Get Organized…Your Way!

This is an update to an earlier post, Effective Leadership Skills – Personal Planning, where I stated;

A leader needs a personal planning routine.  I strongly believe that each leader needs to determine what works best for them and that one size does not fit all.

Very recently I was explaining personal planning fundamentals utilizing my system as an example to a group of relatively new managers.  One of them said to me, “Don’t you think this could overwhelm someone and discourage them from even starting?”  Yikes, I hope not!  I have always advocated that everyone needs to figure out what system of personal organization works best for them.  I have a very rigorous system and routine for staying organized.  This system works for me, but may not work for everyone.  My system is one that I have built and “kaizened” many times over the years picking up things from books, courses, my own ideas, and from other leaders.  What is important though in any personal planning system is to have these 6 key points:

  1. Have a regular routine in which you do your weekly planning
  2. Review and plan both your professional and personal items
  3. Keep everything in one place
  4. Determine your weekly priorities
  5. Break projects or items down to the individual tasks
  6. Consolidate your weekly priorities on one sheet
To read more on these 6 personal planning points, visit this post Effective Leadership Skills – Personal Planning.

The most important thing is to start getting yourself organized and staying on top of things.  You can always change and revise how you do it.  If something doesn’t work, change it.  Try something else.  Tweak the things that work, and get rid of the things that don’t.  Whatever you do, keep trying and do not stop.  Below is a great success story of never giving up.

A leader that I have coached a few times over the years on personal planning always struggled with my process.  I always stressed to her, not to do what I do, but rather embrace the 6 key points above in a way that would work for her.  She tried many things, none of them really getting her motivated to get organized and all were more discouraging and frustrating to her.  Yet, she desperately wanted to be more organized and in control.  She kept trying.

Then she discovered “bullet journaling”.  Now I have to say, maybe it’s the engineering mind in me, but I don’t get it!  However it doesn’t matter because it works great for her.  I won’t get into what bullet journaling is exactly, but if you have no idea, it’s short form notes, drawn pictures, symbols and anything else you want to write in a journal that summarizes the things you need to do, want to do, your goals and objectives, etc.  It’s all hand written or attached to the pages of a small book or journal.

This particular leader enjoys the process of writing the information in and organizing it such a manner that motivates her and inspires her.  That is the intent and all that matters!

She hand writes her own calendars using all kinds of colours, stickers, images, pictures, and symbols to depict special events, commitments and priorities she needs/wants to complete.  She uses bullet lists to capture her “to-do list” items.  Everything is hand drawn and in many different colours.

She has created a form of Leader Standardized Work in her journal where when she completes a task, she colours in a particular pattern.  If she doesn’t complete the task, it is Bullet journel 1left blank.  Not only does this motivate her to complete the tasks so that the pattern is completed, it also is a visual control that can be used to help her improve on task completion.  For example, it is very easy to see days when several tasks did not get completed, or particular tasks that she is not getting to on a regular basis.  She can then look at her personal planning and habits/behaviours to see what she needs to do to improve in these areas.

Bullet journel 2.When there are things of repetition that she needs or wants to do each day she graphs these indicating how many times the item was completed.  This is particularly useful for things like exercising, actions you want to take to create a new routine or habit, tracking medications, drinking water, etc.  Again this can be useful in recognizing patterns of success and opportunities for improvement.

For this leader, she has finally found what works for her.  The principles are the same, the methodology is custom to what excites, interests, and motivates her to get and stay organized!  I’m so happy for this leader as she has struggled for a long time to find her system and process, but now that she has, she is feeling better about herself, more in control, and much more encouraged about what she can accomplish!  Yahoo!

So if you struggle with getting and staying organized, keep searching and thinking about what will motivate you.  It’s out there, you just need to keep looking and trying different things!

What works for you?

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