It's surprising to me to see how many people actually don't keep a calendar, or at least some form of it. I don't mean iCal or some other calendar application on your computer, but rather, something in print, or at least on your Smartphone/PDA. I own an iPhone that I use to keep track of to-dos, events, meetings, and birthdays, but even that can't help me if I need to keep my long-term goals in tact.
When 2008 hit, I did something I've never done before; a long hand written list of tasks and goals to be achieved and accomplished all throughout the magnificent year. I have over 30 items on my list, mixed of both long term goals like improving my photography portfolio and my gadgets loot, and short term goals like obtaining my driver's license and purchasing a new computer. I stuck this list on the wall right above my 24 inch iMac, and I look at it every time I am on the computer, wake up, and go to bed just to remind me that I have work to do, and I better be on it!
I can happily say that I have slowly but progressively been checking off things as I go along, one of which was me launching this very blog, One Fused Life, once and for all! Staying on track is not an easy task - we humans aren't exactly built to be working machines right off the back. Here are a few tips on how to plan for things and not forget by periodically reminding yourself. More after the jump...
- Keep a plan book in print, and make sure you check it and update it frequently. Electronic planners on PDAs and such work as well, but I believe that having a planner dedicated to the things you need to do will motivate you more.
- Give yourself milestone deadlines where you progress through your tasks step by step, if necessary, and you'll eventually have very little left to do on the deadline, if anything.
- Waking up is a huge(!) issue with many people, including me! Solutions: Keep multiple alarms (physically) located in different parts of the room. If you live with people and they wake up early too, ask them to pour a cup of water on your or something!
- Neatly write or type a full year's plan just so you're reminded of the little things you don't always think of every day. Take time to write this - it's a lot more useful and helpful than you may think. Be realistic as to what you plan to achieve. Observe your skills and potential events that could benefit your progress (or do quite the opposite).
- Tell your friends your plans and and say how you plan to achieve some things. That'll put a bit more positive pressure on you - I mean, who likes making a fool of themselves in front of friends?
- Plan things chronologically, if you can. It'll help you progress through things in steps so you don't hit a road bump and not know what to do. In life, we never know what's gonna happen that'll amend our plans, if not, completely alter, so pay attention and take subtle caution.
- Make decisions of things you generally wouldn't think of until it happens; Do you want/need a girlfriend this year? Do you want to quit your current job and find a new one? Are you thinking of making some large purchases this year (technology, furniture, real estate, car, boat, well...you get the idea)? Thinking through these sorts of things will leave you prepared if and when something happens that'll require thought and thinking. Of course, things never really go the way we plan, so better prepare as best as you can, and be ready to make accommodations.
These are just a few things that I could think of that could help someone become more organized, or start being organized for that matter. Every person is different, thus different techniques will be required to make a change in yourself. You must find sources of motivation that'll keep you moving. Maybe it's Money? Friends/Family? Happiness? Success? I don't know, that's up to you to decide. It took me forever and a half to do it, but I did, and so can you!
Next up: Procrastination getting the best and worst of us, and how to destroy it!