7 Things Organized People Do That You (Probably) Don't Do

Sharing buttons:

- Hey, what is up, guys?

So I want to start off this week's video with

a little story about my formative years.

So back when my brother and I were kids,

we were the recipients of many pieces of advice

and lectures from our father and out of all those lectures,

out of all the advice he gave, there are two main pieces

of advice that stick out to me

and that I've remembered more than any others.

The first of them, which I am sharing here

simply because it is the most prominent one in my head is,

there are two ways to do something: right and again.

And we would often hear this after being told

that what we had just done was not good enough

and that we did have to go do it again.

So that's the one that sticks out the most to me.

But only slightly less prominent in my memory

was the common command to always put things back

exactly as you found them the moment you are done with them.

And it is possibly because I heard this so often

and found myself grounded or otherwise in trouble

because I ran afoul of it,

that ever since I have been basically obsessed

with being an organized person.

It's why I try my best to keep my room as organized

as possible despite having a lot of equipment in it.

And it's probably why I have color-coded calendars

and why I love to go on and on

about the beauty of elegantly-designed

tree-like folder structures on my computer.

But of course there is more to being an organized person

than just having color-coded calendars

and making sure to keep all of your folders

off of your computer's desktop

so in today's video I'm going to be going over

seven things that organized people do

that you probably don't do.

Now, I can already hear you getting defensive

and in your defense, yes, you probably do

at least one of these things and possibly some of them.

But do you do all seven of them?

Well, we're just gonna have to go through the list

to find out so let's get started.

Item number one, which is actually not written down

on this notebook paper because this is just random numbers

from an older video, organized people do not rely

too much on their brains to store information

because organized people understand that our memory

is fallible, things fade, especially when we don't use them.

So when they want to remember something,

organized people put it into a system that they trust.

Now what exactly separates a system that you can trust

from one that you can't,

from one that's probably going to fail you?

Well, I think there's a few different criteria

that we have to list out here.

First and foremost, a system that you can trust

is one that is not going to lose your data.

This immediately rules out your brain,

because our brains forget things all the time,

but it may also rule out a paper notebook

if you don't keep that notebook backed up some other way

such as digitizing it.

On the other hand, you've got systems that are designed

with data retention in mind, apps like Evernote

or OneNote or Google Drive or anything else

that has redundant servers across the world

that make sure your data is backed up and safe

even if the computer where you originally recorded that data

ends up breaking somehow or gets burned up in a fire

or is otherwise destroyed.

Secondly, that system needs to be easily accessible.

So if you do really want to use paper,

make sure it's a paper notebook

that you are keeping with you wherever you go.

Or if it's a note-taking system,

make sure it's a cloud-accessible note-taking system

so whatever device you're using at the time

you can easily search it to find what you're looking for.

Third, that system needs to be well organized itself

and easily searchable.

So whatever app or tool you decide to use,

make sure that it has a logical file or folder system,

make sure it has a usable search tool

and make sure your naming convention makes sense.

Secondly, organized people make sure to label things.

And they're especially diligent about doing this

with things they aren't going to use or interact with

for quite a long time.

To give you a very succinct example of this,

the desk right next to me has some hardware

that I almost never need to use

except for in instances where I'm moving.

So of course I've tossed that hardware in a plastic bag,

it's in one of my cube organizers, it's safe and sound

but if I didn't label that plastic bag

and I go maybe three years in between moves,

I'm probably not going to remember exactly

what that hardware is or what it goes to

when I pull it out of that cube organizer

and try to figure out what to do with it.

And, actually, this is a pretty timely example

because I've got plans to move out of this apartment

in just a few months.

But luckily my past self thought about this

and remembered to buy plastic bags with little label areas.

So last time I was moving and I put all that hardware

into that plastic bag, I remembered to write down

that this hardware goes to my desk.

So when I go to move in a few months,

it's going to be very easy to find it

and I'll know exactly what it's used for.

Now this is just one example

and there are probably other things in your life

that you should be labeling besides just plastic bags.

For example, if you have one of those physical hanging

folder organizers, you probably wanna use the labels

that it comes with to write down

what should be going in each one of those folders.

