A top business exec slips through morning traffic, picking his way through semis and other slower vehicles. Suddenly, a few brake lights flicker ahead of him. Seconds later a sea of bright red fills the stretch of road before him. He lurches to a stop behind an endless mass of sputtering, creeping vehicles. A five car accident has effectively stopped normally unstoppable rush-hour racers, and traffic isn’t slated to move any time soon.
Most people don’t handle a situation like this very well. They work themselves into an angry frenzy. They fire insults at the cars in front of them (as if that does any good). They curse the day of their birth, finding the whole experience nothing less than a nuisance and tremendous waste of time.
That’s what most people would do, but not the executive. Reaching for his glove-box, he pops it open and grabs a self-help book he had crammed in there before he left. A simple, proactive step transforms an incredible waste of time into a productive learning experience.
The executive has already learned what most have not: how to make small choices pay big dividends. That’s why he’s a top exec. He’s mastered the intricacies of life, even when they toss a roadblock in his path.
Sometimes its the little things that make the greatest impact on life. Grasping life by the throat includes corralling time. Time-wasters choke productivity, but small time-savers, like the one mentioned above, will increase productivity and even create a surprising surplus of free time.
What’s the secret to an organized life? What steps do the organized and successful use to become, well, more organized and successful? The answer is common sense. Here are a few “executive level”, common sense steps the organized use to help in taming their time:
1. An organized person avoids time-wasters. At first blush, this may seem obvious. But to the common man, it would come as quite the revelation to find out how much time slithers into the grassy fringes of his life.
Many people waste a whole lot more time than they realize. Television, surfing the net, video games, checking email and cell phones all become deep sinkholes that swallow up time and waste valuable energy.
These activities aren’t necessarily wrong. Unfortunately, without boundaries they become monsters . Like an untamed horse, these activities send life galloping out of control. It isn’t difficult to tame time. It begins with taming the time-wasters of life.
2. An organized person plans the day ahead. Most people don’t even think about this one. The fact is, a truly organized person has her day already planned out, that way, she’s ready for whatever life spews at her. It’s a whole lot simpler to deviate from a set course when circumstances dictate than to find the way without a preconceived plan.
The organized person understands this and plans accordingly. She doesn’t let life come to her. She meets life head-on, commanding it to do her bidding through her tight schedule.
3. An organized person streamlines scheduling. This one is a must. This principle separates the organizational genius from the adequately organized.
It’s all too easy to slip into a rut. The organized person plans for this. He constantly reevaluates his progress, noting how well each aspect of his daily, weekly and monthly organizational plan performs. He transforms himself into an arborist of time, pruning the dead and fruitless branches from his schedule and grafting in fertile, beneficial principles. Because of this, his schedule becomes more efficient and his life more productive.
4. An organized person makes every moment count. The executive above stands as the poster-child of this principle. Life consists of too many roadblocks and detours to get everything done that must be done. That’s why the people who have learned to capture the time they have to get things done have also learned to wrangle the time they don’t.
Shoving a book in the glove-compartment isn’t the only way to do this. Dragging along a laptop on a long flight, listening to an audio book while commuting and scribbling a few notes on a trusty notepad while waiting for the doctor all go a long way to capturing every moment.
Summing It Up
Organization isn’t an elusive dream. It’s nothing less than hard work and discipline. With a little diligence and an equal amount of effort these principles will transform any disorganized life into a productive, efficient existence.