A reporter recently interviewed me about how to be more organized. Which I secretly found funny, because I don’t feel particularly organized. At all. And yet people frequently tell me that I am the most organized person they know.
Pfft. Obviously, they don’t know the real me, right? Just because I color-code my file folders, divide my work into 30-minute increments, and constantly update the lists I keep of my other lists . . .
You know what? Maybe I am more organized than I think.
Anyway, here are my top three tips:
1. Defragment Your Brain
First thing in the morning, jot down a list of everything that’s on your mind at the moment.
Those things are nagging at your attention, which means they are dragging down your energy and distracting you, preventing you from doing your best.
Get them out of your head and onto paper, where it’s easier to deal with them.
2. Prioritize Your A-B-Cs
Go through your list and label everything A, B, or C.
“A” means that it absolutely must get done today or you’ll face consequences.
“B” means that you should do it.
“C” means that it would be nice to get it done, but it’s optional.
After that, look at only your “A” tasks and number them for urgency: A1, A2, or A3. A1 means that it’s on fire. A2 means that it’s urgent. A3 means that it’s important, but not an emergency.
Start your day by tackling one of your A1 tasks. Do nothing else until it’s done, and then handle each of the other A1 tasks. Then move on to an A2 task. Finish all of those before you start your A3 tasks.
Don’t do anything else until all of your “A” tasks are done. Eliminate distractions. Be ruthless if you have to. You will instantly turbocharge your level of organization and productivity.
3. Reflect to Improve
Every night, reflect back on the day. List three things that went great about today, and one thing you could have done differently. If it’s something you can do tomorrow, add it to your to-do list.
But seriously, don’t worry about color-coding your file folders. Unless you’re into that, in which case I totally understand.