No one likes the feeling that their life is out of control, or that they aren’t able to properly pursue their dreams, or to structure things in the way they would like.

Unfortunately, when your life seems to be out of your control, there’s often a downward spiral effect that seems to occur, where things go from disorganised to more disorganised, and where mishaps accumulate and compound.

Developing good organisation skills is one of the most essential and effective ways of addressing this problem, removing yourself from such a scenario, and preventing such a scenario from occurring in the first place.

Without further ado, here are a few ways to become more organised, so that you can take greater control of your life.

Use a system for tracking your tasks and projects, that you actually enjoy using

There are a huge number of different task and project management systems out there, including dozens if not hundreds of web-based applications, and at least an equal amount of paper-based methodologies.

Of course, you could get yourself bogged down in trying to figure out just what the “best” of these systems is, when every single variable is taken into consideration.

Realistically, though, those sorts of debates are essentially meaningless. The best task and project management system is the one that you actually enjoy using, and that you are therefore most likely to use on a regular basis and to get some benefit from.

One thing is clear, though: you absolutely need some kind of system for tracking and organising your tasks, if you want to live an organised life.

Two of the most popular systems for managing and tracking tasks include David Allen’s primarily business-focused “Getting Things Done” method, and Ryder Carroll’s paper-based “Bullet Journal Method.”

Perhaps you would feel most engaged with the process of tracking your tasks if you were using a visually appealing paper notebook. Or, maybe you’re a tech guy, and you want to use whichever system it is that has the best and most flashy app for your phone.

In any case, try a few things out. You’ll be amazed by how much more structured and productive your life is, when you aren’t trying to remember what you should be doing off the top of your head.

Tidy up your home and office space and keep your desk clutter-free

When it comes to getting organised, it’s a really good idea to start small, and to focus first and foremost on elements of your home and work environment.

It’s just very difficult, if not impossible, to feel in control of things, and to remain generally organised, if your home is a completely cluttered mess and if your desk at work is dominated by scraps of paper that you haven’t been addressing.

Begin by getting rid of everything that is obviously just “junk.” Empty milk bottles, old newspapers, and anything else that you don’t have any particular attachment to, and that obviously isn’t going to be directly useful to you in any clear way.

From there, collect all your out of place items and find out where they belong. It might be that, at this point, you want to go through a Marie Kondo-style process of getting rid of stuff that doesn’t cause you to feel a “spark of joy.”

Then, begin systematically working through everything that needs to be worked through. This is where all those stray papers get handled.

At the end of the process, things should be tidy and organised, and you should be feeling a lot more in control of your circumstances.

Establish regular times for going to bed and waking up in the morning

If you don’t go to bed at roughly the same time most nights, and wake up at roughly the same time most mornings, it becomes exponentially more difficult to live an organised life, for a variety of reasons.

For one thing, it becomes very tricky to schedule out your days in advance in any reliable way. For another thing, you’ll often be playing catch up, and will feel fundamentally out of sync, because of your constantly fluctuating circadian rhythm.

Try to establish regular times for going to bed and waking up in the morning and, where possible, don’t deviate or vary from that pattern too much on the weekends.

This may feel tricky at first, but it can do you a world of good.