Throughout much of my life, I always felt kind of disorganized and marveled at other people who seemed to have it so together on the organization front. When I worked in a learning and development role and would offer workshops on increasing productivity, the people who would sign up for the workshops were the uber-organized team members who would then network and share ideas with each other to enhance their uber-organized lives (grocery store checklists laid out exactly like the grocery store aisles or their 3-2-1 system or zero inbox philosophy). I would always ask them to tell me more about their systems, but quite frankly, I felt a little overwhelmed on the organization front and joked that I just was not BO (Born Organized).
While researching and creating productivity workshops, I was determined to solve the puzzle of productivity and organization. I am convinced that productivity and organization are skills that can be learned and are not actually innate traits like height and eye color.
Because November is a month for typically giving thanks, and as I prepare for 2019, I have a couple of books on productivity that I am especially thankful for and have led me towards a Much More Organized (MMO) life.
BOOK 1: When my children were younger, I found the Fly Lady and her book, Sink Reflections. She made me realize that I was not alone and that there was actually hope that I could get more organized. Both realizations are powerful agents for change!
BOOK 2: I read the Harvard Business Review to keep up on trends in the workplace. Carson Tate had an article on the topic of productivity styles as well as a book, Work Simply. Her website offers an assessment showing your preferred work style and tools to help you be successful. I found this eye-opening and realized that I am neither a “Planner” or a “Prioritizer” which is who most organization systems are geared for. I am a “Visualizer” and work better with big picture.
BOOK 3: While researching productivity ideas a few years ago, I found the book Getting Things Done. The thing that stuck with me most was author David Allen’s wisdom: “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” And he is right. I would use so much of my brain’s processing power to remember things I needed to do or to remember "great" ideas I had that I either spun my wheels in getting something done or never really acted on ideas.
BOOK 4: The last book on this list, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, taught me that the word “priority” should be singular and not plural. You shouldn’t have your top four priorities, you should have a priority. If you have four things that you are prioritizing, then they will focus your time and energy in different directions. By focusing on one thing, your time and energy moves that one priority toward completion.
Since this is a thankfulness post on books on productivity, I am thankful for the Four Minute Books website that summarizes over 450 books in 4 minutes or less.
I may not be the most organized person in a room, but I am thankful for tools and resources that have helped me become much more organized and productive. It is a learnable skill! I’d love to hear about your journey or struggles and how you overcame them.