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Kickstart January with these great tips to get organised

Back to work today and have great intentions for 2016? Here’s what you need to do to get what you want.

Ciara Conlon

WHAT DOES IT take to get what you want? Some say hard work and perseverance; others say you have to know the right people.

What a third group understand is you have to be clear about what it is you want in order to be able to go out and get it.

At this time of year everyone is talking about goals and New Year’s resolutions.

January is dominated by talk of how to get what you want. But what if you don’t know what you want, what if your mind is cluttered and your life so disorganised that you find it difficult to figure out what you want, never mind make a plan to go out and get it.

The first step in the grand plan to get more of what you want is to get organised.

Getting organised helps you to gain more clarity, it will help create the space for you to focus on the right things.

Here are three things that you can do straight away in January to help you clear the clutter and gain a better perspective on where you are and where you would like to be moving forward.

Learn how to plan like a pro

Organised people use their calendar. They plan out their days, make upfront decisions about how they are going to spend their time each day. Leave it to chance and chances are it won’t happen. Start to use your calendar as if your life depended on it.

Write down all the things you need to do or would like to do in the next month. Then one by one make a decision about when you are going to do it. Make an estimate about how long it will take you and put it into your calendar.

If you come to an item that is low priority and you feel resistance around putting it into the calendar don’t put it in. Put it into your task management system (see below) so that it is captured and not forgotten about and you can address it again later when it becomes a higher priority for you.

shutterstock_276208211 Source: Shutterstock/chrisdorney

Master the inbox zero technique

When it comes to email there are few people in this world who don’t cite it as a source of wasted time. We all receive too many emails and need to win back some of the time we spend processing them each week. The first thing to do with your email is to unsubscribe to the email newsletters that you receive that you no longer read.

Ryanair, Groupon, Marks and Spencer’s, you really don’t need to know what their latest offer is. Go to these websites when you decide there is a need, not when they decide they have something to sell to you.

Process your email each day with Barbara Hemphill’s F.A.T method: File, Act or Trash. If you want to keep an email for later use, file it in a folder. If you have no use for the information in the email delete it and if you need to act on the email you can do one of three things.

1. If it will take less than 2 mines to answer the email or to complete the task it holds, act on it straight away.

2. If you need to do the work in the email on a particular date or time, schedule the task into your calendar.

3. If the email information pertains to a particular project or needs to be acted on at a later stage you can either schedule it for further down the road or put the task into your task management system for later retrieval and action.

shutterstock_156687308 Source: Shutterstock/sergign

Make a task management tool your ally

What’s a task management system? A task management system is a tool that stores all of the things you need to do in the future. It outranks a To Do list as a task management system categorises the things you need to do into different projects or areas of work.

The benefit of this is, if you are working on Project Cobra you don’t need to be thinking about the things you need to do on Project Viper. A system that categories the work you need to do helps you to focus.

There are many programs out there, apps for personal use like, Todoist, Remember the Milk or Wunderlist and others for team use such as Asana, Teamwork or Trello.

Whatever system you choose you need to commit to using it every day to make it work for you. Do yourself a favour and get organised in 2016 to make it one of your best year’s yet.

Ciara Conlon is The Productivity Coach and founder of LeadwithProductivity.com. Her latest book Productivity for Dummies published by Wiley will be available early January. Go to her blog www.theproductivityblog.com to get a free goal setting guide for 2016. 

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