My Personal Organization System

6 min • Type: Technology

I’ve always thought a lot about organization but never had to put any of it into practice. It’s always been more of an abstract idea than anything else. Some things I’d put into play but the majority just fell by the wayside because I’d never had to actually implement any of the things I read or heard about.

That's all different now.

The way I organize my work life has an affect on everyone else I’m working with. This new role gives me a larger responsibility inside and outside my team. That responsibility isn’t lost on me. So much so, that I’ve developed a concrete organization system that not only works for my day-to-day — or a framework for getting things done. But it serves a few other purposes:

With all that said, here goes.

A set of methods and tools I used to stay organized and push projects forward. Generally speaking, everything (tasks, notes, random ideas, etc.) should have a place and a purpose to bring and keep my day structured and manageable.

First off, there’s a couple overarching methodologies I subscribe to:

  1. The first is what I call Proactive Time Chunking or PTC, because I really love the efficiency of a good acronym. What this is, is an hour that I take every single morning to work on the most important tasks of my day. The day prior, I spend an hour before I leave, prioritizing everything I have to work on and then determining what is going to be the most important thing for the next day or the thing that I'm going to focus on the next day. And there's a big reason I do this that works specifically for me. I've figured out I'm a morning person through trial and error and I'm going to do my best work. Also, 9 times out of 10 I won't have any distractions because most don't get in till after I'm done.
  2. Zen-to-done. (Trying to) Focus on one thing at a time. The Zen-to-done methodology is comprised of two main pieces. Focusing on one task at a time and timing those tasks. It's really easy to multitask and think you're being more effective. And timing my tasks and carving out that time in my day to work on very specific things is when I'm really at my best.

Here are the tools

Slack = yep, we use it too. Primarily for communication, but I use it for a couple other interesting things as well. It’s where I keep reminders for recurring low-impact tasks. We also may use it to flag anything that needs to be documented.

Sketch and Figma = everyone needs to learn Sketch or some design program to finesse those slide decks. We’re lucky, we have a pretty robust template to work off of, but there's always room to create something cool and functional that gets your point across.

Google suite (docs, sheets, slides, cal, mail) are the obvious go-to. I couldn’t get anything done without them. Nothing out of the ordinary here, but feel like it’s worth mentioning:

Confluence = this is my bread and butter as they say. Documentation is so important in any organization. Knowledge needs to be transferrable inside of companies for a couple major reasons:

Timer chrome extension = the choice is yours when choosing exactly which one. There’s no shortage of them. It matters not what the tool is, but how you use it. Helps me stay on track during the day.

TextEdit = to jot down quick notes during meetings, what do I do with those? Also used for daily to-dos. I move notes from here to a more organized note system or email/Slack whatever.

Wrike = this is where it gets interesting. Every company has a project management system, ours just happens to be Wrike. I use it for everything, a power user you might say. The ways I've used it have varied over the years.

I used to keep everything inside of it, notes, planner, everything. But, it's just not that great at handling that kind of information. And it takes up so many resources.

So for now, it's only used for specific projects and communicating about those projects.