Step 1: Get Organized

If you want to be on top of your shit, you’ve gotta get organized. I used to shy away from organization, claiming I was “an artist” and I needed the chaos to preserve my creativity. Just writing that bullshit made me nauseous.

Lately, in an effort to come to terms with the fact I am a 30-year old man, I’ve been putting some real effort into getting my personal affairs organized. Now’s a great time to realign yourself and reinstall some of those monitoring techniques before the economic drain of summer hits. To succeed, organization is key.

I recently revamped my personal accounting spreadsheets and to-do lists, making them crisper, cleaner, and more accessible. For instance, I’m now using a To-Do list on my Google Drive, which is both accessible from my laptop and my phone. I tend to create the tasks on my to-do list late at night when I’m in front off my laptop, and I tend to check them off when I’m out about, with my phone. This is especially true when it comes to recording the price of lunch. ($1.99 – Chicken Sandwich and a Mountain Dew)

Another chore (that ultimately becomes a lifesaver) is spending a little time with your e-mail inbox. Most people have a method to the madness of their e-mail inbox, including labels, and filters, and adding the “+spam” extension to your name in your Gmail address to start filtering out spam (didn’t know about that one? You’re welcome.) One of the most liberating experiences is unsubscribing from that mailing list you’ve come to loathe. Do it. If there’s something you missed, chances are your Facebook feed will tell you about it anyway. Ultimately, less e-mail means less stress.

The last key to my recent re-organization has been my re-emersion into note taking. In addition to my notes from work and phone calls, I’m enrolled in some online classes and I’m taking paper notes. Actual ink on paper. I believe the concepts root deeper in my brain if I force myself to physically recreate the information (versus just typing), and I have a physical copy of my notes to review, lend people, etc. It’s work product at the least.

Putting your thoughts down on paper not only commands that you organize your thoughts, but it also provides you with a supporting document for recalling any information, tips, tricks, etc. This is a little more in-depth than the journaling I’ve been doing off-and-on for years now. I’ve lost a majority of my notebooks over the years, but I’m building out another classification system for quicker access and information retrieval. Organization is the key to yielding knowledge.

How do you stay organized? With just a few days left before year’s halfway mark, now’s the perfect time to dust them and give yourself the best chance of accomplishing your goals in the second half of 2016.

CHE

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