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Nicola Fisher


How to be organised

I love to do list apps. I've tried and used so many over the years. They all have their merits but some stick better than others. Here's what I've learned.

    1. Keep it simple

    Years ago I tried Onmifocus. It was great but the time needed to manage the app was quite extensive, especially as I wanted to use all the bells and whistles available. I've found that more simple apps like Google Tasks or even Calendar/Reminders work just as well.

    At the moment I'm trying Slash. Simple lists that I can check off seem to give me the best results.

    2. Plan ahead

    I love to plan. I get a lot of satisfaction from spending time creating a plan. David Allen (of GTD fame) talks a lot about getting things out of your head and this definitely works for me. Once something is documented, I don't have to worry about missing or forgetting to do something.

    I like a good plan and seeing all my ducks in a row.

    3. Just do it

    Of course, planning is one thing, doing it another. You have to be disciplined to work through your list. It can be very easy to put off until tomorrow what you should have done today! I'm guilty of that too.

    4. Don't overload the list

    To maintain your discipline, don't try to do too much! How much can you realistically do today?

    5. Paper lists have their place

    When I'm up against it, I will write down my list, even if I'm using an app. Sometimes seeing everything I need to do on a single sheet helps. It's about doing what works for you. I use a Filofax as well.

    I've always tried to have a one system process but invariably end up using multiple tools. Do what works for you and helps you achieve your goals. It may change over time too.

    6. Group things together

    I use big lever arch files to gather together paperwork. I have one for the house, one for me and one for Chris, my husband.

    7. Life files

    The lever arch files contain important information - birth certificates, pension information, financial stuff. But also useful guidance should something happen (mostly to me) so that someone could help Chris (who is blind) find all the relevant paperwork.

    8. Declutter

    Don't keep what you don't need, especially with paperwork. Scan important papers but get rid of what you can. Here in the UK, there's a limit on what financial information you need to keep (I think it's 7 years for tax purposes).

    9. Shred

    After my parents died, I found lots of paperwork that my Dad had retained. There was so much of it that I had to have it shredded by a professional shredding company! I loathe shredding - if you can keep on top of it as you go, it makes life much easier.

    10. Plan your year

    I put reminders in Google Tasks of all the key dates - these include renewing insurances, going to the optician, paying bills, domain name renewals, birthdays etc. These are often financial and filter in to my money management process.

    Having visibility of all these details makes a huge difference.

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