The belief I have with any part of getting your life working well for you and your needs is that it boils down to adding new, good habits to your day to day life.
Alongside great systems and routines, habits are key to becoming, and staying, organised.
Why create new habits?
Habits are things that become part of your life without you even thinking about them, and because they don’t take up any brain space they tend to give you more time without you even realising it.
Let me explain:-
We all brush our teeth each morning and evening – it takes a few minutes and then is done. We don’t talk ourselves out of doing it as we know it needs to be done, and we know what time and when in our day we should do it. It has become so simple to do that we just do it.
Therefore the trick is to create as many habits as we can to ensure that our lives run more smoothly each and every day.
My organising philosophy is:-
Systems + Routines + Habits = Organised
Systems + Routines + Habits = Organised
Habits underpin everything we are trying to achieve, and can be so simple to implement. They can define who we are as well!
52 habits – one for every week this year!
I have listed 52 possible habits to change / adapt in your life – one for every week this year which is do-able. That’s enough time to really change your life and set a way forward that you can really achieve and stick to.
Of course, you may already be doing some of these – and some may not suit the way you live (or who you live with etc…), so feel free to make a list of your own – let this be your inspiration and a guide to get you started.
Your task – should you choose to accept it! –
Go away now and write in your diary at the start of each week your chosen habit for that week. If you have it written down then you are much more likely to do it – and can refer back to it – see how many you can add into your daily routine and see for yourself how much of a difference they make!
TIP – Habits also have to have a benefit to make it into your subconscious – just as brushing your teeth ensures healthy teeth and gums and less trauma at the dentist – so too can each of these add to your life (saving time, energy, stress etc..). As such in my list below I have added the benefit next to each one as well as this may be all the motivation you need to get it done!
Habits for the Morning Routine
- #1 – Make the bed each morning – either as soon as you get out, or after you have been in the bathroom
- BENEFIT : automatically makes your bedroom feel clean and tidy and gives you a sense of order
- #2 – Take any medication you need at the same time each day (I do this before I get out of bed so I don’t forget)
- BENEFIT: This will stop stress when you realise halfway through the day that you haven’t taken it
- #3 – Always have breakfast
- BENEFIT: Sets you up for the day – and people say you tend to snack less on unhealthy foods if you eat at the start of the day
- #4 – Unload the dishwasher each morning
- BENEFIT: You always start the day with all the items of your kitchen clean and ready to use
- #5 – Leave the house as you would like to find it when you come home – tidy and clean
- BENEFIT: saving hassle in the evening and giving you a calmer welcome home!
- #6 – Try and get up at the same time each day
- BENEFIT: Lie ins at the weekend can do more harm than good, making you feel sluggish for the rest of the day. Balancing your body clock will have a huge effect on your day!
Habits for the Evening Routine
- #7 – Wash dishes and/or set the dishwasher straight after tea
- BENEFIT: You can have the dishes washed before bedtime and ready in the dishwasher for the following morning. Waking up to clean plates and a clean kitchen is so much nicer! – and it takes less time to clean pans when they are newly dirty rather than leaving food on them to harden overnight
- #8 – Tidy the house each evening – 10 mins is plenty
- BENEFIT: waking up to a tidy house is so much better a way to start the day and you won’t end up with loads of tidying to do at the weekend!
- #9 – Set the table for breakfast the night before
- BENEFIT: to save time each morning
- #10 – Hang out what clothes you need the next day ready to go
- BENEFIT: You don’t have to rush in the morning, or find too late that something is in the wash or needs ironing
- #11 – Check your diary for the next day – and ensure you have everything you need ready to go
- BENEFIT: no stress in the morning! (you can also check the time you need to get up if its different to usual for any reason)
- #12 – Try and go to bed at the same time each night
- BENEFIT: As with getting up at the same time each morning, this will help to regulate your body and help you feel much better each day
- #13 – Put your phone on charge every night overnight
- BENEFIT: You will never run out of battery during the day
- #14 – Review your day last thing at night
- BENEFIT: Use my SMILE acronym will help create a balanced day – or focus your mind on where you need to work on tomorrow
Time Management Habits
- #15 – Keep on top of your diary – schedule in all events, TO DO’s etc…
- BENEFIT: This will keep you a step ahead, and help you to organise your day much better when you can see whats required and whether there are any clashes etc…
- #16 – Book in appointments as soon as you have had your last appointment – while you are still there.
- BENEFIT: You save time and don’t have to add to your TO DO list. You will also be able to get an appointment time that works best for you rather than having to have whatever is left at the last minute
- #17 – Check all birthdays and events you need to buy presents/cards for each week – and do in one go
- BENEFIT: to save time at the shops/post office – grouping errands is a great time management tool
- #18 – Always add contingency time, travel time and time for the actual task into your diary – not just the task itself
- BENEFIT: You will then be able to see exactly how much of day will be taken up, and not overbook yourself. Its much more realistic way of doing things as a lot of people simply write in a start time and forget about all the surrounding time required
- #19 – Don’t leave things til the last minute – do immediately or plan in a time (that allows for contingency as well) to get it done
- BENEFIT: you will feel so much less stressed.
