Updated: Jun 16
As crazy and almost obvious as it seems, our mindset and attitude towards life is heavily influenced by our environment and how we are able to organise ourselves. The irony in this is that it is the total opposite of our instincts, we are told our whole lives to make sure we make our bed, clean our room, tidy up after ourselves and we often think this is just something superficial that parents want to nag us about, well, reality is, it has a much bigger impact on us.
Picture it this way, close your eyes and tell me where in your room your left school shoe is, what about your jumper you wore three weeks ago? Where are your towels you shower with? If you have trouble locating a usual spot for these items because they are buried underneath a complete mountain of dirty clothes and food wrappers then guess what, I can already visualise how your notes and schoolbooks look too. It seems a bit surface level, but the same idea translates through to your notes and schoolbooks. If I asked to see your biology notes from Monday Week 3 Term One, where would they be? How would you locate them for a test? Are you starting to see a pattern here?
The way that we start to make these changes is through habits. This doesn’t mean waking up one day and turning into a cleaning robot, but start fresh on a Monday, make areas designated for certain things, start to take pride and organisation in your area and watch it translate in your work. Start by sorting out your dirty from clean clothes, then your shirts from pants, then your shoes in their cupboard. Try it for a week and watch your physical cleaning start to influence your mental cleaning. There is no set right or wrong way to organise yourself, but the team at We, Future Leaders have come up with two top tips that you can start doing RIGHT NOW to find clarity and organisation in your mind, personal space and studies.
Declutter your wardrobe
It may seem trivial, but the experts at The Style Minimalist prove how clutter in one area of your life has profound effects on every other area of your life. Kitty (the primary professional organiser at The Style Minimalist), breaks down the advantages of doing so:
We all relate to having too many clothes in your wardrobe and not having enough space / hangers / care to put your washing away. You try on clothes on the weekend or after school, and they end up on the floor because it’s too much of an effort to put them back on the hanger. You wear a jacket that isn’t even dirty but put it in the overflowing washing basket just to avoid putting it away. How could you possibly take PRIDE in a wardrobe that is a chore to manage?
When you cut down on the clothes that you don’t wear, suddenly there is more space, and you notice that the clothes that you wear often have a particular style that you didn’t realise that you had. Everyone has a personal style. When your wardrobe matches this style, suddenly you feel a connection to the space as it looks so aesthetic when it’s organised that you couldn’t bear to make it messy. It’s a simple formula:
Less cramming + aesthetic appearance + ease of access = desire to use it and keep it that way.
Apply this to your school notes:
Well organised notes + neat and tidy appearance = desire to refer to make notes and use notes for study.
It’s a no brainer!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about your notes being all over the place and you’re not sure where to start, start with your wardrobe 😉
2. Declutter your mind!
You’re probably thinking, ‘yeah right! I have too much to think about!’ and it’s making you feel more overwhelmed that you need to be feeling. Your brain can only concentrate on THREE problems at a time. If you have more than that, you will feel overwhelmed because your brain will keep swapping and changing between the three that are the highest priority and bringing those to your attention. Simplify the process for yourself and start closing those tabs in your mind by getting it out onto paper. The biggest excuse I hear for this one is ‘it’s easier if I remember everything in my head’. That is a horrendous habit to have and you should 100% break that habit!
Start by grabbing a notebook and pen and writing a list of literally every little thing you can think of that you have to do, no matter how small. For example, ‘put assignment due dates in diary’. It might seem ridiculous, but when it’s out of your mind and onto paper, it’s one less thing for your mind to remember. Take it a step further and put tick boxes next to every point that you’ve listed. There is no denying the satisfaction of ticking of everything on a to-do list!
After practising this habit for a little while, you should start feeling a bit of relief and clarity in your mind. When you have some time to complete a task, there is no more scrambling to think of what you need to do. There is no more randomly remembering something and freaking out that you must do it right then and there! You just check out your list and start ticking off whatever you feel is most needed. When you remember something, just add it to the list to do later.
To take it up a notch, begin your list with three categories:
Approx. 5 Minutes
Approx. 20 – 30 Minutes
Approx. Hour or longer.
When writing out your list, it doesn’t matter what order you remember your tasks as you can easily assign them to a category for you to prioritise later. Once it’s all out of your head, you have a much clearer understanding of what needs most attention. The general rule of thumb is:
If it takes about 5 minutes, get it out of the way and do it now.
If it takes about 20 – 30 minutes, do it after your current task.
If it takes about an hour or longer, schedule it in your diary (such as google calendar). Any due dates for assessments, homework or exams should go there as well, along with any friend’s birthdays etc.
The more mental clarity that you have, the less stressed you’ll become and the easier it’ll be to get your head around difficult concepts in the classroom. It’s a no brainer!
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If you liked this read, share it with some friends who will benefit from a general life declutter 😊