Organized Person: 21 Habits to Become More Efficient

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Highly organized people enjoy something many of us endlessly strive for: success.

How do they do it?

There is one major difference that is apparent. Organized people are extremely attuned to their thoughts. What you do and the habits you have are directly proportionate to whom you believe you are.

Highly organized people have the mental strength to create solid, motivating core beliefs. From that, comes identity-based habits. The major advantage to identity-based habits is that they're based upon who you believe you are.

When you believe you're successful, you make successful decisions.

It's something subtle, yet powerful where organized people can alter the focus of wanting to do something into actually taking steps to do it. It all begins and ends, with inner core beliefs that match their idea of who they are.

Stay Organized With These 21 Organizational Habits

1. Your ‘True Colors’

Identity-based habits are more successful in the long term because unlike goal-based habits, they originate from within. You begin to establish success habits from the inside out.

In other words, your core beliefs that play like tapes in your head, are all based upon the person you actually want to be. You then back those affirmations up with small daily actions (habits) that help you to become that person.

Below are 21 success habits of organized people. It’s not enough to tell yourself you’re an organized person. With each of these habits, form an individual core belief for every single one of them. Examples of a good core belief for each are given.

RELATED: Habits that Stick!

Want to build a new habit that will stick for the rest of your lifetime? In this video, you will discover a simple 9-step process about building habits that you can immediately implement.

2. Write everything down

There really is such a thing as ‘headspace.’

When you’re in the middle of something and an article idea, marketing ideas, ‘to do’ tasks, grocery list, etc. pops into your head, write it down.

The act of writing down tasks clears your mind so that you can remain creative. This is an extension of just simply maintaining a calendar. This is a ‘catch-all’ for all of the light bulbs that come on in a normal workday.

To help you get started on the right foot, learn how to create SMART goals for your organizational skills.

If you prefer a digital approach, here's a list of our favorite organization apps.

3. Financial Awareness

A key way to stay organized includes knowing exactly where money is spent. Develop a system for tracking profit and loss and returns on investment. If you don’t know where to start, simply start with a spreadsheet.

You can easily develop this success habit simultaneously with #1 because you should be writing everything down anyway. Knowing where all of your money goes not only shows your profit and loss quickly, but it enables you to identify where you can cut back in the case of an emergency or unexpected expense.

Want to do more to improve your finances? Check out some: better money habits. 

4. De-clutter Your Work & Living Space

The more your work and living space is de-cluttered, the clearer your mind is. For example, how many times have you been in the middle of writing an article, you see your empty coffee cup and all of a sudden it triggers you that you need to put the coffee on the grocery list? Then you start mentally making that list in your head when you’re supposed to be writing the first draft of that article or that chapter? A de-cluttered work/living space produces a de-cluttered mind.

Belief: A de-cluttered space equals a de-cluttered mind.

5. Everything Has Its Place

Looking for a misplaced item exudes time, stress and energy. Have a designated place for everything so that when you need it, you know exactly where it is.

6. The 15 Minute Pick-Up

This is the back-up plan for Habit #4. If the day has been chaotic and you didn’t put a few things away, establish a designated time for strictly picking things up and putting them in their designated places. This is an absolute must for children. You can even make it fun by seeing who can pick up and put away the most items in a given amount of time.

7. Multitask Mind

For times when you have to run errands or even just leave the room for something, double up and do several things in one trip. If you need to go pay a bill, go pay it and stop at the store on the way back to pick up the gallon of milk you need. When you get up to use the restroom, check the room. Is there anything that needs to be put away? Take it with you.

Multitasking is not generally efficient technique for time management. But when it comes to organizing tasks to accomplished sequentially in an efficient manner it can be a key to getting more done with less effort.

8. Pending Place

There are always things that come up but you don’t have the time or ability to deal with on the spot. Designate a specific place for these things. Use a file, a box, a shelf or whatever works but keep it in the same place so it doesn’t distract you from the task at hand or waste time looking for it when you’re ready to deal with it. This is something you need for both work and for home. This is a key to effective time management.

9. Two Things

To avoid out of control situations, pick two things every day to get rid of, or eliminate. If you have an empty box sitting in the corner, break it down and throw it in the recyclables. If you’re trying to cut down on soda, have half the amount you usually have. Regardless of what it is, cut out, eliminate, toss…2 things daily.

10. Plans of Actions

POAs (plans of action) systems, manuals, step by step directions for as many processes/duties as possible

You need a plan or a system for everything for staying organized. It goes back to success habit #1 (writing everything down).

By creating systems, manuals, plans of action and step by step processes for as many aspects of your work as possible, it enables you to easily repeat processes. This frees up your brain which in turn deters stress and promotes creativity.

quotes about organizing and planning - For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned. - Benjamin Franklin

11. Compartmentalization

Success is about doing things at the right time. Not dealing with things . as they come.

Prioritize tasks and box the rest. Know what can wait and what needs to be addressed right now. Take everything but what you’re working on and put it in a little box so your mind remains as focused and productive as possible.

