It’s that aggravating part of January, when our goals and resolutions start to fall off the rails. If we weren’t already struggling to keep everything together, we certainly are now! But the beauty of most goals, especially getting organized, is that you don’t need to wait for a new year, month, or week to get started. We always have the ability to make the next best choice. While it’s challenging, there are plentiful opportunities to start working toward our goals again.
Let’s talk about how we can achieve the goal of getting organized and how meal planning plays a fundamental role in making it happen.
Some benefits of getting organized.
It’s an awful feeling to be running around your house, searching for your sunglasses, your grocery list, or your keys, when you are trying to get out the door. All you can think about is how much time you’re wasting by turning your living room upside down, when you should already be in the car and on your way. When things are scattered and out of place, it’s easy to feel frantic and flustered. Getting organized helps relieve unnecessary stress in our lives because clutter inherently creates stress.
When our home is organized, we can feel more at ease with our surroundings, which translates to more calm in the rest of our lives. You can save so much time by not getting stuck in those endless goose chases, looking for what you need. A decluttered life saves you time since you don’t have to question where anything is!
Along with home organization, our minds need organizing too! We’ve all tried working on a project and been unable to focus because our mind is running 1000 miles a minute. We need to pick up our dry cleaning, get the kids to soccer practice, go to the grocery store, and somehow still make dinner! A busy schedule can make for a cluttered mind if it’s not handled in an organized way. Writing down your schedule, either in a paper planner or with a digital calendar, will allow you to focus on the task at hand because your mind isn’t wandering off to think about what you need to do afterward. When it’s already written down and taken off your mind, you can stop worrying about it and bring your attention to what you’re currently working on.
Why it’s hard to get started.
If you’ve fallen off track with organization, it can feel daunting to get started. You may not know where to start because there are about fifteen different places that need your attention. It’s easy to focus on the single accomplishment of getting organized, as if it’s just another deadline, rather than looking at it as a continual work in progress. Getting your home and life organized doesn’t need to happen in one day, it can be a progression from chaos toward order.
Inertia is a law of physics that states, ‘an object in motion, stays in motion’, but the same is true for an object at rest. An object at rest has a tendency to stay at rest because the amount of effort to get moving is far greater than the effort required to stay in motion. We are all fighting against inertia. As humans, we seek the path of least resistance and the route of most convenience, which means changing our habits can be very hard. Our tendency is to continue doing what we’ve always done because it’s easy and the effort required to do something new is much greater than the effort needed to keep going on our current path.
How do we make it easier?
I am a big fan of the book Atomic Habits, by James Clear. If you’ve read his book or his blog, you will find all of this information is directly taken from his ideas.
A good way to make a new habit easier is to reduce the friction that creates our inertia. While we do look for convenience, we can make getting organized simpler. One way to do this is to find an app, program, or planner that you trust, where you can organize your schedule and thoughts. Even if your home feels like a cluttered wreck, if your mind is decluttered you will be able to function at a higher level.
James Clear frequently uses the phrase, ‘work to get 1% better’. A 1% improvement doesn’t seem like a lot, but when it’s compounded over time it creates a giant shift in behavior. Starting small when getting organized makes the task less daunting. You can do things like set a time limit and see how much you can get done in a short amount of time, or commit to finishing one small project each day. These efforts will build up over time until your life and home reflect the organization you’d like to see. Your house, mind, and schedule may feel cluttered, but taking small steps, 1% increments, to organization will make a big impact over time.
Finally, it’s important to identify as an organized person. When it comes to self-improvement, you will be more successful when you work on becoming a person who is organized, rather than a person who organizes their things. The overall goal isn’t to get organized, it’s to be an organized person. An organized person doesn’t feel overwhelmed by taking fifteen minutes to make a plan and organize their schedule. An organized person feels calm when faced with a busy day because they’ve already taken the time to plan ahead and be prepared. Your habits and goals shape the person you want to be.
Strive to become someone, not just do something.
Meal planning is essential to living an organized life.
How many evenings leave you frustrated when you’re only now figuring out what’s for dinner at 5pm? You may not think meal planning will make a difference in how organized you are, but in fact, it’s the ultimate solution to living an organized life. Meal planning helps you keep track of your schedule, reduces your anxiety around food, and saves you from wasting time and mental energy on dinner. We all have to eat and getting a plan in place for how and what we will be eating takes a lot off our plate.
Meal planning organizes our thoughts around food. It only takes a few minutes to look at your weekly schedule and decide which nights you have time to cook. Some nights, there’s hardly enough time to get everything we need done and those are great nights to have leftovers. And with just two sentences, I’ve created your meal plan! Almost. You still get to choose what recipes are best for you and your family, but it is as simple as basing your dinner plans on what you already have going on each week. Organizing your schedule and food choices means you don’t have to think about what you’ll have for dinner each night because you already planned it.
A meal planning app, like Plan to Eat, helps you keep track of your recipes, meal plan, and grocery list. When your life is in need of organization, the last thing you want is a stack of cookbooks on the kitchen table or a hurried shopping list that doesn’t include all the things you need. A digital meal planning app can keep all your recipes in one place and allow you to organize them how you want. You don’t need to flip through a dozen cookbooks or the 200 recipes you have randomly saved in Pinterest because all your recipes live in one place.
You also don’t ever have to worry about leaving your shopping list at home because it’s now on your phone whenever you have time to go shopping! The biggest problem with grocery shopping is forgetting all the little things you need, so having your list always accessible is a life saver.
When you start meal planning, you’ll notice how much time it saves right away. If you don’t think you have time to create a meal plan, think about all the wasted time of searching through the cupboards looking for something to eat. Or the time you spend wandering around the grocery store trying to think of something that sounds good for dinner. Taking a few minutes to plan your meals and assemble a shopping list saves you time in the long run. With a meal plan in place, you can stop worrying about what to make for dinner and get other things done!
Striving to be an organized person is not always easy and it often feels like a monumental task, but when you break it down, it’s the small steps that lead you toward the person you want to become. Whether your house, schedule, or mind is cluttered, meal planning will enable you to get organized and stress less about what needs to be done. You can take pride in knowing what you’re feeding your family and lower your stress by having it organized in one place.
It doesn’t need to be the New Year or a new month, you can look at your schedule today and plan a few recipes to get started. I know once you feel the stress relief of always knowing what’s for dinner, you’ll never go back to your unorganized ways!
Roni Vayre is a freelance writer and the Digital Content Marketing Manager for Plan to Eat. When she’s not writing, recording videos, or making episodes of The Plan to Eat Podcast, you can find her in the mountains with her husband and their English Mastiff, Animas.