As a self-proclaimed former hot mess, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to stay organized. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the mess in front of you. If you find yourself in the same position as I was, struggling to keep your life organized, then it's highly probable that you face disorganization in multiple aspects of your life. You may tend to criticize yourself for lacking organization, dwell on your shortcomings, and become so preoccupied with worry that you cannot make any meaningful progress. By the end of the day, you may even feel guilty for not accomplishing much, perpetuating a cycle of self-criticism.
One crucial step towards progress is gaining a deeper understanding of yourself and your stress triggers. Our ingrained beliefs can often lead us to self-sabotage and adopt unhelpful habits, making it crucial to identify and comprehend them. Recognizing our habits, both positive and negative, can enable us to achieve success in the areas of life we desire to improve. In this article I will share a few simple ways you can start to take control of your life and become more organized.
Emphasize Your Strengths.
Rather than immediately tackling your weakest areas, take a step back and consider your areas of strength. Which aspects of your life are already somewhat organized or where do you excel? I suggest focusing on these areas of strength and finding ways to grow and improve upon them.
Here are some ways to emphasize your strengths:
- Identify your strengths: Make a list of what you are good at, what you enjoy doing, and where you have received positive feedback in the past.
- Prioritize your strengths: Determine which strengths are most important to you and which ones you want to focus on.
- Build on your strengths: Look for ways to use your strengths in new or different ways, or develop them further. For instance, if you're good at cooking, try experimenting with new recipes or cooking styles.
- Seek out opportunities: Look for opportunities to use your strengths in your personal or professional life. For instance, if you're good at organizing, offer to help plan an event or help a friend with their cluttered space.
- Surround yourself with positivity: Surround yourself with people who appreciate your strengths and encourage you to develop them further. This positive reinforcement can boost your confidence and motivation.
Identify your weaknesses
Now that you've identified your strengths, it's important to recognize your weaknesses. What's preventing you from excelling in your area of strength? Is there a particular aspect of it that you struggle with and wish to improve?
To identify your weaknesses, you can start by reflecting on areas of your life where you struggle or feel less confident. Some questions you can ask yourself include:
- What tasks or responsibilities do I find challenging or frustrating?
- What do I tend to avoid doing because I don't feel confident in my ability?
- Where do I tend to make mistakes or receive criticism from others?
- What skills or knowledge do I lack that could be helpful in achieving my goals?
You can also ask for feedback from others, such as friends, family members, or colleagues, who may have a different perspective on your strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, taking assessments or personality tests can help you gain insight into areas where you may need improvement. The key is to be honest with yourself and open to identifying areas where you can grow and develop.
Seek assistance when needed
If you're having difficulty in a particular area, consider seeking help. There's no shame in delegating tasks that fall outside of your expertise.
For instance, if you love to cook but struggle with meal planning, why not let someone else handle it? If figuring out which exercises to do at the gym is overwhelming, try using an app that has pre-planned workouts.
Find solutions for your weaknesses
Think of creative solutions to overcome your weaknesses. If you enjoy managing finances but struggle with creating a budget, consider taking a course to make it less intimidating. Don't spend too much time focusing on your weaknesses, instead, find ways to improve and build on your strengths.
Use a Planner or a Calendar
One of the most effective ways to stay organized is to use a planner or a calendar. You can use a physical planner or a digital one, whichever works best for you. Write down all your appointments, deadlines, and important events in your planner or calendar. You can also schedule in time for self-care and relaxation, which is just as important as any other task.
Create One Goal a Day
Create one achievable goal each day to improve yourself.
Here are some ideas for small goals that hot messes can work on:
- Prepare dinner in a slow cooker
- Drink at least three glasses of water
- Limit yourself to one dessert per day
- Read for 10 minutes
- Take 20 minutes for yourself
- Watch only one episode of a show per day
- Find a specific place for school or work papers
- Exercise for 30 minutes, even if it's just a walk
- Reach out to a friend or family member you haven't spoken to in a while to strengthen your relationships.
- Input expenses into a budget app
Whatever your challenge is, make a small, make a small, tangible goal to help you take steps in the right direction.
Creating one achievable goal each day can help you make progress towards your larger goals.
