“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
Time, just like planes, is flying faster and faster as technology continues to evolve.
Thus, being more efficient and productive is crucial to keep up with it.
Having no organizing plan is like flying the plane without a clear destination in mind.
You’ll end up running out of gas, and crashing somewhere toward the unknown destination.
How to Organize Your Life?
1. Have the right organizing system
Do like big companies, and work with an organizing system.
Answer this simple question:
If you ran a business, would you rather have your competitors working “on the go”, or with a strong organizing system?
Of course, you would rather have them working “on the go”.
Because deep inside, you know how powerful an organizing system can be.
As you read the next points, you’ll understand what an efficient organizing system is.
2. Ask yourself a crucial question
Before working on your to-do list, ask yourself a crucial question:
If I had to accomplish only one thing during that day, what would it be?
You just figured out what is your most important task.
Once you complete this task, everything else will fall in place.
Furthermore, you will be more focused and relaxed on your other duties as you have already accomplished the most important one.
Choose a day every week.
Mine is Sunday.
Write down everything you need to accomplish during that week.
Then, set a to-do list for every day of the week.
The goal is to not be overwhelmed, and to keep it as easy as possible.
Thus, try to not put the most difficult tasks during the same days.
Also, the checklist is what made me a bookworm.
Every day, I had to read for at least 15 minutes, until it became a habit.
The checklist is crucial to take control over your life, and to trace a clear path towards the finish line.
4. Have the right Focus
You should always focus on one task at a time.
I know that life is overwhelming, and that new responsibilities keep adding up, but if you don’t focus on one task at a time, you will probably end up not accomplishing anything at all.
Focusing on multiple duties at a time is a great way to be overwhelmed, and to weaken your project end results.
Also, as you are getting overwhelmed, you will most likely end up procrastinating on all of them.
5. Being ahead
It’s simple, you are either ahead, or behind of time, there is no in-between.
If you’re only “on time”, a slight delay can put you far behind.
Having a strong plan and starting to work on projects earlier than expected will provide you with the opportunity to take full control of it.
If you start just on time, or a bit late, your project will control you.
As an example, if you’re a student, start reading your chapters before your first class.
If you are just in time, and there’s a theory that you don’t understand, you run the risk of running late.
6. Having a place where you put everything
Get a box where you can put everything.
As we get back home after a long day at work, we are tempted to throw our stuff on the desk, or on the closest available convenience.
Thus, having a box where you can put all your stuff is a great way to keep your desk organized.
It’ll seem less overwhelming to put everything back into place afterward.
6 reasons why you will benefit from a personal organizing system
Efficiency and productivity interest you?
Would you like to accomplish more, in less time?
If you didn’t, I highly recommend reading these books!
What about you?
Do you have a personal organizing system?
Is it useful?
Discover my opinion on personal organizing systems, and why everyone should have one.
The 2 schools of personal organizing systems
I’ve had a profound interest in these systems for many years.
They are classified in two categories:
1. Complete systems:
Complete systems are flawless, and are able to manage all incoming information.
The most popular system is GTD (for “Getting Things Done”) by David Allen, and its simplified equivalent, the ZTD system (for “Zen To Done”) by Leo Babauta.
2. Minimalists systems:
Minimalist systems are about doing the strict minimum, and promotes tasks delegation.
The best-seller Tim Ferris The 4-Hour Workweek book is a perfect example.
Obviously, the complete and the minimalist organizing systems are in total opposition!
One wants to manage while requiring a strong and comprehensive system, where the other recommend to look for the strict minimum.
In some cases, the minimalist system recommends to forget about having a daily to-do list.
Now that you know about 2 of the most influential systems, the question is whether you need a personal organizing system or not.
My answer is clear, yes you do, but not in any way.
Let me explain…
Reason #1: Remembering your ideas
An organizing system must take your ideas into account.
For example: Having a little notebook with you at all time, and writing down your ideas before they disappear in the air.
When I am trying to find new ideas for a project, or for a blog post, I often end up with a brain fog.
Ideas come to me in the most unexpected activities; when taking a shower, when driving, when having a discussion, and many other circumstances.
Having a notebook or a smartphone app to write down your ideas is a must!
Reason #2: Defining clear goals
An idea is nothing but an abstract and immeasurable desire.
The most common ideas are; “I want to make money” or “I want to be happier.”
You won’t take action because of your ideas and desires alone.
That’s when a good organizing system takes place.
It can transform an Idea to a goal, then dividing it into sub-goals.
From these sub-goals, you can introduce a to-do list.
Related Reading: Goal Setting Is Paramount to Your Success
Reason #3: Measuring your progress
If you can’t measure your progress, you will often give up on your projects.
An organizing system must allow you to clearly identify your projects position.
It must allow you to answer these three fundamental questions:
Past: when did I start?
Present: where do I stand? At what percentage from reaching my goal am I? 10%, 50%, 75%?
Future: What’s next?
Reason #4: Taking a step back and redefining your strategy
This point flows directly from reason #3.
When measuring your progress, you may realize that you took a wrong direction, or that you’re doing something wrong.
An organizing system allows you to redefine and to adapt your strategy in real-time.
The process is called “continuous improvement” and in my opinion, it’s the pillar of a good organizing system.
Reason #5: Saving time
“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” – Anonymous
One often overlooked reason: an organizing system must allow you to save time!
If the system is more complicated to implement than the project itself, you can throw it in the trash!
It must be simple, and making you more productive.
The implementation complexity is one of the main criticisms of the GTD method.
Reason #6: Accomplishing your dreams!
The last reason is a little more abstract, but oh so important!
How can you accomplish your biggest life’s projects without an effective organizing system?
This is only my point of view, but if you have strong ambitions and projects, an organizing system is vital.
Which system should you choose?
How can you implement it?
Related Reading: 4 Surprising Reasons Why You Haven’t Found Your Passion
The best organization system: the hybrid system!
In my opinion, the best organizing system isn’t mentioned in the first paragraph.
My vote goes to the hybrid system!
It’s a mix between the complete, and the minimalist system.
It must be able to consider all of your ideas, but also (especially) giving you the ability to filter bad ones.
And of course, it must meet the 6 reasons expressed above.
I hope you enjoyed the article! Don’t forget, sharing is sexy!