Organization 101

I’ve been discussing the importance of the success loop of organization/control/power/success/self-esteem (http://www.contrarianconsulting.com/self-esteem-and-control/). I’d like to focus on what I mean by “organization.”

Many of you will find this heretical, counterintuitive, and irritating, which is why I’m having so much fun suggesting it:

  1. Don’t use your email software for project management. Use it to send and receive emails. Keep it clean and simple, and empty at the end of the day. Use files with client names, or personal projects, or deadlines to store only vital material outside of your email system.
  2. Stop worrying about upgrading and improving your software and hardware. You don’t need the latest bells and whistles unless your own system is failing or incompatible with others’ systems. Obsessing about six backup systems which enable you to store information in the event of plague or UFO attack is simply wasted time. If I lost all my files tomorrow, I could still successfully deal with my clients WHO WOULD BE CALLING ME!
  3. Get yourself off the social media time dumps. I looked at Facebook ten minutes ago, just in case it’s radically changed due to some miracle in the masses. It’s as stupid as ever. Someone on Linkedin actually posted an article about how it’s impossible to make a million a year as a solo consultant. That means you’re now reading the advice of an imaginary person. As Daffy Duck used to say, “What a moron!”
  4. Schedule whatever really needs to get done and stop making “to do” lists which merely stir the soup but never serve it.
  5. Find three professional and/or personal priorities that are urgent to accomplish and schedule them for tomorrow. Forget about anything else until you get them done at the times you designate.
  6. Turn off your phone and return calls, don’t be available to be interrupted unless you have a phone appointment. Don’t allow your computer to signal the arrival of email. Check email only three times a day. Leave all social email for the evening.
  7. Stop giving your cell phone number to everyone, and keep it turned off or refuse calls unless it’s your family or top clients. And I’m not so sure about your family.
  8. Relax. You need “ramp down” time if you’re to “ramp up.” Set aside time to play with the dog, listen to music, exercise, or veg out during the day.
  9. Help yourself first. Learn to say “No” to requests for your free help without feeling you have to explain yourself. Your first “obligation” is to be happy and successful, so that you can make others happy and successful. Notice the order?

10.Choose your fights. Get a life. Not every setback is devastating. Tuck your ego away. Ask for help. Stop arguing over who gets to sit near the window. Have some tolerance. Give some ground. Just don’t give away the store.

© Alan Weiss 2013

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2 Responses to Organization 101

  1. Dennis Snow says:

    Great advice, Alan. I used to be a dedicated “to do” list person, and found it to be somewhat effective. When I started scheduling important activities, however, I find that they actually get done every time (well, almost). When the activity is on my calendar, it creates an accountability that isn’t there with a traditional to do list.

  2. Alan Weiss says:

    “To do” lists are an excuse not to do in most instances.

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