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My 5 Best Organizing Tricks

My 5 Best Organizing Tricks

I’ve been away from Lifehack for a while, first running an unconference, then attending a conference, and I’ll be away a few days more to attend a funeral. Over these past several days, I’ve needed a way to stay organized, a simple, flexible way to get everything that needed doing handled without much effort, and with as much effectiveness as I could muster. This is all very related to David Allen’s Getting Things Done, but just my lightweight spin. Here’s what I did.

  • Carry 3×5 cards and a pen– At all times, I have a stack of 3×5 cards and a pen on my person. I write down thoughts, ideas, follow-up tasks, and contact information from people who don’t have a business card on hand.
  • Transfer this to electronic format quickly– I’ve learned that keeping info on the cards never helps me. Instead, I move all to-do items into Google Calendar, all contacts into Gmail’s contact list, and all ideas into 37Signals’ Backpack. In this way, I can act upon the things written on the cards.
  • Have an idea warehousehere) to store lists and notes about future projects, and also as a checklist of current active projects. By writing down ideas that I have that I can’t execute right away, it keeps my head clear.
  • Do frequent sweeps– Check in with what you’re doing at any given moment, and ask whether it’s applying to your larger goals. I do this often. I say, “What am I doing?” out loud or in my head probably 20 times a day. Now that I’m in the habit of doing it, I find it gives me a way to refocus my efforts, and continue executing on what needs doing.
  • Use Small Boxes I wrote a piece on my Grasshopper Factory site about Small Boxes, a method I’m using to prioritize and execute in my life. The basic premise is that we can THINK on a grand scale, but we need smaller metaphors with which to organize and execute. I like small boxes because it lets me work against small project lists, executing until I’ve cleared the list.

These were how I navigated the last several days, successfully conducted a 2 day unconference (not counting the help of a team of other dedicated people), attended and made good use of a major technology conference, and worked on dozens of projects over the last few days to meet deadlines. You’re welcome to tinker with my list as you wish. Did it make sense? Would you do it differently?

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Chris Brogan keeps a blog at [chrisbrogan.com], and thinks about things at Grasshopper Factory

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Last Updated on October 9, 2018

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

Most of you made personal, one sentence resolutions like “I want to lose weight” or “I vow to go back to school.” It is a tradition to start the New Year with things you want to achieve, but under the influence resolutions are often unrealistic.

If you’re wondering when will be a good time to write a mission statement, NOW is the time to take a personal inventory to make this year your most productive year ever. You may be asking yourself, “How am I going to do that?” You, my friends, are going to write personal mission statements.

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A large number of corporations use mission statements to define the purpose of the company’s existence. Sony wants to “become the company most known for changing the worldwide poor-quality image of Japanese products” and 3M wants “to solve unsolved problems innovatively”. A personal mission statement is different than a corporate mission statement, but the fundamentals are the same.

So why do you need one? A personal statement will help you identify your core values and beliefs in one fluid tapestry of content that you can read anytime and anywhere to stay on task toward success.

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For example, Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire came to the realization that he had lost track of what was important to him. After writing a personal mission statement, we saw him start his own business and he got the girl, Renee Zelleweger. Not bad, wouldn’t you say? A personal mission statement will make sure that, through all the texting, emailing and constant bombardment of on-the-go activity, you won’t lose sight of what is most important to you.

Mission statements can be simple and concise while others are longer and filled with detail. The length of your personal mission statement will not be determined until you follow this simple equation to create your motivational springboard for 2008.

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To begin your internal cleansing, you will need to jot down the required information in the following five steps:

  1. What are your values? Values steer your actions and determine where you spend time, energy, and most importantly, money. Be specific and unique to yourself. Too much generalization will not be as effective. It is called a “personal” mission statement for a reason.
  2. What are three important goals you hope to achieve this year? Keep your list of important goals small and give them a date. It is better to focus on the horizon and not the stars. Realistic goals are keys to ultimate success.
  3. What image do you hope to project to yourself? How you see yourself is how the world will view you. Think about this carefully. Your image should encompass what you look like and feel after you have achieved your goals.
  4. Write down action statements from each value describing how you will use those values to achieve your three goals. Start with “I will…”
  5. Rewrite your statement to include only your action statements. Make portable copies for your wallet, car or office.

If you followed the steps above, congratulations! You have just written your first personal mission statement. Your personal statement will change over the years as your goals change. You can have more than one statement for the different compartments of your life such as your career, family, marriage, etc.

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Writing a personal mission statement is an effective method to ensure your productivity is at its peak. It is an ideal tradition to start so that when next year rolls around, the outdated practice of resolutions will be something you permanently left in the past.

Featured photo credit: Álvaro Serrano via unsplash.com

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