One of the biggest mental traps that stands between you moving from disorganized chaos to organized bliss is this sequence of thoughts: I don’t have enough time. Organization takes time. Therefore I can’t get organized.
Sounds logical, right?
Unfortunately, this “common sense” logic is completely wrong. If you’re overloaded, the importance of organizing and planning each part of your day only heightens. The time you invest in this activity will pay off in terms of knowing where to focus your energies. Also, not having a nagging feeling you’re forgetting something or routinely spending extra time looking for lost items, provides sublime psychological relief. (After an enormous amount of traveling for business and pleasure last fall–15 states in 4 months–I’ve sometimes had to make getting organized the main focus of whole days. Not fun–but ultimately freeing.)
At Real Life E®, I focus my training sessions on time strategies to create a brilliant life in a burnt-out world. That means transforming how you think about time and discovering how to use your schedule to your advantage. But I want to introduce you to other resources that can help you streamline your life.
One new book you may want to check out is: “One Year to an Organized Work Life” by New York Times best-selling author Regina Leeds. In this guidebook, Regina takes you week-by-week, month-by-month, through the process of getting organized.
What I appreciate most about this book is that it expects you to make life changes at a reasonable pace. For instance, January covers “Start Fresh” and is broken down into: “Chart the Course,” “Decide Where You Want to Be,” “Keep a Calendar,” and “Calm the Morning Rush.”
The January new work habit of the month is: Leave your desk for five minutes.
The January new home habit of the month is: Make your bed.
Throughout the book, the topics range from the psychological, “Stop Negative Thinking,” to the practical, “Complete Those Expense Reports.” And I enjoy the fact that there are specific exercises, stories, and lists in every section.
My thoughts on this in terms of time strategies:
- Take Immediate Action: If every part of your life is in a jumble, you may need to buy this book right now: Amazon. We’re only on the third week of January so there’s still time to catch up on your reading and exercises. (Each week is only 5-10 pages.)
- Scan and Schedule: If you have select areas of your life that need to be spruced up, scan the table of contents and highlight the sections that match your needs. Number them in order of importance, and then commit to a specific time each week when you will read the section and complete the exercises. I recommend choosing a time like Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. This way you won’t get carried away in the Monday catch-up or the Friday wrap-up, and you won’t push these important activities aside for more urgent tasks at the end of the day.
- Over Estimate: Also, plan to spend more time on the exercises than you expect. Unless you’re really decisive and already somewhat organized, it will take a while to unearth clutter and particularly to set up systems to create new habits. The key to breaking time wasting patterns like piling up papers on your desk is not only dealing with the current mess but also doing the next step, like creating an efficient filing system.
So as you “Start Fresh” in 2009, I encourage you to take a look at “One Year To An Organized Work Life.” This book can help you to systematically put your work in order so you can increase your productivity and reduce your stress.
To a brilliantly organized 2009!