Organizing Your Life So You Can Live It
Are you busy? Or are you productive? Do you have too much to do and not enough time? Do you feel stressed out because you have put in a long day. And still haven’t completed the important things? Are you running your business? Or is it running you?
The comment is heard frequently, “I don’t have time to organize.” We save paperwork because there are some great ideas we might need one of these days. But we never get to it, and the piles of paper continue to grow. We shuffle, search through and stress over it, yet we don’t take time to stop and establish a system that works. Getting organized is vital because it cuts through confusion, promotes productivity and enhances effectiveness.
The truth is, it takes a lot less time and effort to be organized than it does to be disorganized. Disorganization takes more time than you can imagine and places huge obstacles in the path of getting things done. By becoming more organized you can complete more work in less time and with less effort.
The only prerequisite to getting organized is the desire and willingness to change. Instead of saying, “I don’t have time to organize,” start thinking just the opposite: “I will organize to have time.” Changing your thinking is the first step to getting organized. In fact, if you organize your thinking, becoming organized will follow naturally.
How Do I Start to Get Organized?
More productive and effective time on the job sounds great, but is your real problem simple disorganization? Perhaps you’re not sure where to begin. Or maybe you are feeling overwhelmed. Here are a few guides to get you started:
- Visualize. In an environment plagued by chaos and haphazard schedules, you can feel to frazzled and unfocused to set and reach goals. If your head is filled with clutter, you can’t organize your thoughts. Imagine, for a moment, how wonderful life is going to be when your environment is clutter-free and organized. Focus on the desired outcome, not the effort.
- Get Started. What’s bothering you the most? This is usually the best place to begin. If you hate that pile of papers or mail in your inbox, start there. If you’re getting stressed that you can’t fit another item in your desk, then you’ve found the perfect starting point. The important thing is that you just start somewhere. Organize your environment by removing the small irritants that hinder your achievement. Rather than thinking about the huge project ahead, break that project down to little bite-sized, manageable pieces. Get it started. Take the first step, and you will likely continue it to completion.
- Write It Down. Now it’s time to go beyond wishing and dreaming. For a few days write down each thing you do and how much time you spend on it. Once you’ve identified your main time wasters, create an ideal schedule. Assign time slots to tasks you do every day. You’ll be less likely to let one job expand at the expense of others. Writing things down helps you to more easily remember all that you accomplish.
- Do Daily Planning. It is said that people do not plan to fail, but a lot of people fail to plan. Take the time each night to manage one of your most precious resources: the next twenty-four hours. Write out a To Do list for the following day. Without a plan for the day you can easily get distracted, spending your time serving the loudest voice rather than attending to the most important things that will enhance your productivity. A schedule doesn’t close you in a box. When you plan well it allows you to prioritize with balance, be ready for the unexpected and choose what is most important to produce the results you want.
- Avoid Distractions. Work on only one item at a time. Remove all other projects from your desk to avoid distractions. Time is lost sorting through other items while you‘re working on one.
- Clear the Clutter. We all need to cut back, cut out and cut down. The vast majority of us simply have too much stuff. When you bring something new into the office try to eliminate something else. Give away old computers, furniture and equipment to the young businesses in your area, your local schools or not-for-profit organization. Donating will discourage hoarding and provide you with the satisfaction of knowing you have helped others.
- Reward Yourself. Make something you want or love to do dependent on the completion of a certain task. If you promise yourself that you will not watch your favorite television show tonight unless you work for 15 minutes on organizing your products, you’re sure to get hat small task finished. No cheating allowed. A little extra motivation is often enormous help!
- Maintain Balance. Your life consists of Seven Vital Areas: Health, Family, Financial, Intellectual, Social, Professional and Spiritual. You spend different amounts of time in each area every day. But if you are spending a sufficient quantity and quality of time in each area, then your life will be more balanced. Ignore one or more of these areas, and you will get out of balance. Fail to spend time on your health, and you may develop an illness later on. Ignore your family, and it may cost you a lot of time to repair relationships in the future.
The Top Ten Time Wasters
- Shifting priorities.
- Telephone interruptions.
- Lack of direction/ objectives.
- Attempting too much.
- Drop-in visitors.
- Ineffective delegation.
- Cluttered desk/ losing things.
- Procrastination/ lack of self-discipline.
- Inability to say “no”.