In order to find a state of BALANCE, one must be organized. If all the different aspects in our life are to have an equal or proportional presence, we must have some mechanism to keep each part of our BALANCE equation in check. I have come to rely on my organization to grease the gears and help keep things running smoothly.
Everyone is different and has their own sense of organization, or lack thereof, and sometimes organization is a lot easier said than done. But I believe I have found ONE easy tip anyone can do to get and stay organized…
Write it down.
Write it all down…write down that errand you have to run before the week gets away from you, write down that reminder to buy your mom’s birthday gift before it’s too late to ship and arrive on time, write down that new bucket list item so its chances of happening increase, write down your next startup idea so you at least have a shot at becoming your own boss one day.
Write it down.
Too easy? Case in point. It really is that simple. If you are looking for a little something more, here are five more ways I’ve found that can take your organization to the next level now that you are writing it down:
- Write it down immediately. As soon as it comes to mind, write it down. As the day goes on, the chances increase that you won’t remember your thought as well or even at all.
- Write it down in the same place. It doesn’t help if your thoughts are written all over the place. Writing everything in one place creates a source of truth you can always rely on, especially for those times you can’t rely on your mind. If you can’t write it on your “master list” at that time or place, still write it down, and make a point to get it there.
- Categorize and prioritize your list. Now that you have written your thoughts down, give it some meaning by grouping and listing the items in an order that means something to you. It can be as open-ended as what you want and need to do in the short- and long-term, or as granular as determining what you want to do down to the day.
- Revisit your list daily. If you are writing it down, immediately and in the same place, this one is pretty easy, but the intent here is that you are revisiting your list to not only add, but re-evaluate based on your ever-changing priorities.
- Cross it off. Reward yourself with the satisfaction of crossing it off your list. Once you’ve done something, cross it off, whether that’s hitting the backspace or scribbling it out of your notebook. Out of sight, out of mind.
Organization is meant to help you, not own you. Once written down, view it as your dynamic plan, not a static contract. And the best part is, it doesn’t have to be pretty and it only has to make sense to you!
There are tons of free apps to help with organization and paper and pen will never fail you. Personally, I have found the iPhone Notes app works great for me. It’s the equivalent of a stack of post-its, but always at my fingertips. Whenever I have an idea or to-do, I write it down in that one place. Full disclaimer: I do slightly break my own rule of writing everything in one place, but hear me out. I intentionally write all of my to-dos for work in a separate place to help compartmentalize my work so it doesn’t follow me home. I apply the same concepts though and use a just-as-fancy Word document saved locally on my work computer.
Whether it’s my work Word document or personal Notes list, I write everything down. I write it down as soon as I can, down to the day, constantly revisiting it and always updating it, whether that be with new items, their prioritization or crossing them off. It is not something that controls me, but instead something that helps me manage my days by ensuring I am getting my daily dose of each part of my BALANCE equation based on what is going on around me. What others might see as a task list, I see as a list of tangible and measurable goals to make sure I GSD.
I do believe in organized chaos. One size does not fit all…it is whatever works for you to create a method for the madness of all your thoughts, tasks and priorities that can change any given minute. You can do it all, but not all at once, so do yourself a favor and write it down.