Success Tweet 88: Get Organized

I’m really enjoying writing this series of posts further explaining the ideas in my latest career success coach book, Success Tweets: 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice, All in 140 Characters or Less.  I hope you’re enjoying reading them.  I’m pleased to say that Success Tweets is now in its second printing.  You can pick up a copy at your local book store, or online at Amazon.com.  Better yet, you can download the eBook for free at http://www.successtweets.com.

Today’s career advice comes from Tweet 88…

Get organized.  Organize your time, life and workspace.  Sweat the small stuff.  Success is in execution.  Execution is in the details.

Effective time management is one of the keys to personal organization.  If you’re like most people, you always have more to do then there is time to do it.  I’m pretty good at managing my time, but I do get stressed and overwhelmed occasionally.  Time is a very precious and non renewable resource.  When a moment is gone, it’s gone forever.

When you think of your time, all activities fit into one of four categories:

  • Not Important and Not Urgent
  • Not Important and Urgent
  • Important and Urgent
  • Important and Not Urgent

Unfortunately, a lot of people spend a lot of time engaged in not important and not urgent activities.  Surfing the web is one of the biggest culprits in this area.  I, like most people today, search for and find a lot of the information I need on line.  I am pretty disciplined, yet I can caught up following interesting links when I am researching something on the internet.  Following links after you’ve found what you’re looking for is not important and not urgent activity.  It is a waste of time and a productivity killer.

Not important and urgent activities can become time traps.  These are the kinds of things that you have to do, but in the greater scheme of things, they are not likely to do much to help you become a life and career success.  These are things like expense reports that must be done within so many days of a trip, weekly staff meetings that you either lead or attend – the types of things that you have to do, but often don’t contribute to your larger goals.  The trick is to get these activities done in a timely manner, but not to spend a lot of your precious time doing them. 

Important and urgent activities are just what they seem.  I write this blog five days a week.  My blog is a very important marketing tool.  It increases my awareness in a very crowded market.  It positions me as a career advice expert.  And it reinforces my Common Sense Guy brand.  Writing and posting my blog is an important and urgent activity.  I do it first thing every day.  I’m sure that you have several important and urgent activities on your to do list too.  Do them, and do them well.

Important but not urgent activities are where you get the real payoff when it comes to creating your life and career success.  For example, it’s important to become a lifelong learner.  That’s why you need to read, join professional organizations and volunteer for projects in your company.  You probably don’t need to read every day and join all of the professional organizations in your field and industry.  These activities are just not that urgent.  However, you have to make time for them over the long run.  If you don’t, you’ll find that you are falling behind, not getting ahead or standing still.

Another example – my books serve much the same purpose as my blog.  They increase my awareness in a very crowded market; position me as a career advice expert and reinforce my Common Sense Guy brand.  I don’t need to work on a new book every day.  Writing a book is an important but not urgent task for me.  I manage this by budgeting at least three hours per week to write.  As one book goes into the editing and production process, I get busy writing another.  In that way, I never find myself without a forthcoming book.

It can be hard to budget time for important but not urgent activities because they are after all, not urgent.  However, important but not urgent activities left unattended will soon become important and urgent and may even become career success crises.  My best career advice is to focus on your personal set of important but not urgent activities and build some time into your daily or weekly schedule to work on them.

Time management is not the only key to personal organization.  The other day, I was looking for something on my office book shelf and I came across one of my favorite booklets.  It’s called 110 Ideas for Organizing Your Business LifePaulette Ensign is the author.

Paulette has packed a lot of common sense advice into this 16 page booklet.  I’m going to share my favorite ten nuggets with you here.  If you want the other 100, you can purchase the booklet by going to www.tipsbooklets.com.

10 of Paulette Ensign’s Tips on Organizing Your Business Life

  • Create your own systems based on your common sense needs.  Modify whatever you read, hear or see (including these tips) to accommodate your personal requirements.
  • Set a toss out date for publications and reports.  If you haven’t read something by the date, your life has probably continued fine without that information.  Today, information comes so quickly that much of it is outdated shortly after you read it.
  • Decide if you really need hard copy of everything you have electronically.  Most times a backup disk is fine.  You will save money, time and space – not to mention a few trees – by printing a hard copy only when you need it.
  • File paper by asking “where would I look for this item? not “where should I put this item?”  The putting part is easy – it’s the retrieval that can be difficult.
  • Write the date and circumstances of the meeting on each business card you collect.  The frame of reference this provides will be very helpful in follow up conversations.
  • Break large projects into short segments.  This will keep you motivated to finish the entire project.
  • Schedule regular time for reading.  Usually lunch time or the end of the day is best for reading.  Scheduled time will keep you up on what’s happening in your business and life.
  • Schedule high brain activities during your peak energy time and low brain, mechanical tasks during your low energy time. 
  • Use a phone headset to free your hands while you are on the phone.  This will facilitate note taking, and finding items important to the conversation.
  • Use a conference room, library or unoccupied office to do work where you need to concentrate and be free of interruptions.

These common sense ideas for organizing your time and life are great career advice and are only 10% of the ideas in Paulette Ensign’s booklet 110 Ideas for Organizing Your Business Life.  Try them.  If they help you become more organized, buy the booklet to become even more organized and productive.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Successful people are outstanding performers.  Outstanding performers are well organized; they manage their time, life and stress well.  Follow the career advice in Tweet 88 in Success Tweets.  “Get organized.  Organize your time, life and workspace.  Sweat the small stuff.  Success is in the execution.  Execution is in the details.”  Manage your time and life well by following this career advice.  Engage in “not important and not urgent” activities like web surfing in your leisure time only.  Complete “not important but urgent” activities quickly and move on.  Focus on “important and urgent” tasks.  Get them done well and in a timely manner.  Create time to work on “important but not urgent” tasks.  This will give you a leg up on your competition and lead to your life and career success.

That’s my take on the career advice in Success Tweet 88.  What’s yours?  What is your personal organization system?  Please take a minute and share it with us by leaving a comment.  In case you’re wondering.  For me, reading and commenting on blog posts is an important, but not urgent personal development activity.  Thanks for setting aside some time to read this one.

Bud

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