“Organising is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up”

There is no doubt in my mind that Winnie the Pooh is one of the wisest silly, old bears of all time. So it makes sense that these words come from his creator, A.A. Milne. Unfortunately, although I was (and continue to be) a devoted fan of Pooh Bear, this handy piece of advice passed me by through all of my childhood and most of my teenage years.

But, since going to uni (and realising that I probably needed to get my shit together if I was going to do well), I’ve become pretty damn good at organising myself.  Some might say to an almost neurotic degree… I realise that writing this post in bed at 10pm on a Friday night probably doesn’t make me seem all that organised, but bear with me.

As a, now, super organised adult I have some advice for my slightly chaotic teenage self, and anyone else who needs some tips.

Being organised = being calm

As someone who suffers from anxiety, stress can have a negative impact in more ways than one, and can leave me floundering and pretty much totally useless. Stress seems to have this effect on most people, anxiety or not, and when we’re stressed we tend to become even more disorganised, and so the cycle continues. For the most part, being organised means you get more done and you do it well. You also avoid angry teachers who want your homework and the dreaded prospect of having to do all of it at lunch…

Get yourself a diary. Carry it everywhere. Write things down immediately. 

I have a diary, and I had one back at school. My problem is, and always has been, remembering to look at it. Over the years, I’ve learnt that having a diary, that you actually use is key to staying sane. Trying to keep everything you need to do in your head means you forget things, double book yourself or do stuff wrong.

Always be prepared

Yes, I know that this is the Scout’s motto, but I think they’re onto something. I hate mornings, and so organising myself to go to work, school, or wherever is always a hassle. I always make sure I’ve got everything in my bag, put my keys in a logical, easy-to-find-in-the-AM place and, if I’m feeling super on it, I might even pick an outfit and pack a lunch.

To-do lists and phone reminders are your best friends

I LOVE a to-do list and I don’t care who knows it. Ticking things off is the most satisfying feeling in the world, and I’ll even add stuff I’ve already done just for the sense of accomplishment. Phone reminders are an even handier to-do list type thing that I’ve only just discovered and cannot live without; it’s a to-do list that tells you when you’ve got things to do and won’t go away until you’ve done them, what’s not to love?

Priorities and deadlines are pretty handy too

Even if a job’s not that important, setting myself a deadline is sometimes the only way I can get stuff done; the new me is a stickler for deadlines, the old me, not so much (see homework example above). If I’ve got loads to do, I’ll make sure I take the time to prioritise each job and give it it’s own deadline. That way I have less things to concentrate on. This is something I’ve only recently picked up at work, but it’s definitely helped me get a grip on what I do.

Getting organised is one of the best things I’ve learnt over the past few years, and I think meeting my younger self now would stress me out more than words can say. Here’s to staying organised and keeping the stress monster at bay.