Professional Confessional: Getting Organized

by Mike · 2 comments

Lately I’ve been a little disorganized. No – that’s an understatement. I’ve been an utterly chaotic tornado of inefficiency.

Today I almost went to lunch instead of leading a 12:15 web demonstration. Somehow I never managed to get it on to my calendar, and luckily another attendee emailed me a confirmation with about 5 minutes to spare, right as I was about to hop off for a $5 footlong.

My task list in is 98% red, meaning OVERDUE, some of them months old. Sure, every time I look at them they don’t strike me as any level of priority… but some sick, sad, inner professional masochist will not allow me to delete them so I can start fresh with my latest tasks.

I’m flying to Houston Wednesday… and I just booked my flight on Saturday. You don’t want to know how much that cost. I still have marketing emails to send out in preparation for that, but somehow they elude me.

I have an enormously important demonstration at 1 PM tomorrow, part of an RFP process and it’s going to follow a 4 page demo script. I just realized it’s happening and looked at the script for the first time at about 3:30 PM today. I died a little on the inside.

I have this fantastic theoretical awareness of how I should be organizing myself, but my To Do lists are still scattered pieces of yellow notebook paper, etched with fierce cross-outs and giant bullet points. Business cards are strewn about, semi-prioritized in mini stacks under and around my keyboard. The amount of scrap paper cluttering my work area (and expanding beyond into 2 more work areas) would make Al Gore weep.

What’s the secret? Is it just me? I’m remarkably OCD about a lot of things. Maybe I’m just overworked and heading towards burnout and getting on top of things is simply impossible right now. I don’t think that’s it though. I’d love to hear some of our readers’ tips for handling work/information/stress overload…

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kerri April 1, 2009 at 12:12 pm

This post made me laugh out loud. Ok, ready for my top 2 tips?

1. Keep your desk clear. This means if a piece of paper hits it, deal w. it instantly.

2. Make a priority list every evening. Paper-based, email, salesforce, whatever. If I do it the night before, I don’t waste an hour pounding through emails and getting ‘pulled’ into somebody else’s task list.

Good luck Michael – I’m quite convinced there should be an organizational gene out there for purchase.


NilsEr April 1, 2009 at 9:03 am

Personally, I’d recommend reading David Allen’s Getting Things DONE.

Here are three posts that should provide some ideas (and hopefully some motivation). Good luck.

Lifehaker – Reusable Solutions (4/1/09)

Lifehacker – 3 Productivity Systems (12/23/08)

Daily Anchor – 9 Tips (2/23/09)


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