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As a new guest author to lifehack.org and an experienced productivity consultant I would like to start by naming and dispelling common productivity and organizing myths. This series will be posted each Wednesday until we cover the top 10.

Myth: Some people are born with an organizing gene or are natural organizers and others will never be organized.

Reality: Organized and productive people have a set of skills that lead to their being organized.

Some people learn these skills early and in great depth. Some people learn them by circumstance throughout life. And, some people still want to learn them and struggle with disorder. The consequences of disorganization are many and varied from chronic lateness, time wasted looking for things, and messy areas which give a bad impression. On a personal level the consequences include: stress, embarrassment, and wasted money.

Organizing is like reading or a sport ~ it’s a skill that can be learned. And, like reading, life is easier if you have the skills. These skills also take time to understand, practice, and polish. So, take heart – if you’re learning a new organizing skill, it’s a matter of practice over time.
Let’s jump in with a list of what specific skills you could learn and uncover where to learn them.

Top 10 organizing skills:

  • Perfect your use of a calendar.
  • Use a ‘to do’ list. This is a list of all the projects and tasks you have underway and would like to have underway.
  • Prioritize projects and tasks. (That includes dumping things that really aren’t that important)
  • Establish a home for your stuff. Label the home.
  • Consistently put stuff in their home.
  • Get rid of stuff that isn’t contributing to the quality of your life right now.
  • Identify your values so you can measure your decisions against a fixed target.
  • Be active. Physical activity supports a balanced life, gives you energy, and clears your mind.
  • Simplify.
  • Create routines.

Where you can learn these skills beyond lifehack.org & books:

From a productivity coach – the time has come for turning to an expert. Just as a golf pro helps you learn to drive and putt better, a productivity coach will help you organize better. A coach will uncover what skills you lack, what skills you have, and figure how to get you to master new organizing skills that relate to your life. Many corporations pay for this type of coaching because they know that a more-productive professional will contribute more to the company.

On-line courses at providers of your favorite organizing products. Some examples:

In your company. Many corporations have workshops, online courses, and tuition support for learning. Ask your manager, the HR department, and the training department to understand what is available.

There are lots of ways to become organized… start now an in time people will think that you were born organized!

Susan Sabo – a traveler who has been to 47 countries. Her organized life has allowed her to go overseas for months at a time. She writes the Productivitycafe.com blog, presents to groups and consults one-on-one with individuals.

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