The new year is a new month and number on the calendar. It can also be a marker in time to reset and revisit habits and spaces that aren’t serving our lives well.
Below are my top nine organizational tips for clarity and peace in 2022.
Minimize your to-do list. Lean on your calendar for the scheduled priorities (appointments, meetings, etc.). Keep your to-do list to 1 – 3 items. When you check off items on your to-do list, you get a spike in dopamine. Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that signals pleasure and helps us strive. Having a reward that marks progress is pleasurable and motivating.
Schedule breaks. If you have a tough time taking a break during your workday, schedule it on your calendar and make it a priority. Your brain needs breaks to reset, focus better, and reduce stress. They’re imperative to combat burnout.
Pick 3 – 5 priorities for the calendar year and revisit the list on a quarterly or half-yearly basis. The word “goals” can be intimidating. What do you really want to see happen in your life in 2022? Pick a few and put them on your priority list.
With so many of us working from home, your space is sacred. It has the power to bring you peace of mind and serenity when things are challenging. Take inventory of the space you work in. What are you looking at? Does it inspire you or is there an opportunity to add an image or an uplifting quote?
Your digital desktop matters too. If it has gotten out of hand and you’re not sure where to stick all of those random files, create a desktop file called “Desktop” to move them to. Another idea is to move them to a Google Drive or Dropbox folder so you can access them from anywhere.
Take back control of your personal email by using an app like Unroll.me. This app helps you monitor the emails you’re subscribed to. You control what you see and how often you see it. The more manual and slower way to approach this is to unsubscribe from email lists that you’re not interested in anymore.
Clear your desk of excess daily. Having a clean desk when you start your day can be rejuvenating and energizing. When you make a point to clear off the clutter at the end of the day, you set your future self up for a better morning experience.
If you want to exercise and are resistant to it, make a point to exercise in the first eight hours after waking up. This tip is based on information from the Huberman Lab podcast, hosted by Neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman. When you have the desire to create a new habit and have friction in your brain about doing the habit, meaning you have to talk yourself into it, your dopamine levels are at their highest in the first eight hours of your day. According to Dr. Huberman, scheduling a new habit for the same time every day will not work as well as aiming for this broader eight-hour window.
To help break the habits you don’t want to keep, write down what they are, how you feel when you do them, and what you want to replace them with or how you want to omit them. Having a visual and written process for seeing what these habits are and why they’re in place can give you a new perspective on why you’re doing them. The new habits will provide something to look forward to in their place. Creating new habits takes time so patience and grace are essential too.