In this episode, we’re talking about a few habits that take only a few minutes but can help you be nike air max 270 women’s sale air jordan 4 retro military black air jordan 1 element nike air max 90 futura air jordan retro 1 mid casual shoes nike air max womens air jordan 4 retro military black nike jordan zoom air cmft air jordan retro 1 mid casual shoes nike air max womens air jordan 4 retro military black nike jordan series 06 air max 95 sale nike ispa 270 nike air jordan 1 elevate low more organized and productive every day.
Implementing some well-thought-out habits can help us get organized!
Small actions taken consistently will bring better results than grand gestures taken occasionally. We can make big plans and set big goals, but the best way to achieve them is to develop habits–things we do almost automatically–that move us in the direction of our goals. For more thoughts on the value of habits (and how to nurture useful ones) check out episode 230, when we talked about key takeaways from James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, and episode 147, where we discussed The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg.
For many of us, a goal is to be more organized. The more organized we are, both in our space and in our use of time, the more at peace we can be, and the more we can accomplish because we’re wasting less time.
The challenge is that most of us have a lot going on in our lives, which makes the idea of taking on a big reorganization project feel overwhelming.
Even if you don’t have the time or energy to spend big chunks of time organizing your space or your life, though, you can still make progress by establishing small habits that take only a couple of minutes but can result in a more organized home, office, and life. (A great book about this is Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results, by Stephen Guise.)
I did some online research to see what organization experts have to say about this, and wanted to share some recommendations for habits we can all consider.
Tidier Home = Less Stress
1. Make your bed. Every single resource I looked at starts with this one. There are lots of reasons why this is such a universal recommendation: Because it’s the largest thing in the room, making the bed immediately makes the whole room look better. It’s a small thing that establishes a sense of control and discipline. For me, it just makes me feel good every time I walk through the room. My process: I fold it all back when I first get out of bed to let it air out for a bit while I do my morning routine, but before I start my day I make it.
2. Designate a drop zone (near the entrance, for keys, wallets, phones, jackets, etc.) and use it. Maybe it’ll include hooks or a tray, or cubbies, or whatever works for your space to contain it so it looks tidier. As important, if you always put those things there, you will never waste a moment looking for them.
3. Put your bag (and shoes and coat) away as soon as you come into the house (or office). Same reason and benefit as the drop zone.
4. Bring in stuff from your car when you come inside–whatever you took with you, and whatever you picked up while you were out. Train the kids to look around their seats for anything that needs to be brought in.
5. Deal with mail as soon as it comes in the door. (If I bring in the mail I’ll stop at the trash bin in the garage on my way by and toss any junk mail so it never enters the house.) If you have recycling available where you live, you can do the same with the recycle bin. Have a specific place to put mail that needs action (a bill to pay; an invitation to reply to; an important paper to file).
6. Tidy the space when you leave it at the end of the day. This can take only a minute or two and lets you hit the ground running the next day.
Living room/family room
- Snack dishes into the kitchen (wash or put into dishwasher)
- Trash tossed
- Pillows and throws straightened
- Toys (kids or dogs) into a bin, basket, or drawer
- Reading materials into a drawer or onto a shelf
Office or workspace – studies show we’re most focused and productive when our workspace is tidy (i.e., fewer distractions)
- Coffee mugs or snack dishes put away
- Files, books, and work tools (pens, notepads, art supplies) put away
- Trash tossed
- Crumbs, etc., off the work surface
- Nothing on the desk or work surface except perhaps your to-do list for the next day and the files or materials for the next day’s first project
7. Never put clothes on the floor or furniture. Take that 2 minutes (or less) to hang them up or put them in the laundry hamper. Instilling this habit not only keeps your space looking tidier but also helps your clothes last longer. Have a place to put clothes that have been worn but don’t yet need to be washed–I have a hook for my nightgown, and a separate section of my closet to hang clothes that have been worn but don’t need to be washed yet
8. Regularly toss expired food. Not only is this a tidiness thing, but it also ensures that the food in your refrigerator and pantry is fresh. Before you go grocery shopping (or while you’re waiting for the pasta water to boil) take 2 minutes to scan the refrigerator or a pantry shelf for food that’s past its expiration date or past its prime. Toss it; if it needs to be replaced, add it to the grocery list. Quickly tidy and wipe down the shelf.
