I love reading about organizational methods, tricks, tips, and tactics. I aspire to be one of those completely organized people to whose madness there is perfect method. My madness is still, well, just plain madness most of the time. Even my greatest achievements in the field of organization are often short-lived at best.
There are, however, a couple of steps I've taken that have consistently made me more organized, less crazy, and overall more effective.
- Rising early. During the work-week, I get up between 5:30 and 6:00. On the weekends I'm not quite as ambitious, but I do try to be moving by 8:00 or 8:30 at the latest. Extra time in the morning allows me to enjoy an established, leisurely routine rather than frantically rolling out of bed and dashing out the door. Additionally, quiet time alone in the morning allows me to muster my mental and emotional forces and meet the rest of the day (and all of the people that I encounter) with energy, enthusiasm, and focus rather than with irritation and frustration.
- Lists. I haven't mastered a perfect method for lists yet, but I do make them. All the time, and everywhere. Post-it notes are probably not the ideal form for effective lists, but my random and colorful post-it notes scattered across desks, walls, and mirrors have consistently kept me on track, both at home and at work.
- The ground level. I have an ideal level of cleanliness, the one I achieve once a week for an hour after I have attacked every nook and corner of my house. But then I have the realistic clean. When this slides during the week, so does my sanity. I have discovered that I need to maintain a certain level of tidiness in order to be happy, productive, and un-stressed. Not perfection. Just a reasonable environment. Find out what this level is for you and then maintain it. Knowing the level of tidiness at which you are productive and effective allows you to prioritize better.
- E-mail drafts. Saving lists, memos, blog drafts, and a host of other random things to my e-mail account has saved me countless hours. I even e-mail myself important documents and files "just in case" I ever need them when away from my computer.
What is your best organizing trick?