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How To Be Super Organized And Quickly Get Things Done

How To Be Super Organized And Quickly Get Things Done
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Stuck on how to be organized? With a few handy tips and tricks, you can stay on top of that to-do list and power through your day.

Start the night before

Each evening, plan the important things that need to be done the next day. Whether you write using old school pen and paper or an app, just jot down your thoughts so you can park your brain for the night knowing you will hit the ground running the next day.

Divide up big tasks

When a task feels too big to face, it’s easy to put it off. Set a timer on your phone for 15 minutes, and work without distraction for that time. Get up, wander about, stretch your legs and come back to it. Slicing away at tasks like this allows you to plough through and get things done without feeling overwhelmed.

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Mind sweep your brain

Sometimes your mind can feel so full of ideas, lists, tasks, projects and odd things to remember that it can be impossible to focus. Sit down for half an hour with a pen and paper and get everything in your head out into a huge list. Then, you can start dividing up your tasks and allocate time for them. Once your have cleared your head, you can crack on with the most urgent tasks.

Prioritize

Learning how to prioritize is so important in the quest for super organization. Give each task on your daily list a ranking and order them from the most important to the least, and work your way through. When two things are equally important, make a decision and just start – use your timer method to chip away at your list.

Allocate tasks on a calendar

It can be really useful to cross-check your task planning against a calendar. Plan your tasks in time slots in your diary or online calendar so you can see how your working day looks. Add repeating tasks and jobs to specific times and days so they become habitual, and you always know they are booked into your schedule.

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Meditate

Meditation is a wonderful tool for productivity. When you are mindful and present in the moment, productivity can be so much better. Use tools like Headspace or some meditation sequences on YouTube to take a few minutes out and calm the mind – you will reap rewards in the amount you achieve with a clear mind.

Delegate

Not taking everything on yourself is a major part of being organized. Outsource or delegate tasks that aren’t your strong suit, and crack in with things you excel at.

Use tech to work for you

Apps such as Zapier and IFTT.com are wonderful tools to hack your workflow and make it work for you. Set up tasks to help maximize your time, such as automating blog posts across networks and bookmarking sites, make research come to you, and automate responses. The possibilities are endless and empowering.

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Step away from the noise

Step away from your email and social media for chunks of time to avoid distractions. Constant reach is counterproductive to concentration, so promise yourself chunks of time to just crack on with tasks.

Be disciplined

Staying on task can require some discipline. Get yourself in the mindset of work by scheduling time off, rewarding yourself with breaks, and dividing up the tasks you dislike into smaller chunks. Better still, delegate.

Do the things you hate first

If you have been putting something off for a while, nip that procrastination in the bud by tackling your least favorite jobs first. That kick starts your day, and you can look forward to working on the jobs you love.

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Step away from the inbox

Emails can be a real time vacuum for productivity. Use Awayfind to set alerts for crucial emails, and schedule time to check the inbox once or twice a day. Set up a folder for non-urgent emails to reply to, and set time in your calendar to empty that folder twice a week to avoid being buried by communications.

Use tech to help you plan

There are many project planning and “to do” list apps on the market, so find one that suits your personal working style. Azendoo is an easy-to-use manager that links with Evernote to plan your tasks and information, and has easily moveable tasks to re-order and prioritize in a visual way.

Schedule but be flexible

Use your schedule and task list as a guide, but be open to flexibility as jobs change and circumstances throw you a curve ball. Be prepared to reorder a list dependent on requirements, but stay disciplined to get things done and earn your super-organized superhuman status!

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More by this author

Jo Gifford

Design Guru, Writer, and Founder The Dexterous Diva and the Killer Content Academy.

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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