24, 1440, 86400.
24 hours in a day, 1440 minutes, 86,400 seconds in a day. What do you do with them?
This is the battle for your future. How you utilize your time will directly impact the type of life you create for yourself. The most successful teachers, business owners, politicians, authors, and others that you look up to have the same amount of time as you do each day. So it isn’t finding more time that makes the difference, it is how you use it that matters most.
I started my career when I was 22 years old. I was balancing this new career, starting a family, and continuing my education. I wanted to be the best I could be in my job, but I quickly realized that until I learned how to do more with my time I would never get the opportunities I wanted. So I went to work. I started finding articles and other resources that talked about good ways to organize time. The first lesson I learned is that personal organization can only be learned through experience.
The tool I eventually found that works best for me was the Nomatic Planner. This planner matched my style well, but also gave me structure and freedom to adjust. I recommend it, but won’t tell everyone to go buy one. You can find more about it here.
I’ve got a big list below that you can refer too below, but here is the main lesson I learned about personal organization that you should remember no matter what tool you use.
There is a Difference Between a Brain Dump and a To Do List
A huge mistake people make is they try to be efficient by writing down everything they know they need to get done and then start working from the top down. The reason this is not efficient is that there is no prioritization of your tasks. Prioritizing tasks will help you get things done when they need to get done at the level that you want. That first step of writing down (or typing out) everything you know is what I call a brain dump.
Empty your thoughts by putting it into writing, now you are ready to actually organize things. Now take a quick glance through your list and give each a rating between 1 and 4. 1 means that task is going to be super hard or take a long time (think essay or assignment in a subject that is difficult for you). 4 means that the task won’t be too hard.
After you rate how hard each task will be, look at when things are due. When you don’t do this, and just start working on your brain dump, you miss responsibilities that are due today or tomorrow because they just so happen to be further down your list. This is an easy limit to NIX!
I’m not saying you have to get a planner and carry it with you, that might not be your style. But I do encourage you to try writing out your brain dump, rating by difficulty, and then organize by due date and you will see your task list naturally form and you will be on your way. This system might not work perfectly either but you have to try if you want to start being better organized.
Planners: (click for links)
Apps/Online Tools: (click for links)
Did I miss one? What is your favorite? Comment them below and share!