May 3, 2010

How to Get Organized for a More Productive Life

BY John Paul Narowski IN Productivity One Comment

Nothing makes you feel more unsettled, lazy and unproductive than piles of physical junk lying around your office. If your personal space feels cluttered and hectic, how can you possibly feel in control and productive?  There’s nothing worse then knowing the hour glass is running low on a deadline and you can’t remember what pile of stuff you have that vital form in.

Take control of your work and commit to an organized work flow and the dividends that pay off in productivity will make you glad you took the time.

Make the Decision – Get Organized

Outside forces (like this blog post) can’t make you organized.  You have to truly want to get organized and make the decision to do so.  This decision is the first brick on the road to organized bliss.  Being disorganized is often the culmination of not making many decisions.  You don’t know where something goes or are more interested in something else so you just throw it “wherever”. You don’t have to go crazy and become super organized overnight.  Start with one small area at work or at home and get that in order.  By instituting a reliable organizing process, you’ll be able to find things faster and tasks will seem less daunting. Everything will be accessible so you can move through problems faster.

Organize Your Space

You need to get crazy minimalist!  I know it’s hard to imagine parting with that T-Shirt from college or that business card from the trade show two years ago, but if you haven’t used it in the last 6 months then it’s time to go your separate ways.
Take everything in the space you are organizing and separate it into three piles:

  1. Things you use all the time
  2. Items you hardly use
  3. Things you never use

Rid yourself of anything in that last category by donating or throwing it away.  Anything in the first two piles should be organized according to their designation.  Those questionable items should be given a hard look.  If you’re on the fence then put them in a box and somewhere out of the way.  If you use them in the next couple of months find a place for them, if not it’s time to go bye-bye.

Upkeep is Key

Now that you have a spot for all of your vital things make sure you return them to their positions when you’re done with them.  Going back to your ways is a slippery slope and it only takes a few things out of place to make the whole system go to the dogs.

Write It Down

If you have a smart phone, personal planner or even just a simple piece of paper and pencil accessible at all times you can write down important information that pops up through out the day.  No more having to shuffle through stacks of papers and stick notes to find that number; organize your information like you do your desk or closet and you’re ahead of the game.

I’ve been hacking at various business ideas since I was 16. I’m a full stack developer and love crafting user experiences. I’ve been nose deep in code since I put the legos down, and built several successful businesses in the process. I’ve lost some hair, gained some experience and throughly enjoyed the journey.

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