When people suggest to get organized I always picture this raging battle between the organized extremists and their polar opposites: the hipsters. As they debate which methodology reigns supreme, bow ties and flannels become the weapons of choice.
In case you’re wondering I fell into that second category, thinking organization was for uptight folks who wear too much spandex and marry robots later in life, or at least plan to once the technology is available.
However, one day I noticed I couldn’t keep all of my business ideas in order and I had tasks floating around in my head, causing a hazy feeling on the daily. And that’s when I thought “hey, maybe these spandex robots are on to something”.
Getting organized is a real game changer and believe it or not the process can actually be fun.
Some of the benefits include:
- Clear your mind/ unclutter your thoughts
- Achieve greater focus
- More efficiently manage tasks
- Accomplish more
- Get more done in less time
- And it’s fun! (yes, I’m being serious)
After getting organized I was no longer bothered by all these dreams, bills, tasks, and to dos floating around taking up my cranial capacity.
I could finally focus with 100% of my being on one task. And that my friends, is HUGE.
So what’s this magical process of organization I speak of?
Here’s the basics:
- Get everything out of your mind and onto lists.
You want to write down everything you need to do this week, this month, this year, and in the future. This includes any ideas you have and any “maybes” that you’ll want to reconsider at a later date.
Be sure to include things like bills, taxes, work related, school related, your goals, your dreams, personal life, and anything else you can think of.
Just write it all down. And please do it now, procrastination not welcome.
- Categorize your lists to better prioritize these tasks.
You want to organize your tasks into categories such as things to do this week, to do this month, this year, future list, and thoughts for later consideration (maybes).
You’ll be referencing the weekly and monthly lists regularly and only reviewing the future and maybe lists routinely. Maybes will get deleted or converted to one of your more immediate lists at a later date.
After you’re done, be sure to set a date and time to review your lists weekly. This will allow you to add and delete items, keeping the lists current and relevant.
Remember, this doesn’t do any good unless you stick with it.
- Have a single system for organization.
You can use software (like Evernote), Journals, sheets of paper, or any method you prefer. The key here is to make sure everything is “synced” and in one place.
I would highly recommend using just one system or as few as possible to keep your life simpler.
As an example one person might keep everything in Evernote, neatly categorized and manage their alerts in there as well.
Another person might keep their lists in journals but use Google calendar for reminders. There are many choices, do what is best for you.
- Do this without distraction.
It’s important to engage in this process of getting organized with several hours of uninterrupted time. Otherwise it won’t get done or it will get done poorly.
It’s not valuable to you unless you get all of your ideas and to dos out of your head and into your system of organization.
Once you’re done you can get to work so don’t worry about doing any work right now. The work can wait; this cannot (or should not).
Focus on the process and know that this will allow you to be so much more efficient and less stressed once you are done.
That’s all there is to it. Simple, right?
“But wait, where’s the fun? You promised us FUN?!”
The fun comes from getting your shit together and prioritizing your dreams and what really matters to you.
Also from kicking all the things that don’t matter to the curb: “take that detritus!”
If I’ve tickled your appetite and you want more information on getting organized I highly recommend Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity — it’s a great book with a very practical hands on approach to getting organized.
Did you find this process helpful? Or alternatively do you have a different system that worked for you? Drop me a comment, I read each one.