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Wikify Your Life: How to Organize Everything

Wikify Your Life: How to Organize Everything
Wedding plans

    In our lives we have all kinds of information that we need to keep track of — to-do lists, gift ideas, books we want to read, exercise or food logs, a budget, phone numbers, a weekly schedule, our goals — the list is endless. The problem is finding a good place to keep all of that information — the usual mode is to have these lists and logs and schedules scattered all over the place, but that is chaos.

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    If you want to be organized, put all you’re life’s info in one place. And if you need a great tool to do that, look no further than a personal wiki.

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    Wikis are everywhere, many are free, they’re easy to use, flexible as anything, an perfectly accessible anywhere, or portable if you want to take them on a USB thumb drive. Put everything into your personal wiki, and you’ll never have to look around for anything again.

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    What can you put into a wiki? Anything you can think of, including images and links to other types of files. Here are some great uses for a personal wiki:

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    • To-do lists: In fact, you can easily do a simple GTD, wiki style. GTD (the written part of it, at least) is just a bunch of lists. Many GTD programs have gotten pretty fancy, but at the heart, it’s just lists. Wikis do lists great. You could have a page with all your context lists, and next to each action, simply put an internal link to the name of the project, and voila — you’ve created a project page. So one page for all your context lists (and someday/maybe) and separate pages for each project. Simple and easy.
      To-do
      • Wish lists: What books, cd, DVDs, games, toys and gadgets you want. Make separate lists for each type of thing, or one great big “If I Were a Millionaire, I’d Own Everything on this List” list.
      • Gift ideas: birthdays or Christmas still months away? If you’ve got an idea, sock it away on this list and come back for it later.
      • Checklists: Never forget anything again. Create checklists for every common thing you undertake, at work or in your personal life, and store them all in your wiki. Packing lists, party planning checklists, chores lists, project checklists … you get the picture.
      • Reading list: I keep a list of all the books I read, along with a list of the books I have lined up to read next.
      • Logs: I like to keep logs of my exercise, but you could do a food diary, spending log, or anything really. If you’re working on a goal or habit, keeping track of them is one of the best ways to get there.
      • Goals: Write out your top goals for the year, and then under that, your mini-goals for this month. Then, of those mini-goals, what tasks you’re going to complete this year. This personal wiki will make your dreams come true.
      • Diary: I like to do a one-sentence journal. It’s easy, fast, and it’s nice to be able to look back on what happened in my life. I was never good at keeping a journal until I hit upon the one-sentence journal idea. Now it’s a habit, and one that’s vastly rewarding.
        Contacts
        • Contacts: Haven’t found an ideal contact manager? Just use a wiki. Easy to add new stuff, searchable, simple.
        • Workspace: If you use multiple computers, a wiki is a great place to do your work, accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.
        • Collaborate: A wiki page can be shared with a number of users, all of whom can be authorized to make changes, making a wiki a great way to work on a project with a group.
        • Bookmarks: Save your favorite sites, organize them by categories, and have it all in your personal wiki.
        • Snippets of text: find something useful on the web, or in a document? Paste it here to look up and use later.
          Vacation plans
          • Reference: If you have stuff you’ll definitely look up later, either for personal use or in a project, create a wiki reference page.
          • Plan: plan a wedding, party, event, vacation, home repairs, anything.

          These are just a few examples. You can probably think of a lot more.

          Where do you go if you want to create a wiki? There are hundreds of wikis on the web. Here are a few places to look to start you out:

          More by this author

          Leo Babauta

          Founder of Zen Habits and expert in habits building and goals achieving.

          How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time The Gentle Art of Saying No Simple Productivity: 10 Ways to Do More by Focusing on the Essentials How to Pare Your To-do List Down to the Essentials

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          Last Updated on September 10, 2019

          How to Master the Art of Prioritization

          How to Master the Art of Prioritization

          Do you know that prioritization is an art? It is an art that will lead you to success in whatever area that matters to you.

          By prioritization, I’m not talking so much about assigning tasks, but deciding which will take chronological priority in your day—figuring out which tasks you’ll do first, and which you’ll leave to last.

