, I’m starting to think that that life doesn’t exist; not in the real world. Our lives are complex and full of moving parts. We have responsibilities that continually multiply, and interests and passions that never stop evolving. There are relationships to attend to, dreams to pursue, fires to put out and worlds to explore.
Life is an incredible gift that I am deeply grateful to have been given, and yet it can feel like so…much. And that, my friends, is where organization comes in handy: it’s a way of dealing with the “much-ness” of life and transforming the chaos into something meaningful. Here are the three main reasons I’m so passionate about organizing, explained:
Organizing helps life feel less stressful.
Being organized is about so much more than crossing items off of a to-do list. Of course, lists like these are part of everyday life, because there will always be chores to do, errands to run, and things to fix around the house.
These obligatory tasks aren’t always fun. But taking care of mundane responsibilities matters. When we accomplish these tasks that need to be done, we create more order and peace by taking items off of our plates. We effectively declutter our minds, and we can proactively head off stress by staying on top of these routine tasks that we know we need to do.
And, even better, when we clear unnecessary clutter and stress from our lives, we create space for what really matters to us. When we aren’t bogged down by small to-dos, we free our minds to tackle bigger goals and dreams.
Organizing helps us prioritize what really matters.
Organizing our lives makes us prioritize. We have to make decisions about what is most important right now and focus on those things instead of trying to do everything all at once. Getting clear on our priorities and understanding what we’re working towards makes us more effective at achieving our goals.
When we get serious about pursuing big life-dreams, we have to realize that dreams don’t come true without a plan — and keeping organized keeps us accountable to those grand plans. Through being organized, we learn how to transform big, faraway dreams into concrete, actionable steps that will carry us in the direction of the lives we desire.
Organizing helps us make the best use of limited time.
I often feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything I want and need to do. Sometimes I wish that sleep weren’t medically necessary so I could get back that third of my life and spend those hours in a different way. But that’s not the reality we live in.
The reality is that we have only so much time in a day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime. It’s all finite. I’m constantly aware of this — and I’m positive that that is a big part of what keeps me focused and drives me forward. Keeping organized helps me make sure that I’m spending my time in ways that feel purposeful.
Being aware that your time is limited is actually a great catalyst and motivator. When I really started to grasp that life doesn’t last forever, I stopped waiting around to live my longest-held dreams. I started taking more risks, opening my heart wider, and spending my days in ways that are more meaningful. I feel more motivated than ever to get out and live my life while I have it, and staying organized helps me do that.
Becoming organized has truly been a game-changer for me, and it can be for you, too. Organizing is vital for keeping your stress levels down, staying on track with your goals, and making the best possible use of your time here on Earth.
How about you? What are your reasons for staying organized? How has it changed your life? Feel free to share in the comments below.