If January is the month of fresh starts, then February and March are arguably when resolutions start to slip. Motivation wanes when facing four more weeks of cold weather, and the temptation to just stay glued to the couch is strong.
But this seasonal slump doesn’t mean you have to let go of your goals entirely. One of the easiest ways to stay on track is by getting organized. With your surroundings clearly managed, it’s easier to stay on top of your targets of eating healthy, going to the gym, and spending more time with friends (instead of the sofa).
These nine simple solutions will keep the inspirational wheels greased, moving you forward to a happier and healthier 2018:
1. Make your bed every morning
Up and at ’em, trooper!According to this VIP Navy Seal , making your bed is an important first task. This small but symbolic act sets the tone for a productive day ahead.
While we’re on the subject, here’s how to make sure your bedroom is primed for peaceful slumber.
2. Open your window to improve air quality
According to Thought Co., you should be doing this even when the weather is chilly. Circulating fresh air is said to spread chi (aka life force). Plus, opening the window improves air quality by boosting ventilation — which is vital for clean sleep.
And do we really need to tell you that you’ll be healthier, happier, and more productive overall if you get enough sleep?
3. Keep a running list of to-dos
A to-do list is a total game changer. Not only will it encourage you to get every little thing you know you need to get done, done, but it’s also so satisfying to check items off as you go throughout the day.
QZ suggests writing out your to-do list in the evening, so you can tackle everything from the get-go the next day.
Assign realistic time estimates for each task. Also, re-evaluate any items you’ve put off more than once, to assess whether there’s a solution — or if they simply aren’t vital after all.
4. Contain your clutter in a designated dropzone
You know the importance of decluttering, of course. But sometimes life gets in the way — so the clutter piles up, and soon enough it starts to feel impossible to stay on top of.
Enter your clutter dropzone: This nifty quick fix is essentially a box or other container where you can pile anything you don’t have time to deal with at the moment.
Whether you keep it in your entryway, bedroom closet, or home office, a clutter dropzone is your secret cheat to stay clutter-free throughout the week. There’s no need to sacrifice style for functionality since a decorative basket makes a wonderful dropzone fixture.
Just make sure to clear it out over the weekend (or whenever you have a chance) to hit the reset button on your home.
5. Clear your desk of clutter
Whether you work from home or in an office, your desk is your epicenter of efficiency. And nothing kills productivity faster than clutter.
Take a few minutes every morning or at the end of each day to clear your desk. Check out these tips from Becoming Minimalist to set up a clear desk that will allow you to approach each day as a new opportunity. Small changes like using drawers and switching to digital whenever possible make a positive difference in your daily work life.
6. Clean out your bag at the end of each day
This is especially helpful if you’re always on the go. Chucking receipts, washing out your to-go mug, and clearing out your wallet will make it much easier to find everything you need when you’re out and about.
And if you feel like your purse is a black hole that swallows all your stuff? A purse organizer or a bag with multiple compartments could make your life much easier.
7. Do the dishes every night
We know, we know. The last thing you want to do at the end of a long day is wash the dishes. But hear us out: By waking up to a clean kitchen in the morning, you’re guaranteeing yourself a fresh start the next day.
Plus, doing the dishes may have more benefits than just a spic-and-span kitchen. According to Time, performing menial tasks like dishwashing may actually reduce stress and spur creativity. The trick is to focus on the elements of the activity in a mindful fashion: The smell of the dish soap, the feel of the warm water.
Rather than a dreaded chore, dishwashing will soon become a relaxing way to end the night.
8. Lay out your clothes for the following day
How many mornings have you spent going through your closet, tossing blouses on the bed in a frantic rush to get ready with what limited time you have?
Plan your outfit every night for the next day. Chances are, you’ll be more relaxed at night. Which means you’re better able to strategize for weather and any post-work activities.
9. Keep your nightstand distraction-free
We’re all familiar with the middle-of-the-night gut kick that happens when reaching for some tissues — only to knock a glass of water onto a book, which in turn tumbles onto the alarm clock and upsets the entire nightstand equilibrium.
Night blindness is inevitable. Spills are not.
To avoid these incidences, keep only the essentials on your nightstand. Think these two criteria: Relaxation and absolute necessities.
A book, a candle or two, and an air-purifying house plant fall under the “relaxing” category. Your alarm clock and lotion may be necessities.
Whatever you keep on your nightstand shouldn’t distract, but rather encourage you to drift off… and recharge for another healthy, happy tomorrow.
This is a guest post from MakeSpace, a full-service storage company that offers an alternative to storage units in Los Angeles, with additional operations in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.