- #20 – Handle incoming paperwork once only – don’t leave in a pile to do later – add them into your paperwork system
- BENEFIT: will ensure that things get done and you don’t mislay anything. It also saves time because as soon as you have to read something again you are duplicating effort for no real reason.
- #21 – Bin rubbish (junk mail, envelopes etc…) as soon as it comes into your home (recycle if possible)
- BENEFIT: Simply saves time and energy
- #22 – Open your post when you have time to action items (make phone calls, pay bills etc…)
- BENEFIT: You will be able to get things done in one go and not have to make little piles of things to do later!
Finance / Money Habits
- #23 – Keep all receipts in your wallet/purse each day and transfer to a file each night/week
- BENEFIT: Always know where everything is, great if you need for tax reasons or simply if you need to return something
- #24 – Always have some cash in your purse/wallet for unexpected things
- BENEFIT: Never get caught out – things like items for your childrens school, shops that only take cash etc… all crop up without warning
- #25 – Have some spare change in your car for car parks and toll roads
- BENEFIT: you don’t get caught out
- #26 – When shopping, always ask yourself if you need the item, and whether you can get it cheaper elsewhere
- BENEFIT: This makes you question your purchases and therefore save money, and reduce clutter in your home
Habits to help with housekeeping
- #27 – Wipe down the shower / bath after every use
- BENEFIT: saves time when it comes to cleaning
- #28 – Ensure that when you leave a room you scan to see if anything needs to be taken out of it – then do it!
- BENEFIT: will keep you on top of tidying and keep your home GUEST READY
- #29 – Do a load of washing daily (if required) and keep on top of the washing and drying system
- BENEFIT: no more wanting items that aren’t available as yet – or needing to grab the iron to do one thing last minute
- #30 – Always put things back where they should go
- BENEFIT: you will always find things when you need them
- #31 – When cooking, cook an extra meal and freeze
- BENEFIT: You will always have something quick and healthy to eat when there’s no time to cook
- #32 – When cooking, wash up and keep tidy while you go
- BENEFIT: leaving less to do afterwards when the last thing you want to do after eating is get up and tidy up!
- #33 – Tick items that you use up on a shopping list – when you have used them up
- BENEFIT: you don’t need to remember everything, and then you can grab it whenever you are going to the shops, knowing that everything is on there that you need.
- #34 – Fill your car up with petrol when you pass a petrol station
- BENEFIT: saves time going specifically to do this when you are running low (works well if you do it after you have used about 50%)
Habits for health and fitness
- #35 – Eat 5 a day – at least!
- BENEFIT: A balanced diet can help you be more productive, healthier and so many more benefits its hard not to have this as one of your key habits!
- #36 – Take a multi vitamin
- BENEFIT: that extra boost can only be a good thing!
- #37 – Try a new recipe each week
- BENEFIT: stops boredom setting in!
- #38 – Do some exercise each day – Whether it be a gym visit, run, walk, playing with your children, a fitness video or some simple sit-ups and press ups – you can always fit in a little each day
- BENEFIT: It gives you more energy, and a zest for life!
Habits for life
- #39 – Once you have read a magazine, rip out any good articles and add to a personal file for reading specific to you – then recycle the rest immediately
- BENEFIT: no more piles of magazines! A bug bear in many households
- #40 – Follow any schedules and routines you have created – make them habits too!
- Morning routine // Evening routine // Paperwork System // Finances System // Household Jobs Schedule // Time Management (day, week, month, seasonal and annual plans)
- #41 – When you come through the door always leave your bag, keys and phone in the same place each time
- BENEFIT: saves wasted time looking for them!
- #42 – Write everything that you need to do on your TO DO list or schedule immediately in your diary AS SOON AS YOU THINK OF THEM
- BENEFIT: You can forget about them until you have the time to do them
- #44 – Carry a notebook around for any websites, addresses, tel numbers etc.. you get during the day and transfer them to your home file / diary etc… each evening
- BENEFIT: No more little bits of paper crumpled in pockets and at the bottom of your bag – destined to be mislaid!
- #45 – When on the phone, use the time to exercise (walk), drive (hands free of course), or any job around the house that needs doing (sorting washing etc…)
- BENEFIT: Multi tasking here works – I don’t always advocate as its usually better to focus on one thing at a time – but easy jobs can be ticked off your TO DO list so why not!
- #46 – Create some relaxing time each day
- BENEFIT – Its important to stay sane!
- #47 – Have a date night at least once a month with your partner
- BENEFIT: Relationships are vital to your general happiness so its worth making the effort
- #48 – Create time for your children each day
- BENEFIT: they grow up so fast, and its so vital to develop this relationship
- #49 – Have a one in, one out policy in your home for new purchases (works especially well with clothes and toys!)
- BENEFIT: you will never suffer from “Too much stuff” syndrome again!
- #50 – Answer your phone only when you have time – if its urgent they will leave a message
- BENEFIT: It won’t rule you anymore! or distract you….
- #51 – When at the shops look for possible presents that are on sale
- BENEFIT: saving you money and time – add them to your present drawer and then you will always have something to give!
- #52 – Learn to say NO
- BENEFIT: this will free up so much for you including time, energy and stress – we all do things because we think we should – so learning that its OK to say no will really make a difference to how you feel every day.