For us to actually be organized and have a balanced life, we need to have a system and we need to stick to it! This is my system that has kept me on top of all of my responsibilities, even while being in the hospital for a month last summer!
To make our system work, we must always have our phone with us. We don’t have to always be looking at it and obsessing over it, but it needs to be within reach if we need it.
- Calendar App: Please use a calendar. And please use an electronic one on your phone. We can’t be organized and efficient if we never know where the heck we are supposed to be or what we are supposed to be doing. It’s important to include both our work and personal life in our calendar.
- “Reminder” App: I use the Reminders app on my iPhone because it allows me to create my own lists. I have a “To Do” list where I write down present-day things I need to do, a “To Do Later” list where I write down things I know I won’t get to for at least one month, and then I have lists with ideas. For example, I have a list named “London” where I write down the things I want to do in London when I get to go someday.
- Email Yourself: For the email portion of our system to work, you must first clear out your email. DELETE all spam and junk mail first. Then quickly assess any other emails you don’t absolutely need. Remember, just like physical objects, we don’t want to be attached to emails. Unless an email has useful information we need to reference in the future, we do NOT need it. Hit “delete.” It’s freeing. If your account feels too out of control, I truly think you should close it and get a new email address. Start fresh! Once you have an inbox of zero unread messages, you are ready for the following. a) When something comes up during the day that I don’t have time to do in the moment, such as go to my computer and open up Graye Note Radio’s content calendar to write down an idea, I just shoot myself an email from my phone. It is very important to go through these emails once a day to stay caught up on them. b) I (and my house) have become paperless. Aside from a passport, any paper matter that enters our house that is deemed “important” gets photographed with my phone and then emailed to me. Type all of the words in the email subject that you might use to search your email in the future to find it and you can retrieve it in seconds.
- Be Decisive: If we don’t think something through the moment it enters our space, we are going to accumulate at least a dozen “half thoughts” by the end of every day. “Half thoughts” just develop into problems we need to deal with later. Instead, when something comes up you cannot do immediately, don’t ignore it. Take 30 seconds and decide if this is something to put in your calendar, on a to-do list, or to email yourself to look into further.
Once you get into the habit of this system, your life really will become “operationally sound.” That means we will be better at everything we need to do AND we will have more time for the things we love….like brunch…and shopping.
Tweet me (@AndreaGraye) with questions!
Andrea Graye :)