Whether you run your own business or are paid a salary, one of the hardest parts of multitasking is trying to stay on top of things. There are a number of powerful tools available to help you get organized, and I personally couldn't survive without Google calendar and Google documents. These help me create schedules and share work-jobs with customers. Apart from these, I use three other tools, which are invaluable in note-taking, note creating, file sharing, and to-do list jottings.
8 Steps to Creating a Successful Organizational System
Before I share them, let's take a quick look at 8 steps to create a successful organizational system. These have been distilled from 20 odd steps I was taught or learnt. You'll find you can implement them in just about any situation. Use them in conjunction with the tools outlined below and you'll always stay on top of schedules.
1. Assess the situation or problem. Begin by getting an overall impression of the current situation, and how successfully organized you consider it to be.
2. Determine a desirable outcome. Envision the best possible outcome as you see it today. Visualizing the best case scenario helps you determine the starting point, from which you can expand to where you want to be.
3. Identify what works. Go through your current system with a fine-toothed comb. Is it working for you? If it isn't broken, don't try and fix it. You can however look at options to improve it.
4. Identify what does not work. Yup, that's equally important. take a look at what's not working in your daily systems. You might find that on a given day, practically nothing works! When this happens to me, I take a break and ask myself a simple question - why? Often a small change or tweak can lead to dramatic positive results.
5. Outline a plan. What sort of knowledge or expertise or tools do you need to complete this organizational task?
6. Determine your action steps. Tasks are always easier to complete when broken down into manageable dos. How do you get from the problem to the solution? Map out the steps you need to take to achieve a desired result.
7. Implement the plan. Roll up your sleeves and get to work. For most, this is the fun part of any organizational process as you actually get to put your initiatives into work. For others, this can be a difficult part, as it often needs to be repeated before you can see success.
8. Test its outcome. As you implement any plan, you'll realize you need to tweak it to get it right. Successful organizers will continuously test each process and plan under different conditions, until they can determine one that works for them.
3 Excellent Organizational Tools
Now that we have the 8 steps down, let's take a look at three organizing tools to help you schedule and manage daily tasks.
Evernote: I love jotting down notes on my android phone and I use the voice recorder as well. But I've heard a lot of good things about Evernote. So I had to give it a try. It's a really handy tool that lets you record your thought anytime and anyplace, but the great part is unlike your phone notes, it lets you search by keyword, tag or even handwritten text. So you can find what you want, fast. And yes, you can share your notes as well. Did I mention it's free?
Toodledo: Funny name, but nothing funny about how it works. It's billed as an incredibly powerful to-do list, and if you're like me and love to scribble on your to-do sheet, this is a must-have. You can organize your tasks, customize your field, and import items. But the best part is that you can access this from your desktop and mobile, so it's never far from you; unlike that pesky pad which you've forgotten at your desk!
Toggl: What are you really working on? We spend so many hours in front of the computer, but how many of them are really productive? Toggl helps you time-track on your desktop or phone, and it's a brilliant tool if you're working on multiple projects in a single day.
Mind42: This might be the right tool for individuals who work alone or in high pressure jobs. The concept behind this is simple - you can jot down your ideas and manage them in a layout that's easy to create and share. You create a map that lets you go from one idea to the next. The application works like a desktop application, so you can download it from your computer or mobile device.
I've marked this as an added bonus tool because I haven't personally tried it out, but the reports I've received so far seem good!
Do you have any organizational tools you use? Would love to hear from you.