I relish a good organizational system (love getting stuff done) as much as creative freedom. The answer for me (and maybe for you) is structured flow.
FLOW BABY, FLOW
1. Positive procrastination…all timing is divine…all of it. I’m not a procrastinator, by any stretch. But my habit of “holding off” on certain things used to confuse me, since I’m such a wham-shazam activator on most things. I finally realized my seeming neglect of some things actually was a deeper inkling of right timing. If something didn’t really “feel” like a priority (despite logic and deadlines), it probably needed to wait on my clear will or that of providence. I am always amazed at what can happen when you wait: things often take care of themselves, or conditions improve in ways that make doing what needs to be done so much more effective.
2. Give yourself twenty-four hours. This year, I realized something about myself that was a huge surprise: I need time to think about some things. Considering how fast my mind and mouth move, this was a “Whoa!” epiphany. I’m not always immediately in touch with my feelings. (I’ll let you know when I find enlightenment.) Sometimes, I need to pause to let my insight surface. When I say, “I’ll meditate on it and get back to you,” I’m not kidding.
3. Heed what inspires you. Sometimes, you have to shovel horse apples to make your dreams come true. But ultimately, no dream will serve you if you’re forcing yourself to make it happen. We’ve come up with some brilliant, big-money ideas that, logically, I should have jumped all over. But I just didn’t feel the juice. Excitement = energy. Go where the energy is.
This is my sacred all-important, fundamentally transformational secret to getting things done:
4. Know how you want to feel. If you don’t know how you want to feel in your life, how can you decide what to do with your time? Planning your year without knowing how you want to feel is like buying construction materials for a house and not having so much as a drawing of what you want to build. I know that I want to feel affluent, connected, sexy, and creative. Everything I do supports generating those feelings in every area of my life.
NOW KICK IT INTO GEAR
5. The Entrepreneurial Time Management System fundamentally improved the way I work. Basically, I arrange my week into two “Buffer Days” (Monday and Friday) for loose ends, errands, returning calls, meetings, and preparing to go into high gear on my three “Focus Days.” On Focus Days, I do what I do best and is most important to the success of our company. My weekends are “Free Days.” Unplugged and easy breezy.
6. My Tools:
Week-At-A-Glance Daytimer. I just can’t warm up to electronic calendars, tho’ I do use Google Calendar for stuff the whole team needs to be aware of.
Steno pad for a rambling to-do list. I mark some tasks with little icons, like a circled “W” for “Writing,” a “heart” for personal stuff. (Cute, eh?)
Blackberry. Checking my email while stopped at a red light or from the beach may sound neurotic, but the anytime/anywhere access creates a lot of peace of mind and spontaneity for me. I love the fluidity of it.
7. My Habits:
The Big Box of Whatever: I rarely file any paper. I have a big box under my desk that I toss documents and such into. That way I know where everything is. If I wait long enough, I find that I only need to actually keep and file about 20% of the pile. The rest becomes useless over time and goes into the recycling bin.
Email: I flag ‘n categorize emails AS SOON as I get them. I average about 3,000 emails a month, and I read every one.
Loose ends: I hate loose ends. If I say I’ll get back to you, I will.
Hot baths and lavender oil: essential.
Danielle LaPorte is the outspoken creator of The Desire Map, author of The Fire Starter Sessions (Random House/Crown), co-creator of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan, and soon-to-be publisher of Danielle Magazine, launching this September. An inspirational speaker, former think tank exec, and business strategist, she writes weekly at DanielleLaPorte.com, where over a million visitors have gone for her straight-up advice—a site that’s been deemed “the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality” and was named one of the “Top 100 Websites for Women” by Forbes.
*Featured image by Earls37a