Ask the Readers: How Do You Organize Your Life?

I recently finished reading More Than a Hobby by David Green and Dean Merrill. It’s an insightful book on how Hobby Lobby works and the philosophy behind it. I learned a lot from it.

Among other things, the author mentioned that the three most important things about managing a store are organization, organization, and organization. If you are well organized, you can accomplish more with less effort. A store manager who organizes her team well, for instance, doesn’t need to work long hours to get things done. She can just put in normal hours and still enjoy good results.

I believe the same principle applies to individuals. If you organize your life well, you can accomplish more with less time and energy. You will get things done and still have time for your loved ones. You will also have time to rest and to grow yourself (for example, by reading books).

So I’d like to ask you:

How do you organize your life?

By life here I mean both your life at work and at home.

Please share your answer in the comments so that everyone can read it. Thanks!

Photo by Bigstock


  1. Dear Donald,

    One of the difficult things is to organize our life. I have been trying to reach office at 8 AM for long time and I seldom succeed even though I get up at 5.30 AM. Similarly in the evening I always wanted to do many things like reading book, newspaper etc but most of the days I ended up in the bed without reading a single page. I do not know where I fail. May be 24hrs are not enough for me 🙂

    Best regards

  2. This is 100% correct. This is the problem most of us experience. I am disorganized both at home and office resulting in frustration,wastage of time, energy and feeling of hopelessness. Any job that can be handled at ease if it is well organised with pleasure

  3. A big thing for me is using a digital to do list, which there are plenty of now via websites or phone apps, etc.

    Picking the most important tasks for the day, as well as daily tasks that work towards a goal. Seeing the list and checking them off gives a clarity and sense of accomplishment.

  4. As a 43 year old with Fibromyalgia, Psoriatic Arthritis, a full time job and a nine month old baby, I have just learned to accept that no matter how hard I organize and plan some things are just going to fall through the cracks. As lame as it sounds, checklists and habits (doing simple things on auto-pilot) are absolutely crucial. I cannot offer anything new or interesting. I have PM checklist that gets the basic household chores done and prepares me for the morning. I have AM checklist that makes sure I get out the door with everything I and the kid need for the day. Anything not on those lists is either in Evernote or my Google Calendar. If it is not on one of those three (list, evernote, google calendar) then it might as well not exist cause I will never remember to do it, be there, etc.

  5. Organize, yes, but I’ve found you have to organize your thinking first. Not just thinking about prioritizing but looking at the whole picture and how everything fits. Sitting down and reading a book sounds good, but if you’re always in the, “I have to get this done first, then clean that, then get that washed.” state of mind, before I sit and read a book, you’re sabotaging yourself. Stuff to do will always be there. Looking at the whole picture and organizing your mind around that will give you the time to enjoy that book and push off the anxiety as well.

  6. I use mind maps. At the beginning of the week I take a piece of paper and colored sharpies and do a general map for the weak. From the central circle, I draw lines to other circles for each of my jobs and my personal life. Then I make branches off of those for projects to be done.

    For each project I make another detailed mind map. The maps get taped to my pantry door. When I have a few free minutes, I can glance at the map and pick just one task to accomplish. I put a big black X through the finished bubbles.

    Since I am prone to wander off in creative pursuits or things that amuse me, I find that time tracking is an excellent tool. I have a stenopad. I write the start time and end time of what I am doing in the left column and a note in the right column about what I did and for which job I worked. I have 3 jobs and also freelance. In this way, I am reminded to stay on task. Time tracking also reveals when I have been putting too much time in one thing and not enough on the other.

    I am going to write (now) 1:45-2:00 PM goofing around on LinkedIn!

  7. I pretty much never lose anything – and therefore rarely have to search for things – by always setting the same item in the same place. Simple.

