June 29, 2007

Life's too Short

I am not perfect but I know where everything is and what I need to do today.

I do not have a formula just simple habits that I apply to work, home, family, hobbies, life baisically. Rather than show you how I organize something, like my desk or closet, here are some examples that can be used repeatedley.

REDUCE before organizing. If you need to organize a closet or a schedule start by removing. Buying a lot of closet organizers will still leave your closet crammed with crap. Same concept applies to managing your time; you can organize a packed schedule, but it'll still full of tasks. The only solution is to reduce and simplify. If your closet has 30 shirts, get rid of 10 (a third). If you have 100, get rid of 30. Likely, there are shirts in there you haven't seen, let alone worn, in over a year! Ditto for your schedule: have 20 things to do today? remove 7 that can wait until the next day or week.

Write it down now, always. Our minds are wonderful things, but they leak like a sieve. We forget things, it's a fact you should accept. Instead of using your mind as storage, write it down. Carry a small pocket notebook and write things down immediately. Then, add your ideas and tasks to your calender or to-do list. Keep ONE calender and ONE list only - it's key if you want results.

Have one inbox & process. Put all incoming stuff (mail, messages, magazines) in there. Once a day process or sort everything in that box until its empty. Take an item out of the inbox and decide what to do with it right away: toss it, delegate it, file it, put it on your to-do list, or do it now. Do the same thing to the next item, until your inbox is empty. Don't defer these decisions for later.

A place for everything.. Have a place for each item in your life. Where do your car keys go? Pick a spot (next to the door is best) and you'll never lose them again. Where do your pens go? How about your magazines? Find a "home" for each item, and if it doesn't have one, designate one. When you find something that you know doesn't belong there, find its home rather than leaving it there for later.

Put it away now. A lot of people have a habit of putting something on a table or counter top with the intention of "putting it away later". This is an easy way for things to get disorganized and eventually overwhelming. It only takes a few seconds to save a lot of time cleaning, sorting and organizing later. At first, you'll catch yourself and have to force yourself to put it away now. Before you know it, it will be second nature.

Clean as you go. It is much easier to clean two pots before dinner than a sink full off dirty pots, plates, glassware & utinsils after everyone is done eating. The Same principle applies to almost everything we do. We are more likely to do things if they are easier and smaller increments are usually easier.

Develop routines & systems. After everything is uncluttered and organized it's ok to sit back and enjoy the pleasantness of it. However dont fall back to old habits and let disorganization and clutter take over again. Define the times in your day that you want to focus on a particular activity. For example: every morning between 9 - 10AM process your mail. Trash it, file it, or pay it but get it out of the "inbox".

These are obvious and simple principles that you may not be applying to your daily life. Make the most of your time and your life!