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building a fence
o clock
work tasks
car keys
traffic jam
timeliness
dependence
wallet
laptop
boss
dogs
Getting Organized
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Getting Organized

If you have experienced life long enough, you will encounter one or many moments of having misplaced an item or two. It might be the car keys, your wallet or possibly where you parked the car. We each have those moments and it isn't uncommon. We may even struggle to accomplish the work tasks given to us each day. Those items we need to complete before the five o'clock whistle blows just never seem to get done.

There are of course reasons out of our control that can cause us to miss deadlines, misplace items or to just get lose track of the time. Many of those outside influences are circumstances we simply can not control. A boss might be pushing the work of three people upon you. A traffic jam could very well slow you down in getting to an appointment on time. A lack of timeliness by another person could be preventing you from completing your own tasks. But many times it can be due to our own lack of organization.

Now before you become defensive about that last statement, I encounter the same lack of organization from time to time as well. My issue comes from dependence upon multi-tasking way too many times. I and many others will perform several different tasks at one time. In example, I will brush my teeth, slip on my shoes, pull together my laptop and get the dogs outside all at the same time. Most days that works out just fine. Other days, if I do not schedule those activities well, I fail to complete many of them. I have been known to leave the dogs outside all day in the backyard.

You might be what is considered a single-threaded task oriented person. This type of person does only one thing at a time. You complete one task completely before moving onto the next task. Think of it as building a fence; you first dig all of the holes, than insert each post, than fill in around each post, than put in the cross beams, etc. But if you don't know what the next task is, you might put in the cross beams before firmly setting the posts. It makes a difference in building that fence and in managing your life.

What exactly can you do to become more organized in life? What is the key to accomplishing more without having to hire people to perform the tasks for you?

The answer is in taking a little bit of time to organize your life with a list. It sure sounds simple and in many respects, it is simple. You take a sheet of paper and list the tasks you need to accomplish in a day, a week, a month or for the year. There could be the normal "everyday" things to be done at home, school or work. Or you could create a list of what you want to get done within the year; think New Year's resolutions. Your list should have a goal in mind, big or small, and something that you can claim as your own.

Now that you have your list, arrange them in a logical order. Group them in such a way that one task leads into another. Look back to my example regarding fence building. This works whether you multi-task or do things in a single-threaded fashion. List the steps so that each one complements the next step. Another way of looking at this would be a two-pack a day smoker making the resolution to get in shape. Your list would not be to start participating in 10K runs and then quit smoking. The steps would be to stop smoking, begin walking, get rid of your clothes that smell like smoke, get on a treadmill (slowly), see a doctor, etc.

One step begets the next in accomplishing anything. If you jump around, out of order, you lose focus on the individual steps and ultimately you lose sight of the goal. It becomes frustrating and than you lose desire to complete all of those tasks. If you do, you are back to leaving the dogs outside in the yard all day long.

Organizing your life, even in the smallest of ways, can have a huge impact on your life. With each little accomplishment, you become bolder and braver to accomplish even more. Eventually you will find yourself doing even more, in a shorter time with a bigger goal in the end. And for most people, that greater goal is having a great life, our best life.

So get a piece of paper and pencil today, sit down and start your list. It will seem tough and awkward at first, but keep pushing through. Your life is going to be great and by the way, don't forget to bring in the dogs.


Street Talk

I like making lists. However, I usually don't finish everything on my list in one day. I have also had times my list was impossibly long (for instance, things that would take a month to finish, and I put it on a list for today). I agree with you - taking a little time to get organized can work wonders. My day is more productive when I decide my priorities for each day.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Getting organized is important in any endeavor. I seem to have the ability to organize tasks and projects, but I struggle with dealing with paper. I have found David Allen's Getting Things Done to be somewhat helpful in this regard, but you still have to use whatever system may help. Keep up the good work!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I like how you explain to start small and take getting organized one step at a time. I also like the fact that you admit to being human and a have times of being unorganized. Well written article, thanks for the great advice.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Great advice. Organization is the part of my life where I need the most improvement. This is my year to get organized! Thanks for the pointers.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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