Item number three, organized people build

what I like to call a mindfulness loop

which constantly goes through the different dependencies

in their lives and basically checks up on them.

What exactly is a dependency?

Well, it's pretty much what it sounds like

and I'm gonna give you a really simple example here.

So every single organism in existence,

down to the most simple single-cell prokaryotic blob

has things that they depend on.

For example, our little blob creature needs a watery

environment to move around in and a food source.

It doesn't have a whole lot of dependencies in its life

but there are still dependencies

and without them it will die.

And what is true for our blob is true for you as well,

except for that you're a much more complicated organism

and you have a much more complicated life with many

different facets, you've got a lot more dependencies.

You have your food, your shelter,

your academic goals, your relationships,

there are so many things to keep track of.

And here is where one of the biggest differences between

organized people and disorganized people can be found

because disorganized people are constantly being

caught off guard by one of their dependencies

needing maintenance, needing action from them.

And on the other hand, organized people are constantly

looking ahead and figuring out what those dependencies

are going to need in the future.

They have this mindfulness loop constantly going on

in the back of their mind.

My absolute favorite example of a mindfulness loop in action

actually comes from my mom.

This was a story back from when I was probably 14

or 15 years old.

I think I was up in my room on the computer

just doing something that a 15 year old does on a computer

and I heard her shout up to me,

"Have you brushed your teeth today?"

And this was like at two P.M. in the afternoon,

she was doing something completely unrelated

to teeth brushing and yet she thought to ask me.


Well, the health and well being of her children

were one of her main dependencies.

And because my mom is an organized person,

she got this regular mental notification

to check up on that dependency.

Now, admittedly, this is one of those mental patterns

that does take a lot of time and effort to build,

you're not going to be able to flip it on like a switch.

But I think the first step to building this mental pattern

which is incredibly useful is to sit down

and consciously list out your dependencies.

Maybe even sit down and draw a mind map

of all of your life's different dependencies.

And with this application of conscious thought,

all the different aspects of your life,

over time it's going to sink into your unconscious

and you're gonna start building that loop.

Item number four, organized people live by the mantra,

two is one, one is none.

Essentially, this translates to have a backup

of anything that you use on a regular basis,

especially if running out of that thing

in the middle of your work would hamper

the rest of your day or screw it up.

For example, the camera that I'm filming this video on

right now relies on a battery to run

and if that battery were to die during filming,

well, luckily for me I have an extra battery

that's always on the charger on the wall,

always fully charged, ready to go

because two is one and one is none.

If the battery ran out and I didn't have the backup,

I wouldn't be able to film and I might not

even get a video out on time.

And the same goes for many other things in my life.

Memory cards, I've got many, many backups.

Smoothie ingredients, well, there are two jugs

of milk in my fridge instead of just one,

that way if I run out of one while making a smoothie,

I've still got milk to use and I don't have to abstain

from my smoothie that day.

So just remember, if running out of something

would cause an interruption in your life,

make sure you have a backup of it,

that way you can use the backup, go on with your day

and then replace it when it is convenient for you to do so.

Item number five, organized people set things up

in a way that is useful to them and that works

based on their own experience and experimentation

not simply based on dogma or how other people do things.

Now, my favorite example of this principle

comes from one of my favorite books which is

Anthony Bourdain's book, Kitchen Confidential.

In that book he talks about how many chefs inventory

all the stuff in their kitchen alphabetically because,

well, it just seems like the obvious way to create a list.

But he didn't, instead he organized his inventory sheets

so that the order of the items mirrored

the geographical location of everything in the kitchen.

And this actually makes a lot of sense

when you think about it but, of course,

not everything that people do is based on sense.

So ditch the dogma if it doesn't make sense,

question the established ways

and constantly experiment with your processes

and the way that you organize things

so you're doing things as effectively as you possibly can.

Item number six, and I have run out of stupid things

to do with this notebook prop.

Organized people respect the value of mise en place.

And this is a French term that roughly translates to

everything in its place.

To call back once again to Kitchen Confidential,

Bourdain describes mise en place as your setup,

your working environment,

and to some degree, your state of mind as well.

