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9 Hacks To Get Much More Organized In Your Life

9 Hacks To Get Much More Organized In Your Life

If you are reading this, it means there’s too much going on in your life, whether it’s stuff, people, commitments or general confusion. I don’t think anyone can give a magic overnight solution to getting organized and continue being organized. But there are some little things you can do that can make a big positive impact on your day and life in general.

1. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, rethink your organization system

When you have an organizing system, no matter how simple or complicated it is, it should must ensure you know where to find something or where to put it back after using it. From the first moment that is true anymore, it means the organizing system is not working for you, so you need a new one.

It seems like a pain to take everything out and organize it again, but is it worth it in order to avoid such a moment of panic in the future? Totally, at least in my book!

2. Keep a “one place for all” notebook rather than many different ones

No matter how appealing it might seem to have a different notebook, notepad or agenda for every life sector or new project, it’s impossible to carry that all around with you.

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To make sure you can access everything any time, try putting all different notes into one place, keep it light enough to carry on you and find a system to define different subjects (like indexes or colors).

Having everything in one place might sound counterintuitive, but it could help you focus and avoid jumping from one project to the other all day.

3. Set goals for every day

Try setting a certain number of tasks you’ll be content to accomplish in your to-do list for the day, or pick the most important things you want to focus on.

When you have only a couple of things to do, it’s much easier to prepare for the day and keep everything ready and organized. But when your day is not edited, it’s impossible to be prepared and organized for everything (including the unknown).

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4. Put stuff where they are used, not where there’s space

We are used to store objects where there’s a closet or shelf or any storage to hide them away. How about putting everything in our house or workplace near to where or what they serve? Daily tasks would be completed so much faster and finding things wouldn’t resemble a treasure hunt.

5. Split every project into smaller tasks

Despite its size or importance, every project can be translated into small manageable tasks. Having everything in front of you helps to get motivated and feel less intimidated by big projects, evaluate what you already have and what you need. Also, it will help you keep track of your progress and not miss deadlines in case you underestimate something.

6. Schedule system maintenance

No system will benefit you unless you keep up with it on the long term. Experiment until you find one that works for you and that is easy to maintain. Then schedule dates in the coming months (you decide how often is best for you) to refresh the organizing system and get everything back in order before it becomes a mess and you don’t know where to start again.

7. For everything you buy, write the opening date on the package

It will help you keep track of how fast you go through products and will solve the dilemma on whether you’ll get sick by eating certain things. After doing this for a while, you will be able to memorize some of your habits and you’ll likely not run out of products without backups again. It’s also convenient when budgeting, as you will know how much of an item you need for a month.

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8. Treat fun the same way as obligations

Consistency is the key to being organized. If you want to go all the way, have the same system for everything in your life, obligations and fun.

Put mobile phone reminders for your favorite shows and meetings with friends. Schedule personal and leisure appointments.

If your fun part of life is treated with the same seriousness as your obligations, it will be much more easier to remember everything and not favor work when they overlap. That will probably lead to more general satisfaction.

9. Ask yourself why you need to be more organized

If you give an honest answer to this simple question, you might find the most effective way to get more organized, without going through useless tips that are not specifically tailored to you.

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Managing to spot the problematic areas in your current life makes it so much easier to work with the problems and keep the rest that might be working great the same.

Depending on your answer, you might find out you have to purge, create a simpler system, schedule maintenance, hire help, or just start writing everything down.

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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