Be organized!

*Post 7 in the 30 Posts in 30 Days Challenge

I remember in high school and university hearing about the importance of developing “organizational skills”. To be honest, I don’t think anyone has ever really taught me what that even means.

It’s only been recently when I’ve been in small group situations that I’ve realized how important (and advantageous) it is to be organized. It makes the work you have to do so much easier.

Write stuff down!

One example I’ve come across recently is brainstorming for a project. People get excited, throw around ideas, and discuss them. But far too often it’s purely a discussion and things don’t get jotted down – trust me, jot them down! It’s so easy to forget awesome ideas that it really pays to write everything down.

Sometimes I will be walking down a street just thinking to myself and some great idea will just come to me. In the past I would remind myself to come back to it later, but I’ve come to learn how dangerous relying purely on myself is (haha). Now, I instantly take out my smart phone and send myself an email or something, just so I remember to record the idea later.

Write plans

Often times in groups we have great ideas but don’t really know where to start. Sometimes we get started without thinking everything through – if you’re not guided by a structure, it’s very easy to miss out on an important component.

Even something as simple as conducting a group meeting benefits from having a structured plan. For example, when developing an agenda for a meeting, it helps by using a template:

1. Review of minutes from last meeting
2. Items for current meeting
3. Action plan before next meeting
4. Decide on next meeting date

The same goes for anything else. Have a project to do? Create a list of tasks and a timeline. How do you organize the tasks? Come up with categories. And so forth.

Being organized means you will address every aspect of the idea and not miss something.

Take advantage of real-time sharing mediums

If you haven’t already, get started on using Google Documents. There are several amazing things about planning your work in something like Google Documents instead of passing around a Word Document among your group:

1. Multiple people can work on one document at the same time. Literally. You will even see other people modifying the document as you do. It’s crazy and awesome.
2. By storing the document online, everyone knows that they are working on the latest version of the planning document.
3. Online storage makes sure that your file never gets lost (okay technically this isn’t true, but when’s the last time you saw Google go down?)

I’ve started using Google Documents for group stuff since last year and I find it’s made my life a whole lot easier.

Being organized is work. Sometimes a lot of work. But it also keeps you and everyone else on track, and makes sure your approach to the goal is comprehensive and complete. Being organized is worth it!