The Eisenhower Matrix is one of the effective methods to prioritize tasks into what needs to be 1). done immediately 2). planned 3). delegated 4. eliminated

12. The Grass Is NOT Greener

Success is not about jumping on every fad and trend.

Stick to what works for you, not for everybody else and duplicate those processes.

13. Know When to Call the Cavalry

Pride is never an obstacle for organized people. They value productivity far more than personal ego and so should you. Know when to ask for, and utilize help.

14. Face Your Goliaths

If you want to succeed, you need to first acknowledge and then face your fears.

Don’t ever avoid an issue or a problem. Stay diligent so that you can catch, and face problems early on before they become out of control giants. Attacking your toughest tasks first is a habit of organized people that is quite effective for time management.

15. Know Who’s Who & What’s What

Everyone can benefit from sources, but they do absolutely no good if you cannot easily access them when needed. The best remedy for this is a spreadsheet. The ability to access documents from various electronic devices makes this all the more accessible.

Don’t allow stress or overwhelmed emotions make you believe it’s easier to just do it yourself. Know when to delegate and whom to delegate what to.

Successful people know when they need to do something themselves, but they also understand that success is not about doing everything on your own, but about empowering those who work for you to do more.

Belief: In order to be more productive, I delegate to the ones who can get it done.

16. Work Hard/Don’t Slack

So many accomplishments are abandoned at the cusp of greatness. Never give up and never give in. When you hit an obstacle work harder. Taking breaks to recharge is healthy. Giving up or procrastinating never breeds success.

Belief: When the going gets tough, I work harder.

quotes about organization - A good system shortens the road to the goal. - Orison Swett Marden

17. Incorporate Teams

Teams are one of the essential success habits. It is nearly impossible to achieve any great success all alone.

There is power in numbers. More brains, creativity, hands etc. Know how to create cohesive teams that catapult you toward success.

Belief: There’s no ‘I’ in team. I can form teams that make me stronger.

18. Organize Healthy Food Lists

Have a list of foods that are common to the restaurants you frequent so you’re familiar with the nutritional value of them. If you’re a frequent traveler, research the restaurants before visiting, or frequent places that have the nutritional values listed on the menu.

Belief: I’m the type of person who can still eat healthy even when I’m on the go.

19. Understand Psychological Triggers

Organized people use many types of psychological triggers. While their thoughts are their most powerful, there are also some external triggers that are lifesavers too. Examples include color-coding your schedule, listening to music to enhance creativity, setting alarms and timers, small rewards for accomplishments, power words and time chunking.

Belief: I always use triggers that increase my productivity and performance.

20. Diversify & Multiply

Diverse means “to make diverse, as in form or character.” In this context, the reference pertains to character.

Take all of your past regrets and failures and find the lessons you learned from them. (Learn about the Regret Minimization Framework here.) Organized, successful people automatically pull from their past experiences and FIND ways to make money and grow. They diversify and multiply.

Belief: So yeah, this happened, now what can I learn from this? How can I improve?

famous quotes about organization - Good order is the foundation of all things. - Edmund Burke

21. Avoid Negative Thoughts

At the beginning of this article, it was stated that for successful habits of highly organized people,

It all begins and ends, with inner core beliefs that match their idea of who they are.” It doesn’t matter what trials they face, no matter what they BELIEVE they’re successful…organized…can work through any problem. Their internal language is focused on positive and negative thoughts. This is how their habits are born.

Belief: I’m an amazing person. I can do anything I set my mind to.

You wouldn’t be reading this if you did not hold the desire to be organized…to be successful.

You have everything you need to become who you want to be. Say these beliefs in your head every single day. Believe it…and back your belief up with actions that support your belief. You can do it!

What do you think of these success habits?

It takes a lot of organization to achieve success. Hopefully, these success habits give you some great ideas on how to become a bit more organized and find ways to achieve greater success.

Finally, if you want to level up your productivity and time management skills, then watch this free video about the 9 productivity habits you can build at work.

Does being organized lead to success? Most productive, time-management masters have work-life balance. Here 21 success habits to be like them.

Organized Person: 21 Habits to Become More Efficient

16 thoughts on “Organized Person: 21 Habits to Become More Efficient”

  1. Theresa,

    I am really glad this list empowers you! 🙂

    I am sure lots of others feel the same. I know I do. I feel I am a very organized person, but every now and then I feel I miss the boat on one or two of these from time to time. We are all human and no one is perfect, all we can do is try to strive to improve. Do that and you are far better than 99% of everyone else, I feel.

    Keep up the good stuff you do and keep improving!

    Thanks for an awesome comment.


