The purpose of being more productive isn’t to have more time to get many more things done. The true goal is to have more time for the important things: spending time with those you love, deepening relationships, dreaming and visualizing and planning for the life you want to create.
Title Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán
Twice in one week, I read the same time-saving/organizing rule presented in different words by two different time management/productivity experts. I took this as a sign to share the tip with you.
Here it is, in my words: “If I use tools or supplies (pens, scissors, notepads, recycle bins, cleaning supplies, etc.) in multiple locations, I keep one of each tool or item at each location.” I have a friend who has gone so far as to keep two vacuum cleaners, one for the first floor and one for the second floor, so he doesn’t have to lug the vacuum up and down the stairs. That is carrying out this concept to the extreme, but it works for him.
While we’re on the subject, let me share some other ideas, tips, and techniques for improving your organization and productivity. The purpose of being more productive isn’t to have more time to get many more things done. The true goal is to have more time for the important things: spending time with those you love, deepening relationships, dreaming and visualizing and planning for the life you want to create.
Here are seven more tips to improve the organization of your life and increase productivity. Some are simple, some require a little more planning and effort. Each one brings more order into your life, which saves you time and, for many people, lessens stress.
- Have a home for everything. Know where each object lives and keep it in its house when you aren’t using it. Keep like things together. Before you bring something new home, decide where it will live. If it has brothers and sisters, it can live with them. Otherwise, find a place before you bring it in. Bonus: When you buy something new, sell, give away, or throw away something old.
- Label everything. Physically, if feasible, but at least in your mind. Share the names with the other people in your household. That way, when you say “the towel drawer” or “the condiment shelf”, everyone knows where you’re talking about. This makes it easy to know where everything goes.
- Sort your mail over the recycle bin. Immediately toss any flyers, circulars, catalogs, and junk mail you don’t want or need. Shred anything that might open the door to identity theft.
- Go paperless. Don’t print out e-mails or other computer documents unless you have an essential reason to do so. Store most documents electronically.
- If a task can be done in five minutes or less, do it right away — it will take longer to schedule and track than it will to do the job. If a task will take longer, add it to your Master List for scheduling into your calendar. Don’t do or schedule things that don’t need to be done at all. Let them go and let the guilt of not doing them go, too.
- When you pick up an item from your inbox, act on it, file it, refer it to someone else for action, or discard it. Don’t simply look at it and then put it down — don’t shuffle papers. Don’t file or keep papers — or other objects — that you don’t need, that you won’t ever refer to, or that contain information you can get from another source.
- Don’t keep anything laying about, waiting for you to decide how to deal with it. Make decisions about what to do with things right away and do it. Most of us have many so-called action items on our To-Do lists that aren’t actionable (and so don’t get done). Deciding what the next step is on all your to-dos is a powerful technique and can free up a tremendous amount of energy.
Why not pick two or three of these ideas and put them to work today? Which ones catch your interest or attention? Those may be the ones most helpful to you. Or, is there one that you don’t even want to read, much less do? That may be the one you want to give some honest thought about. Remember . . . the objective isn’t to do more and more tasks, the objective is to be more productive and organized to have more time for the things that matter. That is embracing your Excelerated Life™!
Excelerated Organization™ — being clutter-free and well-enough organized — able to find what you need when you need it — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being, and a life of meaning, purpose, and service.