When in Doubt, Organize

Q4intelligence on May 14, 2020 3:00:00 AM

When things are chaotic, whether at home, or work, or throughout the world, it’s easy to feel like letting things slide. And honestly, sometimes that’s totally fine. When we’re in a position where we have to handle a lot at once (even if it’s just a busy morning of meetings), we have to decide what’s critical and what can be put aside for another time. Sometimes there’s no way around it.  

You simply can’t do everything all of the time. Though unfortunately, it’s human nature for us to try anyway. And what happens when we try to accomplish everything at once while we’re also navigating a challenging time? 

  • Regular, simple tasks start to feel un-doable 
  • We become more and more frazzled and stressed 
  • We start to beat ourselves up for not functioning like normal 
  • Our quality of work drops 
  • Our exhaustion rises 
  • We can’t keep track of things 
  • Our team at work (or home) begin to feel the effects of our state 
  • No one is happy 

While it’s true there will always be times when you have to put aside certain things to continue to function well, there is one thing that isn’t dispensable: organization.  

It’s a lifesaver 

Cities that are built by flood zones have canals constructed into them to drain the excess water away from the population. When life is chaotic, doing what you can to get yourself organized will work like those canalshelping remove the chaos from your life. While a flood can still damage a city even with canals, the damage would be exponentially worse if the water had nowhere to go. It’s the same with chaos.  

If you are in a position where you have to prioritize your duties and put certain things aside, you’ve got to get yourself organized enough to see everything clearly. This is true on the individual level up through an entire organization.  

Think about how your company, or your boss, or just you, handled the chaos of adjusting to stay at home orders and changing customer priorities. Was it handled smoothly? Are you still struggling to communicate with your team or your clients? Are there entire parts of your company you’ve put on hold (your marketing, for instance?). Do you have a constant feeling that you’re forgetting something?  

Don’t cut corners 

In a turbulent time, often our first instinct is to attack whatever is right in front of us. But without first sitting down and evaluating all the components, our efforts are more likely to be ineffective, inefficient, and draining.  

If you want clean results, then start with a clean slate.  

  • Evaluate all of your duties  
  • Take stock of the immediate damage, challenge, or roadblocks 
  • Look ahead to what might be affected later down the road 
  • Break it down into tiers of importance 
  • Clarify goals and their corresponding tasks  

It’s up to you 

No one can organize your life for you. It takes consistent effort for organizations and individuals alike. It’s incredible how much a little organization can change your ability to navigate chaos and challenges. The simple act of writing out a to-do list and getting your tasks organized each morning can make or break the productivity (and experience) of your day. The same goes for getting your team and your organization on the same page with clarified goals, responsibilities, and tasks.  

If you’re struggling to get things done, feeling the pressure of a hectic and demanding schedule, and frustrated by a lack of productivity, ask yourself if you’ve spent the time to get organized. If you haven’t, then it’s your responsibility to do so. Whether or not you’re struggling to deal with the chaos of the pandemic, or just the usual chaos of your life, getting organized may be the greatest gift you can give yourself. Either way, it’s up to you.  

 

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Photo by New Africa

Topics: Leadership + Management, Personal Development