“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” -Benjamin Franklin
Having and following a plan of action to getting organized can greatly increase your productivity.
What I have found to work best is on the first of each month, typically using the closest Sunday, I plan my top 3 goals and create a master to-do list for said month. I also reflect on the previous month with a review, things that went well, things I can improve, etc.
I then organize each week. Every Sunday I plan out my goals and select items from the master to-do list to complete throughout the upcoming week.
Like with the month, I review and reflect on my previous week. On this day I do not schedule many tasks, I use it to complete anything left undone, and typically take the evening to relax and catch my breath.
1. Priority To-Do Matrix
For my monthly list a normal to-do list works fine, however, for the weekly to-do you might want to opt for a priority matrix. This helps to make sure that your time is spent on what really matters.
Make sure that you are completing tasks from the second quadrant, Important but not Urgent. We often spend all our time in quadrant one, Important and Urgent, or even quadrant three, Urgent but Not Important, thinking we are in quadrant one, neglecting the things that are truly most important to us.
This includes things such as making that phone call to a family or friend, taking the time to determine your goals, and even exercise.
Check out The 4 Stages of Productivity for more in-depth information on priority matrices.
Take the 5-10 mins to plan out your day, the Panda Planner is highly recommended and has sections to plan your week and month, which can save you several hours and a ton of stress.
You will always have a plan, and will always know what you are supposed to be doing.
Some prefer to over or under plan their schedules. For under planning, set for yourself the minimum you want to accomplish, giving yourself plenty of time for each task. This drives some to a sense of accomplishment which in hand allows them to complete even more.
The other option is to over plan, squeezing in as many tasks as possible, some people find they work more efficiently when they have a lot on their plate.
The key is to remember and acknowledge whether or not you are over or under planning, this is to make sure you are not only completing your minimum requirements, especially if you had extra time, and to not create unnecessary stress or anxiety when some tasks do go incomplete.
This is for writing down everything else, things you want to do in the future, a specific situation you want to remember, business ideas, a new goal or habit you want to implement, and so on.
You might ask ‘Why not just use an app on my phone?‘, the reason is you greatly increase your chances of remembering something when you write it down,
‘The dullest pencil will remember more than the sharpest mind.’
Also as a bonus, in the future, you can always reference to it and see how you have progressed.
Try to carry your journal with you where ever you go, but of course, there will be situations where you can’t have it on your personal, or you simply forgot it, by all means, use an app, but when you get a chance transfer it to your journal.
The Moleskine Cahier Journal is suitable for this. It comes in a 3 pack, made of high-quality paper (no ink bleeding) and perfect thickness for carrying around in your pocket.
4. Fountain Pen
Now, this is my all time favorite, and yes it deserves to be one of the 4 items. Doing all that writing can be a little… different, especially if you are just getting started.
A fountain pen makes the process much more enjoyable, and you will also feel like a badass writing with a fountain pen. Somedays I even find myself writing just to use the pen.
I currently use the Pilot Metropolitan and have nothing but good words to say about it.