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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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How to Fight Information Overload

How to Fight Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

What you need to do is focus on these 4 steps:

  1. Set your goals.
  2. Decide whether you really need the information.
  3. Consume only the minimal effective dose.
  4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming too much information.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

The Nature of the Problem

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem. This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog post we don’t even consider reading it, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it. We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

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No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on. The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control. Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it. But first…

Why information overload is bad

It stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here. When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work, or enjoy your passion.

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So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with your goals.

1. Set your goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. What to do when facing new information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans then skip it. You don’t need it.

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If it does then it’s time for another question. Will you be able to put this information into action immediately? Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks? Or is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away? If the information is not actionable in a day or two (!) then skip it. (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant. Self-control comes handy too … it’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future then SKIP IT.

3. Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour Body,Tim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs. Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life. Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming more information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

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Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

In Closing

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance. I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over. I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

Feel free to shoot me a comment below and share your own story of fighting information overload. What are you doing to keep it from sabotaging your life?

(Photo credit: Businessman with a Lot of Discarded Paper via Shutterstock)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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