We’ve all seen notice boards that look like this. You may even have one of your own.
How it happens
It starts out with all the best intentions. You decide to organise your life by putting up a board where you can pin things of interest or things you want to remember to do. But what you often end up with is self-created chaos that makes you feel overwhelmed every time you look at it.
Notice boards (called bulletin boards in the US and Canada) in workplaces can work really well as places to post news and information for others to read. Providing they get read and are kept up to date, they can serve a very useful function.
But there’s no one reading a personal notice board except you, and since you pinned everything on it yourself, there are no surprises. Soon you cease to even see it. Unless you actively work with it and update it each day, it becomes visual clutter that just sits there gathering dust and has no use at all. Admittedly some people are structured enough to make notice boards work, but most end up with something like the one in this photo.
A better way to get organised is to use a To-Do book and a calendar (or electronic equivalents of these, if you prefer). Write all your tasks in your To-Do book as you think of them, asterisk the most important, do them in the order of highest priority first, and have the satisfaction of crossing them off as you complete them. File any related bits of paper in a To-Do file until they are done, and put reminders to yourself on a calendar so you remember to do them in time.
Better still, do things ahead of time. If you have a task that needs completing by the end of the month, put the deadline on your calendar one week earlier than necessary. You can reduce a lot of stress in your life by deciding your own deadlines rather than scraping in at the last minute all the time. And if a whole week early turns out to be unrealistic, well you still have an extra week up your sleeve.
If you really want to get organised, split all your tasks into High, Middle and Low Priority, and always start with the High Priority ones first. Most people start with Low Priority things because they are easier to do, but if you’re tempted to do this, remember the Pareto Principle: 80% of results come from 20% of what you do. If you take care of the most important stuff, you usually don’t even need to do the rest.
And that notice board? Well, you can either get rid of it completely, or if you prefer to keep it, then use it for some purpose that uplifts your energy whenever you see it rather than dragging you down. Some inspiring images, perhaps?
Copyright © Clear Space Living Ltd 2012
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