As someone who wears lots of “hats” and is involved in many projects, organizing all my activities can become very overwhelming at times. I’ve tried many different systems and what I’ve found is that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all organizational tool. But, there is something you can take from each one to create a tool that’s best for you.
Here are a few elements I’ve taken from systems to customize one that works for me, and why it works, so you can determine if it’s the right fit for you too!
- Lists made by time needed: the approach puts tasks on lists, not by importance, but by the amount of time it will likely take to complete the task. For example, making a call to set an appointment would likely only take a minute or two, so it goes on my “5 minutes or less” list. Writing then new policies for my board work is more likely to take an hour or more, so it goes on my “1-2 hour” list. Then there are things like site visits, conferences or trainings that go on a “full day” list. This way, when I’m planning my day or week I can look at my list and fill in my hours each day with activities I know I can complete in the time I’m allotting. I especially like the “5 minutes or less” list – when I get a few free minutes I can grab this list and quickly take care of a few items on it!
- Lists made by where I will be: I often work from what I call my “mobile office” (aka: my car) because I’m driving to/from a conference, or between meetings, or more likely, driving my teenage daughter to/from some activity and stuck waiting in my car for her to finish! So I put things on lists based on where I can get that work done (home/office/car/library) or what I need in that environment such as Internet or No Internet.
- There is an entire system called a Kanban (Google this, you’ll find lots of tools), and it’s a great system I use for any projects I have going, but my favorite part I use for lots of things: The Pen. This is a place where you put tasks/projects that you are working on but are waiting on someone else to give you info, return a call or in any other way is holding up your next move. I have a cardboard page in my planner that I’ll stick Post-It® notes on with the project/task and who I’m waiting on. It not only shows me who is holding up a project, but ensures I don’t drop the ball just because it was tossed to someone else.
I hope one of these ideas works for you too, and I’d love to hear what tips you have for staying organized too!