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Some crave the excitement that always being about to screw up brings. But being organized isn’t boring – being boring is boring. Make your own excitement and you’ll stop being boring – and then you can stop using your disorganization as a crutch for a life not fully realized.
Keeping yourself in a high-stress mindset means that you’re hard to work with, likely to eventually burnout and sooner or later you’ll miss some important detail that you were too frantic to recognize, damaging your job, your reputation, and your career.
Creative work is still work, and just as susceptible to procrastination, poor planning, and shoddy work practices as any other work. Besides, artists can become more efficient by adopting a system to deal with other noncreative tasks often needed to keep their business going, like administrating, publicizing, planning, and others.
If you become more productive and start finishing work earlier people may expect you to find more stuff to do to fill in the remaining hours. You can leverage that extra work into a promotion or raise – or convince your boss to adopt a telecommuting plan so you can work from home.
But productivity goes beyond work. Being more productive in your life means having more time to do the things you like.
If your life is really chaotic and unpredictable, it’s likely so because you’ve resisted adopting some kind of system rather than because no system is good enough for your life.
Adopting a system means spending some time to find out what’s important to you and how to get rid of the less important stuff.
Organization has to meet your needs, not some imposed notion of cleanliness. An organized space is one in which the things you need the most are close at hand, the things you need often are easily found, and the things you need rarely are out of the way but easily retrieved when needed.
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Before leaving your workspace, or before going to bed, take 10 minutes to look over the next day’s commitments.
Decide what you’ll do first. Look at that to-do list and decide whether any tasks on it can be delegated to someone else or crossed off the list altogether.
Every one of us has one or more tasks on our to-do list that we dread doing.
Do it first thing. Writer Michael Hyatt talks about slaying your dragons before breakfast—there’s nothing more motivating for the rest of your day than crossing that monster off your list first thing in the morning.
Switching between tasks can have damaging costs to our work and productivity.
Develop the habit of single-tasking by forcing your brain to concentrate on one task and one task only. Put your phone away, close all the browser windows and apps that you don’t need. Immerse yourself in this task. Only move to the next one when you’re done.
“Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.”