If you want to be productive, you must embrace organization.If you want to be productive, you must embrace organization. Click To Tweet
Some of the most successful people I know are also the most organized, and they have specific systems they use vigilantly and depend on to ensure they can get more done in less time.
Here I will share a few ways I stay organized. But there is no need to emulate what I do. You should do whatever works for you. You’re welcome to take inspiration from what follows though.
#StrategySunday Planning Sessions
Every Sunday, I plan for the week ahead and publish my minutes.
This gives me a bird’s eye view of the week ahead and what needs to be completed.
When you’ve got a lot to do, and your energy is starting to wane, things can easily slip through the cracks.
The part that eludes many is that if they’d planned well, not only would they safeguard against forgetting important appointments, but they would also be able to make more time for meditation, rest, recreation, and sleep, which would ultimately make them more effective.
Yes, it sounds counterintuitive. Because planning feels like work. That’s because it is. But it’s an important work. Just like reading. And it helps you prioritize, create more time, and approach every week with a sense of peace and confidence.Planning is work – an important work. Click To Tweet
I did not come up with the LifeSheet system. I first learned about it from James Schramko, who has a great training on it.
Schramko suggests setting up your LifeSheet within Google Drive, using Google Sheets, because of how searchable they are. This is my preference too.
I think it best to create a new LifeSheet every year and label them appropriately. This way, you can learn from each year past and avoid clutter.
Within Google Sheets, you can create tabs for anything you wish. I currently have tabs for Mission, Ideas, Concepts, Rules, Projects, Content Distribution, Post Ideas, Courses, and Medium Posts.
I could talk about each of these and share in detail what is stored in them. But suffice it to say, this is what has worked for me. And while I have taken certain ideas from Schramko, I have made my LifeSheet my own.
If you’re thinking about making your own, I would suggest doing the same. Customize your LifeSheet to serve you. That said, I’ll still offer some ideas and tips on how you can use your LifeSheet to stay organized. You can:
- Store your login information
- Track your affiliate partnerships
- Track your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Log ideas you come up with that you can’t action now (“later” file)
- Link to Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) documents
- Make it your quick link dashboard
- Sort your priorities
- Log and track your Dream 100
- Document travel plans
- And more
Desktop Calendar Pad
I have been using the same, physical, desktop calendar pad from Staples since 2016. Now I feel naked without it.
This is where I keep track of meetings (mostly virtual these days), appointments, important deadlines, and so forth.
I have never gone completely digital with my scheduling, though I certainly take advantage of digital calendar and scheduling tools as well.
Sometimes I will also log content I’ve completed in my physical calendar, so I know when to put together the next piece by.
There are other tools I use that help me stay organized to varying degrees. Here’s what they are:
- Yellow legal pad. Perfect for tracking to-do items, especially admin related tasks.
- Calendly. For scheduling appointments. I simply don’t have time for the typical back and forth on email. So, I use Calendly. I make Wednesdays and Thursdays available for ad hoc meetings and those booking can choose a time that’s convenient for them. I get notifications in my email and they are converted to local time.
- iPad. This is where I keep my #StrategySunday minutes. I use my Apple Pencil to handwrite notes.
There are a few books that have shaped my organization habits and have made a tangible difference in my work life. They are as follows:
- The 4-Hour Workweek (affiliate link) by Tim Ferriss. I blame Tim Ferriss for the de-prioritization of email in my life. I jest, but it’s kind of true. From him I learned that most communication is not life or death, make or break. It’s not urgent if it’s not urgent to you.
- Getting Things Done (affiliate link) by David Allen. Allen advocates a paper-based system for organization and productivity. As he states in his book, you can take his system piecemeal and apply it to your own efforts, which is exactly what I have done. I don’t follow GTD to the letter. I just took the parts that made sense to me and left the rest alone. As noted earlier, I utilize both a desktop calendar pad and a yellow legal pad for the paper-based part of my system.
- No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs (affiliate link) by Dan S. Kennedy. I have never come across anyone who better understands or values time as much as Kennedy does. if you want to know how to manage your time like a pro, this book is it. Kennedy’s book will also help you determine your value and exactly how much you would need to charge per hour to earn what you’re worth. The main thing I’ve done because of this book is ensure I have long blocks of “busy” time where no one can contact or distract me from my work.
The better organized you are, the more productive you will be. You will capture more ideas, prioritize better, make better use of your time, and more. As result, you will also make more.
How you organize is up to you. But I point to multiple methods and resources above that could be of tremendous help. I also publish on productivity every Wednesday, so for more tips, you can keep an eye on the blog too.
How do you stay organized? What methods have worked for you?
Let me know in the comments.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.
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