Guest post:Organization

hello from the SHU box
hi! i’m sarah, and i write a blog called the SHU box (it’s nothing intricate — while i do love compartmentalizing things neatly, SHU = my initials!). i am excited to be presenting a guest post in honor of priyanka’s word of the year, which is organization — something i became interested in while striving to balance work with life through medical school and residency, and which is now one of my very favorite subjects!

when i asked for post ideas, priyanka suggested that i do a ground-up sort of post for those who want more organization in their lives, but are unsure of how to get started. so here it comes . . .

organization boot-camp: 5 rules that may help change your life!
rule #1: write it down.

i cannot emphasize this one enough. one of the reasons that i’m chugging away on this post right now is that it’s on a list in front of me — and therefore not to be ignored! i believe in the power of lists on paper, but an electronic format can work as well as long as it’s always easily accessible to you . . . or even better, unavoidable.

my current system involves a monthly list of projects i’d like to achieve, a weekly checklists of tasks (from those designed to help me progress through bigger projects to mundane things like going to the dry cleaner), and a daily to-do list.

you can go free form like me, or very structured and specific, Ć  la this popular daily docket (click to download) from simple mom.

i promise — once it’s on paper, you will be more likely to manage your time in order to get your priorities completed.

rule #2: do it now.

it’s okay if you are . . . but now might be a good time to work on stopping.
procrastination is bad. it takes up mental energy, makes you feel guilty, and often produces sub-par results. when you choose to procrastinate (and yep — it’s a choice) you devote time and energy devoted to worrying about NOT doing something, and then often this is followed by anxiety about having to get it done within a compressed time frame.

there are entire books written on the subject of procrastination, or you can check out this concise (and powerful) zen habits post on the subject.

if the problem is intimidation — ie, you’re tackling a big project that you can’t wrap your mind around — divide it up into bite-sized chunks. i recently submitted a grant, and that was a hugely intimidating project for me. however, i think i made the process much less painful by grabbing a calendar and dividing the enormous undertaking into manageable assignments.

if you find that you’re procrastinating because you really just DON’T want to do something (and the end result doesn’t seem worth the pain of the work put in), perhaps you need to re-examine your priorities to figure out if you truly need to do it in the first place.

rule #3: take time to think about routines
the trick is to make your routines work for (rather than against) you! i remember being inspired by this post last year from the happiness project.

love this book!
as ms. rubin suggested, i began identifying patterns in my day that seemed to work and others that i wanted to change. one thing i hated was being rushed in the morning — and yet it was happening on a daily basis. i did a blow-by-blow account of how i typically spent my time and decided on what was truly priority (blogging > perfectly straight hair, of course šŸ™‚ ) and developed a morning routine that worked for me.

rule #4: ask yourself “why?”
similar to my comment on procrastination, perhaps you’re struggling with follow-through on larger tasks because they are not truly in line with your priorities. i suggest making a list:

here’s mine, for example
if there are commitments in your life that don’t make the list — maybe it’s time to get rid of them. part of managing your time is deciding what’s worth doing, and what isn’t . . . so don’t forget this essential piece of the puzzle.

rule #5: enjoy it
have fun with your organization. . . and with your life! if you’re like me, this may mean pretty planning tools and awesome pens; however, it also means building time for relaxation and enjoyment into your schedule. if you’re human, you need time for family, friends, and — well, fun. after all, that’s a (very) important part of life, right? and therefore, perhaps that’s the whole point of being organized in the first place šŸ™‚

thank you, priyanka for this opportunity to do a guest post! for more on this topic, you can check out my organization page or even watch the HLS presentation on this topic that i gave with the famous kath + morgan.


About Priyanka

My blog is my attempt to change myself for good and incorporate some great habits by deriving inspiration from my fellow bloggers. This blog is a log of my eating habits,my everyday life, my activity profile,the motivation I want from others and also other ramblings.

Posted on January 13, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Thanks Sarah! I have this bookmarked so I can look at it again. Its like you knew exactly what I needed =)

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  2. Great post! I am constantly working on my organization skills.

  3. Thanks Sarah, I am an OCD list writer, my list pen is wrapped in pink ribbon with a huge feather on the end (stationary is important). All my friends and family think me quiet amusing. Love that having perfectly straight hair is on the list of important jobs to do. šŸ™‚ I find if I write my list before I go to bed for the following day, it is far less daunting in the morning, my brain seems to be able to prioritize from most important to least important.
    When I was an apprentice chef, I used to have to write on my list things like – Take a moment to breath – Breath! OR Step outside for some fresh air. šŸ™‚ Great post!

  4. the happiness project keeps showing up in my life lately – i should get a copy!

  5. This is a great guest post. Thank you for the tips. I find that if I actually take the time to make a list I get more things done. i think it’s just a matter of taking the time to make that list.

  6. i think you read my mind! i just posted about how i got a new planner and wanted to be more organized!

  7. Great guest post! I love this!

  8. Awesome post Sarah! Gotta love a list that starts with making a list! You really boiled this concept down to manageable size. I’m bookmarking this one too!

  1. Pingback: Planning and execution |

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