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Getting Organized Effectively in 9 Easy Steps

Getting Organized Effectively in 9 Easy Steps

Organization can be tough.

Heck, just getting by is tough, let alone trying to organize the frenzy of daily life. Consider some of the things that most of us deal with every day. We have:

  • Jobs to go to
  • Groceries to buy
  • Clothes to wash
  • Kids to pick up
  • Meetings to attend

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, I’m betting you can add several things to this list yourself. But even though life can be hectic, it doesn’t mean you have to live a complicated and random lifestyle. You can makes sense of your busy world, and all you’ve got to do is keep reading.

You aren’t organized enough

Let’s face it, getting organized isn’t exactly easy for some of us. In fact, you might be under the impression that organizing your life is impossible. Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re dead wrong about that thought.

You never learned how get organized

They don’t exactly teach you how to be organized in school, you’ve just to got to be lucky and/or hope that your parents show you the ropes. But even then, organization requires that you’re exposed to it. And to top it all off, you need those tips in actionable form. All of these things combined makes organization a crapshoot for a lot of people.

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The 9 tips you need to get organized

Luckily for you, the tips and tools you need to get organized can be found right here. No need to go crazy trying them all out, just pick one that works for you and give it a go. Once you master one tip, move to the next. It’s a simple strategy that’ll work for even the most unorganized person out there.

1. Establish a good morning and night-time ritual

Organization is nothing more than a series of good habits, so the first step in achieving organization is in creating order.

If you don’t already, establish rituals that both start and end your days. Initially you’re going to want to add one or two things only, things that’ll be easy to stick with.

For instance, each morning shouldn’t be a rush to make it to work on time. A good morning routine affords you the time to ease into the day ahead of you, so start by waking up about 2-3 minutes earlier everyday until you can have some “me” time each morning. All you need is 20-30 minutes to yourself each morning, and you can use that time to enjoy some coffee, meditate, exercise or whatever you want. This’ll prime your mind and body for the busy day ahead of you.

As bedtime approaches, you want to start doing things to help unwind you from the day. You could have a relaxing bath or shower, read a book, have some chamomile tea, and several other things. Just pick one or two and start doing them every night. Eventually the habits will stick and you’ll start associating the habits with relaxation and sleep.

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2. Create actionable goals

Having actionable goals helps prevent your day from being taken over by random intrusions. They help keep your focus on what’s important by giving you tangible actions to focus on, but they only work if they’re easily actionable.

For example, don’t choose the goal to lose weight. Instead, choose to eat one apple per day. Don’t choose to be more productive, choose to work on a personal project for at least 5 minutes per day.

Remember, organization is simply a series of good habits. If you can keep adding good habits to your daily routine, then organization is the natural result of it.

3. Use a calendar

A calendar is the best friend to an organized person, but only if they’re used properly.

First, keep your calendar where you can easily see and access it. If it’s electronic, then keep it open or keep its icon somewhere you can click easily. If it’s a paper calendar, keep it on your desk or near a doorway you always walk by.

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Second, don’t rely on memory when it comes to due dates and tasks. Immediately add them to your calendar without hesitation.

Finally, don’t fill every time slot you have available with tasks. This will kill your flexibility, making it harder to adjust on the fly and ultimately giving more work when you need to change things.

4. Use a 5-item (or less) task list

Task lists are great when it comes to organization, but only if used correctly. The correct way to use them is limit tasks to 5 or fewer per day. This forces you to pick only the most important tasks, and ensures that you actually complete your task list every day.

5. Prioritize the important

Following up on the last tip, don’t give equal time and attention to every task. If a task is more important, put it higher on your task list. If it isn’t, then move it down. Organized people always focus on the important duties; that way they aren’t distracted by low-level tasks.

6. Delegate tasks

Organized people are smart about what they do and don’t do. Don’t try to take on the whole world; give some duties to others if you can. Ask your boyfriend to pick up the groceries. Tell your kid to take care of the dishes. Get your wife to drop off a package at the post office.

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It’s not about ordering people around, it’s about fairly distributing work to those you’re involved with. People won’t hate or disrespect you if you’re delegating in a fair manner.

7. Clean up your workspace

A messy workspace is no good if you want to be more organized, as it’ll just take you longer to start working and you’ll be looking for work material when it should just be in the right place all the time. Take the time clean up your workspace and spend about a minute every day organizing it as well. It really doesn’t take much clear it up, as long as you do it regularly.

8. Keep everything in one place

If you keep everything in the same place, you can easily find it later. It’s common sense really, but it needs to be common habit as well. Whenever you use something, take the time to put it back where you found it. Otherwise, you’re going to quickly build a messy and unorganized environment for yourself.

9. Throw out one thing per day

Most of use have too much junk, plain and simple. However, this can be offset with a little daily removal done. I’m sure if you look around your place you can find at least one thing to throw out. Don’t hesitate, just scan your place, grab the junk and drop it in the trash.

Over to you! Do you have any other tips for getting organized? What are they? Please leave a comment below with your answer because I’d love to hear them :)

Featured photo credit: M&Ms Sorted by Color/Mr.TinDC via flickr.com

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Ericson Ay Mires

The life coach that helps you create your perfect life with his "Ignite Your Instinct" program.

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Last Updated on April 22, 2021

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

Motivation Is Not the Answer

How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

1. Define What a Win Looks Like

In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

4 Steps to Define a Win
  • Know the outcome you desire.
  • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
  • Write the outcome down.
  • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

2. Evaluate Your Activity

Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

  • Do now
  • Plan to do it later
  • Delegate to someone else
  • Delete it

Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

  • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
  • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
  • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
  • Does this activity have to be done at all?

Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

3. Prioritize Your Calendar

If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

    But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

    “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

    Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

    Use these questions to reflect on your day:

    • What went well?
    • What didn’t go well?
    • What can I change?
    • What do I need to start doing?
    • What do I need to stop doing?

    The Bottom Line

    Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

    Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

    “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

    Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

    That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

    More on Creating Healthy Routines

    Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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