Be organized—Prepare, manage time, and feel in control.
Do you feel like you’re in control of your day-to-day life?
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed and stressed by the multitude of things you’ve got to get done, you may want to consider creating habits and routines (for you and your family) that make things easier and bring you a greater sense of control. This health dimension is all about those habits and routines that you can bring into your day-to-day to help you and your family feel prepared, in-control, and like you have time to enjoy life.
Life is filled with events we can’t control. But there are many things within that natural chaos that we can plan for. When you’re organized and prepared, you might feel like you’ve got more time to focus on the things and the people that matter most to you, you might be able to prioritize your time better, you might feel calmer, and you might have time for more fun activities! If you struggle with being organized, you might be feeling overwhelmed, out-of-control, and like you have no time for the things you want to do or need to do.
Take a look at your day-to-day. What small habits and routines can you and your family implement so you make room for the things that are important to you?
Feeling organized impacts the other health dimensions:
Organized → body: If there’s a mess or clutter in your kitchen that makes you feel stressed, you may also overeat and choose unhealthy/fast foods (1).
Organized → work: An organized and tidy workplace can help improve productivity and improve your persistence when you’re faced with a tough task. (2)
Organized → finances: Getting your meals planned for the week ahead will help deter the temptation to eat out or pick up take-out food. You’ll also save by wasting less food and throwing out expired items.
Improving your organization
Guaranteed, you’re the person who is running around making sure everyone else’s life is in control. Maybe you sometimes feel like a “nag” because you’re always reminding others about what needs to be done to make your household (and lives!) run smoothly. But what if you took a bit of that energy and put it into the examination of your own daily routines and habits? You might discover how your own habits could change—and also how your family’s habits could change—to make a world of difference. It’s time to share the load. Try mapping out (with words or a sketch) what your day-to-day looks like and identify where the “sticky” areas are when you feel overwhelmed. For example, maybe you experience debilitating chaos trying to get everyone ready and out the door in the morning. Where can you prepare ahead to set up success? And just as important, who else in your family can take small actions to ease the workload and make things smoother?
Three things to do to be more organized today:
- Make a weekly meal plan! Use Sunday as your prep day! Go shopping and prepare as much as you can before your week starts. (We cook and cube an entire package of chicken and a big pot of rice at the start of the week so we don’t end up stopping for fast food on the nights we’re all running around.)
- Automate! Are you traveling up and down the steps every morning making sure kids are awake and ready? Help your kids set alarms and show them how to take more responsibility for things they can control.
- Create a calendar! Take the time with your family (not just you!) to write down and discuss every single thing that’s happening during the week. Make a plan for how you’re going to be in all the places!
Being organized and feeling in control is really important, but it’s just one part of your whole health picture. Read about more health dimensions. They overlap, intertwine, and impact one another. If you’re doing well in each of these dimensions, you’ll stay healthier and happier. Also, check out Carebook’s Facebook page where we’re building a healthy, happy community. We’d love to hear your ideas and experiences about how you keep the chaos at bay and stay organized, feeling in-control, happy, and healthy!
- Vartanian LR, Kernan KM, Wansink B. Clutter, Chaos, and Overconsumption: The Role of Mind-Set in Stressful and Chaotic Food Environments. Environ Behav. 2017 Feb;49(2):215–23.
- Chae B, Zhu R. Environmental Disorder Leads to Self-Regulatory Failure. J Consum Res. 2014 Apr 1;40(6):1203–18.