By Lillie Brown
Work. Family. Friends. Partners. Pets. Creative expression. Home maintenance. Eating well. Moving your body. Hobbies. Yikes… It’s a lot. As a clever, creative person, you undoubtedly have a lot on your plate. Let us tell you this: organisation is the remedy for a chaotic life.
If you fall into the ‘organised’ category, farewell! This guide is not for you. However, if you feel like you’re constantly behind, drowning in paperwork, and a slave to your schedule, you’re in the right place. Aside from being able to gloat about your exceptional organisational skills, getting organised has a host of science-backed psychological benefits, too. Obviously, stress relief is the frontrunner — living and working in a cluttered, disorderly situation is stressful, and makes it impossible to be fully focused on the task at hand. Being organised will help you feel more balanced and relaxed and will free up your time so you can spend it doing things that bring you joy and pleasure. Hello, binge-reading debaucherous Jackie Collins novels! Finally, keeping organised can increase your productivity by giving you more time to work on important undertakings instead of being weighed down by menial tasks. When you’re organised, your mind will be clear and you can focus on what matters to you the most, rather than the chaos surrounding you.
If you’re not naturally inclined towards organisation, the prospect of getting your shit together might be a tad overwhelming, but don’t fret — below, we’ve outlined some simple strategies to help you build sound organisational habits into your life.
Create a 3-month forward plan. Think about what you’d really like to achieve in terms of your creative practice and/or business in the next 3 months. Once you’ve figured this out, watch our Goal Matrix webinar and work backwards and break each goal down into smaller steps and plot them out in your calendar to keep yourself on track. On that note…
Diarise everything. Use a planner to keep track of meetings, appointments, work tasks, and every other commitment that is swimming around in your head. Use a digital calendar or an analog diary, whichever you prefer. We recommend implementing a weekly Monday Morning Meeting to ritualise this process — it will help you manage all your responsibilities and deadlines more efficiently and reduce all that niggly head noise.
Capture a Master List of all your tasks. Think of this as a brain dump — get your tasks, no matter how big or small, out of your head and onto paper into one big list. Once you’ve done this, you can effectively prioritise each one and add them to your schedule.
Eat the frog. Yes, you read that right. Mark Twain once said “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Productivity consultant Brian Tracy coined the Eat The Frog method from this visceral piece of advice from Twain. His version is quite nuanced, but it boils down to this: identify your most high-impact or unpleasant task of the day and do it first. Once you’ve done this, it’s all up from here.
Implement a monthly Money Day. Set aside one day each month to review your financial responsibilities, both business and personal. Issue all your invoices, reconcile your bank accounts, set aside funds for your taxes, pay your bills, and pop some money into your savings account. Now, reward yourself for being so proactive. Our preferred method is wine and a lounge room disco.
Give everything a ‘home’. This includes digital files and objects in your workspace. Implement a digital filing system, and for peats sake, stick to it. At the end of each day, clean your desk — clear it of mugs and snack wrappers, file your paperwork, put your notebooks in the drawer. Tomorrow, you’ll begin your workday in a tidy, clutter-free space. Addendum: once a week, spray and wipe your desk, clean your keyboard and mouse, and dust your screen. So. Many. Germs.
Organisation is a habit, and by regularly practicing the strategies we outlined above, your organisational skills will rival those of Marie Kondo*. Go forth and get yo’ shit together.
*Not really, but do it anyway.