Did you think you would work less by becoming self-employed? Thinking of creating your lifestyle by taking control of your agenda? But since you are on your own, the nights are hectic … The unexpected puts your plans and good resolutions at risk …
When you wake up, it’s 3 cafes by checking emails, social networks and competitors who (apparently) do better than you.
And it’s not just business in life. Yeah sure, all organization books (written by guys who do nothing but write about the organization) will tell you to focus on one thing.
But what to do with kids?
Of the family ?
And eating from time to time doesn’t hurt either.
Clearly, getting organized has advantages.
This saves precious resources and allows you to navigate this daily complexity more calmly …
But there you have it… awesome organizational methods, you’ve tested them (and there are dozens of them)!
You tried to “prioritize” your tasks using the Eisenhower matrix … you heard about Pareto’s law … you felt the American craze of the Bullet journal …
The thing is, your to-do list has this annoying tendency to get longer over the hours.
When you decide to end your day (as long as it ends) you take out the mental whip and feel guilty thinking about everything you could / should have done …
And yet you’ve tested dozens of apps that promise to shoot lasers through your eyes and lift mountains.
- Things 3… Wunderlist… Google Keep… Notes…
- Trello or Asana…
- Evernote… One note…
In January, you even put in place an ultra detailed organization of your action plan for the coming months … It was a beautiful plan.
Because a few weeks later, you have to face the facts: it was utopian.
The tempting and distracting everyday life is back and with it … your categorical thoughts:
- Organization is the best way to kill all forms of creativity …
- Organizing is a waste of time …
- Organization … is innate.
But if you’re still here with me, I have good news for you …
You don’t need to build a gas plant to experience the benefits of an organization
I would even say that being too organized is just as bad as not being organized enough.
As often, extremes stink.
Here, take the supermarkets:
What you see on the shelves are the stocks available. Just-in-time allows businesses that supply our food to save money by avoiding sleeping and earning nothing.
In a capitalist system where profit is the value of success … it makes sense.
Now add a few problems in this timed and over-optimized system (for example a driver strike or a virus which tends not to be well controlled)…
… And you will quickly see empty displays.
The overoptimized system is sensitive to variations (even minimal).
Take a city that imports most of its food (like Paris) and you notice that a small incident can quickly cause big problems.
It’s the same with an over-optimized individual organization.
That said, should we abandon the desire to be more productive and serene?
- Should we abandon the idea of having more pleasant days that end at 3 p.m. ?
- Should we put an end to the idea of having to-do lists finished at the end of the day?
No, but it’s important to remember that personal organization is a means, not an end in itself.
The goal: to obtain maximum benefits using the minimum of resources.
For this, I recommend “the minimum viable organization”.
The minimum viable organization formula
Rather than doing more, we will do less.
This is the first step to finding resources in your busy daily life. Nassim Nicholas Taleb popularized the concept of the negative voice used by the pros: addition by subtraction.
An example ?
Here is one…
What does it do with your organization?
It is better to delete applications, appointments, services and products rather than adding.
I think Steve Jobs talks about it when he says, “I’m as proud of the things we didn’t do as the things we did. Innovation is about saying no to thousands of things. ”
Once this first principle has been integrated (which will take more time than just reading this article) I can now discuss the structure of the minimum viable organization.
1. Formulate 3 annual objectives achievable (each) in 90 days
Over 12 months, this gives you a 90-day safety margin (or the opportunity to seize an opportunity that you had not seen when making your plan).
Don’t wait for the right opportunity to formulate your goals. A professional objective, a personal objective and an objective of your choice (for example to acquire a new skill).
Mark these goals in your calendar. And remember Seneca who said: There is no such thing as favorable winds for those who do not know where they are going.
2. Set 3 monthly goals
For the next 30 days, define 3 objectives aligned with the objectives for the year. Plan roughly the other months of the year without worrying too much about it (plans aren’t meant to be followed).
3. Choose 3 weekly goals
At the start (or end) of each week, define the 3 goals you want to achieve for the coming week. These goals are aligned with the monthly goals.
Leave the other weeks of the month empty. Again, the goal is to have some headroom.
4. Record 3 daily tasks
At the end of the day, before leaving your work station, write down in your diary the 3 tasks to be carried out for the next day. These tasks allow you to advance on the objectives of the week. Ideally, these tasks are completed before opening your mailbox (and all other everyday emergencies).
5. Define a list of things to do someday maybe (or business idea, books to read)
The purpose of this list is to clear your head so that you can focus on what needs the most brain juice: your tasks, your dates, your creativity.
Don’t worry about creating dozens of categories. Save everything in one place … the categories will form by themselves.
6. Use an agenda for your tasks
And use your to-do list as a fire starter during the next barbecue (or bivouac). Learn how to match your tasks and your mental state (perhaps the most effective productivity advice).
For my part :
- In the morning, tasks that require intense concentration;
- Afternoon: meeting, technical, administrative;
- In the evening: relaxation and complete disconnection of digital tools.
7. Continually outsource part of your memory
Don’t have fun sorting out your ideas and thoughts by sorting them into lists. Over the hours, over the meetings, put on paper (or on your application) what you want to keep in mind and come back to it later (or not).
[Avertissement] Before copying the minimum viable organization model
I’ve been saying it for years (and others have done it before me …): take inspiration from good practices that you can observe, read, and listen to … test and observe feedback from your tests:
Where is your energy level?
Your stress level?
What are you going to stop doing to make your life easier?
What else can you do?
What are your results?
And beware of people who tell you “This is the only way to do it” or “This is the right way to do it”, because those who have tested this same way of doing things … and who have failed are much less visible on the net and in the media.
About the Author
Julien Gueniat helps entrepreneurs to release stress and create a serene business thanks to Organisology. He is the author of the 2h chrono book to better organize myself.