|In my first blog I wrote about my decision to leave regular employment to run my own business and more recently wrote about timing. Both of which lead nicely onto a problem I used to really grapple with – the organisational balancing act. Sometimes I was too organised, planning, sorting, tweaking to the extreme (i.e. procrastinating!), whereas in other situations I was more of a free spirit, letting things go more than I should. So what can we do – well below are some of my hints and tips for getting your organisation balanced again.
Over the last few months I’ve made a determined effort to simplify, organise and structure my approach to everything I do. And it stemmed from understanding how much time was wasted in micro-moments of disorganisation. Looking for keys before going out, searching for relevant documentation, trying to remember someone’s name from a previous meeting. In isolation these small moments appeared insignificant but as a whole used up time and energy.
Taking a considered, sustained, long term view to become organised has really helped me to move more freely, be more productive and focus on the most important things in life. In my experience:
- Don’t get organised, become organised. Organisation is an evolutionary process, that continually improves over time. Look for where you are struggling the most and focus on improving that first. Are appointments being missed, bills not being paid, valuable time being wasted? What is causing the most stress? Step back, objectively assess the cause of the problem and commit to finding a solution to resolve the issue. Books like the Slight Edge and the Compound Effect show how little practices continually done make a big difference over time.
- Don’t be seduced by the next best ‘tool’. I was a prime example of an app junkie, trying new tools but never getting anything done. Although I make use of several applications and tools now (Trello, Evernote, Insightly, Office to name a few) I’m disciplined in their use. So confront the problem in step 1 and work out the easiest way to solve it. Pinning outstanding bills on a cork board may be the easiest way, instead of apps with reminders and syncing and log ins and learning curves etc!
- Don’t try and solve things alone. Learn, find out how other people do it. Youtube is a great place for inspiration about how to start. Take what you like and leave what you don’t. Books such as ‘Getting Things Done’ are more detailed but can also help. And speak to other people. I’ve spent years refining my various approaches to organisation whether it be email, physical, organisational etc. And there are other people who will help too.
- Make sure you reflect on every aspect of your life. Are you organised at home, but not at work? Perhaps for your family but not you? Online, but not physically? Look at your current situation and really think about what different areas of your life would look like in an ideal world.
- Keep going – as mentioned in the title, organisation is a balancing act, requiring consistent attention. Little changes and improvements are better than ‘Big Bang’ sessions.
- Organisation is important, but don’t use it as an excuse for taking action. Use times of low energy to sort papers or alphabetise your DVDs. Not when you should be taking massive steps forward in your life!
I hope those points have given you food for thought – so what could you do in the next 7 days to improve your organisational balancing act? I’d love to hear so email me at email@example.com.