One of my goals for 2017 was to be more organized. I can be extremely hard on myself, so I’m probably doing better than I think. The one area that I am excelling at is cleaning up after myself more. No, I’m not a slob, but I tend to just let everything be until I’m “ready” to clean. In order to be ready, I need a solid hour to put everything in it’s proper place and scrub the kitchen and bathroom. Instead, I’ve been cleaning up after cooking or before I leave for work in the morning. It seems to be making a difference overall.
My decision to be more organized this year was mostly because I felt scattered. I have had a lot going on over the last year or so, and I couldn’t seem to keep things together. I was forgetting appointments or things I had scheduled, despite using a calendar or making notes. It was literally in one ear and out the other. I also couldn’t seem to find things when I needed them. My mom would ask to borrow something, and I wouldn’t know where to even start. It wasn’t just my physical space that was disorganized, it was my mental space as well.
Is organization closely linked to productivity? In my opinion, I think it is. For me, it’s the idea that there isn’t enough time to do everything I want or need to do. And there’s no real way to get more time. Or is there? I am not going to turn this post into a philosophical discussion about time, but I do think that we should consider the link between being organized and being productive.
What have I been doing to be more organized, you ask?
- Single Tasking
I’ve started to be more aware of the task at hand. One task at a time, when possible. This is applicable for both work and your every day life. Instead of spending that hour power cleaning my house, I single task by cooking a meal and then cleaning it up during the process. Which keeps the kitchen cleaner, and helps me to be able to find things faster. This is also been called “clear to neutral”. The idea that you clean up before starting a new task allows you to clear your head space to prepare for the next task. While maybe not necessary in a cooking situation, it is extremely helpful when it comes to work in my opinion. Single tasking lets you be fully present in your current task, before moving onto the next one.
- Prioritize your to-do list
Ok, so I don’t exactly excel in this area. In fact, I need to get to the point of frazzled before I will sit down and hash out what I need to do and what is actually high priority. But once I get there, it does seem to help. Understanding what I need to do immediately makes my life all that much easier. Knowing that I have two projects I need to knock off my list by noon puts some kind of pressure on me to get those tasks done immediately. All the others can happen, but don’t require the same urgency. Which leads me to:
- Do your most challenging task first
Again, not something I always excel in. I used to think in the opposite terms. If I can just get all those small pesky things off my plate, I would have more time for those big projects. Nope. The small pesky things never go away. There is always a hundred of them. They literally never stop. If you can get the big jobs done first, or first thing, you will feel like you’ve accomplished more in the day. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but when I actually apply this to my life, it seems to make a difference.
So how has being productive made me more organized? In general, I don’t spend as much time searching for something. Whether that’s a work file, or a physical item, I’m not wasting as much time looking. I’m managing my to do list better. Instead of it growing longer and longer by the day, some of the bigger tasks are being eliminated. Sure, that might only be one or two tasks a day, but they’re substantial. It makes me feel better about things, and gives me more time to work through those pesky tasks.
By single tasking a major project, I can actually get it done when I need to, which seems to free up some time later in the day. Which can be devoted to a “power hour” where you do as much as you can in one hour. Maybe its cleaning. Maybe its sending emails. Whatever it is, I can be more productive which ultimately leads to me being more organized. It’s only February, but I think I’m off to a good start with my 2017 goal!