Business is booming. Many of us are crazy busy and staying on top of it all can be very tricky.

I have a fairly busy life. I blog every week, I always have at least one new book in production, I manage the project management education Schulich Executive Education Centre, I work with seven other Canadian universities and their offering of the Master’s Certificate in Project Management, I run ProjectTalks in 5 cities so far, and the other half of my time I am either delivering for or promoting my professional speaking business. 

I’m a great believer in work-life balance, so while I love to work and look forward to it every day, I do have to force myself to take time for biking, bridge, golfing, skiing, four grandchildren, my marriage and our many friends.

I was speaking at conference this past weekend and someone asked me “How do I keep it under control? How do you stay organized?”  Listening to my answer made me think that maybe I should blog on the topic.

If I look at how I stay organized, I would break it down into three areas

  • Goals
  • Process
  • Tools

the combination of these three things are what keeps me under control.

Goals

Goals drive me. I need to see something at the end of the tunnel that will allow me to measure my success at the end of the week or the month or the year.  At the beginning of each period, I give myself three key objectives. It might be the beginning of a new sales campaign, or the completion of a new article for LinkedIn, or connecting with three people that I have not spoken to for a while. These are not necessarily action items for me but larger initiatives that may take multiple steps and more than just a few minutes. I need something at the end of each week or month or year that I can look back on and say that I was successful or maybe I was just spinning my wheels.

Process

For me, it is critical to have a series of steps that I take every week in order to cover off everything I need to do. There are a lot of things to get done every week and without a good process, it will not happen. Every Monday starts with two hours of writing. I’m fresher and clear in the mornings and so this is the perfect time to be creative for me. I spend most of this time scheduling my social media posts for the week and then the rest of that time creating the first draft of my blog post for Wednesday.

I make it a requirement every Monday to select a timeslot in my calendar for working on, or thinking about, my general strategic plan.  This might mean connecting with key people or doing some work on meeting my long-term goals or objectives or it could mean just spending some quiet time thinking about what the heck I’m doing and where I want to be in five or 10 years.

Friday’s are typically set aside for meetings in downtown Toronto with Schulich or with others in my life.

Tools

I love technology, but I’m not married to it. If it’s a manual tool that works for me, I will use it. But truthfully there is some great tech stuff that I use and love.  Next week I will talk about my favourite tools and apps.

It is busy out there. For me it’s the combination of goal setting, processes and good tools that get me through the week. The good news is that we have lots of options and some of us have more time than others. My system is not cast in stone, but it works for me. Maybe you will pick up a couple nuggets here that will help you to stay organized.  

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