The key to staying organized

Is there a key to staying organized?

Recently, I had minor surgery that I really thought would be no big deal. I mean it was outpatient surgery so how bad could it be? The word surgery should have tipped me off that it wouldn’t be some walk in the park.

Silly me.

I thought I’d have the surgery, go home that day and sleep it off, and be back to normal the next day. Not so much. It was annoying, I hate not being able to do whatever I want, but I learned that I have an awesome family. Not that I didn’t already know that but they really stepped up. Especially, my daughter. I may have had to promise her new toys for her hamster if she waited on me. She’s a great kid but even at 12 she knows how the game is played.

Ain’t nothing in life free.

Anyways I was behind before the surgery (being behind is somewhat constant for me) and now behind doesn’t even cover the magnitude of how behind I am. I didn’t even read my devotional or journal for days which makes me feel very disconnected. I’m not a slave to routine but when I go too long off of it, it makes me feel very disorganized and I HATE that feeling.

But I’m not stressing.

NO. STRESS. HERE.

I have a plan I reach for when I get myself in these really, really behind situations (it happens more than I’d like but it’s called LIFE).

I don’t know about you but one commonality my out of control tasks lists have is I don’t have a clear idea of what it is I’m supposed to do. I’m away from email for a few days yet they don’t stop coming in and while I might glance at them and semi register what I need to do the task quickly flies out of my mind and I forget.

Step 1: Write that shit down. It might be scary as you get to your 2nd or 3rd page of things you need to do and the urge to bury your head in the sand and live in denial grows as your list does you need to face your fears and just get it down in black and white.

Step 2: Prioritize. I’m a huge fan of Steven Covey and the 4 quadrants of time management. It’s normal to think everything is super urgent and needs to be done asap but let’s face it, there are only so many hours in the day and not everything can be your top priority.

If you’ve never read about this time management technique here is a good article but it simply says you need to break your list down into 4 buckets:

• urgent and important
• urgent and not important
• not urgent and important
• not urgent and not important

Remember not everything can fall into urgent and important. For example, I need to plan my daughters 12th birthday party. Obviously, it’s time sensitive so I would label that urgent and important. I also need to reorder new Invisalign trays as I think my son threw them away by accident (he denies it but I’m not so sure). That’s important but not urgent. Nothing is going to change if I do that task today or next month. Yeah, my teeth might take a little longer to straighten out the world won’t come to an end. If I don’t have my daughters party on her birthday weekend…well… though of you who have little girls know what kind of catastrophe that could cause?

Step 3: Block your time out to work on the tasks that have built up and then new ones. One of the biggest issues I face is getting to the stuff I’m behind on without ignoring and getting behind on the new stuff coming in. I’m a huge believer in batch tasking my time so I can keep myself on track.
Look for small periods of time where you don’t have the luxury to get involved in a difficult task but can knock out a few emails. Chisel away where you can.

To help you take control of your To Do list download the worksheet to help you organize your goals.

 

Put in your email for the Organize Your To Do List printable.

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— laina

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9 thoughts on “The key to staying organized

  1. I am a huge believer in Step #1. You have to get that mess out of your brain and onto some paper! I also love the idea of prioritizing cause it’s so easy to focus on the things that can wait while neglecting the things that really need to get done (cause they’re usually the less fun things). Hope you’re on the road to recovery!

    -Shelly

  2. I’m ALL about a to-do list! It can be overwhelming at times, but I think being able to see everything written out really helps me prioritize my tasks and know what needs to happen first before I move forward!

  3. I like that 4 quadrants of time idea! I definitely am one to write everything down, but your to-do list can start to feel so overwhelming so blocking into those categories would really help.

  4. When I get behind, I have such a hard time motivating myself!!! Thanks for these tips! I do think writing it down and having the visual would help me! I am ALWAYS behind! LOL!

  5. I hope you have a healthy recovery! This is excellent as I have always been very forgetful and super procrastinate-y. I live by lists and get almost nothing accomplished without them.