For a long time I used to think “Why can’t I just get it together?” Every morning before going to work was chaos, and every evening after coming back was chaos as well. Have you ever felt that way? That no matter what you do, there are times of day that just feel rushed and totally out of control?
For a long time I thought that this was simply how things had to be. I thought that I couldn’t help not being able to find my clothes in the morning or having zero clean dishes in the evening.
However, recently I realized that I was allowing this to happen. True, there are chaotic parts of life that are beyond our control. But at the same time, I was totally ignoring the small steps I could take to make tomorrow a little better for my future self.
Getting it together can be simple, and taking the time to do so can be so worth it.
Honestly, the idea of putting time into cleaning and preparing myself for tomorrow scared me. I imagined hours of food prep, cleaning, and putting things into order. It was not only daunting, but totally unappealing. I can think of a million other things I’d rather be doing.
However with this mindset, I forgot something important: that small incremental steps can make a huge impact.
For awhile now, I’ve been experimenting with doing tiny moments of 5-minute tasks in the evening to get organized and prepared for tomorrow. I pick one pain spot, work on it for five minutes, and then pick another area to work on for another five minutes, and I keep on working that way.
The results have really surprised me. Not only do I experience calm during the periods of my day that used to be full of panicked rushing, but I am also making an impact on the annoying trouble areas of my environment.
For me, those trouble areas included making sure I had clean dishes, that my clothes were put away, and that I had a lunch made for tomorrow. True, five minutes isn’t enough time to make an entire lunch or wash all the dishes. But could I take five minutes to make a sandwich that I could take to work tomorrow? Yes. And would five minutes be enough time to wash only the dishes that I would need for tomorrow? Surprisingly, yes.
As a result I ended up making a list of small things I could do five minutes at a time the night before that would make tomorrow better for me. I decided that if I wanted to have a less chaotic day tomorrow, I would have to prepare for it today.
If you are struggling with being disorganized and unprepared like I was, try some of the things on this list, five minutes at a time. Small investments of time can make a huge difference in how your day goes tomorrow.
Remember that the point is to spend five minutes to work on these things, not to complete them within five minutes.
Going back to how I make a sandwich for lunch the night before– I just make my sandwich, not my entire lunch.
However, the next morning when I’m trying to get out the door, all I need to put in my bag is my sandwich along with a few snacks and a fruit. I removed all the effort it takes to find the ingredients and the dishes to make a sandwich. As result, my mornings feel more calm.
Everything on this list works that way. You may not fully complete what you’re trying to do, but the little bit you accomplish will make tomorrow easier to manage.
10 Ways to Get More Organized in 5 minutes
Pick one task, set a timer for five minutes, and go!
- Prep breakfast
- Prep lunch
- Prep dinner
- Set out clothes for tomorrow
- Put clean dishes away
- Throw away old items in the fridge
- Wash only the dishes needed for tomorrow
- Throw out or shred junk mail
- Mark emails as spam and delete them
- Look over todo list and appointments for tomorrow
Tip: For dinner preparation, I like doing things that require only five minutes of hands on time, such as cooking pasta or rice.
Doing 5 minute tasks requires a little bit of thoughtful planning. It’s not about just doing random stuff that catches your eye. It’s about focusing on the areas that will make the most positive impact on your life tomorrow.
I’ve tried my best to explain the power of tiny tasks in this short blog post, but honestly I feel like this only scratches the surface of how much taking five minutes to address your daily pain points can improve your life.
For more about how to make tiny tasks work for you, check out my new book The Little Book of Tiny Tasks: Make Your Life More Calm While Getting Things Done 5 Minutes at a Time.
Do you know any one who is struggling to “get it together”? Share this article with them via email or DM. I’m sure they’ll appreciate these simple tips on how to spend a little more effort on being prepared. Having it together requires an investment of time, and doing little tasks can make that easier.