  8. I have to keep a day planner. And it’s SO IMPORTANT for me to schedule in “time off”. If I don’t I’m a workaholic and I’ll work in all my spare time. I find when I schedule time off in my planner I work better because I feel more energized, and centred. But if I forget to schedule it in and just try to wing it, I feel I’m all over the place during the week. This was something taught to me by my life coach and I now teach to my clients, because I find it SO important! Everyone needs “me” time to rejuvenate, but sadly it’s usually the last thing we get around to doing for ourselves.

  9. it,s very important for everyone to organize their life. If you have not done it start planning now

  10. Time Power by Charles Hobbs. Best book on time & life organizing ever. I had the cassette version 25 yrs ago when I began a job in outside sales. Loaned it to my son’s ex-girlfriend and never saw it again.

  11. I use my mobile phone’s multiple alarm clocks which also display notes and locations recorded for a specific time. I update it at night just in case there is a change in my tomorrow’s routine.

  12. Lists. Not just lists but the places you put them, like in your billfold, on your phone, etc. I’m young with limited responsibilities and so far lists do the trick

  13. Thanks for the comments, everyone! Yes, organizing our lives is not easy; I’m still learning myself. But I believe each of us can get better at it. I’m glad to learn from your comments.

    Here is my summary of the specific tips so far (aside from the more general tips and book suggestion):
    * Use a digital to-do list for selected tasks.
    * Use checklists (for example, AM and PM checklists).
    * Organize your thinking first (by looking at the big picture).
    * Use mind maps for planning and do time tracking.
    * Set the same item in the same place.
    * Schedule in “time off”.
    * Use your mobile phone’s multiple alarm clocks.
    * Use lists in context.

  14. Mary Ng Shwu Ling
    Mary Ng Shwu Ling

    I organized my life by listing things to do, things to buy, all my appointments, schedule, in my iPad.

    I have a facial once a month, haircut six weeks once, pedicure appointments all planned and booked ahead in my beauty journal in my iPad.

    Basically, I like to live a simple life so that things are not so complicated. Even for my wardrobe, if I buy a blouse, I throw out one. I only buy a pair of shoes a year.

    I even have a bin where I get gifts I do not want for recycling. For example, recently, I am selling these recycling gifts to raise fund for charity.

  15. The best way to organize yourself is making a daily checkout list. Think it through and put the priorities on top. Always works for me.

  16. I always find that having written goals, both long term and short term, helps me organise my life. It’s always a tricky balance though and something I’m constantly trying to keep in check.

  17. To do lists are very important, as is setting goals of all varieties. Another big thing for me is to prioritize what I want to achieve each day. If I try to set out to achieve more than is humanly possible in a day, I will become quite disappointed. Instead, more realistic goals and celebrating wins is the way to go.

  18. I am actually very good at organizing and planning. It has served me very well as a self employed person for my entire life because along with discipline I’ve been able to accomplish most of what I’ve set out to do. Of course, over planning can be a bit of a problem too 🙂 That’s why I’ve learned to let go of some of it when the time is right and trust the process. ~Kathy

  19. Post-it notes have been a life saver to me. Easy to jot something quick down, and can stick anywhere to remember at a certain time.

  20. thank you and I appreciate your concern toward on people success .plz I need more of those tips in E-mail

  21. To me i believe planning makes a man. With plan and total discipline have been able to achieve gud things in life

  22. Hi Donald! The key sentence in your article for me is, ‘If you are well organized, you can accomplish more with less effort.’ Being a mom of three boisterous and energetic kids, a full-day job and part time freelance writing, I couldn’t agree more! My key to managing my varied responsibilities is setting aside specific parts of the day for each task and giving each my 100% focus and attention. I have learnt to block out other tasks and things I have to do, while I’m doing any one of them. By being focused at work, I make sure I meet deadlines and complete my projects on time, which gives me the peace of mind to enjoy the time I spend with my kids. However, one day of being tired or distracted can break the whole system.

  23. Please write more about this topic. It is one of the most needed thing now a days.

Comments are closed.