If you’re anything like most people, you probably feel you have a lot to get done on 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.
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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
6. Bonus: desktop and mobile apps to help you organize your day at work
In the hectic digital age, many of us have a wide range of tasks on our plate during the average workday. Luckily, the digital age has also given us apps to make staying on top of our work tasks easier. Examples include:
- Calendly: Do you waste a lot of time at work trying to schedule and keep track of meetings? If so, Calendly is for you. With this app, you can set availability limits, easily share meeting links with others, and efficiently book a meeting at the time and place of your choosing. A basic plan is free, a Premium plan costs $8.00 a month, and a Pro plan costs $12.00 a month.
- 24me: 24me is essentially a virtual assistant complete with a task calendar, note-taking features, and task reminders. Because it’s a mobile app, it’s perfect if your job involves being on the go throughout the day. You can either download 24me for free, pay $5.99 a month, or $35.99 a year to access all its features.
- Cloze: Cloze is particularly useful when you have numerous business contacts. It automatically records contact information from your emails, phone calls, documents, and even social media accounts, gathering all the information in one place. A Pro plan costs $17.00 a month, a Business Silver Plan costs $21.00 a month, a Business Gold plan costs $29.00 a month, and a Business Platinum plan costs $42.00 a month.
- Todoist: Todoist offers a wide range of features that can help virtually anyone not only stay organized at work but also boost their overall productivity. The app allows you to quickly add and organize daily tasks on your to-do list, create sections and categories for tasks, create subtasks, rank tasks based on priority, delegate tasks to other team members, and much more. Todoist is also reasonably affordable. A basic starter plan is free, a Pro plan costs $3.00 a month, and a Business plan (ideal for teams) is $5.00 a month.
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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
If 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. Bonus: desktop and mobile apps to help you organize your day at home
Just as there are apps that help you stay organized at work, many powerful apps can also help you stay organized when you’re at home. The following are some of the most useful:
- Any.do: Any.do is a mobile to-do list that you can use to keep track of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. It’s a convenient tool, thanks in part to the fact that it syncs across multiple devices, ensuring you’ll likely always be able to access your to-do list regardless of where you are. It also reminds you to complete tasks when deadlines are approaching. Reminders can be location-based as well. You can start with a free plan, then upgrade to a Premium plan. A one-month Premium plan costs $5.99, a six-month plan costs $4.49 per month billed every six months, and a 12-month plan costs $2.99 per month billed annually.
- Franz: Franz helps you stay organized throughout the day by gathering various messaging apps onto one platform. Apps it supports include (but aren’t limited to) Slack, Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Google Hangouts. Users can choose from a free plan, a $2.99 per month Personal plan, and a $5.99 per month Business plan.
- Evernote: Evernote is among the most popular note-taking apps. It lets you take and organize notes, scan documents, create templates for notes, and more. It also integrates with other apps. A basic plan is free, a Premium plan costs $7.99 a month, and a Business plan costs $14.99 a month for each user.
- LastPass: If you’re like many people, a surprisingly large portion of your daily life may involve trying to remember passwords for various accounts and services. LastPass solves this problem by saving all your passwords in one app. It also generates strong passwords, stores digital records, and even auto-fills online shopping forms. Individual users (rather than businesses) can choose from a free plan, a $3.00 per month Premium plan, and a $4.00 per month Families plan.
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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
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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.
18. Bonus: desktop and mobile apps to help you organize your day as a student
Staying organized as a student can be a lot less stressful when you’re equipped with the right desktop and mobile apps! Consider the following options:
- Anti-Social: Don’t let the name fool you! This app doesn’t promote antisocial tendencies. Instead, it allows users to block sites and apps they spend too much time on when they need to focus on other tasks. This can be helpful for young students who, understandably, may be tempted to connect with friends on social media when they should instead be studying or completing assignments. The app is available for a one-time download fee of $15.00.
- My Study Life: My Study Life serves as a convenient mobile planner that students can use to schedule all their tasks throughout a semester, accounting for factors such as holidays, revisions, and recurring tasks. Like many of the strongest planner apps, it also syncs with other apps and lets users set up task reminders. This ensures the app will help a student stay on top of their work even if they forget to manually check the app’s calendar feature on a regular basis. It’s also free!
- Google Tasks: Google Tasks is a general to-do list app offering the same functionality as most basic to-do list programs. The best thing about it? It’s free! Students often have limited disposable income and might not be able to justify using an app that requires paying a download fee or monthly user fee. However, it’s important to know that Google Tasks is currently only available for Android users, and there’s no desktop version of the app available yet either.
- CamScanner: CamScanner is a very useful tool for students who spend a lot of time at the campus library scanning documents and pages from books. It turns a smartphone into an efficient scanner, converting documents into high-quality PDFs via a phone camera. Although the free version may serve the needs of most students, a $4.99 per month Premium account offers access to more robust editing features and additional cloud storage space.
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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. Bonus: desktop and mobile apps to help you organize your day off
Even if you’re using your day off to focus on self-care and pleasant activities, you could squander this precious free time if you don’t organize your day. That’s far less likely to happen if you use these apps:
- RescueTime: RescueTime helps users track how much time they spend on certain websites and apps. It also gives them the option to block sites and apps that have a tendency to become time-wasters. While many use this app to maximize productivity at work, you can also use it to guard against wasting your entire day off browsing the Internet or checking social media instead of focusing on more rewarding activities. You can opt for a free plan or upgrade to a Premium plan that costs $12.00 a month.
- Pocket: Browsing the Internet mindlessly may not be the ideal way to spend a day off. However, you can still use your free day to read all the fascinating web content you didn’t have time to read before. Pocket allows you to easily save virtually any type of content from anywhere on the web, so you can return to it when you have free time. You can create a free account, pay $44.99 for an annual membership, or $4.99 per month for a monthly membership.
- Jour: Jour isn’t technically an organization app. It’s a daily-self care journal app that promotes mindfulness. However, many users find it’s particularly valuable as a means of letting stress go on days when they want to prioritize relaxing as much as possible. That can be key to staying organized on your day off. After a free trial period, you can continue using the app for $59.99 billed annually.
- ActiveInbox: Not everyone uses their day off solely to relax. Some prefer to use their free time to work on tasks they normally have to put off, such as striving to reach inbox zero. ActiveInbox offers a range of features designed to help users achieve this elusive goal. A basic personal account costs $4.16 a month.
Get Help with Organization
If you're looking for more organization inspiration, read our guide on the best books on organization for beginners.