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How to Cut Through the Chaos and Stay Organized in the New Year

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(StatePoint) Want to be better organized this year? From making and keeping appointments, to completing your to-do list, there’s no reason to get overwhelmed. Try these tips and tools for a more organized 2018, no matter how much chaos is thrown at you.

• Personalize it. The easiest way to stay organized is by having a planning system that reflects your personality. Watch yourself surpass your goals by using tools that fit your style, like color-coding, symbols or stickers. Remember that not all personalization has to be for efficiency purposes. Patterned tape, fun designs and motivating quotes can be a great way to keep you committed and make your planner a reflection of yourself.

• Double up. The best way to stay on top of important items is to double up -- use digital technology in tandem with traditional paper to capture important notes, dates and more. Keep each book club meeting in your phone, but write down the actual books, the members’ names and your thoughts in your planner.

Paper-based planning can help keep you on track and allows you to easily reflect on your successes throughout the year. Check out the planners and calendars from AT-A-GLANCE. Their options make it easy to organize your life by day, week or month.

Be sure to mark each appointment and every coffee date in the daily section of your planner, while designating bigger events in your life, like weddings, travel or home renovation projects, in the monthly section as well.

• Celebrate successes. Take time to review your progress and see what you have accomplished. It will give you a sense of control and completion and can motivate you to keep going. Celebrate successes as they occur, but don’t get disheartened if something on your to-do list carries over to the next day, week or month. Staying motivated will help you be more productive and be a great reminder of how well your system is working!

• Check it off. There is nothing more satisfying than getting important things done -- except when you physically cross it off your list. Be sure to give yourself some sort of visual satisfaction for completed tasks. This should be done on both your digitized and paper-based to-do lists.

• Categorize. Everyone has things that must get done to keep life running smoothly, as well as a list of what they would like to get done in their spare time. Categorize your lists so you can prioritize the must-do’s first, and then, when you’ve crossed out your urgent tasks, tackle those other to-dos. Categorizing will help you identify your busy times -- as well as some extra space in your schedule -- so you can plan accordingly.

More organization inspiration and planning item ideas can be found at life.ataglance.com.

With some new habits, you can stay organized throughout 2018 and watch it do wonders for your personal and professional life.

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