I am no doubt one of the most organized people you will ever encounter, I know this about myself and countless others have taken note. While I would love to tell you I was just born this way, I was not. Admittedly, since I was very young, I have put things away in “their place”, I wrote down assignments so I was not late, and other tasks relating to the subject. However, it was not until my adult life that I kicked the skills into overdrive and being organized is just a part of my life in such a way, I am not sure I would function otherwise. Here I share a few tips, ways I keep the well-oiled machine that is the life and journey of Julie going.
I track things- early in my career I would hear people say, “Oh yes, I am going to put that in my trace file” I had no idea what a trace file was, as I learned more, I realized it was just a file folder with printed papers or notes that the individual intended to circle back to and follow up with someone else. The process has certainly evolved since I started my career but the basis of this process is the same. I use Outlook and Gmail boxes and tools to accomplish this from reminders, task flags, etc. There are many ways these are mine, there are apps, free or paid subscriptions that also allow you to manage your time. Many will provide a free trial period so there is no risk in trying.
I schedule out most aspects of my life- this is a big one for my personal commitments as much as it is for my professional life. I integrate the two calendars into my phone so I can quickly see if a commitment I am being requested for does not conflict with something else. Who has not double booked themselves then panicked about what you will do? I do not know one person that has not. I take this to the next level by booking in commute time to ensure I am not late to a commitment or do not allow enough time for a project I am working on, this has been a game changer for me. This part of the process has pushed me to the next level by forcing me to be realistic about time commitments while forcing efficiency.
I have written in the past about journaling. I am a big believer in this process and have explored this in the past. At the beginning of the year, I set out my goals and use each week to plan the steps to help me achieve these goals throughout the year. In addition, I make notes of conversations or small things I need to accomplish. This is my way of committing these items to memory and ensuring I do not let anything fall by the wayside. The process is quite important as if I say I will do something, I will and I do, my journal helps me do this. You do not need to use a pen and paper like I do, maybe an electronic list works for you, either way, be sure your list, your calendar, and your reminders support each other.
Remember, it is about getting the most out of your time without being overstretched and overwhelmed, be sure to always care for yourself. Juggling commitments and keeping your life free of clutter is not easy but there are ways you can help yourself to get it all done. I am happy to help, reach out if you are struggling, we can get you on the road to being an efficient and organized person in control of your life (take it from a career outside of the home mom).