There's nothing worse than feeling like you're drowning in your to-do list and never getting anything done. I know how it feels because I've been there. There is a way out though! In this blog post, we will talk about two strategies for getting organized and increasing productivity so that you can get on top of everything on your plate. Ready? Let's do this! To get reminded of new blog posts and happenings at the cabin, click here to get on the list!
First here are some general tips to get your mind focused on organization and productivity.
1. Start a new task list on your phone or computer
2. Set aside time for cleaning and organizing every day
3. Keep a tidy desk - don't let papers pile up, make sure you have enough space to work with, and get rid of anything that doesn't belong there
4. Create a place for everything in the office - organize by type of item (examples include paper clips, pens, stapler) I use those plastic magazine holder and label them to keep my notebooks, and other projects I am working on to cut down on time spent looking for the item I need at the last minute.
5. Use labels to keep track of items in drawers and cabinets
6. Clean out your inbox regularly - delete any emails that are not needed anymore. Start folders for follow up or to address later and get them out of your inbox.
7. Reward yourself afterwards! You deserve it!
Who knew that being organized could increase your productivity so dramatically? It's true. And it's not just an urban legend or a catchphrase with no real meaning. The reason why being organized can have such a profound effect on your productivity is because you are able to spend less time looking for things and more time getting work done. This blog post will give you two strategies to get yourself organized and be more productive in the process!
Have you ever felt like your life was one giant mess? I know the feeling all too well. But before I tell you how to get organized, let me first share my story with you. It started back in the beginning of July when I started with some digestive issues. Suddenly, everything that used to be just fine wasn't anymore - my days were jam packed with periods of nausea and other functions that caused things to leave my body! The work wasn’t getting done. I have always been a list person but getting behind with not feeling well, I found myself rewriting the lists for the next week with few things checked off from the previous week. This was very time consuming and the lists were long. I have 3 businesses going, my husband owns his own auto repair shop and I still work at the hospital 3 days per week. I started to work upstairs at the dining room table just to spend some time with my husband but before you knew it, my dining room table had become my office!!! Little by little all the things I needed got carried up the stairs from the office to the table. It was getting out of control!
My business mentor, Susan Sly who actually wrote a book on becoming more productive “The Have it All Woman” has been teaching productivity skills for a long time. She recently taught us in our mastermind group to have a productivity journal. I like to use the inexpensive composition notebooks that I stock up on during the “back to school” sales. I have one journal for each business. Completed tasks go into the journal. If you are a “list” person and this is how you must roll, this is a place to journal your business, work, or home activities. Heck you could even have one for each of your children to keep all their homework assignments, papers to turn in, class activities to keep everyone organized. Want to know what needs to be done, check your child’s journal. Do you want to share the task with your partner? Each take a journal for one or two kids and easy peasy, no searching through back packs etc. to try and keep things straight!
Another advantage of having a Productivity Journal is that you have something in writing to document the time and effort you are putting into your business. Check with your tax professional on the exact rules that pertain to your situation but you must document at least a part-time effort daily to show you are working on your home business. Susan is married to a C.P.A. so she gets first-hand information to share!! For each business, work, or home category write down at least 3 items per day for each one to accomplish daily. No more. Don’t spread your self too thin. If you have fewer categories, you may be able to do more but the idea is to choose the 3 most important tasks that need to get done that day and get them done.
Let’s take this whole thing to the next level. I wanted desperately to get rid of all my lists. I had lists for everything! Now in my early 60s, if it is not written down it will not get done!
It starts with a card file box. You choose your size. 3x5, 4x6, 5x7 whatever floats your boat. Next get some colored index cards. Sort the colors by the different categories you need tasks for. I have a color for each business and then I have a color for me and my personal items I need to get done such as purchase a birthday gift, schedule a hair appointment, you get the idea.
Instead of writing a big long list of everything take one task, take one item and write it on the appropriate color index card. I keep these cards sorted by color and keep them in the card box with 1-31 number dividers. If something is day specific, I will put the card behind the number of the day of the month. You could take it one step further and purchase month index tabs to put in your file box as well.
Sunday nights I update the cards with the new “to do” items. I get organized for the week. Each night after I look in the file-box I pick 3 cards from each category. This is my to do list for the next day. Once in awhile I don’t get them all done. It goes back in the box for the next day or I leave it out as one of tomorrow’s 3 cards/tasks. Yeah!! No more lists. I write it once and I never have to write that same task down again. Each night I prepare for the next day and after jotting down appointments I schedule my time to complete my "cards".
What do you do with the cards when you complete a task? Put them in your Productivity Journal to support what you are spending time on. I write an abbreviated version in my productivity journal or you could save the cards as documentation.
I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner!! I love this system and I hope you can gleam some nuggets from my struggle and use one of these strategies to help you stay organized and reduce your “list load”. Maybe you can tweak these two strategies and make them your own. We would love to hear about your “personal touch” and how you made these ideas work for you so come back and drop in some comments with your experience.
If you want to be more productive, get some control back in your life, it’s time to ditch your old-fashioned “to do list” and embrace the new wave of productivity journals and the card system! We know that this sounds like a big change but if these two strategies can help us cut our work load in half, they are worth trying! We combined productivity journaling with an index card system for maximum efficiency so you can focus on what matters most without getting overwhelmed by all the things you have to do.
Our productivity journal system will give you the tools to organize and prioritize what’s important in your life so that tasks are accomplished, but not forgotten or neglected. Plus, we recommend throwing away those cumbersome "to do" lists for good! Hope this has been beneficial and we would love to hear about your productivity tips!
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