From The Straits Times    |

Did you know it takes 21 days to make and break a habit? Try these nifty tips and organisational tricks to rehaul your everyday habits and ensure your professional and personal life runs a lot more smoothly! Often, a little organisation – though it may take an initial time investment (and occasionally monetary spending) – will pay off down the road, as money is time after all: 


#1 Find a space for everything

Often messes come about when your bits and bobs don’t have a proper place of their own. Head down to your nearest Ikea and buy compartment boxes for everything. Have a box or compartment for your iPhone cables, folders for any appliance warranties you need to keep and so on and so forth. When everything has a set place it’s way easier to keep track of and locate them when needed, plus there’s somewhere to put them so they’re not just lying around and adding to a disorganised desk. 

#2 Take 30

To be honest, you should be taking 30 minutes of every day for yourself anyway (at least). Whether it’s sitting with a cup of coffee, morning stretching or some after-work reading (and not on your phone), make it a practice to take some time out that does not involve digital engagement. One way to utilise this time would be to start on a home project you’ve been meaning to do so for a while. Do you have a junk drawer that could do with some sorting out? Sit down with your cuppa and do it. Just doing one task that’s been on your “to do” list will be a great accomplishment and help your clear your head as you clear out your personal clutter. 

#3 Stick to your schedule

Do you methodically note down every single work meeting into your iCal? Do the same for your leisure time. As well as coffee dates and brunches with friends, schedule “me” time and weekly workouts in it, too. Your personal time and self-improvement are just as important as any conference call, so put it there in black, blue, or whatever colour you fancy. Need more encouragement? Having 10 hours of social time a week actually improves work performance and will drastically change your mood, plus exercise’s benefits for your physical and mental health are also extensive. 


#4 Done is better than perfect

For all you perfectionists and Type-A personalities out there, this may be a hard one to stomach (I feel you), but it’s true: done is better than perfect. This is something Sheryl Sandberg has mentioned hangs as a constant reminder in the Silicon Valley Facebook offices. Whilst we are all for getting things right, not just getting them done, sometimes you will have to accept 80 or 90 percent rather than the 110 you’re aiming for. This mantra will stop you from procrastinating about all the small tasks. Finish it and forget about it. Small tasks are better done today than left halfway for tomorrow. 

#5 Stop checking your email

Yes, this may be another hard habit to curb. However, it’s actually much more productive to check your emails at set intervals rather than hitting refresh every 10 minutes. If you carve out a 15-minute set time period to clear your inbox just after lunch and before heading home, you will be able to more efficiently see what really needs your attention and what can be left on the backburner or binned completely. 

#6 Take baby steps

It’s all about putting one foot in front of the other. If you tackle a small task or errand on your to-do list, you will immediately have more motivation and momentum to complete the bigger and more daunting ones! From clearing out a small portion of your closet (start with your underwear drawer) to emptying out your handbag and seeing what is truly essential to carry around every day, doing one thing a day will have you well on your way to a more streamlined, productive and seamless life! 

See for a how-to on how to clear out your closet stress-free!