How do we get more organized? How can we be more productive?
The amount that we get done depends largely on our mindset.
We can choose to get things done or watch back to back movies or binge watch our favourite TV show. Sometimes, we actually think of ourselves as being organized, but then find that we don’t actually get through that much.
Once you make up your mind that you are going to get things done, you’ve won half the battle.
But how do you keep that going?
In this blog, I am going to give you 5 tips to get you organized.
Start by making notes
This might sound really boring, but it works.
Whether you get a notepad app on your phone or do it the old fashioned way with pen and paper, either works.
Making notes helps you organize your thoughts and tasks, and from there you can prioritize what needs to be done.
Consider also using something called “mind mapping techniques”. A mind map is a diagram used to visualize information. This technique is particularly useful if you are a more visual person and the thought of making lists makes you cringe.
By writing down our tasks, we can empty our busy brain of the things that we need to do, and with that, get onto the process of doing it.
Get into the habit of having your ‘notepad’ with you. In that way when you are out and about, whenever you get an idea or brainstorm, you can record it.
Studies have shown that you become even more productive when you write down your tasks for the next day in advance, maybe even the evening before. In that way, when you start your day, you are able to hit the ground running.
The next stage in the process is to schedule and prioritize. Again you might choose to use an app, a scheduler, planner or just a pen and paper. Divide your day into segments of 1 hour.
Once you have made a list of all your projects, meetings, and tasks for the day ahead, start by organizing your phone calls and meetings by time.
From there, you can fill in any free time with the day’s jobs in order of priority.
Make sure also that you put in some time for breaks. When you work for yourself, you may tend to keep going. If you work for someone else, you would often have a morning tea break, a lunch break and an afternoon break.
Once you get into the habit of working in this way, you will start to see progress in how much you get done.
Know your rhythm
In relation to productivity, consider when the time is that you are most productive.
Are you a morning person or an evening person?
There are those of us (and that includes me), that are happy to jump out of bed in the morning and get on with their day.
There are those that dread morning. Don’t bother scheduling a morning meeting with them because they’re going to struggle to get there. But, on the other hand, they’re the ones that come alive in the afternoon. They’re the ones that love doing all-nighters while the morning people are fast asleep.
Recognize where it fits into your business.
When we are working for someone else, we have to fit into their schedule. But when you have your own business, those rules don’t apply.
If you know that you are an afternoon person, schedule important meetings for the afternoon.
Regardless of what category you fit into, use that to your best advantage so that you can be most productive.
We all still have to fit into the “normal”, and what I mean by that is, if you have to contact other people and businesses, you often cannot call them outside business hours. But the rest of your schedule can be more flexible.
If you’re finding that you need a little bit more time to complete certain tasks, can you start an hour earlier, or finish an hour later?
The point is, factor your knowledge of yourself into your planner or diary.
We each have a natural rhythm. What is yours?
Stay focused and disciplined. Once you have set your schedule for the day, stick to it.
If you work from home, you need to make sure that you are disciplined and don’t get distracted. It may be tempting to do the vacuuming or the dishes, but don’t.
The only way to get, and stay, organized is to stick to your plan.
If you want to do housework, then schedule that in separately, away from your work or tasks that you need to get done.
Also be sure to let others know what you are doing. If you’re living with others, tell them that you can’t be disturbed.
Too often when we work from home, other people don’t think that our work is as valuable. They might ask you to do something for them, or just pop in, because hey, you are at home and you are free, right?
Set boundaries and get people to respect your boundaries.
Are you making the best use of your time?
Sometimes it is not in our greatest interest to do everything. If you know that, for example, IT is not your strongest skill, then perhaps it is better to have someone do that for you.
When we are first starting out, we may not be able to afford to pay others, however, make it part of your business plan as early as you can, so that you can spend your time doing things that you are good at.
You may offer to trade or barter your skills with someone else.
In that way, it can reduce, or even eliminate the cost factor and you each get something beneficial out of the arrangement. For example, if you’re a music teacher and you need a plumber, but don’t have the money for the plumbing job, you might be able to coach their kids in music lessons.
Once we leverage our time, we become more productive and this, in turn, benefits us by enabling us to get more done in our lives.
When combined with the other tips in this blog, we are able to utilize our time and energy more efficiently, leading to greater success and accomplishment.