How can I get more organized?

Staying organized can be a challenging task. It seems like everything works against us to make things more complicated and harder to keep up with. But it’s worth it, just listen to Benjamin Franklin.

For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.

Benjamin Franklin

This is true both generally and specifically for your finances. By spending a few minutes setting up auto draft for bills, creating a bill calendar, reviewing your spending, checking your budget, etc, you save time and money in the long run. For example, if you forget to pay a bill, you may get hit with a late fee (a possibly a ding to your credit score) costing you money. If you procrastinate putting money in your savings, you lose any compound interest and you may also be more tempted to spend it on things you don’t need. 

Not sure where to start to get your daily life organized? Here are five suggestions.

  • Make Lists
  • Reduce Clutter
  • Plan in Advance
  • Create a Calendar
  • Reduce Paper

Make lists for yourself.

Spending a few minutes to make lists (to do, grocery, etc) saves a lot of time later. Review your list daily and check off things you accomplish. 

Reducing clutter clears more than just your mind.

The less you have, the less you have to keep organized! Sell or donate things (clothes, kitchen items, etc) you don’t use anymore. And don’t buy more stuff you don’t need – the easiest way to reduce clutter is to avoid it in the first place.

Planning ahead saves time and money.

Making plans ahead of time (vacations, meals, shopping) saves money. You can compare prices, look for coupons and deals, and eat healthier. Waiting until the last minute means you have to buy what’s available at the time, which is almost always more expensive.

Create a calendar.

It’s hard to remember everything so takes some pressure off and use a calendar. Add all upcoming and recurring events (kids activities, due dates, weddings, birthdays, bills, etc) and review it daily.

Reduce the amount of paper you have to deal with.

Go paperless by changing your bills and other statements to digital options. Keep your email inbox uncluttered too, save only the messages you need and get rid of the rest. Make files (electronic or paper) for important documents (like tax documents) and throw out or shred junk mail and old statements. 

At the end of the day, the advantages of being organized are about spending a small amount of time now, to have much more time to spend however you want later. It’s about clearing space for what matters most. You’ll feel less stressed, more in control, and more productive. And you’ll save money along the way. Trading a minute for an hour is a good investment. 

To learn more about organizing your finances specifically, read an article from our “Organize Your Financial Life” Series.

1. Safe Keeping for Important Documents
2. Keeping Track of Financial Accounts
3. Planning and Automating Your Finances