Thank goodness I married my organized husband. Our bills are paid before they’re due, every bin has a label on it (the label maker is his most prized possession), our boys always have packed lunches and matching clothes to wear, and my keys, chargers and shoes are lovingly placed back into their labeled places after tornado Liz whirrs through the house.
I strive to be more organized because, quite frankly, it’s hard being me sometimes (I’m sure it’s even harder being married to me).
I’ve led workshops on personality profiles, and I continue to remind myself that although the messy piles may be stacked against me in my personality score, I can exhibit behaviors that can fake...er...help me in becoming more organized. Here are some hacks that work for me that I hope make it to your list (and then you can check them off to feel all organizer-y):
- Use the 60% rule - Organized people tend to make decisions more easily because they analyze the options they’ve collected to the go/no-go point and then feel comfortable with moving forward. Earlier this year, I had to make the difficult decision to move my mom into Memory Care. I called my military brother in tears because I wasn’t sure if I was making the right decision. He said, “Liz, the best Generals will tell you when they have 60% of the information, they have enough to make a decision. You have 60% of the information so you need to move ahead without second guessing. You can adjust down the line.” I use this 60% rule in many of my other decisions and share it with my clients who worry about committing to certain annual or quarterly goals. Make the call, set the goal and make adjustments along the way.
- Do the Morning Knock Out - Organized people are in the habit of prioritizing and re-prioritizing. They work on the most important things. I used to jump from one task to another and finish the end of my day exhausted, truly working hard with little proof of my effort. Instead, I prioritize my month, my week and my day. I think about what is the ONE thing I have to get done today and try to tackle it as early in the day as possible. I have one cup of coffee while I mentally plan my day. After I make my second and last cup of coffee, I am not allowed to take a sip until I am ready to work on my morning knock out. Typically, my coffee gets cold because the feeling of productivity is more addicting than the caffeine. If I have a second important item on my plate, I make a cup of hot green tea and do not allow a sip until I’m ready to get back to the grind. I guess you can say I need a “treat” before I get started on my work. Whatever works.
- Turn off the Noise - Organized people don’t hold multi-tasking up to a high bar of achievement. In fact, they master focusing on one thing at a time. As I’m writing this blog, I have closed my email tab and turned off notifications. My phone is on Airplane Mode and I’m pretty sure no major crisis has happened in the last 30 minutes. I’ve also learned I can’t have multiple social media accounts to lure my focus so I pick just two to keep up with business and family, and I do not allow myself to look at either until my priorities for the day are done. I try to be present in the moment and know I’m working on the most important thing.
- Book time with me - Organized people know what they have to do by when. I block off my calendar to dedicate the time to my projects and creative work. I’ve developed the mindset that if it’s not on my calendar, it won’t get done; so, I download my Action Items to my calendar. I also plan my downtime of walking my son to school, commuting or exercising as my creative time. I use these times to think about a problem at hand or think through a few creative scenarios.
- Try a wallet phone case - Organized people love compartments. I love my wallet phone case so I can have my photo ID and business card on me at all times. This makes going through airports a breeze as I have everything I need in one place. I haven’t lost my phone with all of my cards (knock on wood) since moving to this set up. Before, I couldn’t keep up with BOTH my wallet and my phone. Granted, I now leave sweaters and scarves all over the country.
- Use Apps - Organized people love lists. I love the concept of lists, but I rarely can find the list I’ve started. I always have my phone on me so I rely on it to keep me organized. I use My Rhythm for iPhone App to create Action Items and then sync them to my calendar or to prepare for my weekly adjustment meeting on the go. In my personal life, I go to the local grocery store with the best app (Publix) for digital coupons and shopping lists. It automatically organizes my list by aisle so I easily shave off about 20 minutes going back down a gazillion aisles because I forgot the garlic.
- Buy in Twos - Organized people put things in their place the first time. To keep sane while traveling, I buy two of every technical device and toiletry and always keep my travel duplicates in my suitcase. This doesn’t guarantee I won’t leave my power cord in Houston or my flat iron in Chicago as I’ve done already this year; but, at least I am able to greet the client with a charged Mac and shiny, flat hair.
You may be wondering what my desk must look like and why it didn’t make the list. Well, my friends, research shows that a messy desk is a sign of creativity. I may want to be as organized as you are but don’t want to lose one of my most important traits in the process. Now, wouldn’t you be a dear and clear off my coffee mugs, green tea bags and half-full water glasses?
The bottom line is to find what works for you and know that you are working on the most important thing. I’d love to know your organizational hacks...
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