One of the biggest delays to productivity, fulfillment and self-efficacy is disorganization. At least some level of organization/clarity is required to function to your highest potential. Organization drives efficiency, which helps us to accomplish tasks quickly, effectively and thoroughly. When clients come to my office with academic difficulties, work related productivity issues, or challenges managing their households, one of the many aspects of functioning we look at is organization. How do you know what you want/need to do, and what are you doing to achieve that goal? How do you keep track of the many hats you wear? In a frenzied environment constant information, it can be really hard to know what to prioritize, and even how to get to everything that's a priority for you, your family or your group/organization. I don't know many people in my personal life or in my practice who don't operate without SOME type of list, whether it be a daily to-do list, a daily planner, a bullet journal (or the millions of other planner/journal formats sprouting), or an app. In my work & personal life, I know that I don't function well without frequent use of two electronic calendars, a written daily to-do list and and a master task work list for almost everything that is going on in my brain.
I have found that once information is jotted down in some format, we experience relief, we feel responsible and accountable, and we are more likely to complete the task. This does not mean that every task gets done at the exact time you wish, or even done the exact way that we would like, but it certainly increases the likelihood that we will accomplish our goal. If not, it can transferred to another day, or it allows time to reassess how important the task is and what's creating any avoidance. The number one issue I see with use of lists is making lists that are unrealistic--i.e. too many items to complete in whatever amount of time you've given yourself, not detailed enough to plug into it easily, or prioritizing items that can actually wait until later.
As alluded to in my minimalist post a few months back, I recognize that we have become a culture of "stuff," or "things to do/people to see," and without better organization of what is fulfilling and how to fill ourselves based on our needs, we are prone to amass more external "stuff," with less control over it. Below are some books I was introduced to last year that have helped me and countless others organize and reorganize the home (which can extend to other areas of life) as well as a quick list of ways to organize your workspace. Less stress and less chaos leads to a healthier, fuller, more productive & less cluttered, life. How do you stay organized? Let me know in the comments! Til next post, Dr. A