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Get organised! Sure, but how?

by Miriam Ernst
get organised, moleskine, pen, goals

Get organised! Sure, but how?

I remember how hard it was to get into a routine and get organised !
Currently I am working gin 3 jobs. I am working in an marketing and event agency, where I do my 40 hours + a week, then I am working on the launch of a new fashion brand of a very talented designer in Milan where I basically do all the brand management: Marketing and Sales strategy, etc. and then well I think you know this, I have my blog! Brand management is an essential component of helping out a brand so they can reach their full potential, sometimes it can be too much for one person to handle, and a brand management agency will need to be called in, so far that hasn’t happened yet but I have quite a lot on.

Yes I am quite busy ! But trust me, I am not the person who stays home during the whole weekend, or who doesn’t has hobbies, goes our with friends, cleans the house or anything like that. I managed to do it all !

If you ask me if it is hard? Yes it is ! But if you really want to do something I don’t think there is any excuse good enough, to not do it, especially not related to time !

Don’t get me wrong, I am still hoping that I am waking up at some point and the day has 30 hours instead of 24, but as this is not very likely to happen, I am keeping on being organised.

But how do you get to be an organised person ? Or how do you organise your time best without loosing your head over it? – trust me I do not have any of my to-dos in my head and I am so thankful for all the little tools that help me to stay organised.

So I am trying to give you a bit of an insight on how to do this and especially how to keep on track of it all!

One last important thing that I would like to give you on the way before starting to read the single steps… organising things take time and achieving goals do too. Don’t think that from one day to another you will have more free-time. At the beginning it is hard work to get organised and it is hard to use time of your free-time for your goals. Only who really does want to achieve them will also make the sacrifices and will work for them: Just set goals that you are really willing to work for, otherwise this all will only be a continuous disappointment!

1. Set goals

There is no sense in being organised, if you don’t know for what you are doing it ! You will always have difficulties in keep on doing something, if you are not 100% clear about why to do that.

I have written last week an extensive post on how to set goals right in order to keep them. Have a look at it here.

2. Divide goals into small steps

Let’s say your goal is to find a better payed job, that you like more than the one you have now. This is a goal that you have to divide into smaller steps like getting all your credentials and references together, write a great CV that differentiates you from the other candidates in your field etc.

The smaller the steps, the more practical you can work on them.

3. Set rules

This is a really important step. Let’s say you want to read every month a book of 500 pages. Then your rule could be you read everyday 17 pages. The rules can be fixed daily, weekly or monthly but I suggest you to stay on a weekly basis. This gives you a bit of flexibility what I will explain you in more detail in the next step and is still measurable easily and often enough to not loose track of it.

4. Create a flexible routine

I have started to explain in the last step that weekly rules are flexible enough and because of that way easier to accomplish. If you say you’ll read every day those 17 pages and then there is a birthday party when you get home way too late already, your motivation is less than zero to read the 17 pages. Even worst, you might read them without understanding them which makes your accomplishment nearly worthless.

So try to keep in mind when creating the rules that there will ALWAYS be an exception. To get organised means to also include the eventualities in your schedule to not end up with a hurry at the end of your period.

So you have set your rules, have checked that they are flexible… now you should try to create a routine. Take a weekly schedule and add like you did at school all your fixed appointments in it. This includes hours at work, weekly hobbies or meet-ups with friends, gym classes that you always attend (or now want to start to attend) etc.

Then think about how many hours sleep you need. Every person is different here. It is not about being the person with the less hours of sleep, but about being productive when you wake up.

This allows you to exactly calculate the free hours you have each day. Keep a lot of free time, you need it to relax and to see your friends! But maybe use 2 evenings a week that are anyway already half occupied by sport or other things to work on your goals. If you want to learn a new language you could say you do 50 new words a week and two evenings of grammatical studies. When it comes to dinner parties, fix the day and prepare well ahead. For instance, you might need to visit a Professional silver antique shop to get the right decor items. Create a timetable for everything so that nothing falls apart if some changes need to be done at the last minute.

