As a professional organizer, every person I meet admits that there is some aspect of their life they feel they “just have to get organized”. Most of us are compelled to make New Years resolutions a promise to ourselves of what we are going to do and to change. As far as New Year’s resolutions go, I’m positive that the pressing need to get organized is the #2 resolution for everyone, right after, the ever- elusive "going get in shape"
As busy businesswomen and entrepreneurs, we are often also the point person for all things concerning our households. And disorganization can hit us hard! There's a mountain of to-do and must-do items, an overflowing inbox of emails as well as people and things to handle and manage. Here three things you can do create a smoother, more organized year.
1. Organize your thoughts. The first system you need is a system for capturing your thoughts; ideas and actions you want to do and have to take. We think we'll remember things but the reality is that if we don't write things down, we'll forget. It's important to dedicate yourself to finding that system that works for you and to use it consistently. It doesn't have to be fancy; in fact a simple system is better. It may take some time to find out what works for you but that's time well spent.
Here's my own personal system for not holding it all in my head and the three places where I capture all of life's information.
A. My notebook fits in my purse and is with me at all times. When I am anywhere: client meeting, with friends and family, when people tell me something I need to remember, I write it there. When I brainstorm, do research or work out business strategies, I write it there. I always know it’s all there in my notebook and it's chronological.
B. My white board and cork board in the home office are the charts of our bills, repair and to- do items for the house, the dogs' vet appointments, car service reminders, field trip permission slips etc. This information is best on a board so that it's visible for all to see. We all can add the things everyone else needs to know.
C. My Phone Apps. One must- have app is a good calendar and the other is a good to- do app integrated with the calendar. The Calendar in my phone is THE schedule. It doesn’t happen if its not there, and I put EVERYTHING in there. On top of the standard appointments, holidays, and birthdays I have paydays, bill due dates, anything associated with a time slot I need to remember. Is in the app. One click or swipe and I can see what I need.
2. Do away with digital information overwhelm. This is a snowballing problem for every person I know. Every entrepreneur, businesswoman, busy mom, client, and friend has this problem. The problem is: in our wonderful efforts to support each other and connect, we are overwhelming each other with information. We get emails from your friends, family, favorite publications, TV networks, businesses, organizations, professional associations, colleagues, your children’s schools, your favorite stores, blogs, clothing company, your doctors office and all the apps you use… See the problem?
No one can keep up with this bombardment, so we set ourselves up for bulging inboxes and notifications that make us feel like we can never get control over the information. We also feel we must be missing some valuable nugget that will end up costing us later. It's time to be realistic about the information, people and things you really need. One way I keep the unneeded info at bay, until I feel I need to see it, is having what I call a “junk” email address. I give it out to all those things listed above and then when I actually need the info I check the email for the latest coupon or sale.
3. This year decide to make decisions. Change your thinking about becoming and being organized. The organizing process all comes down to making decisions. What to keep, what not to keep; what you need and what you don’t need. Because this isn't easy, I work with my clients to help them with the "letting go" process. Be honest with yourself and make the decision, there is no wrong decision just make one. And then make the next decision after that; is it trash, am I donating it or giving to someone. Then make the decision to take the drive or pick up the phone. If it's staying let's decide right now where is it going to live, be stored, or displayed. Decide how you're going to capture information. Decide which email list to unsubscribe from. Decide to delete those apps you know you don’t use. Decide this year to have no apprehension toward decision-making.
In closing, I urge you; don’t decide to do this all in one day. It's a process. Do one thing at a time. Try a new note system, refine it for a while, and then move on to the schedule. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Everyone else is already doing it!
-Ms Well Put Together