I have to admit, I am naturally not a very organized person.
I am not just saying this to make my story more compelling, it’s the honest truth. In my early teens I developed OCD after my parents divorced. As a teenager I was so afraid of forgetting anything, whether it be an errand to run, an appointment or a school project. I believed I had to be on top of everything in my life and felt something bad could happen if I wasn’t. Because of this I became a relentless note taker and my bedroom would constantly be full of sticky notes with chicken scratch all over them.
It was my way of gaining control over my life at the time.
While I’ve grown out of those old ways and also trained my mind to change those counterproductive habits, the reality is I’m just naturally bad at organizing. I don’t feel in control of my calendar or my life, unless I can see everything that is going on from a high level.
However, what I’ve realized is if you can master the things you’re bad at, you can help anyone with them.
If planning and organizing came easy to me, I wouldn’t be able to relate to what many other people are going through and I wouldn’t have spent the last decade studying the psychology and neuroscience behind our actions. I know the anxiety and stress that comes from being overwhelmed and it’s why I’m so passionate about trying to solve these challenges for people.
As a Performance Coach and Speaker, I’ve found this strategy to be incredibly powerful to help maximize productivity, reduce stress and gain control in the age of information overload.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by everything you need to do this week try this:
The best way to gain control of your work/ life schedule is to get everything out of your head. Take a sheet of paper and write out every project, goal and priority for the week.
We often avoid this because we feel it’s going to overwhelm us by looking at it, but the opposite is true. The reality is you have all of that stuff to do regardless, this just makes it easier to manage….by keeping it in your head, your mind has too much to be aware of, which will lead to brain fatigue and cognitive overload.
2. Break It Down
Take each goal or project and break them down even further. Ask yourself what steps, activities or tasks will I have to do in order to make this project complete? List them all.
For organizational purposes, make each list based on urgency. Put the items that have a closer deadline near the top of the page or project task list.
4. 5 Minute Tasks
Go through your list and for every task that you think will take under 5 minutes, write a ‘5’ next to it.
5. Rapid Fire Blocks
Each day schedule blocks of 30 minutes and in that time frame rip through as many ‘under 5 minute’ tasks as possible.
This helps make that massive task list more manageable and enables you to quickly get through those smaller items so they are not slowing you down by taking up mental space!