Organizing your life may seem like a simple process but, it’s actually very specific and unique to each of us. Lists, calendars, spreadsheets, whatever tools you use, there’s always a ‘right’ way that will work for your needs. You might be stumbling through life, improvising the organization side as you go, but when it comes down to the business, proper planning and organization will get you a long way.
Know what you’re doing
Sometimes people start projects or act on impulses without knowing what they’re really trying to do. Whether it’s a new website or office kit out, make sure you know what your ultimate goal is. Google is your friend so research as much as you can about the topic and become a bit of an expert on what you’re trying to achieve.
Have a vision
Following on, once you know what you want to achieve, define your goal as a vision. Creating a vision for yourself and others (employees, contractors) makes it something exciting and not just a simple task to complete. It’s also about setting the standard. If you aim high, even if there are some shortcomings, the quality of the work produced will be at a higher level than if you had no vision.
No doubt you’ll have a plan of attack to tackle your new project. No man is an island though and you’ll be working alongside other people to achieve your goal. Keep everybody involved on the same page about your vision and other important things like time and budget.
Cross your T’s and dot your I’s
Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, there may be some red tape involved. Make sure that you have any formal paperwork completed and signed off so you don’t come up against any unexpected rod blocks.
Make a central folder
Whether it’s just a notebook, folder or online file, make a central space to keep all your notes and any progress on your project. It’s important to have everything in the one place so you and others can access it easily. Remember to update the folder regularly with any new info etc. For larger projects, you may want to consider planning software.
Any given part of your workspace will have an underlying pattern to it. Whether it’s spatial as in sticky notes, sequential or chronological as in most spreadsheets. Washington University keeps a page online outlining some basic patterns of organization that might help you get an idea about what sort of pattern your central space will follow to keep all those other systems tied together.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘doing’ part, remember that everything comes down to relationships. Your suppliers, employees, colleagues and anybody else you come into contact with are all important people that you should foster positive relationships with. These are the people that you will rely on to help you get your project completed successfully so make sure you treat them right.
There are a lot of different approaches to working with others. Scott Dinsmore offers advice in The 7 Pillars of Connecting With Absolutely Anyone as a guideline to working with anyone from the café to your morning meetings. Regardless of your approach, many people will put “be genuine” at the top of the list, which I think is really better said “Know what you’re doing” because you can’t be genuine if you don’t have a plan, and now you know how to get there!
It all comes down to productivity and foresight. Don’t waste your precious time fumbling around like a headless chicken. Follow these strategies to get things done the right way. Starting a new project or getting through your to-do list might seem like a simple task but if you want to organize and plan like a pro, follow the six tips above.
To learn about more advanced organization see the video: Using “To Do Lists” Versus “Project Plans” below