Being organized is something that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. In some cases, what may look like a mess to someone, like the below picture, may be the organization system of the owner.
Being organized goes past how you have your desk organized, your papers filed away, and the cleanliness of your desk. What about the organization of that one valuable commodity that we can never get back and we never have enough of? Time!
During a recent luncheon, I was asked how I stayed organized with the different activities I am involved with. I will admit, I didn’t give an ‘organized’ answer because it is more than one thing.
Calendar: I block time off in my calendar to do certain tasks. The times and tasks are paired up so that my time is used up most efficiently. Items that require more creativity are done in the morning, for example. If you have taken or read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People course or book, you can equate this to scheduling my big rocks.
To Do List: I keep my to-do list by my side at all times. That is my North Star to what needs to be done today. For people that know me well, I am very goal driven. My goal each day is to complete everything on my to-do list.
The last thing I do during my work day is review my to-do list and make my to-do list for the next day. I don’t want to spend time reviewing my previous days’ work to figure out what I should be doing today.
Communicate: I freely communicate to my colleagues and customers about my time availability. Most commonly, I keep my Mondays and Fridays open for my clients. It seems to be the easiest for them to meet with me. I am either meeting with my clients or working on their projects, at the very least, on those days.
Emails: Many people forget that email can be a very big time waster. Some simple suggestions would involve paying attention to the emails that you read and don’t read. If you find yourself deleting emails from companies where you somehow got onto their mailing list but you are not interested in them, take your name off the distribution list.
I have noticed that I have received the vast majority of my emails by 2pm every day. I do a quick scan of my emails first thing in the morning to see if there is anything pressing. If there isn’t, I stay away from my emails until 2pm. Together with the first email tip, I can be done dealing with my emails within 15 minutes.
Distractions: It is very easy to get lost in Facebook and Twitter for hours. Working from home, it is also easy to get distracted with folding the laundry or just listening to music. Limit your own time on social media. Use it as a reward for breaks that you take.
Do Take Breaks: Make sure that you give yourself a break. A short 5 minute walk around the block can do wonders for waking yourself up and revitalizing your energy for the next hour or two.
What do you see as your biggest challenge for being organized with your time? Is it an external factor or is it yourself? It is very hard to come up with a solution if you haven’t identified the problem.
Have a great week!
Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.
Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.