9. Use the “first in, first out” method of storing food. I learned this years ago when I was a manager at a fast-food restaurant. When you bring in new food items, move the existing ones forward and put the new ones behind them. When decanting items like flour, sugar, cereal, or other dry goods, empty the canister or container into a bowl, put the new stuff in, and then the “old” on top, so you’re using the oldest first.
10. Break down shipping boxes immediately and put them out with your recycling. You can do it with scissors, but I find it easier to use a box cutter, which I keep handy near where I typically open shipping boxes.
Decluttered Space = Less Work
11. From The Minimal Mom, take advantage of trash day–spend 2 minutes around the house with a trash bag or empty grocery bag and look for things that can/should be tossed.
12. Keep a donate box conveniently located. Make it easy to collect the items you no longer need or use; when the box is full, put it in your car to be dropped off at the charity shop next time you drive by.
13. Scan receipts and toss them — can take a photo with your phone and save it to an album you create for receipts, or use a scanning app, like Adobe Scan, Scanner App, or Apple Notes. (See link below for an article that reviews and recommends scanner apps for this purpose.)
14. From the Get Organized Wizard: try the Three-Item Daily Declutter
15. When you buy a new or updated version of any item you already own, toss or donate the one it’s replacing instead of hanging on to it “just in case.” This one’s tough for me, so it’s one I’m going to work on. This is the way you prevent clutter from creeping back in.
Decluttered Mind = Less Distraction
16. Make a list–and review it regularly. Get things out of your head into a trusted system. This applies to task lists, project lists, grocery lists, and anything you think of that you’ll want to remember later, even if it’s just to decide whether to do something or not.
17. Keep a notepad and pen handy–and use it. This is the simplest way to make sure you can do the preceding one. Even if you manage your task lists or anything else digitally, having a notepad and pen or pencil handy can make it easy to jot down an idea, a reminder, a phone number, or anything else so you actually do capture it instead of succumbing to the temptation to think, “I’ll just remember.” Once you’ve captured it, you can always process it into your digital tool later.
18. Put commitments into your calendar the minute you commit to them. The same principle applies here. It is the only way to be sure you don’t ever miss an appointment, meeting, etc. I use a digital calendar, so when I enter a meeting or other appointment, I also include any pertinent information I’ll need for that appointment: a phone number, address, maybe notes about who’ll attend or what it’s about; if it’s to discuss a document, I’ll attach it to the calendar entry.
19. Block off time for your most important tasks. Time can easily get eaten up with less important things, so block out time on your calendar for what’s most important to you. Be sure to include time for self-care.
20. Take a break–get up from your workspace, stretch, walk up and down a flight of stairs, step outside, or just go look out a window for a minute and breathe.
21. Bonus: Take 2 minutes to pause before saying yes to an invitation or request. Ask yourself if you feel enthusiastic about it, if it serves your priorities and values, and if you actually want to commit time, energy, and attention to it.
22. Bonus #2: Spend 2 minutes every morning or evening thinking about and writing down one or more things you’re grateful for. Numerous studies show that grateful people are happier people, and happier people are more productive. All day, every day, the world will offer you lots of things to be worried about or afraid of or angry about or resentful of. Counter that by consciously and intentionally looking for and recording those things you can be grateful for.
I’m not suggesting you should take on all of these at once. The best way to instill new habits is one or two at a time. Identify a particular pain point–missed appointments? misplaced keys or purse? overstuffed closet? piles on the kitchen counter?–and choose a habit that addresses it and intentionally cultivate that habit for a few weeks before adding another.
When introducing a new habit, use habit stacking, where you attach a new habit to something you already do habitually. Makes it easier to remember and get it established.
What do you think?
What are your favorite 2-minute habits that help you stay organized and productive? Post your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or email me
Resources and Links
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
- Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results, by Stephen Guise
- Start Small, Finish Strong: How Tiny Habits Can Lead to Big Changes in Your Workspace | Get Organized Wizard
- “Make Your Bed” and 20 Other One-Minute Habits for a Clutterfree Home – Becoming Minimalist
- (13) 20 1-Minute Habits to Keep Your Home Clutterfree – YouTube
- (13) ONE-MINUTE Habits For A Tidy & Clutter-Free Home (+20 Ideas!) – YouTube
- 5 Easy 2-Minute Habits to Make You an Organized Person
- Most Productive Habits To Pick Up In 2024
- 14 Two-Minute Habits to Do Each Day – This Evergreen Home
- The 4 Best Mobile Scanning Apps of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter
- 15 essential daily organizing habits – The Lifestyle Files
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