How many times have you vowed to yourself, saying: “Ok, this is the year that I’m going to get organized!” If this sounds like a familiar pattern, you’ll definitely want to make sure you read the tips below. We spoke with Carson Tate, an organization professional whose business is all about whipping people into organized shape. She works with both individuals and companies, and has a refreshing and effective approach to getting people organized….for good!

Here are her top tips:

1. Make sure your to-do list is anchored in a broader goal or objective

Your to-do list needs to always be anchored to a broader goal or objection. When looking at your to-do list, ask yourself: “How does this action move my strategy/business/team forward?”

[Related: 4 Steps to Visualize Your Career Goals]

2. Do a “Time-Audit” of your calendar

The goal here is to examine how and where you allocate your time. When time is your greatest resource, you want to be absolutely sure you’re putting it to the absolute best use. Here’s how to do your time audit: open your calendar, look at your commitments and meetings, and ask yourself these questions:

  • How does this time spent align to a goal or strategy?
  • Is there time for me?
  • Is there any open space for thinking and reflecting?
  • If I handed my calendar to someone outside of my organization, could they tell why I was hired and what I’m supposed to do?

[Related: How to Be A Positive Influence on Company Culture]

3. Create a 15-minute list

This is a phenomenal procrastination busting tool. Simply create a list of all the tasks you can complete in 15 minutes or less. These are your micro-tasks!

4. Create a “Stop-Doing” List

Give yourself some time to stop and think about all the tasks or items on your to-do list that are not aligning to a broader goal or strategy. What is draining your time, but is not producing results?

[Related: How To Balance Your Full-Time Job & Part-Time Side Gig]

5. End your Day at least 15 minutes early

By crunching your time calendar, you’ll get more done. This is a great way to force efficiency and effectiveness.

6. Consider some apps to help you keep on track

If you’re more of a visual, bigger-picture kind of person, think about trying the app Evernote. Or, if you’re more of a linear and analytic thinker, try Things. Or, if you realize you’re most comfortable with good old-fashioned pen and paper, by all means, stick with that!

7. Learn how YOU best process information and then tailor your productivity tool accordingly

This is the most critical step in becoming an organized person. We all don’t think and process information the same, so it’s key to have the self-knowledge of how you best think through information. There is no “one-size-all” when it comes to organization.

[Related: Live A Last-Minute Lifestyle? 12 Insights To Be More Productive At Work]

8. Don’t compare yourself to others

Lastly, don’t worry about how others organize themselves. You don’t owe anyone an explanation of how you like to stay organized.

Want more organization tips? Check out Carson’s book, Work Simply.

TagsCareer AdviceOrganizationTime Management

Originally published at on January 6, 2017.

Originally published at