    • hmmm… how does this worrk in terms of their impact on interpersonal relationships ?The reason i ask is that many of these habits require cooperation and commitment from others in our lives -be they intimate partners or simply work colleagues . In my experience individual attempts at being organised can often infuriate others ‘have you been tidying up again?’ ‘stop being so anal’ ‘get a life’ etc ‘you are too rigid insisting on places and systems for everything…learn to live with uncertainty…life’s not black and white like that etc the comments are endless.
      Rather than being seen as efficient and organised , i feel that often others see people who strive for these habits as dysfunctional … i’ve evenheard people being described as ‘ on the autistic spectrum’ jus t because of their well developed habits!

      would be great to see a blog about how to incorporate these habits while at the same time maintaining good interpersonal , flexible relationships?

    • Liz,

      You are very correct. It is easy to say follow these steps, but it can be a lot harder while the people around you are undercutting you at every turn.

      The real world can certainly intrude on the “right” things to do.

      Somewhat, the solution to this is to surround yourself with people that are also organized. The whole being influenced by the 5 people you spend the most time with thing. But if it is a close loved one (husband, wife, child, close family). You cannot just “avoid” their negativity.

      I will try to think up a more detailed post on some of the ways I deal (and others) with the negativity of others. You are right, how to deal with this could make a great post all in itself.


  2. Do I see a tiny lurch into self-help mainstream on DGH? You know, mindset and all that stuff…

    I also used to approach my growth and habits in businesslike manner, but the more I’m in, the more I see that everything starts in my head.

    A really cool list SJ. It made me feel better about myself, I have at least 50% of those habits.
    Am I successful and organized then? 😛

  3. Hey, I am so bad at habit number 2 that it’s almost embarrassing. I spend money like it’s the apocalypse. I need to start writing down my expenditure, and this is another reminder, so thank you!

  4. This list is amazing, just shared it with some folks over social media! #11 and 16 are especially huge, I think.

    The only point I’d fight you on is #6 🙂 I personally find that multitasking as little as possible works best for me, and most of the studies I’ve read show that multitasking makes you less focused and productive. I do like your style of grouping tasks together that you talked about in the point though 🙂

    • Ya, multitasking will make us less focused but I think S.J. is urging us to do tasks group that can be done along the way rather than forming a task group for one particular time.

    • Chris,

      Great point on #6. I should have been a lot clearer. I agree absolutely with what you say about multi-tasking, there are two exceptions IMO. Ones like the example I used, where you are already someplace, and just try to make sure you do not duplicate effort. (perhaps not even “really” multi-tasking). And multitasking that includes things that are truly rote and take no concious thought at all, only motor skills. Like listening to podcasts while walking. You need concentration for the podcasts, but unless you are in danger of walking into traffic, your body can handle the work of walking.

  5. “I write every idea or thought that comes to mind so I can keep my mind clear.”

    Another reason this one is a great habit is it enable you to capture inspiration when it comes. Inspiration rarely comes at times we need it.

  6. Great list Scott! I tend to be OC (obsessive-compulsive) about being organized that I end up not being organized. Yes, you hear that right. I wrote in the past about how obsession can lead to procrastination- and this is because the more you want that spick and span organization the more you want to delay it because you are not ready to be organized. Crazy isn’t it? I learned that one solution is to simplify it (at least for OCs like me).

    One thing I make sure when I take down notes is- to write down the highlights rather than note obsessively every little detail.

    And oh, #16 sounds simple yet difficult to do! I work hard but doing a day job and building a business on the side- is tricky. I will not explain further but thanks for the reminder 😉

  7. Great one there steve. This is enlightening, I am prepared to cultivate these habits and organize myself to succeed.

  8. Thanks for these tips, Steve!

    I really love habit #19! I often pair tasks that I have to do but that I resent doing with something that I really look forward to. For instance, I have my morning coffee as I answer support tickets during the first part of my day (coffee = love, support tickets = anxiety) and my afternoon tea with answering support tickets in the later part of the day.

    Also, I made a BE Attitude card a few weeks ago that reminds me of habit #21. “I keep my mind centered upon only those things that I want to see manifest in my life”. Such a good mantra to make sure you don’t give too much stock to negativity or your own self doubt.

  9. Like always, I take to heart what you write on here. What really got me thinking was habit #1 because recently, a thought I’ve had was that too many ideas pop into my head. I tend to want to do one thing and then another, without really giving myself a reason to why I wanted it. I could have a dozen ideas of success in only a minute, but until I write it down and clarify my conscious on what I desire, I’ll continue playing, “pick a random number from a hat” type of ordeal.

    Habit #21 is another thing I’ve been trying to teach a few people who come across me. They find it easy to complain and accept that life is meant to be bitter. But that’s only because they allow their internal thoughts to cloud their minds. Whether it’s because they failed to reach an expectation in their mind or a social impact that affects them, they find it much easier to blame life than motivate themselves and thrive after their dreams.

    • Agreed.

      on #1: Until you write things down and begin to take action, the things you desire will always just be dreams.

      on #21: It is funny how people will let negativity drag them down. I am by no means a “law of attraction” guy. That is: if you want things badly enough, you will get them. You have to work for what you desire in life. But I totally think of something I call the “law of repulsion”. If you do anything with a negative attitude, and think you will not be successful -well, your wish will come true and you will fail.

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