After my second promotion at my first corporate job I realized I was in over my head. I had a one hour and fifteen minute commute one way, I had just gotten married, I was working 60 hours a week and I was still feeling overwhelmed with my responsibilities. I knew that there were people getting much more done in their day than I was, so I decided to go on a journey to learn how to organize my life more effectively. Over the following 6 years I have learned many lessons from organizational books and personal experience. Today I want to share three keys to organizing your life that I have found effective.
#1 – Create a simple block schedule.
A block schedule is a road map to help you better organize your time. It is different from an appointment schedule. An appointment schedule is where you put events that are at certain times. In a block schedule you split your day up into chunks and then try to make your appointment schedule match your block schedule as closely as possible.
Creating a block schedule helps you decide when you are working and when you are not working. When you will go prospecting and when you will spend time with existing clients. A block schedule gives you a lens through which you can see the proper time for every event and action step that comes across your path.
#2 – Manage your energy and emotions, not just your time.
Certain tasks take more energy than other tasks. These tasks need to be scheduled at a time when you are mentality alert. If you are not a morning person, don’t schedule a tough mental challenge for 8am. Also manage your emotions. I like to listen to certain audio books or podcast programs throughout my week to manage my spirit and focus my mind and emotions on the next challenge I will face.
#3 – Stop prioritizing and start acting. I have two levels of priority in my life.
I have those things which are important enough to do and those items that are not important enough to do. If something is important enough for me to do, I take action on it immediately or put it into my schedule at a time when I can take action. If something is not important enough for me to do, I decide not to do it. Procrastinating or avoiding unimportant tasks is probably one of the greatest secrets to success.
You will see this trait in extreme ways when you study the ultra-successful. Steve Jobs for instance never had a license plate on his car. He wasn’t against license plates he just always had something more important to do than to go get a license plate for his car. When Bill Gates was starting out, he would sleep at his office and not take showers. He wasn’t against showers he just had more important things to do. I realize these are extreme examples and I certainly would not recommend that you take the license plate off of your car or stop showering but I would recommend that you look at the use of your time. If you have an unimportant task that keeps coming into your mind, it might be time to decide not to do it.
I believe that my work is important. I believe my family is important. I believe my work as a youth pastor is important. I would say I spend roughly 95% of my time either sleeping or investing in these three areas of my life. Decide what is important to you and then focus your time and energy on the things that matter most.
Have a great week!
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