Our organization can be easy. Not only can but must. Not only must, but it will. At least if you keep reading me & studying the naughty tips that I share here on the blog. We are in 2019 and I could be happier to occupy that space again: behind the computer, with my butt comfortably seated on the chair and typing in a half dozen ideas that will help the most attentive and willing of you to walk a very fluid path, fullness and fulfillment in 2019.
I really, really, really enjoy having a sacred space to write you longer texts. I will continue to use & honor this blog with all the love that is typical of me, but at the same time, I have beautiful & intense plans for this New Year of my blog – and in the midst of this math, something else needed to have a weight and a little less time to make room for them.
I argue, by the way, that reminds me of the first thing I need to tell you about how to create an intuitive organization and start turning the key of your head to realize that getting organized can be such a nice & light process like a picnic at Waterloopbos, Emmeloord, Netherlands.
Renegotiating is the Soul of Business
I asked another day there on Twitter how many people could make a nice and aligned weekly review. I created a poll and inserted, by way of conscience, the option “I don’t know what weekly review is.” Shocked I was (not quite a lie) when I saw that over 50% of people had checked this option.
Overall, though, what I wanted to know about that Twitter poll was something even simpler, more basic, and more humane: Do you have a guaranteed weekly time to go on a date with yourself? Do you treat your life (and therefore your life organization) as the sacred gift that it?
Having a day and a handful of hours a week set aside specifically for this is absolutely essential. I repeat in upper case: Absolutely Essential. Getting organized, after all, is nothing more than shedding light on your current life goals and understanding how you will harmonize your ambitions, wants and responsibilities with your available time.
Getting organized is asking yourself and answering yourself as honestly as possible: What do I want to do with my life today?
You would be surprised to realize how fast this response can change. We decide one day and change our mind next. We make appointments in a week and get sick soon after. We are planning an idyllic day full of beautiful projects and we need to put it all in the drawer when a wonderful opportunity or a thorny unforeseen comes at our door.
Before thinking about the most technical and specific details of your organization, I want you to have your way of setting aside at least two hours a week to go on a date with yourself. This is a strategic & conference meeting, in which case – it can be any day between Friday and Sunday.
What works best for you will obviously be your best choice. Creating the habit – intuitive, natural and spontaneous – of stopping all the usual rush and asking yourself a bunch of honest questions is worth a lot more than a thousand Excel spreadsheets or applications with rigorous labels and super-rigid plans.
Especially if you consider yourself a freshman than a college veteran, follow my advice: start small. Every week, you’ll sit down with yourself, grab your favorite drink, create a nice, fun, distraction-free environment, and answer those questions:
Are the deals I made with myself last week still valid? If I could do what else would make me happy now, whatever it was, what would I do?
What are the top three tasks I need to do for next week? Are there any loose ends from last week that I need to solve? The organization is nothing more than the ability to negotiate with oneself. It may be a little laborious at first, but it’s mine that you get along with: it’s very worth it.
Be Aware of Ears
What the eyes do not see, the heart does not feel, was saying that popular somewhat macho saying. Save some situations, this phrase fits perfectly well with my advice of the day to you: For your life to reflect your true priorities and you enjoy the time you have on this wonderful Earth, you need to know what is going on inside – from your head. Of course, I know this is an abyss that can reveal to you a tangle of things you’d rather not even know about.
I understand you fully. Ignorance is a gift, to some extent. But think about it: your organization is also, when you stop to analyze, a path of emotional, energetic & spiritual connection with yourself. The word “organize” may be more practical and theoretical and mental and masculine, with all that energy of ordering chaos and putting everything in its place, but it also brings us to our need for self-awareness, fluidity, and sensitivity.
No one organizes what they don’t see or know exists. So that you can make these two movements with ease and grace (understanding what your heart is feeling on one side of the coin, and at the same time directing this movement towards an effective, organized and well-informed solution, outcome or initiative).
You need to be aware of these movements themselves. That is: they need to exist somewhere outside your head. All this argument and theory to make you agree and accept a very basic and very good tip: have a reliable inbox and put everything on your mind into it at least once a day.
Being mindful & strong & ready for life is a process that first involves emptying. No one can come up with original ideas & get their plans out of the drawer & take a deep breath in a time of challenge with a mind full of things, an anguished heart and a totally messy life. Creating an inbox can be as simple as having a notebook just for that.
My general recommendation is that you have, if possible, at least three inboxes. Your WhatsApp is one of them, for example. To optimize your time, do this: Create a group there with two other people, whoever they are. Next, go to group settings and remove these people.
Name the group “inbox” or something, and pin that group to the top of your conversation list. Every time someone asks you for something or you read or hear something worth saving, forward the message to your inbox. Review it a few times a week.
Your email is a natural and intuitive inbox. I don’t think I need to give any tips here. Last but most importantly, have an inbox for you to vent everything you are thinking about, enter the insights & illuminations that occurred to you throughout the day.
Write down the details of your current projects and write down all the tasks you need to do throughout this month. It can be a list app, it can be a Word document, a note in Evernote, or a simple, nice notebook full of lines. The idea is to get everything out of your head and then put everything in place.
Think of something to buy in the market? Play in the inbox. Did you think you would love to swim naked in the Caribbean islands one day? Inbox! Remember something you need to buy for a wedding next month? Inbox! Got an idea for a new text? Inbox
Think of this portal as a great all-embracing hug: it knows no bounds and discriminates nothing. All information that comes with an action verb (I need to do x, one day I would like to have y) is worth recording.
Perfection is not covered for the time being, of course, but go, little by little and as long as your memory allows you, noting the ideas that pass to your mind. Set aside a time of day, or a few days of the week, to see these items and decide what to do with them.
Where Do You Want To Go, Alice?
- “Could you please tell me which way to go from here?” Asked Alice.
- “It depends a lot on where you want to go,” said the Cat.
- “The place doesn’t matter much,” said Alice.
- “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
This dialogue has many, many layers and I would need another whole text to highlight all the interesting lessons and points of view it can bring you, but let’s take it easy. It is here today to illustrate that old universal truth: If you don’t know where you want to go, don’t complain about being lost.
This is not to say that you should cross out all the spontaneity and surprises of your life.
Of course not! You do not need to send the Universe a detailed, closed set of the exact coordinates of your next destination. Many things beyond your control will cross your path and push you onto unexpected roads anyway. But you do need to be connected and connected to your true current priority.
You can do anything, practically, it’s true – but you can’t do everything. Much less at the same time. Much less with the same amount and quality of attention, creativity, innovation and emotional breadth.
A very simple exercise that I love to pass on to my readers goes like this: grab a notebook and make it your priority notebook. Other people would call these decisions “goals of the week,” but I have been abolishing that word from my vocabulary for some time (another day I work out why). On the first page write today’s date, and then below, write 1 to 3 maximum priorities for your current life – valid priorities for today.
Write these priorities as clearly as possible. What is the desired outcome that these priorities will materialize? What is behind this generic intention to “pay more attention to my health?” What will be your specific and personalized way of living that intention over the next few weeks?
Spend time working and talking to yourself to identify the desired outcomes that are behind your priorities if they are too abstract at first. Under these phrases write the predicted time window by which they will be your priorities.
One week? Two weeks? One month? There is no right and wrong answer, I am sorry to inform you. This exercise is your own Tetris game: over time you get the morning on which priorities fit best in which time window.
If your priority needs many tasks and projects to complete and it will take up a lot of internal space, it may extend for more than three weeks. If your three priorities are small tasks, small but urgent & valuable to you, a week or ten days is probably enough for you to accomplish them – review this notebook and do this exercise in your weekly meeting with your organization.