The National Association of Professional Organizers has designated January as Get Organized (GO) Month. The event is dedicated to raising awareness of the benefits of getting organized by hiring a professional organizer who has the ability to enhance the lives of his/her clients by creating individualized systems and processes, which can help people get organized. Year after year, getting organized is one of the top five New Year’s resolutions; making January the ideal time to “Get Organized.”

Getting organized is not about setting impossible, hard-to-attain-and-even-harder-to-maintain resolutions, but rather about being realistic in our objectives; changing our existing habits and hopefully adopting new ones in order to reach our goals and simplify our lives.

It’s hard enough to get into the groove after the month-long holiday season, so why pressure yourself to achieve so much in such a short time? To make the transition a little easier, here are five “hints” to help you lead a more organized life:

  1. Find your mojo: In my world, the way I start my morning makes all the difference in how the rest of the day plays out. My morning routine is pretty simple; up at six (no snooze button in this house), make the bed, walk the dog, read the paper, savor my one and only cup of coffee; shower and dress and then answer any emails, which need to be taken care of before heading out the door. Since I love the silence of the morning, I try to make a habit of being electronic-free for the first 30 minutes of the day.
  1. Wake up an hour earlier every day: It’s been said that one of the top habits of highly successful people is to wake up an hour early every day. Think of it this way, if you were to wake up an hour early every day, you’d gain 365 hours per year, which comes out to 15 days.

What you do with this extra time – train for a marathon, learn a new language, write a book or simply set aside an hour to read– is up to you, but whatever you decide, this “found” time shouldn’t be wasted.

  1. Practice my 20-minute Solution everyday! It’s as easy as it sounds; get up 20 minutes before everyone else in the house to take care of the niggling things, which seem to never get done, such as balancing your checkbook, paying bills, writing thank you notes or planning what to pack for an upcoming vacation.

(Note: If you’re really ambitious and decide to combine getting up an hour early with the 20-minute Solution, you’ll be organized in no time.)

  1. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day: When facing the start of the New Year, it’s important to remember you can’t do it all and who really cares if you do or don’t? We’re only put on this earth for a short while, so why work yourself into a tizzy trying to do it all? Trust me, if you take time to breathe; put things into perspective and hire a professional to help you get started, everything else will fall into place.
  1. Pick one project and give yourself an entire year to do it: You’re probably thinking, what’s up with that? A professional organizer who says, you don’t have to do anything during “GO Month” except set one yearlong goal? Yep. That’s exactly what I’m telling you to do. Last year my goal was to hire an estate lawyer to re-do my Last Will & Testament, Trust and medical directives, which also entailed my getting all my papers in order, inventorying my home and deciding upon a healthcare surrogate, a power of attorney and an executor for my Will. I gave myself a full year to accomplish this task, which was mind boggling to say the least, but once it was done, the peace of mind I achieved was unmatched.

This year’s project is to cull and organize my all of the photos on my iPhone and computer and to create specific albums, which hopefully will make my life easier when searching for a particular photograph. As of today, I have 10,451 images on my computer; if I can narrow that number down to eight thousand, I’ll be happy. If not, I’ll still survive.

Last, but not least; there are three “non-negotiable” tasks, which must be done everyday, no matter what: make your bed, write a “to do” list and do something kind.