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by Alan Hargreaves



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Monday
Jan172011

Personal organisation #101 - the single best idea

Do you know this internal dialogue?

In the meeting: That’s great info. I must look up that website before the next meeting.

Next week: Where did I put that URL? I know I wrote it down in the meeting. Where was it?

The week after: I’d better log on again and print off that download. What did I do with the password? I scribbled it on a post-it note. Where’s that? 

Just prior to the next meeting: What were the key points I took down from that website? I wrote them on a pad. Where’s that pad?

It might not have been a URL. It might have been someone’s contact number, or their address. Or maybe it was the outline of that absolutely brilliant idea you had for a presentation while you were waiting in the departure lounge. It was so clear in my head after I had drawn all the circles and arrows. How did it work again? 

For me, those dialogues stopped in 1995, when someone made a simple suggestion.

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Monday
Jan102011

Organise the best day of your life

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What does personal disorganisation feel like?

For me it’s as if I’m lost in a sea of clutter. There’s no clear focus, no sense of priorities and the nagging doubt that I won’t handle everything that’s on my plate. That’s what it feels like. 

What does it look like?

The desk is covered with stacks of stuff, allegedly in order. The in-tray is overflowing. There are piles of unread “must read” material behind me. On the screen there’s a backlog of unanswered emails.

It happens. Often I am on top of things for long periods of time, but business trips, holidays or urgent projects can invite chaos into my office. It’s not just a matter of how bad it feels or looks. My productivity plunges. That’s because I am no longer able to apply four basic management skills.

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Saturday
Jan012011

In 2011, maintain your passion by feeling good later

So what’s going to be so special about 2011?

It'll be much the same as last year unless you make it different.

But how do you do that?

I often fall victim to the massive, annual to do list. I clear my desk in late December. Then I create a whole new rod for my back with an impressive forecast of things I am going to achieve in the New Year.

There are two problems with this:

  • One is obvious. The list is so long that I’m already tired by the end of the first month.
  • The second is my mind. I keep thinking about the outcome after I’ve finished the planning – rather than just taking the first step and getting on with it.

There is a lot of ego in this.

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