Getting Organized: Maintenance (part 4/4)

The trick to maintenance is doing it, but in a way that feels manageable to your workload, effort, and unique style of working.  This led me to the creation of Tips 4 & 5.

Tip #4: Be kind to yourself.  I like to focus my attention on all the things I am accomplishing rather than chastising myself for all the tasks still outstanding on my spreadsheet.  It helps me feel motivated to attack those less desirable, but mandatory tasks.

Tip #5: Work slowly and steadily to get things done.  Create new habits for yourself.  Here are some of my new and pre-existing habits that work well for me to stay organized.

  1. Always have a secure place to record anything that needs to be done, no matter where you are.  In my house I have an easily accessible, yet discrete in-box with post-its nearby and a pen.  On my smartphone I maintain a note called GTD for jotting things down when I’m on the go.
  2. The weekly review.  David Allen stresses the importance of the weekly review and I couldn’t agree more.  Years ago, even before I read the GTD book, I got into the habit of writing a “to-do” list at work every Friday afternoon for the following week.  I liked it because it gave me a starting point for Monday, it was a chance for me to evaluate and reprioritize my workload, and it meant I didn’t have to spend all weekend thinking about what I needed to do next week.  Now I’ve expanded the weekly review to include my personal life as well and I find it really keeps me on track.  This is also an opportunity to review and integrate all those post-its and notes.
  3. Break large, intimidating projects into small, manageable steps that can be accomplished, i.e. the starting point that keeps you moving forward.
  4. Prioritize and perform tasks in relation to short-term and long-term goals.
  5. I’m allowed to work on whatever I want, provided there are no pressing deadlines, as long as I’m being productive or knocking something off my list.

Other key factors for ensuring I maintain my system include having access to my spreadsheet no matter where I am.  For the moment I have my spreadsheet in my Dropbox account, which is linked to my laptop, tablet, and smartphone so that I can always see what I have to do at any given time.

I hope you enjoyed reading the series.  Feel free to download a “Projects and Actions Template” and “5 Simple Tips for Getting Organized” at Smart Info Management.

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