Organizing tools

Organizing Techniques That Actually Work

How a few good organizing techniques can help you get your most important things done
Kevin Ferguson

Software Developer

Kevin Ferguson

January 19, 2021

Tell me if this sounds familiar. I show up at my desk in the morning with the best intentions. Today is going to be the day that I get my BIG goals accomplished! I log in and open my email. A couple things look urgent, an email thread from yesterday seems to have continued overnight so I catch up on that. This one looks like a phishing email, delete! Oh, but this sounds interesting — a new version of a library I’d been thinking of using is coming out, plus some tips on how to reduce boilerplate code.

Bing!, oops, looks like I have a bunch of Slack messages to catch up on, some cute baby pics in the random channel, some critical client feedback has come in. That reminds me, I should check the client survey…

Bing!, oops, reminder for the team standup on Zoom I’m almost late in joining.

And now my day is progressing, seemingly without a driver at the wheel as I careen from one urgent thing to the next. It was a busy day so I put in an extra hour to catch up and at the end. As I shut things down I give a glancing thought to the good intentions I had that morning…surely tomorrow I’ll get some time to start working on those big goals.

There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.
– Peter Drucker 

Sound familiar?

If that sounds anything like a normal day for you (as it did for a long time for me), I have good news. You are surviving. You are cultivating the energy needed to take that next step, to turn your goals into accomplishments. However, you just aren’t (yet) taking advantage of some organization techniques to make the best use of your time, your energy, and your attention.

Most of us are struggling to keep up. This means the important things in our lives, the meaningful things, are being pushed aside, relegated to later, and ultimately left undone. Organizing allows us to take more control. It allows us to allocate our time more intentionally. When we can drop the least important things in our lives, we can eventually use that space, that extra time, to rebalance and spend more time doing the things that are really important.

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