How to Stay Organized Without Much Time

Posted May 31, 2017 by Thirty-Something Angie in Business & Productivity / 2 Comments

One of the biggest excuses I have for not staying organized is that I’m busy.  It’s true!  I really am!  I run a business from home, have 2 young kids with their activities, volunteer at the school, and maintain our household.  But, you probably get it.  We’re all busy. If we want to find time to stay organized, we’ll have to make it a priority.  So, how do you stay organized without much time? I wrote out some ideas to help!

Write out your tasks each week.

When you don’t have time to waste, it’s helpful to have all of the tasks you need to do written down.  That way, when you have the time, you can easily look and see what you need to finish. You can get right to work instead of wasting time trying to figure out what to do next.

Simplify this as much as possible, too.  Instead of saying, “organize the kids’ rooms,” break it down.

  1. clean out closets.
  2. clean out drawers.
  3. sort clothes to donate.
  4. clean out toys.
  5. sort toys to donate.
  6. make donation run.

I could add more steps (if your kids’ rooms are anything like mine, you’ll need more steps), but you get the idea! When you break down each task, it becomes less overwhelming.

Related: How to Organize Your Thoughts When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Plan your week.

I know it’s hard to make the time to write things down in a planner, especially when you’re busy.  But, I’ve found that it really helps me stay organized! I feel much more in control when I sit down and lay out my entire week.

How to get organized without much time - One tip is to take a few minutes to plan each week! See the rest on the blog.

Every Sunday, I sit down and plan out the following week.  I map out the times that I have commitments and see what the general layout of my week is.  Once I know what my week looks like, I can easily schedule in some time to work on my to-do lists.  I may not get everything done that I’d like, but I do manage to get the most important tasks done.  And that brings me to my next point.

Prioritize your tasks.

I know that for me, I’ll probably never get as much done as I’d like.  I’ve come to terms with it.  There are just not enough hours in the day .  Now that I’ve accepted this fact, I can move on without stressing as much. Instead, all of my tasks get prioritized so that the most important things get done.  If I find extra time, I’ll move on to the less important tasks and consider it a bonus! Those days make me feel so productive, too!

Create a cleaning schedule.

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I’m the worst at sticking to a cleaning schedule.  I tried so many and eventually gave them all up. There just wasn’t a system out there that worked for me long term!

Finally, I told myself the least I could do was to work on one room a day.  I decided to prioritize based on what I had time for and what needed attention the most.  Several months later, I realized that I had created my own system!

  • Sundays are for laundry.
  • Mondays are for picking up the weekend mess and giving my office a once-over.
  • Tuesdays I pick between the bathrooms and bedrooms.
  • Wednesday I finish up the laundry and make sure it all gets put away.
  • Thursday is dedicated to all of the surfaces in my house (tables, counters, floors, etc).
  • Friday I tend to do a really quick once-over for the weekend.
  • Saturday morning I enlist the family for a “power hour” and we get everything else knocked out.

It took me a few months to see this routine emerging, but it’s perfect for me because it’s natural.  It’s important to find a routine that works for you, and to not be too hard on yourself.  I keep my taks general and don’t always do the same thing each week.  Surfaces might mean, “every single surface in my house, including ceiling fans and door knobs.”  Other weeks, it might be more like “dust and sweep around the toys before bed.”

Related: How to Make Organization an Intentional Habit

Clean as you go.

This one is really hard, but it’s somthing my whole family is working on!  One of the biggest culprits to an unorganized home is leaving things out. It takes almost no exra effort to put a pen away when you’re done with it.  Waiting until you have to put away a whole pile of clutter, however, leaves you with a more overwhelming task.  That makes it so much easier to push down on your priority list and ignore it!

I grew up always being told to make “a place for everything and everything in it’s place.”  The saying always made me grind my teeth when I was a kid, but I get it now! When we keep everything put up, cleaning goes so much faster!  Sorry, MawMaw.  Now I understand what you meant every time you repeated this phrase.

Set up systems.

Last year, I decided to simplify our life by putting systems in place for some of our biggest organizing issues.  This has helped tremendously with keeping down some of our clutter.  Our biggest systems right now are for mail, after school messes, and our budget.

We sort the mail immediately when we walk in the door and throw junk mail way.  I put the bills on my desk and write any appointments in my planner.  Then, I shred the remaining paper so that it doesn’t pile up on my desk.

Learn how to get organized without much time!

After school, Addie (8) has a bad habit of tossing her backpack on the couch and settling in for homework.  She kept forgetting to give me papers from school and would leave things strewn about until the next morning.  This left a trail of clutter, took up one of our couches, and made our mornings more hectic as we ran around trying to find everything.  I put my foot down a few months ago.  She now has an “inbox” where all of the papers in her folder go. I also check and make sure she has picked up after herself before she’s allowed to get a snack or turn on the TV.  It sounds simple enough, but in the chaos of a school afternoon, these things were getting quickly overlooked until they were laid out for everyone.

As for our budget, that is all kept in my planner.  Since I pay everything online, I don’t even have to keep the paper bills.  I simply have a layout each month in my planner that lists all of our bills and when they are due.

It’s hard to stay organized without much time.

Making it a priority and doing a little bit at a time can really help, though!  Do you struggle with organization? Try implementing one of these tips this week and see what happens!  Let me know how they work in the comments below!

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2 responses to “How to Stay Organized Without Much Time

  1. Thank you for this post 🙂
    I am a super busy single Mom, business owner, writer, blogger and dog trainer with chronic pain. I struggle with organization and prioritizing!
    I like the suggestion of a cleaning schedule! And planning the whole week in advance 🙂

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