5. Organise your to do list

Now we are getting to the detailing. Every one of us has beside its goals a lot of different things to do and to remember. If it’s meeting with friends, supermarket shopping lists, cleaning your place etc. Now to get these all together with your previously set rules is quite a challenge. Here the real organisation only starts.

Two things are the most important here: 1. When you set your to-do’s, always have in mind how much time you will actually invest in doing them. It is not of help when you calculate 15 min to clean your kitchen – because you want to be fast this time – and you actually need 30l! To be honest, there is no shame in taking more time. After all, you are not a professional kitchen cleaner like those at HOODZ (to learn more about them, interested parties can search for Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning in Lancaster, PA on the web).
2.Really do what you decide to do. Also, if you take more time than you programmed, it is important to keep on track with what you decided to fulfil that day. For instance, you might have planned to clean your windows. But now it seems like it is taking forever to accomplish it. If that is the scenario, then you have to first calculate the extra hours you might need to finish window cleaning (or perhaps you can hire a professional from a reputed Window Cleaning company to quickly do the task). Additionally, you have to jot down a plan as to how you can quickly do all the other tasks set for the day–maybe you have to wash clothes or clean the carpet.
If you postpone doing those tasks to the next day, you will end up with a long list of to-do’s that should have been already done at the end of the week and will need to start an all-over organisation again.

To organise all your to-do’s I can suggest you two different elements that help me a lot !!!

  1. My Moleskine !

get organised, moleskine, pen, goals

I am quite sure all of you know the brand Moleskine, and for who doesn’t well here is a link to their products. It is basically a planner for the whole year, so any planner could help you out at this point. I am using this brand because I love the way the planner is organised. It is small and soft and I have to say, it looks very nice with the leather band. It gives you a yearly overview within the first pages and then – depending on what you prefer or a day-to-day view, or a weekly view with a full comment page a-side. I always had the weekly planner and this year I have changed to the daily planner, I have way too much info to get into one page ! I would also recommend to write with a pencil. You will see soon how often you have to change and adjust things

Microsoft To Do !

get organised, wunderlist, to do lists

This is probably something not so many of you know. I have tried ALL of the to-do list apps that you can possibly find on your i-Phone or your Android and I couldn’t find any that was simpler to use and gives you better options in a free app than Microsoft To Do!

It gives you the possibility to add various to do list … p.e. grocery lists, to do lists, things to see lists, movies to watch lists, cities to visit lists etc. You can save all your ideas on one place. Additional to this you can mark the most important to do’s with a star, that will include them automatically in a separated list where you will find only the most important to-do’s !

get organised, wunderlist, to do lists

You can also create folders that includes different lists. If you are like me and have a crazy life between different countries, you could p.e. divide per country, or divide between private and work!
Even better is, that you can add a date and a reminder to each to-do, you can add part to do’s too, comments and add any data you like.

It is the best way to organise your to do’s !

If you use both – Moleskine, and Microsoft To Do – you will never worry again that you’re loosing your ideas, appointments or time!

6. Keep on track

Last but not least is the question on how to keep on track? Especially at the beginning this is one of the most important steps. Every week you should check your rules and to do’s and see if you have done what you had programmed to do. If you haven’t you should understand why. Often it is that your schedule is not flexible enough, or that you think you need less time for things than what you actually do need.

Try to understand why it did not work and use this knowledge for the next weeks organisation. I would also recommend you to use an hour of the week, best if on Sundays, to check your mistakes and to organise the week ahead of you.

I hope this article is helpful and you will earn great achievements with my tips ! Let me know how it goes for you and if you have any questions just in the comments below !

And if you like my articles of the Be-Professional section make sure to subscribe here, so you’ll get the new posts directly into your e-mail box!

Best, Be-Sparkling

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