How To Get Organized (Not What You Think)

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In today’s training, we’re going to talk about how do you get organized? And by organized, I don’t necessarily mean cleaning out your desk or taking out the garbage or cleaning out your closet; I mean, how do you get yourself organized? How do you get all the information that comes your way organized and put into a system that’s going to take your productivity to a whole new level? That’s the topic for today.

The Power Of A System

See, the way I think about systems is like a puzzle. When you have a puzzle, you have all these little pieces that you don’t know initially where they go. But the more you work through it, the more you figure out, the more the little pieces fit together, and then one day, from all those little pieces, you’ve created a beautiful picture. Maybe it’s a mountaintop, maybe it’s a car; it doesn’t matter. But you took all these little pieces, you put them together, and now you have a beautiful picture.

It’s exactly the same way with organizing yourself. At first, all these seemingly random bits of information are going to come your way, and it might be frustrating. You might think, “Okay, where do I put all this?” But once you figure it out, once you create a system, once you get organized, your productivity is going to skyrocket.

Here are some of the benefits of having a trusted system – having a system, a predetermined place for all pieces of information that come your way on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis.

1 – Less Stress

First of all, you’re going to reduce your stress by a lot. Once you have a system, once you know where everything goes, you will no longer be worried about stuff slipping through the cracks. You will sleep better at night. You will know that your system is taking care of everything; you know that stuff is where it should be, and you don’t have to worry about missing out on anything.

2 – More Efficiency

You’re going to be more efficient. Once something comes your way – maybe it’s an email, maybe it’s a task, maybe it’s an invoice from somebody – you will know where it goes. You don’t need to spend any time, any focus, any energy on figuring out, “Okay, I have this thing; where do I need to put it?” You know. You have a system. You don’t have to spend the time. You’re going to be more efficient because your time is going to be spent doing what actually matters, not trying to figure out where the information fits.

3 – More Focus

You’re going to get more focused. Once you figure out a system, you can take everything that’s currently in your head, all those tasks, all those to-dos, you can take them out, put them in the system, and let the system take care of them. This is going to clear your focus, it’s going to clear your attention so you can put it where it matters the most: on the task at hand.

Now the question becomes “What system do you use?” Unfortunately, I cannot tell you “use this one” because they’re all good – or at least most of them. But there’s no one system that works perfectly for everybody. I use a couple of different tools. I use a system that I’ve customized to work for myself.  But just because it works for me, does not mean it’s going to work for you.

But I can give you the must-haves of a good system. Once you know these things, you can figure out, what is the system that is going to work in your case. Maybe it’s Getting Things Done, maybe it’s Agile Results, maybe it’s a set of tools that I don’t even know about. What tools you use, at the end of the day, doesn’t really matter. As long as you have a system, as long as it covers these four requirements, you will be in good hands. You will be able to have a system, trust the system, and take your productivity to a whole new level.

Good System Must-Haves

1 – Predetermined Place For Everything

First of all, a good system needs to have a predetermined place for everything. Think of it like this: put your imagination cap on and think of yourself as a car manufacturer. You’re going to manufacture the latest, coolest, fastest, most expensive car in the world. But for that to happen, you need to get the best parts. You’re going to get some parts from Asia, some parts from Europe, some parts from all across the world. When they come your way, you can’t just say, “I know I’ve got this box of stuff, but I’m not going to do anything with it. I’m just going to let it sit.” You know your car is not going to work.

It’s the same with your information. When something comes your way, even if you don’t know where it goes initially, that’s what the system is for. If you figure it out, the next time it comes, you will put it in the system; you will know exactly where it goes.

A good system needs to have a place for everything – all your emails, all your to-dos, all your calendar tasks, all your meetings, all your invoices, documents, emails, passwords, what have you. A good system will have a place for everything.

2 – Use The System

Once you have a system, it is important to actually use it. I know it might seem a little off, but so many times, we put in the effort, we put all this energy into creating something, and then we don’t use it – or we don’t use it on time. One of the biggest enemies of productivity is procrastination. Not taking action, putting stuff for later. You have to use your system. You’ve created the system, you took all this time, all this energy, all this focus to create it. Now you need to use it, and you need to use it almost immediately.

3 – Regular Review

Always set up some time to regularly review your system. Ideally, on a weekly basis is ideal. On a Friday, set 10, 15 minutes, sit down, and process everything. Just review everything. Although you have a system, stuff is going to pile up. Stuff is going to be outdated.

Every week, spend 10, 15 minutes and review, clean out, analyze what can be done better. Just review your system. Review all the information. Maybe you get this email that was important on Monday, but then come Friday, you don’t need it at all. You put it in the system; now you don’t need it. Clean it out. You don’t want stuff to be cluttered up. So always spend some time in reviewing.

And here’s a little tip from personal experience: set a timer. Say “I’m going to review my system for 15 minutes,” set a timer, set it for 15 minutes, and don’t go over that time. Because the point of having a system is to be more productive, but if you spend excessive time reviewing it, it’s a waste of your time.

4 – Trust And Adjust

What do I mean by that? Now that you have a system, you need to trust it. You need to trust that everything is going to be taken care of, and once you use the system, you need to trust that it works. Once something comes your way, you need to trust that your system is going to take care of it. Because if you just create the system, but you’re all worked up on “Does it work? What do I need to do with this information?”, you’re essentially not being productive.

You took all this time, you took all this energy, you put it into creating your system, into getting yourself organized; now trust the system. Trust that it’s going to work. Once something comes your way, put it in the system and just put your faith into the system and don’t worry about it. Because if you have a system and then in the meantime you’re worrying, “Does it work?”, you created it to be more productive, but now you’re thinking about it, which is making you less productive – so at the end of the day, the result is almost none.

Not all systems are going to be perfect from the get-go. You’re going to create it; some stuff is going to fall through the cracks. Adjust it. As you learn new things, as you learn new techniques by watching some of my videos or any other training, adjust your system. Maybe a new piece of information is going to come your way, something that you’ve never had to deal with before. Adjust it. No system is perfect. You just need to work at it and make it perfect for yourself.

These are the must-haves of a good system. You need to have a place for everything; you need to actually use it on a regular basis; you need to review it, just to make sure that stuff is where it’s supposed to be, that the outdated stuff is no longer there; you need to actually trust it, because that’s the whole point of it, and you need to adjust it. You need to tweak it to perfection.

Over To You Now

And there you have it. That is how you create a system for yourself. That is how you get yourself organized. And trust me, once you get yourself organized, once you know that everything has a place, once you know that all this information that comes your way has a place where it needs to go, you have a system, you’re going to get this sense of relief, this sense of satisfaction that on its own is going to make you more productive because it’s going to make you more happy. It’s going to give you that feeling of control because you are in control.

All this information that comes your way that previously might’ve overwhelmed you, now it goes into the system, doesn’t stay in your head, clears out the space for more focus, more efficiency, less stress, and makes you more happy, more in control, more organized, and more productive.

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What other ways of getting yourself organized have you used? Share your experience in the comment section below: