Just because I’m great at helping other folks be more organized doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with staying productive myself.
Being efficient takes a lot of work, but it has huge rewards. Misplacing things I care about, being late, falling behind; these ‘life-fails’ all stem from being disorganized. The way I look at it, disorganization costs me time and money; hence why I’ve developed online classes with step-by-step systems to help others stay organized with their email and their workspaces.
You deserve to feel like you’re winning at life on a daily basis, so here are four essential productivity tips to organizing your life, even when you’re busy.
1. Track your time for a full workweek. It’s the exact same idea as a food journal (but instead of writing down everything you eat, you’ll be writing down everything you do). This will help you quickly decide what you can cut out, delegate, and going forward—how to spend your time a little more wisely.
2. Turn off notifications yesterday. Our brain is under attack by the constant dinging, buzzing and ringing. It is no wonder that we feel exhausted but not from getting any real work done. We’re strung-out from the constant switching back and forth between tasks. If I want to feel less stress immediately, I’m going dark and I suggest you do the same.
3. You need a road map. Not an actual road map (there’s Google maps for that, silly) I’m talking about a daily freaking to-do list. You might think it’s nerdy, I think it’s a godsend. When we sit down to start our day, we usually start with looking what’s in our email inbox. Stop that habit immediately.
Because I’m on a roll of telling you what to do, I’m just going to continue. Instead of opening email first thing, start crossing off stuff on your daily to-do list—the one you created THE DAY BEFORE. You might be thinking, ‘crazy talk’ and I would counter that with my favorite motivational quote from Albert Einstein, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results = insanity.”
4. Schedule your to-do’s. That’s right, estimate how long things are going to take and see what happens. Okay, I’ll tell you what happens. You’ll be either really good or really terrible (at least at first) of estimating how long things will take. Which is fine, because we’re all here to learn.
Scheduling your tasks does two things; it makes your daily list realistic and because it’s a very type-A thing to do, you’ll find yourself actually getting more stuff done. Here’s an example of what your schedule may look like:
9:00am : Outline proposal
9:30am : Call Monica (discuss next action steps for project)
9:45am : Brainstorm for design work
10:30am : Coffee break
10:45am : Check + process email
11:00am : Meeting
11:30am : Check in with Steve
I invite you to try these four productivity tips out and report back on whether or not they’ve helped you get more organized in your life.
Once you are able to operate from a place of being in control of how you spend your time, you’ll realize you have time to relax and enjoy life even more.
While being organized can sometimes feel like you’re creating too much structure, I have found that being efficient allows for much needed flexibility; and who doesn’t love that?!