How to stay organized when the going gets tough

By JOHNNY CARCIOPPOLO / Community Columnist

You’re normally an organized person with plans and schedules, but sometimes life happens. Things occur that weren’t expected and suddenly your well-planned life seems to crumble around you into chaos. There are things you can do to prevent that from happening. Ironically, it does mean that you need to have been organized enough to plan ahead for these eventualities.

Be prepared. This really is the key to everything. By planning ahead you will know what to do when you’re snowed under with work and the kids have after-school activities every day. Plan for the week ahead on a Sunday so that you know what the schedule is and have a meal plan in place.

Plan your meals. Meal planning may sound boring, but it will save you time, stress and money. By planning meals ahead and doing as much prep work as possible in advance you’ll be less likely to head for the takeout menu.

Turn off technology. If you’ve got an insurmountable list of things to do, then don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the television, internet, Facebook, email or any other messaging service. Once you’ve completed everything that needs to be done, you can go back to chatting with friends via Skype or watching your favorite TV show.

Prioritize. Don’t run yourself ragged trying to be a superhero and getting it all done. Instead take a look at your to-do list and prioritize each item. Cross off or move to another day anything that isn’t essential. Check off anything that you’ve already completed. Delegate whatever tasks you can. Only do the things that need to be done and you’ll find you’ll feel more in control.

De-clutter. Clutter is easy to create. Don’t let it become a problem. Instead take a few minutes each day to put things away and throw away junk. Put the dishes into the dishwasher immediately instead of leaving them on the counter. Deal with the mail immediately instead of leaving it piling up on the side.

Take care of you. Providing that you take care of your mental, physical and emotional health by exercising regularly, eating healthily and practising meditation or mindfulness you will feel more able to cope when things don’t go to plan or life spirals out of control. Don’t forget to get enough sleep.

No matter how organized and well-planned you are, there will be times when life gets busy and you start to worry that you won’t get everything done. Following these tips will help you to stay organized and in control.