" ... be sure that everything is done properly and in order." [1 Cor.14:40. NLT]
One of the problems we all face today is that there is so much to do and so little time to do it in. This usually leads to more stress. So how to we become more relaxed, more energised, and more productive? One of the keys is to be organised.
Being organised helps your own sense of well-being and it also helps you develop a high level of trust with the people you work and interact with.
So how do you get control of your work-flow? I've just recently read David Allen's book How to Get Things Done and found it extremely helpful. He has a heap of really practical tips for getting more organised and for being more productive in both life and work.
A few of David Allen'' tips include:
- Capture everything that needs to be done in a good system, then discipline yourself to make front-end decisions about all items so that you have 'next actions' for everything.
- Short-term memory is like computer RAM. Often we experience mental overload and mental stress because we have too much on our mind. Our mind keeps working on anything yet undecided.
- Is something on your mind? Take time to clarify what the 'outcome' you desire is, then determine your 'next action'. This simple thinking process helps you feel better immediately, even before you have done anything about it! Often as little as ten seconds of thinking can help you clarify and decide, reducing stress.
- With every item that comes your way, ask 'What is the next action'? Watch your energy and productivity lift.
- Relaxed control comes from having clear outcomes, a list of next actions, and reminders in a trusted system that you review regularly.
- A lot of stress comes from internal commitments we have made to ourself, many of them unrealistic.
- Have you made too many agreements? If so, either say 'no', do it, or re-negotiate.
- If you clarify and organise a lot of the seemingly mundane 'stuff' in your world, you will clear your mind and release a new level of creativity. It's a 'bottom-up' approach.
- Have a 'dumpster day'. Sort through everything you have and throw out everything you really don't need.
- Make your email inbox just that - an 'in box. Don't let it become a holding box. Make it your processing station. Process items as soon as possible. What do you do with each email? If you can't DELETE it, either DO it (if it will take 2 minutes or less), DELEGATE it (to someone better suited to respond to it), or DEFER it (schedule a time later for you to do it).
- Organise tasks by 'context' - Calls to make, At desk, At home, On computer (online), On computer (offline), With (whoever), In (whatever meeting), etc. That way, when you're in a specific environment, you can do tasks relevant to your context.
- For each task, consider the time available and the energy you have at that moment.
- Make an appointment with yourself every week for a Weekly Review. Ideally, you will need 1-2 hours. Early Friday afternoon is a good time, if possible. Use this time to keep your system up to date. Process new items, review the week, plan for the coming week, empty your head of various tasks and ideas, review all projects and next actions lists, etc.
Why not set aside some extended time as soon as possible to get your world a little more organised? What a difference it could make as you move into this New Year!