Originally posted 2011-05-03 13:55:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
You aren’t a cookie cut from a generic mold (even though you’re sweet). You deserve more than a cookie cutter approach to organizing. Methods you’ve read about in books may partially work, or not work at all. Or they’ll work for awhile but then something happens to make them stop working.
That’s why it’s so important to have your own personalized system.
Your system doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. It doesn’t even have to look like a system to anyone else. What matters is that it works and its flexible (to accommodate your expanding, changing life). It has to be simple enough that if you drop it for awhile you can pick it up again without much grief.
Mainly, your organizing system has to suit who you are and what your life is like, today.
That’s why I emphasize awareness and intentionality. You know things about yourself, like, you’d rather have things on a shelf than in a drawer. Here’s an example, featuring multiple calendars. Here’s another one, from me.
I’ve tried on several occasions to use online or computer task lists and I never stick to it. I revert to small pads of paper that I keep next to my computer. That works fine for me. Although I’m on the computer all day, having the task list on there just never felt natural to me. My hand was always reaching for a pen.
My system is not terribly tidy or photogenic.
It’s a cycle of writing down notes and to-do’s and then putting the notes somewhere for safekeeping (in Evernote, usually. So, yes, I do type them) and rewriting my to do lists by hand as things get done or just dumped off the list.
There’s rarely a time when you’d look at my desk and say, “my, how organized!” That’s because I just got off a call and have a page of notes, or I haven’t crossed off enough items to decide it’s time to rewrite my list.
It’s always in progress. Always.
Why does this work for me?
- I like a to do list I can see all the time. I don’t want to navigate to a new window to view it. That bugs me.
- I can easily experiment with new formats and schemes, such as making categorized lists, drawing different bullet shapes, or drawing boxes around tasks to highlight them. All these things can be done instantly with paper and pen.
- I can stuff a list in my pocket and go out and do errands without synchronizing anything.
- I can spread out multiple pages on my desk and compare them and reorder them effortlessly.
This is just one example of how I discovered a hybrid system that works for me, based on my reading, client experience and, mostly, self awareness. There’s no reason to use a system just because a book says so, or you paid money for it.
Want help discovering how to organize your time and your stuff in ways that feel natural and are easy and satisfying to use? I’m thinking up a way to offer you a free sample of this, so stay tuned! Or, ahem, go to the Hire Me page.