Thanks to everyone who came out to the first ‘Get Organized!’ workshop tonight. For those who couldn’t make it, here are the slides and handout. There are links to additional resources on the last slide. There are also some additional notes below and things to get ready for the next sessions.
I realized that a lot of the ‘tips’ tonight were about paring down and balancing activities, but sometimes that just isn’t possible – or sometimes people are way more productive if they’re really busy! So for those with lots on their plate:
- Think about ways of layering (i.e. multi-tasking) and grouping items to try and maximize your time.
- Delegate or share work with people if you can. Like cutting things out of your schedule, learning to ask for help and pass things off to other people can be really hard, but very liberating once you get there!
- I talked a bit about paying attention to your productivity and concentration levels – one example of that would be figuring out if you prefer to do a bunch of action items for project A and THEN action items for project B, or to do all of your emails for all of your projects, and then tackle another type of task. Depending on your work style and how you process information, either way might work better for you. You can switch topics/projects frequently, or switch tasks frequently – or both – whatever keeps you interested/motivated.
- Take breaks.
Also, if you’re the kind of person who freaks out and doesn’t do anything when you have too much to do (like me) – don’t make one giant scary to-do list. Keep separate, smaller lists for each category – maybe on different pages of a notebook. Or keep your master list, but really just focus on your short-term list at any given time, and consider everything else ‘back burner’ items that you can forget about until you get through the short-term list.
Finally, remember that just because you’ve tried and failed to manage your time better in the past, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It just means you need to figure out why it didn’t work before and change that. You need to be doing something different – the right different thing – for it to work this time. And you can!
If a major overhaul is too daunting right now, change just a couple of things – or maybe that’s all you need. You can try a two-week challenge to kick-start your new system – set clear goals, like spending x number of hours on homework or writing everything in your planner and taking it everywhere, for two weeks or a month and just focus on accomplishing those basic goals. With that end date in sight it can make the change a lot less daunting. Then you can assess how things went and move forward from there.
If you’re coming next week…
For the next three sessions, which are all about organizing your space and your ‘stuff’, whether that’s books, clothes, food, paper files, office supplies, ideas, or computer files, start making note of:
- Things you look for but can’t find,
- Things you need but don’t have, and
- Things you use very frequently.