If you’re anything like most people, you probably feel you have a lot to get done in any given day. That’s not just a theory. Numerous surveys and studies confirm most people feel their lives are packed with too many responsibilities.
You’ll naturally be better-equipped to handle all your responsibilities if you know how to organize your day. Research shows a clear correlation between strong organization skills and getting more done.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How to Organize Your Day at Work
- How to Organize Your Day at Home
- How to Organize Your Day as a Student
- How to Organize Your Day Off
Don’t worry if you happen to lack the necessary skills. You can always learn how to organize your day by reading books on organization, listening to positive podcasts about the topic, and more.
In the meantime, keep the following tips in mind. They’ll help you better understand how to stay organized in all common life circumstances.
How to Organize Your Day at Work
You naturally want to make the right impression on your employer or clients. That doesn’t just involve being talented. Many “talented” employees struggle because they’re not organized enough to be productive. Luckily, these tips can help you avoid being one of those employees.
1. Consult with your supervisor
One of the simplest ways to organize your day at work is to ask your supervisor if they have any tasks they want you to prioritize.
Although you may have the type of supervisor who would prefer you to organize your day on your own, it’s worth checking first.
2. Focus on one task
Researchers have found that most people can’t multitask effectively, even if they think they can. Instead of stopping in the middle of an assignment to check your email, focus on one task at a time.
3. Ask for help
Even if you don’t know how to organize your day perfectly, you know that a well-organized space results in greater organization overall. That said, you might not be good at keeping your space organized.
A coworker likely is. Ask if they’d be willing to help you organize your space. People unfamiliar with the psychological principle known as “The Ben Franklin Effect” often don’t realize asking someone for a favor actually makes that person more inclined to like them (because it makes them feel valued).
4. Use apps
Many apps specifically exist to help people stay more organized at work. Research your options!
5. Monitor your energy
Focusing on tasks you have the energy for at various times of day helps you be more organized at work.
For instance, some people find they have more mental energy for creative work in the morning, using the afternoon for less mentally-taxing work.
How to Organize Your Day at Home
An organized home life results in an organized mind (which in turn results in greater happiness). Keep your home life organized with these tips.
6. Stick to a routine
You don’t need to schedule every moment of your time at home. However, it’s helpful to have a basic daily/weekly/monthly routine you generally adhere to unless circumstances get in the way.
For instance, you could pick specific times of the week, such as Saturday and Sunday mornings, during which you’ll typically declutter your home.
7. Have multiple to-do lists
Even those who struggle to understand how to organize their days still know creating a to-do list (and making sure you order the items based on priority!) helps.
Take this a step further by creating multiple to-do lists based on both long-term and short-term responsibilities. This will help you sort through them.
You may not know how to organize your day at home because you’re taking on too many responsibilities. I
f you live with family or friends, it’s important to remember they should also lend a hand in keeping the home organized. Decide which duties you can reasonably assign them and enforce a routine.
9. Make being organized easier
Your average day at home may be disorganized because, for example, you don’t have enough storage for everything. Decide which tools will help you organize your home and buy them.
10. Review your system
Setting a routine, making to-do lists, and delegating tasks don’t guarantee every day at home will be a perfect example of proper organization. You need to review these systems periodically to determine if they’re actually working.
How to Organize Your Day as a Student
Effective organization skills play a key role in any student’s success. These tips will help you develop them.
11. Start out strong
College students typically don’t have authority figures forcing them to go to class. This makes skipping a day or two easy. Unfortunately, this disrupts their routines, leading to greater disorganization throughout the semester.
It’s important to start your semesters off right by going to class every day, focusing primarily on academics and casual social activities during the school week, and reserving the weekends for lengthier social activities.
12. Don’t make plans you’re not sure you’ll have time for
Properly organizing your day involves going to class and setting aside time for homework. Just make sure you set aside enough time so you’re not accepting social invitations that might interfere with academics.
Maybe you plan to go to class, spend two hours on a project after class, then hang out with your friends. However, you might need more than two hours to finish your project. This can lead to a stressful situation. You don’t want to miss out on a social activity, but you need to get this work done. Avoid these situations by not committing to plans you can’t be entirely certain you’ll have time for.
13. List every essential item in a planner
A planner doesn’t merely need to be a list of assignment deadline reminders. You can also use a planner to list which materials you’ll need to bring to a given class, when you’ll need to study, etc.
14. Get a study buddy
One of your classmates is probably much more organized than you. Ask if they’ll be a study buddy. Setting aside time to focus on academics with a classmate every week ensures someone will hold you accountable.
It’s a simple tip, but many students who don’t know how to organize their days don’t get enough sleep. Sleeping well each night will promote the mental clarity that leads to greater organization in all areas of your life.
How to Organize Your Day Off
No one wants to waste a day off getting nothing done because they’re disorganized. With these tips, that’s not something you’ll need to worry about.
16. Decide what type of day off it will be
Sometimes a day off is an ideal time to check off responsibilities from your to-do list. It might not be the most fun way to spend your free time, but it reduces stress.
However, sometimes relaxing or having fun is a perfectly suitable way to use a day off. You need to choose which type of day off yours will be ahead of time. When you don’t know how to organize your day off properly, you can squander that free time, spending hours debating whether you should be productive or enjoy yourself.
17. Prioritize what will bring the most satisfaction
Whether you’re spending your day off getting things done or spending it having fun, you still probably won’t have enough time to do everything you’d like.
For instance, if you’re using a day off to complete necessary tasks, you might wish you had enough time to pay your bills, clean the house, mow the lawn, review a loved one’s final wishes organizer, and do laundry. If you’re spending it having a good time, you may want to binge a show, socialize with friends, pursue a hobby, read some inspirational prayers, and treat yourself to a relaxing experience.
In each situation, you won’t have enough time for everything. Not accepting this fact can result in a disorganized day in which you do very little of what you intended.
At the start of your day off, make a list of everything you’d like to do, then honestly ask yourself which you have time for and which will give you the most satisfaction. This helps you determine how to focus your energy.
18. Set timers
Choosing what to prioritize on a day off based on how much time certain tasks or activities will take and how much satisfaction they’ll bring does you no good if you lose track of time.
Make sure you stay organized by not only setting aside time for your various tasks but also setting timers when they begin so you don’t spend more time on them than planned.
19. Let people know you’re unavailable
Not knowing how to organize your day can often be the result of feeling you need to be available whenever someone needs you. Tending to their requests interrupts your schedule and leads to disorganization.
Make sure this doesn’t happen by letting all relevant parties know you’ll be unavailable during your day off unless a situation is a genuine emergency.
20. Ask yourself how you feel
At the end of every day off, ask yourself how you feel about the way you spent your time. This will help you better determine how to organize your schedule during future days off.
Organizing your day isn’t as challenging as you might think. You simply need to turn these practices into habits.
If you're looking for more organization inspiration, read our guide on the best books on organization for beginners.
- Burkean, Oliver. “Why you feel busy all the time (when you’re actually not).” BBC Future, The BBC, 11 September 2016, www.bbc.com/future/article/20160909-why-you-feel-busy-all-the-time-when-youre-actually-not
- Racza, Rachel. “The Benjamin Franklin Effect — And How It Can Help Your Love Life.” Boston, Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC, 25 April 2014, www.boston.com/culture/relationships/2014/04/25/the-benjamin-franklin-effect-and-how-it-can-help-your-love-life
- Kubu, Cynthia and Andre Machado. “The Science Is Clear: Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work.” Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, 01 June 2017, health.clevelandclinic.org/science-clear-multitasking-doesnt-work/