Here are some steps to follow:
- Identify an area of your life that you want to improve. This could be related to organization, health, relationships, finances, or any other area that is important to you.
- Break down this larger goal into smaller, more manageable steps. For example, if your goal is to get in better shape, your smaller steps might include going for a walk, doing some yoga, or lifting weights for a certain amount of time each day.
- Choose one of these smaller steps to focus on each day. Make sure the goal is specific, measurable, and achievable within the time frame you have available.
- Write down your goal for the day and commit to achieving it. You can use a planner, a journal, or an app to track your progress.
- Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Acknowledge the effort you put in and the progress you've made towards your larger goal.
Remember, the key is to choose goals that are realistic and achievable, and to focus on making small, consistent progress over time.
Wake Up Earlier
Getting up earlier in the morning is a habit that can help you be more organized. You don't have to wake up at the crack of dawn, but maybe getting up at 8 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. can help you be more productive. Start small by setting an alarm for just 30 minutes earlier than your usual wake-up time. Over time, you can gradually adjust your wake-up time earlier until you find what works best for you. Remember, organized people make a habit of getting up early, even if they don't feel like it.
Here are some tips on how to wake up earlier:
- Gradually adjust your bedtime: Don't try to wake up earlier overnight. Gradually adjust your bedtime by going to bed 15-30 minutes earlier each night until you reach your desired wake-up time.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment: Ensure that your sleeping environment is conducive to restful sleep. Make sure your room is dark, quiet, and cool.
- Turn off electronics: Turn off electronic devices such as phones, laptops, or tablets an hour before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol before bedtime as they can interfere with your sleep.
- Set an alarm: Use an alarm clock or phone to wake you up at your desired time.
- Get moving: Engage in physical activity during the day. This can help you sleep better at night and wake up feeling more refreshed in the morning.
- Stick to a routine: Try to stick to a regular sleep routine, even on weekends. This can help regulate your body clock and make it easier to wake up early.
Fake it til You Make it
Acting as if you're organized can actually trick your mind into believing that you are. So, get up, play the part, and pretend you're the most together person you've ever met.
Faking being organized can help you establish habits that will eventually become second nature. Here are some steps to take:
- Dress the part: Wear clothes that make you feel confident and put-together. When you look good, you feel good and it can have a positive impact on your mindset.
- Use a planner: Start filling in your planner with events as soon as you are aware of them. This will help you feel more in control of your schedule and prevent double booking or forgetting important tasks.
- Be decisive: When someone asks you a question, give them a direct and clear answer. Avoid procrastinating or leaving things undecided, as this can contribute to feelings of disorganization and anxiety.
- Limit distractions: Put your phone away or on silent mode when you are trying to be productive. Avoid lounging on the couch, which can lead to procrastination and a lack of motivation.
- Practice power posing: Stand tall, put your hands on your hips, and take a deep breath. This can help you feel more confident and in control, even if you are not feeling that way on the inside.
Remember, faking it is only the first step. Eventually, these habits will become ingrained and you will start to feel genuinely more organized.
Do Your Best and Don’t Stress
Don't get overwhelmed by the thought of getting everything organized at once. It can lead to stress and procrastination. If you're a hot mess, start small and focus on one area at a time. Trying to tackle everything at once can leave you feeling defeated.
Instead, pick one thing to work on and stick with it for at least 30 days. Don't doubt yourself, and remember that you can do it. This is why it's important to choose small goals instead of big ones.
Once you've been successful with your small goal for at least 30 days, you can add to it or start working on a new one.
For example, if you started exercising for 30 minutes a day, you might find that you're drinking more water. Or if you started waking up earlier, you might have more time to cook a healthy breakfast.
Take a moment to be proud of yourself for the progress you've made, and keep that momentum going..
Becoming more organized when you're a hot mess requires a shift in mindset and a commitment to taking small, achievable steps towards your goals. By identifying your weaknesses, creating one achievable goal each day, faking being organized, and staying consistent for at least 30 days, you can transform your chaotic life into a more organized and successful one.
Remember, it's important to start small, stay focused, and celebrate your progress along the way. With patience, determination, and a positive attitude, anyone can overcome their hot mess tendencies and become a more organized version of themselves.