Anybody struggle with LIFE? With days getting away from you? Never getting around to all of your things to do? Forgetting things, only to find that those things get you completely off-track for days? Oh! You are NOT alone!
The very best way to get organized is to find the loop holes where we usually end up in a mess and see whether we can get around them. We need to find the pitfalls that always get US.
The following are often pitfalls:
- Forgetting appointments
- Forgetting deadlines
- Being unable to meet deadlines
- Sitting down to work and having no idea what to do.
- Being late for meetings, lessons, and appointments
- Forgetting names
- Forgetting telephone numbers
- Forgetting to take important documents and things along
- Misplacing objects and so on
I have used the following tips in my life and they have proved to be quite effective. In fact, I believe that they are secrets to organizational success. Maybe you too could try them out and see whether they work for you.
Nine tips to organize yourself:
- Accept the fact that we cannot rely too much on our memories. Our minds are exposed to a hurricane of information every day. As a result the mind does a very nice filtering process and very little of what we see and hear is retained in our minds. So instead of depending on our very selective memory why not depend on a piece of paper. You will be less stressed. Plus, you will not find things slipping through the cracks as much. I use Post-It Notes. I have two different sizes in my purse and planner at all times. I love the little ones for small reminders. I also use the larger ones with lines for more details–lists of things to do for the week or detailed lists of things to do to complete a bigger task. I do not ever rely on my memory. My kids used to help me remember things. Now, they are grown and gone. I have to remember for myself. The only way is to realize that paper is MY FRIEND! 🙂
- Carry a tiny scribbling pad and a pen with you all the time. The moment you commit to an appointment, a commitment, or are asked to attend a meeting, jot it down in the scribbling pad (I use Post-It Notes). Do not bother about others laughing at you. You will have the last laugh in the end.
- It is a good idea to write down appointment details/orders/commitment details in your book. Each time you tell somebody to do something or when somebody asks you to do something write it down in your book along with the date and the time. Do not be afraid of being thought about as a person with a very poor memory. It won’t be long before people start thinking of you as a highly organized person.
- If you have an smart phone or electronic pocket organizer be sure to use it. Each time someone gives you his or her telephone number, immediately enter it into your pocket organizer, along with the person’s name of course. I also take their picture (My phone has a camera–I can take their picture and set it by their name!). I also use my phone to set reminders for tasks, appointments, and commitments. Talk about a brain-saver!
- Business cards can be your helper! Use the backside of business cards to help your memory. Usually we get a lot of business cards as we go about our daily business of life. The business card of course contains the name of the person, his or her telephone number and probably the name of the business for which the person works. But the problem is, the next time we meet the person, the face may seem familiar but we won’t have the foggiest idea as to where we met the person. One thing that helps me is to jot down a few points about the person, things they can offer you, and probably the reason for meeting him or her and the place as well. This will certainly lessen the load on your brain. Keep away the business cards properly. As soon as you get back home or to your office take care to keep away the business cards you collected properly. Don’t just stuff them into your card folder. Take care to read them properly and perhaps keep the cards of important clients separately. If you do not find much use for a person’s card, toss it.
- Prepare a to-do list everyday. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of to-do lists in getting yourself organized. It is probably the most sensible thing that a busy person should do. In fact, I thought of devoting an entire chapter for to-do lists and I think that is just what I will do. Actually, I plan my week ahead with a big list of things to do. It is usually very lofty in goals. Each day, I make a list the night before of my top-five things that NEED to be done the next day. I try to put them in order of priority. I look at my list throughout the day and mark off each task–that helps me to feel accomplishment throughout the day AND stay on task. As I mark of a thing to do, I look at the next most important thing to do. I get a mental deadline and work to complete that task in my deadline. At the end of the day, I look back over my list from the day. If I did not get something done, I add it to the next day’s list (or if it is better on another day of the week, I move it to that day’s to-do list. I keep my to-do list on Post-It Notes until I do them. I stick my Post-It Note in my planner to view throughout the day. Then, I transfer the task to my planner and mark it off as I complete it. Talk about a great way to not just MAKE A LIST, but USE IT! Takes tons of stress away and keeps me productive. A must!
- Plan what you have to do well in advance. It is a good idea to have daily, weekly and monthly plans. I set aside time usually twice a year to “get away” for the weekend and really plan. I spend time taking my plans before God, trying to hear His leadership on what I am to focus on. I dump my brain into my journal–all of the things that are floating around in my brain. I put everything from things needed to do around the house to business to-do’s to ideas for blessing my husband and children…on and on. Then, I take out my planner and plan out a monthly focus for my family, home, business, and myself. I brainstorm all along the way all of the things that need to be done for that monthly focus. For example, the other day I began work on my websites for my business. I had already brainstormed all that I wanted to do with them, even sections that I wanted to be sure to include and things I wanted to add. This helps with every task. When the month gets here, all I have to do is take all of the ideas and DO THEM. I add them to my daily calendar. Talk about saving my brain AND time all along the way. I don’t get down to the last minute and have no idea what needs to be done or what I want. I can always add extras, but I have a clear vision well in advance.
- Develop systems and WRITE THEM DOWN. I have taken my to-do lists through the years and tweak them into systems. Let me explain what I mean by this. I found that many times I was doing the same “task” over and over and over. I was also writing the to-do list for that task over and over and over. Sometimes it got better. Sometimes I forgot key points. Always it took extra time to write everything down fresh. I guess it was laziness, but I am going to call it a “quest for productivity,” but I found that the key to really getting even more done each and every day was re-using those to-do lists. If I see some things that need to be added, I add them. I have also tweaked them into the order that needs to be done to get the task done quickly, without missing anything. Over time, they have developed into a system for doing things–writing an article or book, setting up my Talk-a-Latte studies and Membership Sites, cleaning up the house, packing for a trip, preparing my Christmas dinner, on and on. I even have lists for smaller tasks that I have gotten mixed up over the years–like steps in sending out my ezines, cleaning out the office, etc. Can you see how helpful a permanent list for those things would be? It saves my brain. It saves time in doing the list brainstorm for tasks that are done over and over. It also helps me to delegate to others–they can use my list to get busy doing the things that I want done. One tip–type the list into the computer. Print it out. Laminate it. Then, you have it to use over and over. Develop that system.
- Set deadlines! It may seem kind of mechanical but it would be wonderful if you could have a fixed time for everything and try to stick religiously to the time table. Believe me it really helps because in that way you will have time for everything and everything can be done in the time for it.
Feel a bit of organization coming your way? Little things make a big, big difference. If you will implement even ONE thing from these ideas, you will be on your way to a more organized life!