Maybe you've heard quotes before like, “For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.”, or “Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.” I can attest to the truth in both of these.
Since I began my working career, I have learned the valuable lessons of planning out your days and weeks, setting goals and staying organized. Often, those lessons were painful because of the consequences I faced from not doing these. Thankfully, I have learned and adopted some best practices that have resulted in better productivity and peace of mind. There was a time, however, when my life was a mess of disorganization. I really had a lack of proper planning and control throughout my life.
When I think back to when I was growing up, I don't remember either of my parents being that way. In fact, it was probably just the opposite. I can remember how my mother's soup cans and spices in her kitchen pantry were a model of amazing management and classification. Or how my father would so thoughtfully arrange all of his hand and power tools on his workbench.
So what happened to me?
That's a good question. The answer is, although I saw great organization demonstrated by my parents, they never intentionally taught me the lessons. That is, until I attended a business meeting where I was introduced to the "Franklin Planner System". (By the way, this isn't an endorsement.) When I saw this presentation, it was like this amazing aha moment I had been looking for all my life. The guy presenting was awesome and he did such a wonderful job not only explaining its use, he also taught the philosophy of planning and its related benefits.
Since that day in 1987, I have used my planner just about every work day and many off days of my life. I've made it a goal to stay organized and to be as effective as I can be in everything I do. Because of setting that goal, I may not have been perfect (in fact, I haven't been!!!), but I am certain I have been much more organized and effective than I would have been without setting that goal.
I'm guessing if you're reading this, you probably have the same desire as anyone else of wanting to be more effective in your life. And staying organized is a good way of accomplishing that. So, here are a few steps to take in order to reach that goal.
Lessons to Learn
Stay teachable - nobody likes a know it all and nobody is one! Keep your eyes and ears open for ways to stay more organized.
Plan your work and work your plan - If you don't do the planning, someone else always will. The most successful and effective people in business and industry have been proven to be great planners.
Use a daily or weekly planner - I wrote about the Franklin Planner I started out with. Regardless of the brand or whether its paper or digital, begin the habit of using some type of planning system. You'll be surprised at how much more effective you'll become when you begin using tools like a planner to start your day and week.
Set goals - The importance of setting goals cannot be overemphasized! Another proven statistic is that the most successful people from all fields are those who set goals. Remember that a goal is not a goal until it's written down. Until then, it's just a dream!
Make regular progress reviews - Regularly reviewing your plans and goals is vital for future success. Take the time to review.
Regardless of how organized you are, always be on the lookout for ways to be more organized. Think of all the hours you'll gain by spending just a few minutes each day planning it out!