A carefully arranged, spotless desk. A laptop with a logical filing system. Alphabetically organized cabinet. All sound like the signs of an organized person, don’t they? While they do count as reasons to believe that, there is more to be organized and methodical. These traits go beyond a person’s habits and everyday quirks, they are a part of the personality, thinking process and style of work. Small changes in your environment and becoming more organized can help you save time, work with greater speed, and with a better state of mind.
Apart from organizing your desks and paperwork, there are many more tools and techniques that can help you become more methodical. Being methodical adds structure and focus on everyday tasks while empowering you to manage your time and resources better for the future. But does this mean following a set of rules that work for everyone? Absolutely not. The concept of becoming methodical comes with preconceived notions which aren’t always true.
While we imagine spotless desks and clutter free desktops, adding structure to your work life should be done in a way that works for you, personally. This may include habits like cleaning out your desk at the end of each week, but the focus should be on finding ways to streamline your work habits and thought the process to save time and energy.
As you contemplate which changes will work for you, here are some guidelines to get you started.
Prioritize – Being in a leadership role translates to an overwhelming number of commitments, tasks, and meetings. Organizing and allotting time in the order of priorities lets you focus on the important matters and give them sufficient attention. This is the time to delegate, evaluate and realign tasks to ensure that they stay on track. Review your plan as the day progresses as changes are inevitable.
Seek simplicity – Becoming methodical is a long-term process. To add structure to your work life, do not use complicated tools or methods. Increasing the complexity of the process means that long-term usage becomes difficult and cumbersome. Find ways that work for you and will continue to work for you, even if they seem old-school or technology dependent on others.
Focus on maintenance – Once you work towards adding structure to your daily life, ensure that it becomes a way of life by periodically cutting out any clutter that may have accumulated. Whether it is filed on your desk or unresolved tasks, it is best to keep things from accumulating as it will throw off efforts that you have to dedicate towards organizing your work life. Reevaluate and change as time passes by to ensure that you make the necessary modifications which will be the result of changes in your role, technology, etc.
Making these changes is just the step one of becoming methodical and organized. Extend the same logic to the way you approach your tasks and projects. Adding a framework or structure ensures that you start with a macro view of the tasks, identifying requirements and bottlenecks at the beginning itself. A blueprint with milestones and goals, which detail the process of completion is a strong guiding force for everyone. It will save you from constant changes in the scope of work and delay in completion.
Apart from this when you start with a broader perspective and structured approach, it is easier to set expectations and keep the whole team on the same page. Begin with determining the objective and periodic milestones. Chart your journey as you add requirements and tasks to be completed to reach each milestone and ultimately the end objective.
Inculcating a methodical and structured approach is a long-term commitment. While it may seem like a daunting change, gradual steps will help you reach your goal of a more systematic way of functioning. The key is to find out the changes that seem feasible and embracing them with an open mind. The correlation between being a methodical and lasting success is undeniable. To be able to revisit and reevaluate past strategies without wasting resources, planning future efforts in an organized, sustainable manner is a strength and a rare key to success. Start with a small change to begin your step-wise journey to success.
Senior consultant Rajeev Shroff manages Cupela, a platform for Transformational Coaching and Consulting, which works with leading organizations in India.