But God shows how perfectly these concepts fit together in the first chapter of Genesis. First, He prepares and organises His world: he makes and separates areas of light, darkness, sky, land, sea.
And then the creativity and abundance comes in, as He fills the land with plants, the sky with sun and moon and stars, and the sea and land and sky with creatures.
It's a much grander version of my lettering routine: clean my desk, set up all my materials, and remove anything unnecessary. It's only from that organised environment that beautiful things happen.
The plants would have had no soil to grow in. The creatures would have been starving, and floating in space, with no air to breathe. Who knows if the atmosphere was even amenable to human life before God lovingly organised it to provide us with just the right levels of nitrogen, oxygen and other compounds.
So, to me, the aim of being organised is to allow for creativity to flourish. Here are some things which have made a big difference in my life, have given me more freedom in my mind and my life to work on things that inspire me!
Sleep is so important. I know it, you know it, but I for one am still not great at it! How does getting good sleep help with organisation, you ask? It may not seem directly related, but sleep is foundational to everything that happens during the day. I'm sure you know from experience that you don't function amazingly on inconsistent or little sleep. Your head is fuzzy, you want to nap and eat badly, and none of those factors are conducive to productivity or creativity!
Well, there are lots of high-tech apps now available which measure your sleep cycles etc., but... I'm a child at heart, so making sleep into a game seems to be the ticket!
Sleep Town is a very new app which does just that - it gamifies sleep. It's made by the same people behind Forest, so it's beautifully designed, which is always a great start in my books. You can set bedtime & wake-up goals, and a new building is constructed each night as you achieve those goals. Rarer and rarer buildings are built as you meet your sleep goals on consecutive days.
My favourite parts are the fairgrounds and treehouses! The destroyed buildings represent the nights I didn't achieve my sleep goals. I’ve never been more consistent with my bedtime as I have in the last few weeks that I've been using this app!
This is perhaps a more obvious organisation tactic. When you have a plan to follow, you feel more purposeful about your day, and it provides a framework for you to then be creative and flexible within.
I don't think there's a perfect one-size-fits-all approach to planning. My friend Jacqui likes having a wall calendar to write all over with markers; my husband Andy writes his to-do lists on graph paper. I’ve gone between several different approaches: I’ve used Google Calendar to an almost obsessive level, filled a Kikki.K journal with tiny neat handwriting, and currently have found a new favourite method: I use the ordinary, built-in Notes app on my iPhone & MacBook to plan my days.
This is what today looks like:
Ticking things off as I go helps me feel productive and like I’m accomplishing things, even if they’re small things (like waking up!).
However you choose to plan your day, I suggest doing it the night before. That way, you can wake up with a sense of purpose, perhaps having unconsciously prepared for your day while you were sleeping!
If your day feels overwhelming:
Trick your brain into feeling more relaxed, by the way you plan your day. Last year, for me, that meant switching from brightly coloured Google Calendar categories to all white blocks. It was so much more soothing to my eyes to see a sea of white busy-ness than a cacophony of screaming colours.
My husband and I don't own a car; we have a motorbike. This makes some things, like buying groceries and toilet paper, quite tricky. So instead of struggling through the trips to Coles with giant backpacks, multiple times a week, we have these things delivered. It saves us time, effort and discomfort (and surprisingly, money!). I wish I'd thought of ordering online last year, when I was skateboarding half an hour to and from the grocery store!
It may be something completely different than groceries for you, but whatever feels inefficient and annoying and disorganised can probably be made better. Think outside the box a little, Google solutions, talk with people who have similar frustrations. You don’t have to keep doing things the annoying way!
(And if the frustrating thing is groceries for you, we buy ours from Charlie's, and toilet paper from Who Gives a Crap. Both great!)
I hope these suggestions have been helpful for you, and maybe things that you haven’t thought about before. I really do believe that by putting these sorts of structures and disciplines in place, you can be more creative! If you haven’t read my article about just how to be more creative, I recommend you read it next: here it is.