14 April 2008

It doesn't have to be perfect!

Hey I'm the Imperfect Organiser - but deep down inside is a mad control freak perfectionist screaming "don't do it unless you can do it perfectly!"

But you know what?  That MCFP is WRONG!  If you have one of these, ignore it.  It's far better to do something, anything, towards a goal than to sit on your hands thinking "but what if I do it wrong?"

What made me think of this topic?  Well you might notice I haven't posted for (gulp!) two weeks.  Ooops.  I thought about it... I was busy... I couldn't think of a topic quickly... you know how it goes.  So I procrastinated.  Then it occurred to me - hey this IS a topic!

01 April 2008

Deal with your mail... NOW!

How many people let their mail pile up and up and then can't face the task of tackling it?

Don't do it!  It's easy to deal with your mail every day.

Firstly, open each item and sort into piles that mean something to you.  Say, items for recycling, items for rubbish, bills to be paid/items for action that has a deadline, items for action with no deadline, information, magazines/catalogues.

Now go and put the recycling and rubbish piles in the places they belong immediately!

Put your bills to be paid/items for action that has a deadline items into whatever system you use to track these (if you don't have one stand by for a future post on this subject).

Put items for action with no deadline into your system too - I keep them separate so I make sure that items with a deadline get first priority.

Look at the information items.  Do you really need to keep these?  Is the information available elsewhere, maybe online?  I strongly urge you to read these, absorb the information, then recycle the items.

Put the magazines/catalogues in a place convenient to where you will read them.  Now this is the important part - TOSS OUT all the previous copies of the same magazine/catalogue that you haven't read.  If you haven't read it by the time the next edition comes out you obviously aren't all that interested in the magazine/catalogue and you should probably consider cancelling your subscription!

There you go - your mail is all sorted and it took under ten minutes!  Way to go!

27 March 2008

A tip for getting out of the house on time

Just a short one today:  are you usually in a mad rush by the time you leave the house to go to work/school/an appointment/take the kids to sport?  Have a single location in your home where you put everything you need to take with you when you leave the house.  Keys, handbag, wallet, mobile phone, sunglasses, books to return to the library, anything that needs to go with you goes here.  If it is too big - put a sticky note there to remind you.  If your lunch is in the fridge - sticky note.  Easy!

Gotta go, I'm in a rush....

26 March 2008

Oh My God I'm so overwhelmed right now...

I bet everyone feels like this sometimes... you look around and there is so much to do, in your work life, your home life, your social life, whatever.  You can't even think where to begin or how to decide what is most important.

But wait, there's more!  It seems that every phone call, every conversation with another person, every text message adds something that needs to be done.  Where will it end?  I know that when it gets like this for me I just want to go and lie down somewhere, maybe eat some chocolate, and read a book or watch some TV.

The funny thing is though, if you just stop for a moment and take a few deep breaths then write down EVERYTHING you have to do, hey, you know what, there isn't that much really.  And you can get your husband/wife/partner to do a couple of things, and delegate some of the work stuff, and before you know it you're lazing around reading or watching TV and NOT feeling guilty!  Well OK maybe that's taking it a bit far but here goes...

1. Write it all down.  It doesn't have to be in order or neat or logical just scribble down everything you can think of that you have to do.  Let your mind wander around the "rooms" of your life - work, home, children (if you have them), pets, elderly relatives, friends, social commitments, clubs and activities, sport, every aspect of your life.  Think about what you need to do.

2. Now you can start grouping some of these tasks.  Some will be one off tasks that can go straight on to your favourite form of to do list.  Others will be projects and you may need to break them down into tasks.  Group them logically as you see it - it might be geographical (things to do at the shops, at work, at home) or time based (things to do on the weekend, on the way to work one morning, at lunch time) or any other system that makes sense to you.

3. Once you have them grouped prioritise the tasks in each group.  Use A, B, C or 1, 2, 3.  It doesn't really matter.  Or you can use Urgent, Important, One day.  Just whatever makes sense to you.

4. Depending on how you grouped them look at your schedule/ diary/ Blackberry/ Palm/ calendar and start allocating times to do the bigger tasks or groups of tasks.  Always start with the top priority ones though!

5. Each day refer to your main list of tasks and schedule them into your day - you don't have to actually write/enter them into your schedule, as long as you have a clear idea of what needs to be done.  Then you can forget all the ones that aren't scheduled in for "today" and get on with life again.

6. Phew!!!  That feels better now, doesn't it?  And if you keep this up it only takes a few minutes each day to get a clear picture of what needs to be done.

I think the most important thing to remember is - make your system suit you.  Don't try to conform to GTD or any other time management system, or using a particular type of planner such as a Day Timer or electronic device such as a Blackberry - whatever you use needs to make your life easier not harder.

25 March 2008

Recognise the areas in which you need to be organised

Sometimes I read organising information on the Internet or in books and it is just overwhelming.  I think some of those organising gurus expect us all to be scheduled to the minute and have no clutter whatsoever.

But I disagree!  I think there needs to be some randomness, or chaos in our lives (I'm not talking about CHAOS - can't have anyone over syndrome).  Unless of course you are one of those super organised people to whom it all comes naturally.  Human beings are naturally imperfect and to fight against that just consumes energy that can be put to better use elsewhere.

So the first thing you need to do when setting off on any organising journey, big or small, is to set the parameters of your journey.  Ask yourself "What needs to be organised and Why do I need it to be organised".  It may be your filing system.  It might be your routine for getting out the door in the morning.  Whatever it is, before you can start you need to know exactly WHAT you are tackling and WHY you need it to be tackled - focus on the outcome you require, not the perfect organising process.  And that way you can avoid organising something that doesn't need to be organised.

Welcome to the Imperfect Organiser

Hello!  Thanks for reading... as you can probably see this is my first post on this blog.

Why do I call myself the Imperfect Organiser?  As I said in my "about me" I've spent my life tricking people into thinking I'm really organised but secretly I'm just organised enough to get by.  Organisation has not become my life, it just enhances it!

I've had so many people ask me for tips and suggestions about how to enhance their lives that I thought I would share my ideas with the world...

So come along for the ride, I hope you enjoy yourself!  See you soon.