Organizing your life for maximum efficiency
Time is your most precious resource; make every minute count! – Brian Tracy
Have you ever been late for work because you couldn’t find your wallet or keys first thing in the morning? Everyday millions of people lose valuable time hunting for lost items. One of the key habits of highly successful people is that they’ve organized their lives for maximum efficiency.
A place for everything and everything in its place
Get into the habit of always putting items away in a designated area as soon as you are done with that item. As soon as I walk into my home, I have a designated spot where I immediately place my keys, wallet, access badge, and hat, the moment I enter the door. I’ve made a habit of doing this for years. I never have to waste time looking for them, and it saves me unnecessary stress. This is an easy habit when you live alone, but it can be complicated if you have family, or roommates. In such cases you must make sure that the people you live with don’t mess with these. In the case of children or pets, it’s best to kept these items out of reach.
Write it down
All successful people are highly productive because they are organized and work from lists. Always work from a list and cross off items as they are completed.
- Keep lists of important items or tasks which must be done written down.
- Keep a grocery shopping list on the fridge with a magnet. Add items to it as you run low so you can take this list when you go shopping. Remember to start a new list after each shopping trip.
- Write important dates and appointments on a large monthly calendar, and refer to it each morning and evening.
- Keep a list of anniversaries and birthdays to add to new calendars and planners.
- Keep a personal planner book.
- Keep a fitness log to record your progress.
- Keep a list of important phone numbers and addresses.
- Print hard copies of important paperwork.
Work from a clean desk!
Never work from a cluttered desk, it cuts down on your efficiency significantly, and if you have visitors or coworkers, a messy desk makes you look very unprofessional. My work station is a model of efficiency.
I have a file cabinet where I keep all my important papers such as tax returns, financial documents, newsletters I’ve written, and other personal papers.
One cleaver file has copies of the mail-in portions all my recurring bills. Sometimes the post-office misdelivers or delays mail. It happens. I know when all my bills are due, and if I don’t receive my statement early enough, I make a copy from my file and mail that out. This avoids late fees.
Keep in mind that whenever you file paperwork, 80% of the time it is never referred to again. Always think about what you are storing and why. If you are storing very old files that you haven’t looking at in years, you may want to consider transferring them from the file cabinet to the ‘circular file’ a.k.a the waste basket.
Have you noticed I keep stressing the importance of physically writing things down? This is because electronics fail! There’s nothing wrong with keeping this info on your smart phone or laptop, but if these items break you will lose all your data.
It’s even happened to me twice.
When I was working on my first book 15 years ago, my hard drive crashed. I had a back up from the prior month, but recent work was trapped on the drive. Fortunately with some guidance from Frank Hayes of Computerworld and help from my pal Dan, we were able to recover the info by painstakingly searching the drive with a recovery program that worked, but took days! I was very lucky!
I print an annual Christmas Newsletter which I circulate among close personal friends and family. One year, the computer files from the prior newsletter vanished into the ether. I keep hardcopies of every newsletter, but for some reason that year I neglected to put one in my file cabinet. Fortunately one friend and my aunt Joyce had copies so I did not lose anything.
My late friend Harvey W. Kimble used to write all sorts of articles on his computer which he would print out and circulate among his friends. One day his daughter wiped his hard drive. Completely reformatted it. All his writing was gone, especially this one article which he was quite proud of. He asked friends and family if they still had copies. Believe it or not, I was the ONLY person who had copies of EVERY article he ever shared with me, and he was so grateful that he gave me $50! I tried to refuse, but he insisted. I miss Harvey, he always had a smile that lit up the room.
When you organize your life, you simplify your life and free up time to live your life to the fullest! As always I wish you happiness and success!