My experience shows that those people who are organized and prepared stand out in a crowd – and achieve results. A few of the keys to organization are the following:

  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 you have and maintain a list. When talking or reading about the keys to success of several highly successful people, whether a CEO, a real estate developer or a millionaire entrepreneur, I’ve found a consistent theme to be a simple to-do list.
  2. Keep a calendar – again, it doesn’t matter whether it is a piece of paper or a Blackberry – each will work effectively or become a total waste, depending on how it’s used. Keep your calendar updated. Add time between appointments. Add time for breaks – and stick to them. Consider the timeframes before and after an appointment or trip before agreeing – how can you keep your time organized vs. chaotic.
  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. Develop visuals – one of the concepts of lean is also critical for organization – making it visual. Consider the opposite of what many people consider organized – do NOT put all your papers away in files/ drawers. Instead, prioritize and keep the upcoming, critical papers in clear sight. Make your to-do lists visible. Track progress in a way that is visual – always in the forefront of what you are doing.
  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