Organize: 5 Ways in 15 Minutes a Day

Writing - organize - file 6

Last week, for this article, I took pictures of the condition of my small file cabinet after the holidays. Then I worked on it (15 min. at a time).

“Where did I put that editor’s phone number?”

Most creative types have some difficulty with organization. I’m no exception. Everyone misplaces their keys, but we seem to have a more difficult time with order. Surprisingly, we can be good at rearranging words, but poor at keeping track in other areas.

Over the years I’ve discovered this: Find what works for you. There are endless suggestions, like the ones I offer here. Pick, choose and put together a system that seems to work for yWriting - organize - 123ou. For me, the simpler something is to use, the more likely I will use it.

Easy as 1,   2,   3

When I have a lot to complete in a week’s time, I make a list of everything. Then I assess how much time each will take in 15 minute increments (15-30-45 min).

Next, assign a 1, 2 or 3 priority to each item; 3 being the least important. Items with a 3 can be carried over to the next week. 1 and 2 should be completed; one being most important. This prevents me from doing tasks of less priority and then thinking I’m productive. It also lets me know which items to let go if I get too busy. If a task seems too daunting, break it into manageable bits.

I like sticky-notes, so in honor of the most famous brand (without infringing on trademark) here are a few things you can do with 15 to 30 minutes of focused effort.

1. Writing - Keys - NotepadList-it Make a second list of things you want to accomplish today. Mark which ones to complete in the morning and which to complete in the afternoon. Lists keep you from juggling too many thoughts and free you to focus.

2. Log-It Log new submissions returned, sent, or sold. You can use a simple spreadsheet or a great free program like Sonar (see A Writer’s TooWriting - organize - eggtimerlbox).

3. Set-it (don’t forget it) Set 15 to 30 minutes aside to complete your non-writing tasks, such as paperwork, phone calls, and social media, and stick to them. I like to use a timer. Egg timer  is a browser-based timer you can try if you don’t have one. If you know how much time you want, you don’t need to go to the site to enter it. Simply add the time to the end of the address in hours, minutes, and seconds.

For Example: If your time ends, you can reset the same time by clicking on your browser’s refresh button.Italiano: Autore: Francesco Cirillo rilasciata...

Another technique is called the pomodoro technique using, you guessed it, a tomato-shaped timer. It suggests 25 minutes of work with 5 minute breaks.  Again, find what works for you.

Writing - organize - file 4

It is looking better!

4. Enter-it Enter receipts, expenses and any income received. A notebook with pockets for receipts and other papers can prove invaluable.

5. File-it I like to have current projects out; but file papers, reference books, or other items you are not using at the end of the day (they seem to just pile up don’t they?).

I’d like to know what you think of these suggestions, and to hear what other methods are working for you.

Keep writing.  And if you lose your keys occasionally, don’t worry about it ! (Click text if parody video, “Have you seen my keys tonight?” doesn’t show)

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6 comments on “Organize: 5 Ways in 15 Minutes a Day
  1. I have the same problem, I grab a piece of paper, write the number down, and forget where I put it.Your suggestions for Sonar, egg timer, and organizing are a great help, and an excellent place to start – 15 to 30 minutes at a time….

    • I’m glad it helped. I love Sonar, and use eggtimer as well as a real timer often. One thing that helps is keeping notes in one book, or two, a lage one at home and a small one for jotting notes on the run.

  2. bookmaker says:

    Thanks for this valuable piece of information. I have tried the time method, and I found it really useful. I was however looking for a good computer-based timer and your tip regarding was very helpful. I use it now, according to the Pomodoro method.

  3. Pat says:

    I am an organised disorganised person, if you see what I mean…
    I use the timer a lot – mine is actually shaped like a green pepper, not a tomato! I love sticky notes and lists. However….
    I tend to make piles of things and consider this to be ‘organised’ which obviously it isn’t at all.
    Log it, File it, Enter it – these I can ‘forget’ to do. I procrastinate and when I eventually get there, it’s not a fifteen minute job, but takes days to sort out. And I have a reasonably good memory, so I can find things in the muddle because I tend to know where in the muddle they are.
    I will try to follow your beautifully organised fifteen minutes theory, but I think I might need a personality change….

    • Pat, I’m not this organized either these are things I try to do to keep up. That is why I posted the disorder of my file cabinet over December. Fixing it actually took about 2 hours, but I did it 15 minutes at a time over the week that way it didn’t seem so overwhelming and easier to get started on it. There are pilers and filers I am a little of both. Like I said, find what works for you.

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