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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
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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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                    1 7 Effective Ways To Motivate Employees in 2021 2 How a Project Management Mindset Boosts Your Productivity 3 5 Values of an Effective Leader 4 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 5 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

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                    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

                    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

                    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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                    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

                    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

                    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

                    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

                    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

                    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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                    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

                    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

                    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

                    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

                    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

                    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

                    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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                    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

                    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

                    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

                    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

                    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

                    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

                    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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                    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

                    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

                    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

                    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

                    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

                    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

                    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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                    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

                    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

                    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

                    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

                    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

                    More on Building Habits

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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                    Reference

                    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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