If you want to plan ahead and take charge of your future, organization is key. Simple tactics — like the use of a day planner, a chore schedule, and automatic bill payments — can save you time, energy, and money.
To get started on a path toward a more organized life, follow the six steps below.
Step 1: Use a Planner
Take advantage of a planner to sort your day into actionable chunks. Some like to flip through physical pages, while others are content with a smartphone app. Research shows writing things by hand can help you better retain information, but you should use whatever method works best for you.
Our brains can only hold so much at once. With a planner, you can keep your life — no matter how hectic — in order. Make a set of running lists, including your must-do, should-do, and like-to-do items. Track your personal goals, scribble doodles, and write down important notes.
Step 2: Set Up Automatic Bill Payments
There’s the car payment, electric bill, cell phone bill, mortgage, and more. How do you keep track of all the due dates? If you rely on your mind, and you forget, a missed or late payment can lead to fees. Organize your bills by setting up automatic payments with your financial institution.
With this set-it-and-forget-it method of making payments, you’ll have peace of mind knowing all your bills are paid on time. Plus, the transition to paperless billing can reduce your home’s clutter. While automatic bill pay is convenient, it’s still essential to monitor your checking account to make sure you have enough money available to cover your bills and to regularly check your accounts for fraudulent activity.
Step 3: Download Your Financial Institution’s App
More than 57 million people in the U.S. control their finances through a mobile app. It’s a convenient way to check your balance, track spending, send money, deposit checks, and more. Most financial institutions offer a free mobile app that allows users to manage money on the go.
If you want to organize your life, make the process as convenient as possible. An app puts money management in the palm of your hand, with transactions only a simple touch of a button away. You can also save time by cutting out trips to the bank or lengthy sessions on the old desktop.
Step 4: Have a Place for Everything
Clutter occurs when you place more items into one space than there’s room for. While material objects might seem harmless, they can cause a lot of unnecessary stress in your life. Spending time looking for an item that doesn’t have its own place is just one example of how clutter can stress you out.
Reduce the disorder by creating a place for each item in your home. Pay attention to problem areas, like the coffee table or kitchen counter. Use drawers, cubbies, and hanging organizers to stow away all your items efficiently.
Step 5: Create a Cleaning Routine
One way to stay organized is to create a list of household chores. Sit down and think about what you need to do each day, week, and month to keep your house clean. You’ll likely add items like “take out the trash” or “clean the fridge.” Once you have your list, create a cleaning schedule.
Set up a visual board or chore list to keep track of tasks. Assign items to people you live with, like a spouse, roommate, or kids. Perhaps one evening is dedicated to writing a grocery list or doing a load of laundry. Add a checkbox next to each item so you can cross it off once complete.
Step 6: Become a Meal Prep Master
Meal prep, an organization tactic where you prep and cook meals for up to a week at a time, can bring a lot of benefit to your life. Meal planning makes it easy to stick to a healthy diet and maintain your weight. Planning your shopping list ahead of time and shopping for sales can help you save money, too.
Pick one day to prep your meals. By completing a week’s worth of meals at once, you can save time and reduce stress, especially if you have a hectic work schedule. You can store foods like soups, cooked meat, and vegetables in the freezer for months.
Do you want to make the most out of each day? Then follow the six steps above to organize your life. Organization is meant to make your day-to-day much easier. What will you do with your new free time — perhaps take a painting class or join a softball league? The choice is up to you.
If you want to learn more about organizing your financial life, discover tips and resources on our WalletWorks page.