It’s January and everyone is scrambling to get the year off to a good start. If you’re looking for ways to improve your chances of reaching your goals, the first thing you need to do is get organized.

This extends to all areas of your life. When things are in disarray, they can distract you and drain your energy. Here are some suggestions for getting things in order so you can focus on your goals, values, and vision!

Use a Calendar

If you can keep track of your life with an electronic planner, more power to you, but there’s something about glancing over at a calendar on the wall that provides an instant sense of direction.

Use a calendar that makes sense for your life and allows you to keep track of all of your obligations. Consider grabbing a magnetic, dry-erase calendar that you can attach to your fridge to write down meal plans, appointments, and other reminders. You may even want to give each member of the family a different colored pen so you’ll have everyone’s schedule in one place. 

Make it Noteworthy

Get a notebook and keep it on your desk at all times to keep a running record of practical details.If you call to inquire about a bill or an order, for example, jot down the time and date of the call, the name of the person to whom you spoke, and any details or outcomes of the call. Jot down social plans, travel arrangements, and anything else that comes up during your day. 

It’s amazing how beneficial having a dedicated notebook can be. It doesn’t have to be pristine or perfectly organized, either—it just needs to make sense to you.

Daily Night

Keeping tabs on your day-to-day experiences, feelings, and insights by writing in a journal at the end of the day can be incredibly valuable. It provides an opportunity to purge everything from your mind so you can let it rest for the night.

Whether you type on your laptop or write in a journal, find a system that you’re comfortable with and keep your journal in a secure place ton ensure privacy. 

There’s an App for That

While your smart device can definitely be a distraction, there are many ways to make technology your friend. Counting calories? Monitoring daily exercise? Tracking fertility? Keeping an eye on your credit score? There’s an app for that!

Be sure to set up notifications in a way that is helpful but not intrusive. If your attention keeps being hijacked by your phone, it will undermine your productivity.

Clean Up Emails

For so many reasons, it’s important to do a regular clean up of your email inbox. Too often, we keep messages as reminders—then promptly forget about them. 

You might also find crucial messages lurking in your spam filter. Changes to your billing cycle, reminders about a doctor’s appointment, or other important information could be sitting there waiting to be discovered. Every two to four weeks, commit to doing a clean sweep.

Getting organized for the new year is the gift that will keep on giving—all year long.