I have officially completed the 30 Day Challenge by Chalene Johnson. This is a tool I would definitely recommend if you would like to become more productive and organized. It is especially useful if you have a "big" goal and don't know exactly how to get there. She gives a number of tools to use that I have begun to use or refine.
Written List of Goals
Like many of you, I had a general idea of goals for my personal life, but I was not writing them down in a consistent manner. Chalene suggests listing your goal and wriitng a new list every week, without referring to your old list. This way you can tell which of them are consistent week to week. Often you may have one "Push Goal" that, if successful, will help you accomplish your other goals. Or your "Push Goal" may just be your most important one. My "Push Goal" for the next 12 months, is to successfully homeschool Katte. We will officially start in August, but I have a lot to do between now and then to get ready.
Brainstorm Tasks to Accomplish your Goals
Tasks that I need to do in order to accomplish my goal will often go across my mind. For my homeschooling goal, one task is to register for a official accountability group, which is something mandated by state law. this is not something I can do immediately, however, because I still need to do some investigation. Chalene suggested that you brainstorm and make a written list of all the tasks you can think of that you will need to do to accomplish your goal. Writing these down, frees your brain from constantly sifting through these items. Anytime I think of another task, I review my brainstorm list and add the task to the list, if not already there.
To Do Lists
I was already a list maker, but the 30 Day challenge has helped me further improve this productivity skill. Chalene encourages you to include one or more tasks a day on your to do list from the tasks that need to be done to accomplish your big goal. Referring to your written goals when making your To Do lists, encourages you to really think about what your are doing and reflect whether each particular activity is in harmony with your goals or not. She had quite a few techniques for color coding yours tasks, and using your phone or computer to streamline your to do lists. I have a blackberry which is tied in to both my work and home e-mails and my Outlook calendar. I have started logging my tasks in the Outlook "tasks" section, which is also on my blackberry. That way it goes with me. That is much better than multiple pieces of scrap paper and has streamlined this quite a bit.
If becoming more organized is of interest to you, I definitely recommend the 30 Day Challenge. You can find at it at the link here. http://www.chalenejohnson.com/30daychallenge/members/ Chalene will send you a daily e-mail with a short video.