Getting Organized, Part I


As part of my New Year’s Resolutions, I’m trying to get better organized – both in my professional and personal life. Like you, I find I’m constantly pulled in a thousand different directions, and have a hard time 1) remembering everything I need to do (or want to do), and 2) putting them in a good, priority order so that the most important things are getting done first.

One of the things I’ve started doing is make extensive use of the “tasks” feature in Microsoft Outlook. I’ve used this feature on and off for years, but just recently have started making them a regular part of my organizational structure.

In the past, I’ve kept primarily work-related items in my Task list. Now, I’m starting to keep track of everything.

Yes, my work priorities and deliverables are all there, divided by functional responsibility. But I’m also tracking my “honey do” list for projects around the house. I’m tracking my progressive shopping list for weekend trips to The Home Depot. Calls I need to return (personal and professional). Books I want to read (and either purchase or check-out from the local library). Personal errands. Even an inventory of future blog posts. It’s all organized as Tasks.

This may seem like overkill, but I now have (one one piece of paper) an inventory of things across my life that are important to me, and that I want to get done.

So far this year (three weeks and counting), I’ve found this format to be very helpful and highly productive.

It’s one of several things I’ve started doing to get myself better organized and significantly accelerate my productivity. I’ll share a few more tips in the coming days.