My life is more a mess than organized, I have no hesitation in admitting. Just because of SMB we do have a clean home and a clean car and I do get time to eat my meals. Unlike the ideal productivity and lifestyle bloggers I do not yet have control over my daily life. As a tentative new year resolution I vowed to get back in to organization and to remove clutter from home, work and mind.
This article is what I am telling myself to follow, I hope these can be useful and handy to you if you are in same situation as I am in. In March I wrote 20 tips to be happy at work and the article helped me immensely, I excelled at my work and I am sure to receive a better performance appraisal, which is due this month. I am going to sincerely follow these steps to bring back peace and harmony in my life.
1. Assess your Current Situation. This is the obvious thing to do for a start. Have a check of what’s going on lately with your life. If you’re having sleepless nights (see 10 cures for sleeplessness) and palpitations because of work undone, then that’s it. You need to start organizing your life. If the disturbance is due to emotional factor, address it with strong heart, organize your thoughts.
2. Determine the Reason for Being Disorganized. This will help you not to repeat same mistakes again. Know why and seek answers to address them. Is it a sudden change in your behavior (as with the case with me, or you are disorganized from the beginning?
3. Admit Mistakes and Learn from them. If the reasons for being disorganized are past mistakes, admit and learn. Aim not to commit same mistakes again.
4. Stop and Rest for a While. It’s not a sin to stop. Actually, the more tasks left undone, the valid reason for you to stop for a while. This is to free your mind with the clutter of unfinished tasks.
5. Have a Change of Perspective. The next thing to do is to believe that you are capable of organizing your day-to-day transactions. Whether it’s big or small thing, believe that you will get it done before the day ends.
6. Buy organizing essentials. Buy a calendar, a clock, a tickler, a pen, and sticky notes. Do not just buy anything that you see. Buy those that are pleasing to the eyes that will make you look at it from time to time.
7. Preparation is the Key. If you can, prepare the things that you will need before you start doing a task.
8. Follow a Schedule. Scheduling tasks are not only for offices. You can make a personal schedule of your personal tasks or household work. Schedule it even if it needs to be done after a month or two months. The most important things are that you have a schedule.
9. Be an “Old School” person. Take down Notes. Nothing beats this style of organizing tasks. It helps a lot if you get to see the long list of the things you need to accomplish day by day. Be creative in making your to-do list. Categorize your tasks according to importance. You can create different to do lists; for your home, work, family, and personal.
10. Take One Day at a Time. I am fond of slow and steady growth, that’s why I named the blog ‘One cent at a Time‘. In making your list though, remember that there are 7 days in a week, and 24 hours in a day. If you have a very long list of tasks, spread them throughout the week. You can start with the most urgent down to the least important.
11. Start your day early. Depending on the type of schedule you are following, starting an hour earlier than the schedule is a good habit to develop. For most, waking up earlier than 6 AM in the morning helps them finish their tasks with ease. There are those who start their day at night yet, time doesn’t matter. If you can, start an hour earlier before your scheduled time. This part is more difficult, all advisors and coaches have only one job to do, teaching the lessons. People like me, with a day job and an almost full-time blog, I really struggle to effectively use the morning wake up time when mind works at its best.
I generally read blog emails, reply to comments and proof read articles after waking up in the morning apart from reading other blogs and news headlines. I reach work at 9 AM and that’s when my work day starts. By the time I start working I already have replied to 10+ emails and have read around 5000 words. Hence, I can’t really start my day at work with a fresh mind. I may eventually change my working hours a bit to give my best at work. A schedule of 7 AM – 5 PM is better as opposed to current 9 AM – 7 PM schedule for that matter.
12. Delegate Tasks. Who said the only the bosses can delegate tasks? You need to accept the fact that we are created with limitations. Delegating tasks is but a practical thing to do. I already do it regularly, just need to strategize a little better.
13. Exchange Tasks. This is like delegating tasks but on a different perspective. Check the tasks that are common, take them out from the list, and agree with your partner who from you will do a particular task. This will not only result to accomplished tasks but will also enable you to save resources.
14. Seek Help. There is nothing wrong in seeking help. Just as delegating task is helpful, and so this one. Seeking help need not always be calling somebody to cover for you. You may also seek help from a tool, a gadget, from a project management tool, and anything that will make the load easier. A mentor can be of immense help who can guide you setting your priorities.
15. Check the Status of your List. At the end of each day, it’s rewarding to see you list with a check mark. If there are left without mark, don’t take it against you. It happens and its normal.
16. Place Things at the Proper Places and Keep them only till you need. Knowing where you will get the things you always use frees you from looking here and there. If you will have an easy access to those things, you can maximize your time and effort. Also discarding things that outlived their purpose is very essential for maintaining clutter free environment. I no longer need the floppy discs and the CDs. A tiny USB drive is enough for me to carry data. I recently got rid of all our CDs.
17. Grab a Partner. It pays if you have someone to share your milestones and failures. If you know people who are also on the process of organizing their lives, keep contact with them. I don’t have any, my wife SMB is already organized. I’ll look for a partner at work.
18. Make discipline a Habit. Getting organized is not a one-time event or as needed. It must be within your system day by day.
19. Never Give Up. Be ready for things that will hamper you from being organized and these must not pull you from your goal. Never give up and focus on your goal.
20. Reward Yourself. It’s been a long journey for you especially if you came from a much disorganized life. You owe yourself a reward. Buy something, go to a place, and celebrate with loved ones for this milestone you’ve been through.
Being organized does not only develop a good perspective in life. One of the important results of this habit is enabling you to save resources like time, effort, and finances. Make vow to organize your life and surrounding environment today. An organized life enables organized and creating thinking.