It’s ironic that in these days of time saving devices and round-the-clock accessibility, many of us feel more disorganised than ever. Modern life zips by at such a pace that it’s easy to feel as though you’ll never catch up, never mind manage to plan ahead. But just a few little “life hacks” can make a very big difference.

1. Meditate

This one might seem counter-productive. When you’ve got a to-do list a mile long, surely the last thing you should be doing is nothing. But often the problem is that a million thoughts are flying around our heads, leaving us struggling to focus on any one thing. Just a few minutes of sitting quietly can calm our thoughts, which will let priorities float naturally to the surface.

It’s great to get into the habit of meditating for a few moments first thing in the morning. There are a few apps that could help you get started, but simply sitting comfortably with your eyes closed will feel more natural than you might expect. Then you can start your day with a calm and clear mind!

2. Lists

There are two great reasons to adopt the habit of list-making. One is that when we get overwhelmed, it’s so easy to forget one little step or detail that might result in all our hard work falling apart. But the other one may be even more important: when we see all our tasks written down, the workload feels more manageable.

Simply get a nice big piece of paper and start by listing the major to-do items that are on your mind. These might be big projects like organising a child’s birthday party or booking a holiday. In the next column, break the job down into steps. So we might break down ‘organise child’s birthday party,’ into invite guests, make cake, buy party favours, then ‘invite guests’ might be drilled further down to print out class list, make invitations… and so on.

Once every item on the list is broken down into its simplest tasks, it’s much easier to make a start on “print out class list” than “organise child’s birthday party.”

3. Create a schedule

After figuring out everything you need to do, it’s time to figure out when you’re going to do it.  Whether you have a digital calendar on your phone, an old fashioned diary or a big piece of paper stuck on the wall, the more detailed you can make your schedule, the better.

Start by inputting any appointments, daily reminders or deadlines. Then see which tasks you can slot in where. Even just 15 minutes between appointments could be a chance to send a couple of emails on your to-do list. Don’t forget to include free time and leisure activities, and see where it’s possible to double up: if there’s a podcast you’ve been meaning to get caught up on, maybe you could listen to it while walking the dog or perhaps packing for a holiday could be combined with a ‘charity shop cull’ of old clothes.