"Being organized is not a character trait that some people possess and others don’t. It is a necessity for anyone who really wants to succeed. This chapter is about determination and commitment, and you have to commit to getting organized. If not, you will have to deal with drama that you could have avoided, and you’ll miss out on opportunities to get better outcomes. Being organized includes the following.
Knowing exactly what you need to do and doing it.
Blocking time in your schedule to do these tasks.
Knowing how to manage your time and making sure that what is important always gets done.
Having impeccable follow-through. Letting things “fall through the cracks” is never acceptable. If you mean to do something, do it. If you said you would call someone after a meeting to engage them in the next phase, call them.
Use your resources effectively.
Plan ahead and be prepared for contingencies.
Create systems for things that are ongoing to increase your efficiency.
Prevent interruptions, distractions and chaos.
And much more!
To be organized, you first need to get crystal clear on your priorities. What is most important to you? Once you know how to prioritize, it will be easier to figure out how to spend your time and resources.
Second, state what outcomes you seek and list what action steps need to be taken to create those outcomes. Make sure to have an ambitious but realistic deadline for each action step. Know what you will need to succeed. For example, if someone needs to contribute, make sure they are available and they know exactly what is expected of them and when.
Once you have a plan, block time in your schedule to execute the action steps you created. Treat every entry in your calendar as a “non-negotiable” activity. Even when there is nobody to keep you accountable, you need to create a habit of staying accountable to yourself. It is very easy to lose sight of your vision or forget why following through on your plan is of the utmost importance.
People also have a tendency to rationalize why they can push back the task and go do something else. That is called task avoidance and happens when you attach more pain than pleasure to the idea of doing the work. You can focus on all of the positive reasons why you want to work toward your goals and minimize your negative feelings about having to work instead of doing something else.
But let me give you a shortcut. When something is scheduled, just do it!
Don’t think about your mood of what else you could be doing. Trust that when you created your action plan and your schedule, you made good decisions and stick to it. Why argue with yourself?
People sometimes get excited about too many things and start them but never finish them. Overall, they spend a lot of time and energy but are so scattered that their dreams don’t come to fruition. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of following through in everything that you do.
When you don’t, you are letting yourself down, and you often disappoint other people too. Following through shows that you are persistent with all important things, big or small. Never underestimate the value of small action items. They matter and have a compounding effect.
That ten-minute phone call you didn’t make could have opened doors for you. That follow-up e-mail you didn’t bother writing could have started a valuable partnership. People get busy, distracted, overwhelmed, and they drop the ball. It seems to have become socially acceptable, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is a self-sabotaging behavior.
The good news is that it is very easy to set reminders on your phone, alerts on your calendar, or even use project management tools to avoid such problems.
When you organize your tasks, look for ways to be efficient. For example, if you have to drive to several locations in one week, make sure to create the most efficient route and avoid peak traffic hours.
If you have tasks that require a completely different state of mind and energy level, schedule the similar ones back to back so you don’t have to waste precious time shifting from one state to another.
Don’t hesitate to delegate, automatize or outsource the tasks that can be done just as well, or better, by someone else or by technology.
Before you start working on a task, decide how much time you need to allocate to it, and use a timer to make sure you won’t go over. We often use as much time as is available, so keep an eye on the clock to avoid spending more time than necessary. Turn off anything that can distract you, such as social media pages or instant messaging.
Develop a habit of thinking in terms of return on investment when you allocate any resources, such as time or money.
It’s not about cost or expenses but what you will get out of it? Will spending resources bring you closer to any of your goals? If not, don’t do it. Understand the difference between an expense and an investment. It will help you greatly optimize your allocations and results.
Keep in mind that time is your most precious resource because unlike money, when it is spent, you can’t get it back or earn more of it. An organized person knows how to create systems so that other people will not hijack their day.
You can set boundaries for people to know when they may or may not contact you and reduce interruptions that way. You can create clear processes and guidelines for people to be able to act more independently instead of coming to you to solve things they could have handled on their own.
Know that you can keep your personal power and have a relatively strong level of control over your time and on how your day unfolds. Take a moment to think of ways you can become more efficient and complete the following sentences.
I can save time by…
I can stop doing…
I can spend less time on…
I can delegate… to …
I can empower others to take initiative by…"
If you are highly committed to getting organized and optimizing your time allocation to get the best results possible and enjoy a wonderful work-life balance, I invite you to schedule a complimentary strategy session with me.
About the author: Since 2010 Dr. Audrey Reille has empowered thousands of professionals through one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking engagements, online courses, and interviews on international telesummits. Audrey is the go-to Success Coach for leaders in higher education administration. She empowers them to thrive by reducing stress, optimizing strategies, improving professional relationships, and developing a strong and empowered mindset.