How I Organize

I am often approached about my organizational system, the nuts and bolts of how I deal with daily life. Generally speaking I don’t have a complete “system”, but I do have some sacred cows that are a good jumping point.

The first is committing to write things down. I actually carry a small pad with me. It hold’s my schedule for the day, a grocery list, random thoughts that pop into my head, and anything else that comes up. I use electronic systems for calendars, contacts, email, and a like….but everything starts and ends its life on a real pad of paper. Since starting this habit years ago I feel I am far less likely to forget stuff than before.

I see life as a river, it always moves forward. If you screw up do the best you can until you can fix things, don’t just cave. For example, about once a week I forget my pad of paper. Instead of being a mess or running home I will just grab the back of an envelope and do the best I can. Sometimes treading water is success.

It is important to have set sacred times to organize and do finances. These times should be placed on days/times that are unlikely to be disrupted. I writer my schedule down first thing in the morning and I always do my best to get up early. I also have a weekly financial check-in that I do every week no matter what. Some weeks it is to pay bills, others it is to take stock of my debt and savings. I spend about two to three hours a week on these things, sticking to them has saved me thousands of dollars.

Saying no is important. It is probably more important than saying yes. Saying no communicates your priorities and values without having to have special conversations about them. Being clear about what is important and communicate that to others also means you have a good grasp of who you are. Anything that is hard is important, saying no is one of those things.

Technology is a good tool, but be careful it does not become a crutch. Part of the reason I write things down is so I can go without my phone when the opportunity arises. I am currently trying to learn important phone numbers since I realized the other day I do not even know my partners number by heart. Technology makes things easy, it can also make you helpless. Never be helpless.