And within the culinary world,

this is one of those concepts that every single

competent chef and line cook swears by

because to not use it, to not respect mise en place,

would mean to work in chaos.

And you don't wanna have burners on the stove,

you don't wanna have greasy or meaty hands

when you're trying to find your chef's knife

or you're trying to find something else that's important,

you wanna make sure that everything is in its place

and you know where it's supposed to be

and it's organized before you start working.

And this is a concept that's not just useful

in the culinary world, it's useful for anybody.

Make sure that your work environment is set up properly

before you begin your work.

And once you're done, put things back exactly

as you found them, as my dad constantly yelled at me to do.

And, finally, the list has led us inexorably

to item number seven which is worthy

not of a notebook, but of a Captain America shield.

Organized people are very deliberate

about what they own, what they buy

and what they choose to keep.

And, of course, choosing to keep this shield

was a very worthwhile decision.

Now I am not going to say that I am a minimalist,

mainly because my best friend, Martin,

who is a minimalist and who runs my website

would probably hack my website and destroy it

if I used that term, just out of pure annoyance.

But I do take care to buy things that bring me value,

that bring me joy or utility.

I don't keep things around if they're not useful to me,

I don't let them clutter up my space.

And I think this is something that you should keep in mind

as well because remember, the more things that you own,

the more energy and time you have to spend maintaining them

and storing them and keeping them organized.

And it's a good thing to remember that organized people

don't spend more time and energy than they have to

on organization, it's a means to an end.

So be deliberate about the things that you buy,

ask yourself, am I buying this because it will

bring me joy or utility or am I buying it

for some frivolous, stupid reason?

Or, am I buying it just to impress somebody else?

And likewise with things you already own,

be asking yourself on a regular basis,

do I still need to keep this thing?

Could I donate it to somebody else?

Could somebody else get more use out of it than I could?

Or, can I just get rid of it because it's no longer

valuable to me or anyone?

Do that, along with the other six things I've mentioned

in this video and you will be well on your way

to becoming an organized person.

Now at an earlier point in this video I talked about

a concept that I like to call the mindfulness loop.

This is the process of constantly checking through

the different areas of your life

and making sure that their dependencies are taken care of.

But the mindfulness loop actually has different levels.

At its lowest level,

this tool is simply concerned with maintenance,

with maintaining the state of your life as it currently is.

But at a more advanced level, it's also looking forward,

constantly prompting you with questions about

what you could do to set yourself up

to take advantage of future opportunities.

And if you wanna put yourself in a place to take advantage

of a wide array of those opportunities,

then one of the cognitive skill you're probably

gonna want to work on is that of lateral thinking.

Lateral thinking is the process of solving problems

using indirect lines of reasoning.

It requires lots of creativity and it also requires a wide,

interconnected base of knowledge.

And fortunately, both of these things

can be acquired through practice.

And if you're looking for a resource

that can efficiently give you practice

in both these areas at once, check out Brilliant.

Brilliant is an excellent learning resource

for anyone who wants to boost their skills in math,

science and computer science.

And because they tackle all of their course design

using the principle of active learning,

you're gonna find yourself immediately thrown into

challenging problems that help you to build that skill

of lateral thinking while you're boosting your skills

in calculus, in gravitational physics,

in computer algorithms and many other topics.

And even though the problems are tough,

they're split into manageable chunks

that aren't going to frustrate you.

And when you do inevitably get stuck,

there's also an incredibly detailed wiki

with lots of example problems where you can go

boost your knowledge and bring it back to the problems

to make sure that you can actually solve it.

If you wanna start learning for free on Brilliant today,

you can go over to

and if you're one of the first 83 people

to use that link and sign up, you're also going to get

20% off your annual premium subscription.

Big thanks to Brilliant for sponsoring this video

and being a huge supporter of my channel.

And, as always guys, thank you so much for watching.

Hopefully you found this video helpful and if you did,

definitely give it a like to show your support.

You could also subscribe right there so you don't miss out

on new videos when they come out every single week.

Grab your free copy of my book on how to earn

better grades right over there.

Follow me on Instagram @TomFrankly and last but not least,

you can check out one more video on this channel

right over here.

Thanks again for watching and I will see you

in the next video.