Have you ever wondered, “How do I get organized?” or “How do I get things done?”
For years I found myself frustrated about my organizational system (or the lack thereof). Don’t get me wrong, I could remember lots of things. It was remembering things when I NEEDED to remember them that was the problem.
And then I discovered Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. He says, “The reason we lose sleep and stress out over stuff we need to remember is that we haven’t figured out a good system for storing our stuff until we need it.” Think of it like this, every single piece of information you take in, on any given day, floats around in your brain until you take some sort of action with it. Everything: work meetings, doctor’s appointments, the article you said you’d write, your mom’s birthday card. Every single piece of information you take in floats around in your head until you do something with it.
How Does Getting Things Done Reduce Your Stress?
You need to identify those loose actionable items that are floating around in your head. All that clutter is a drain on your energy, and leaves you with a vague panicky feeling that you are dropping balls and wondering what you forgot to do. Developing a system to organize information and stay productive is the secret to reducing stress. (Tweet this!) Once you do that, figure out what things you can “delete” from your memory. It’s okay to let go of some details so you can focus on the actionable items. Things that either need YOUR attention or things you can delegate.
I found the entire Getting Things Done system too complex to follow it to get organized, so I made my own streamlined system. I’m going to show you how I make the concept of Getting Things Done work for me now!
Alli Style Getting Things Done
Delete, Delegate, or Do, then Decide.
Step 1- Filter the Information to Delete, Delegate or Do
- Delete things that are a waste of your time and will not help you reach your goals.
- Delegate things that your team can do.
- Do what is left over.
If an item makes it past deleting, and it isn’t something I will delegate to my team, I do the following:
Step 2- Decide What Action to Take
Option 1- Take Action Now.
- Reply to that email or do things that you can do right now. Boom. Done. Feels great, right?
Option 2- Set a Reminder
I add it to my “Reminders” app by creating a task for myself to deal with it at a certain time (that day or a day in the future) or a reminder of something I should remember when I’m doing something (at the airport next Thursday at 3pm.) The great thing about reminders is that it syncs on all my macs . . . so handy! There are more task apps out there than I can count and I’ve tried most of them but the simplicity and seamless iOS integration of the Reminders app simply just works.
Option 3- Add it to a Calendar.
As soon as anything is scheduled it is important to schedule it in a calendar immediately. Not at the end of a call, not tomorrow…now. You won’t remember it later. I know. I use Google Calendar for this because it syncs well on all platforms.
Option 4- Add to Project Management System
Important pieces of information is added to my project management software (Basecamp) for myself (I also use Basecamp to work with my team…it’s great for delegating). When it comes to organizing my work and communicating with my team…
“If it is not on Basecamp, it didn’t happen.” (Tweet this!)
Option 5- Archive it for Later
Evernote is my app of choice to archive everything from my receipts, articles I’ve researched, client tutorials, coaching notes and future article notes. All my research and notes are organized with tags and all text is searchable.
Alli’s Tip: When I take notes on paper (Yes, I love pen & paper!) I simply take a picture of my note and save it to Evernote. The Evernote system recognizes my words and makes all my notes searchable. It’s awesome!
Here’s a visual for my productivity process for getting things done.
I use this system every time to stay organized and reduce stress. If I don’t, I’m sunk. I’ve learned that I simply won’t remember, so I’m consistent about organizing my tasks.
So if you’re tired of saying you can’t get organized, you can’t stay focused and can’t get things done; then it’s time to take some action and develop your best organizational system. Whether it’s Getting Things Done or another system that works for you, the key is to consistently work your system.
If you liked this article, please share it with your friends. They ‘ll thank you!
Here are some fun ways to share-
Have you said, “How do I get things done?” Read @Alli’s article! (Tweet this!)
Stop wasting your time and get a system to get things done! via @Alli (Tweet this!)
Delete, Delegate, Do or Decide. There is no try. via @Alli (Tweet this!)
If you’ve got a system that you love, I’d love to hear what it is.
Tell me what it is that’s working for you.
What Apps do you use in your productivity systems?
Do you ever ask yourself “How do I get organized?”
What tip do you have to share?