Organization is one of the key tenets required to be successful with an eagle eye strategic focus so that you can rapidly assess strategic priorities. I’ve yet to run across an organization with just the right amount of priorities – have you? Here are a few strategies to improve your organizational abilities:
1. Keep lists – don’t get caught up in the latest techno gadget on how to track your to-do list; instead, just make sure to keep a simple to-do list. If your list is long, put a star by the items required immediately. I find it to be simple yet invaluable.
2. Keep a calendar – again, it doesn’t matter whether it is a piece of paper or on a cell phone – each will work effectively or become a total waste, depending on how it’s used. I prefer using a calendar on my phone; however, I’ve found it depends completely on the person as to what is most effective.
The most important factor is to keep your calendar updated and accessible. Do not over-schedule your time – add time between appointments, for breaks, etc.
3. Categorize – One way to organize is to find ways to categorize – develop categories and use them as it makes sense for grouping like-items together for quicker and more efficient decision making and follow-up. For example, consider storing your documents by the project, type, follow-up date etc. – choose a method that works for you.
4. Make it visual – one of the concepts of lean is also critical for organization – making it visual. Contrary to popular theory, consider NOT putting all your papers away in files/ drawers. As soon as I put something away, it’s forgotten. Instead, prioritize and keep at least the upcoming, critical priorities with associated paperwork in clear sight. Track progress visually as well.
5. The environment – yes, it is true that a clean and well lit environment is more conducive to success. There is no need to go overboard though – focus on your environment to the degree that you can find what you need when you need it. And, it might be surprising but good lighting can make a huge difference.
6. Accountability – as usual for achieving success, create an environment of accountability.