          Effective Prioritization

          There are two approaches to “prioritizing” the tasks in your to-do list that I see fairly often:

          Approach #1 Tackling the Biggest Tasks First and Getting Them out of the Way

          The idea is that by tackling them first, you deal with the pressure and anxiety that builds up and prevents you from getting anything done—whether we’re talking about big or small tasks. Leo Babauta is a proponent of this Big Rocks method.[1]

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          Approach #2 Tackling the Tasks You Can Get Done Quickly and Easily, with Minimal Effort

          Proponents of this method believe that by tackling the small fries first, you’ll have less noise distracting you from the periphery of your consciousness.

          If you believe in getting your email read and responded to, making phone calls and getting Google Reader zeroed before you dive into the high-yield work, you’re a proponent of this method. I suppose you could say Getting Things Done (GTD) encourages this sort of method, since the methodology advises followers to tackle tasks that can be completed within two minutes, right there and then.

          Figure out Your Approach for Prioritization

          My own approach is perhaps a mixture of the two.

          I’ll write out my daily task list and draw little priority stars next to the three items I need to get done that day. They don’t need to be big tasks, but nine times out of ten, they are.

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          Smaller tasks are rarely important enough to warrant a star in the first place; I can always get away without even checking my inbox until the next day if I’m swamped, and the people who need to get in touch with me super quickly know how.

          But I’m not recommending my system of prioritization to you. I’m also not saying that mine is better than Leo’s Big Rocks method, and I’m not saying it’s better than the “if it can be done quickly, do it first” method either.

          The thing with prioritization is that knowing when to do what relies very much on you and the way you work. Some people need to get some small work done to find a sense of accomplishment and clarity that allows them to focus on and tackle bigger items. Others need to deal with the big tasks or they’ll get caught up in the busywork of the day and never move on, especially when that Google Reader count just refuses to get zeroed (personally, I recommend the Mark All As Read button—I use it most days!).

          I’m in between, because my own patterns can be all over the place. Some days I will be ready to rip into massive projects at 7AM. Other times I’ll feel the need to zero every inbox I have and clean up the papers on my desk before I can focus on anything serious. I also know that my peak, efficient working time doesn’t come at 11AM or 3PM or some specific time like it does for many people, but I have several peaks divided by a few troughs. I can feel what’s coming on when and try to keep my schedule liquid enough that I can adapt.

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          That’s why I use a starred task list system rather than a scheduled task list. It allows me to trust myself (something that I suppose takes a certain amount of discipline) and achieve peak efficiency by blowing with the winds. If I fight the peaks and troughs, I’ll get less done; but if I do certain kinds of work in each period of the day as they come, I’ll get more done than most others in a similar line of work.

          You may not be able to trust yourself to that extent without falling into the busywork trap. You may not be able to tackle big tasks first thing in the morning without feeling like you’re pushing against an invisible brick wall that won’t budge. You might not be able to deal with small tasks before the big tasks without feeling pangs of guilt and urgency.

          My point is:

          The prioritization systems themselves don’t matter. They’re all pretty good for a group of people, not least of all to the people who espouse them because they use them and find them effective.

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          What matters is that you don’t fall for one set of dogma (and I’m not saying Leo Babauta or David Allen preach these things as dogma, but sometimes their proponents do) until you’ve tried the systems extensively, and found which method of chronological prioritization works for you.

          And if the system you already use works great, then there’s no need to bother trying others—in the world of personal productivity, it’s too easy to mess with something that works and find yourself unable to get back into your former groove.

          “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

          In truth, this principle applies to all sorts of personal productivity issues, though it’s important to know which issues it applies to.

          If you thought multitasking worked well for you each day and I’d have to contend that you are wrong—multitasking is a universal myth in my books! But if you find yourself prioritizing tasks that never get done, you might need to reconsider which of the above approaches you’re using and change to a system that is more personally effective.

          More About Prioritization & Time Management

          Featured photo credit: Sabri Tuzcu via unsplash.com

          Reference

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