Organization Skills

I remember sitting in my 12th grade English class and learning how to construct a résumé. I was mentally memorizing the basics : hard-worker, fast-learner, and excellent organization skills. I think we can all agree that listing ‘good organization skills’ on our résumés under ‘Special Skills’ is almost second nature. So as a result, I always included it. However, it wasn’t until I landed the ‘big girl’ job I have now that I realized my so called ‘excellent organization skills’ were pretty much non-existent.

I’m not typically a messy person on the exterior though. My closet is color-coded and sorted by length, my desk’s drawers are labeled, and I even use different color highlighters for different kinds of information when studying. My biggest issue was organizing my brain.

It may sound a bit cheeseball when I say it like that. Maybe a better word is scatterbrained. I’d wake up in the morning and know that I had X amount of things that needed to get done that day. I’d sit at my desk to work and immediately think of everything that needed to be completed. Usually I would make a cumulative list. But I would be so overwhelmed with everything that needed to be done that I’d end my day with only about half of the items marked off my list. This was always discouraging because I knew that even with a busy schedule, I had plenty of time to finish it all. Why?

Well, partly this was because I was worrying too much about the amount. But that’s another blog for another day! My biggest issue was my sense of priority. After mindlessly jotting down a bunch of random things, I’d tend to skip around and get the ‘easiest’ and most enjoyable items done first. And then skipping over the most important ones. Then my dad taught me a system that he’s been using for years.

IMPORTANT & URGENT

URGENT but NOT IMPORTANT

IMPORTANT but NOT URGENT

NOT IMPORTANT or URGENT

Write down these four titles on four different folders. If you receive a document that is important and not urgent, slip in its appropriate file. If there’s something you need to do that’s both urgent and important, make a note and place it in it’s file. When you begin your day or sit down at work, open the important & urgent file and knock everything off the list right away! You’ll find that this will also open up some more time for the not important & not urgent list… Which tends to be made up of our favorite and most distracting activities! (Netflix & video games, anyone?!)

See? Simple as pie! Give it a try if you’re finding yourself as scatterbrained as I once was. 🙂

– Jenni xx

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