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9 Ideas to Get Your Work Organized for the Year Ahead

9 Ideas to Get Your Work Organized for the Year Ahead

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What’s one thing you’re doing now to get your business organized for the year ahead?

1. Calendar Blocking

Kelly Azevedo

    As often as possible, I’m adding regular business tasks to my weekly calendar on repeat. It has helped to “hold the space” for client work, marketing, networking, family and fun. I take into account the 2013 personal and business goals as I create time to work closer to those outcomes.

    Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

    2. Budgeting for the Year

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    David Ehrenberg

      To prepare for the year ahead, I’m creating a financial plan and budget for 2013. This is an essential activity (that you should have started in 2012) to help you to get organized for the year ahead. Use your financial plan as an opportunity to hone in on your key goals for 2013 and to establish milestones to guide you throughout the year. Plan to update your budget as the year progresses.

      David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

      3. Filing

      Derek Flanzraich

        Believe it or not, I haven’t had a filing cabinet so much as a filing “box” where everything I wanted to file away was placed in, without any rhyme or reason. My plan is to fix that.

        Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

        4. Have Some Perspective

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        Robert J. Moore

          Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the weeds and forget about how far you can come in a year. We’re summarizing accomplishments made in 2012 to share with our company, and motivate the team to continue to do bigger and better things in 2013.

          Robert J. Moore, RJMetrics

          5. Cut the “Fluff”

          Benish Shah

            If it’s not something that is adding to my life in a positive manner, it needs to go. My goal is to surround myself with things that I’m passionate about, that I can learn from, and that will help me focus instead of distract me. It’s like spring cleaning your closet!

            Benish Shah, Vicaire Ny

            6. Get Personal!

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            John Hall

              Hiring a personal assistant. At first I felt like hiring a personal assistant was ridiculous, but the busier I get the less organized I am.

              John Hall, Digital Talent Agents

              7. Review Life Plan

              Peter Nguyen

                Every quarter I review my life plan and business objectives and goals. I try to go somewhere for a whole weekend to do this every three months.

                Peter Nguyen, Literati Institute

                8. Heighten Web Security

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                Logan Lenz

                  I went through a few terrible hacks recently. Even though we were prepared with backups and recovery best practices, cyber attacks are always damaging to an online business. I have spent much personal time and resources building out our security infrastructure in order to ensure that similar attacks never occur again in the future.

                  Logan Lenz, Endagon

                  9. Listening, Better and More Often

                  Mitch Gordon

                    For me, listening to my employees is the solution to many problems. They always have great ideas for how we can make the business, and our time in the office, more efficient and productive. We spent the month of December wrapping up year-end projects, as well as putting a great plan in place for 2013. Always take time for an in-depth review with key employees at the end of the year!

                    Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas

                     

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                    Trending in Productivity

                    1 The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness 2 How to Stop Being Passive and Start Getting What You Want 3 How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement 4 5 Less-Known Reasons Why Less is More 5 10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

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                    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

                    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

                    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

                    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

                    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

                    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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                    Program Your Own Algorithms

                    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

                    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

                    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

                    How to Form a Ritual

                    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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                    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

                    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
                    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
                    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
                    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

                    Ways to Use a Ritual

                    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

                    1. Waking Up

                    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

                    2. Web Usage

                    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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                    3. Reading

                    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

                    4. Friendliness

                    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

                    5. Working

                    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

                    6. Going to the gym

                    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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                    7. Exercise

                    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

                    8. Sleeping

                    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

                    8. Weekly Reviews

                    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

                    Final Thoughts

                    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

                    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

                     

                    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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