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Organization and Productivity {Fresh New Year}


In theory, and from the outside, I suppose I’m pretty organized.  But definitely not all the time. It’s easy to get caught up in it all in the midst of the day to day craziness, and things can go off track pretty quickly.  Especially when I’ve got a lot going on – which is, like, all the time.  And regarding productivity?  Well, I could definitely get a LOT more done during the times I set aside for work {blog, and otherwise} and waste a lot less time.  

Organization and productivity aren’t necessarily the same thing, but for me they go hand in hand.  I’m in awe of the creative geniuses out there who can get work done impeccably in the midst of chaos, or those people who are so beautifully organized it’s pretty much an art form.  I’m kind of in the middle, and I’m always looking for that sweet spot of ‘keep it all together’ and ‘check things off,’ energy.  

To keep myself and my tasks together and get done what I actually want to get done, this is the organization/productivity framework that I use, and when I’m on top of it, it works pretty well:

Keep it simple/Keep things moving.  The more complex of a task I put in front of myself at one time, the more cumbersome it’s going to be to get done.  By focusing on small, clear, basic tasks one at a time, and asking myself ‘what’s the core of what I need to get done,’ I don’t get overwhelmed, or hit ‘the wall,’ and I’m able to keep things moving, and can generally avoid getting to the point where I’m just staring at a long list – or, worse – the ceiling.  

Focus on the month/Focus on the hour.  I usually have a good idea about what I’d like to get done each month, but if I focus too much on the bigger tasks, it’s overwhelming, and I find it’s hard to narrow in on the details of what I need to do.  Think too ‘big’ and it’s hard to figure out where to start.  But if I think of what I could get done in the space of the next hour, it’s amazing how small tasks add up and make the big things a lot less daunting.  In a short amount of time, these ‘one hour chunks’ add up to more significant things.  By focusing just on what I need to get done in one particular hour, those hours add up and the bigger things get done over time.  It’s actually amazing how much progress can be made over a month by attacking things one hour at a time.   

Lists {paper, Evernote}/Check things off a Post-it.  I keep pretty detailed lists of goals and to-dos in Evernote, my Get To Work Book planner {which I LOVE} or in a notebook, but when it comes to sitting down and getting to work, I work off of a Post It.  I write a few of those things from the bigger list onto a Post It, and I’m able to have a small, specific reminder of what I’m focusing on right in front of me.  Once done, I get rid of the Post It and, after a few rounds of this, I can check the bigger task off my bigger list.   

Minimize distractions/No scrolling.  This pretty much goes without saying, but to get things done you’ve got to be able to focus on what you’re doing to get anything done.   I tend to accumulate a bunch of pens, pencils, highlighters, and other random things on my desk over the course of the day, and it gets to be too much in front of me, so every once and a while I take a minute to clear my space – usually between those hour chunks of work I just mentioned.  It’s a nice little break.  I also keep my phone in the other room when I’m writing or doing something else I need to really narrow in on, and I only ‘let’ myself check Facebook or Amazon, or any of the other handful of sites that can so easily get me off course. Our society of checking and scrolling fifty times an hour doesn’t actually help us accomplish anything, and keeping the phone out of my workspace has really made a huge difference.

High level overview/Aim for flow.  If you love what you do, there’s nothing better than getting lost in your work.  When I’m working – writing, idea listing, or whatever else related to that – I have a general structure of what I’m trying to accomplish, but the overall goal is to just get lost in the work and see where it takes me and what I can do.  I sit somewhere comfy, and I write notes by hand, and it’s a pretty cool feeling to sit down and feel like fifteen minutes have gone by when it’s really been an hour, or maybe more, and you’ve got a whole lot of great work to show for it.  

Batch work/’Touch it’ every day.  It turns out that if you try to do everything all at once on the same day, not much gets done.  It’s hard to figure out what you’re ‘supposed to be doing,’ and figuring that out is actually half the battle in getting anything done.  So, to stay organized, I generally try to do the same thing on the same day each week {Mondays are for writing, Tuesdays are for social media, Thursdays are for clearing out my email, and Fridays I catch up on other bloggers’ posts}, but there are certain things I make sure to keep my finger on each day {outside of the super fun tasks like keeping up with email replies that need to get done every day} like reviewing my goals, and reviewing notes, so I know what I’m working for and I’m not ‘forgetting’ about ideas I wrote down that I want to turn into action steps.   


How do you stay organized?  What are your productivity tricks and tips?  

Image by Krista Brackin Photography

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