Are you struggling to get all of your work done? Are things falling through the cracks? Feel overwhelmed? Like you have so much to do that you can’t possibly finish? Well, there is hope. You can organize your life, and though it does take a little time and effort, it’s not all that hard to do.
1) Set goals and prioritize. This is the first step and it’s where most people fall down. They don’t know what the hell they’re trying to do in the first place.
Want to be the CEO at your company or is it “just a job” paying the bills while you move on another career? Are you looking to sleep with as many women as possible or get married? Is your top priority a new car or six months’ emergency expenses in savings?
Take a moment to think. Ask important questions. Where do you want to be in five years? If you had an infinite amount of money, what would you be doing with your life? How can you do some of those things now without limitless cash? How is your life shaping up in its important dimensions? How’s your health, love life, career, spirituality, revenue flow, and your friends/family? If you rated yourself on all those dimensions 1 – 10, what would your rating be? Now, how can you improve your life on those dimensions? What values do you put the highest and least priority on? Health, love, security, freedom, passion, success, comfort, etc. Once you put these values in order, your decision-making process changes forever.
With a clear sense of your goals, dreams, values, and priorities, the organizing process becomes an order of magnitude easier.
2) Map out the steps to achieve your goals. Once you know what you’re trying to do, you can start planning it out.
Break it down step by step. Let’s say a big goal of yours is to bench press 200 pounds. You may want to start by joining a gym. Next you’ll want to max out to see what you bench. Next you’ll want to get a trainer, read a book, or do research online to find the best routines. Next you’ll want to log your progress. You may need to change your diet, find friends to work out with to increase motivation, or try a new routine to improve your results. Breaking everything down into manageable steps will make all the difference. The big goal may seem overwhelming while each step will seem doable.
3) Write it all down. Whether you buy a day planner, scribble in a notepad, or just type on your computer you need to keep a list.
This is more important than you might think, not just because it keeps things from falling through the cracks, but because it will give you some peace of mind. You don’t have to worry that you’re forgetting something important because you know that you write down everything you have to do in the same place and you can refer back to it.
4) Plan it out. Once you get to this point, there are a lot of different methods you can use to start clearing your to-do list.
You can put everything you have in order from top to bottom and work from the top down. You can give all the items a grade of A, B, C and do the most important first. You can pick one of your top 5 each day and knock it out. You can put a date on each item and refuse to let anything stay on more than a month. You can give each to-do list a point value based on a combination of importance/difficulty and try to score a certain number daily.
5) Start executing. So you’ve got your goals in place, you know your priorities, you have a list of things you need to do, and you’ve got a method for your own personal madness. Now, it’s time to start doing and….you’re not that motivated.
What do you do? Pick a task you haven’t wanted to work on and take the first small step towards getting it done. After you’ve begun, suddenly the task won’t look so daunting. If even that seems too daunting, pledge that you’ll spend 10 minutes working on your top priority. You could probably take 10 minutes of waterboarding if you absolutely had to; so certainly you can spend that much time doing something on your to-do list that you’re reluctant to tackle. Once you’ve gotten started, don’t be surprised if it feels so good that you finish it and move on to the next hardest item on your to-do list. Why is that? Because ironically, as often as not, motivation can follow action just as easily as action can follow motivation. Get the ball rolling and suddenly you may be surprised that it’s easier to keep moving than to stop.