This is a hypothetical situation that should help you see how important it is to be organised. It's the first of two scenarios I’d like you to imagine.
You get a letter in your post box reminding you to pay an electric bill by the end of next month. You're really busy and besides, you don’t have to pay it for several weeks. You're really surprised it arrived though, as you didn’t think it was that time.
Wait a sec, have you got enough to pay it? You’ll have to check when you can and transfer funds, but what if you can’t afford it or you're a bit late? Will they send threatening letters and will you be able to talk to someone who can actually stop them?
It’s always frustrating talking to those people and you could lose credit on other things. Will you have enough to pay that broadband bill as well and what happens if you can’t?
You then shove the bill in with the rest of your mail in your kitchen.
A week later as you're about to go to sleep, you suddenly remember the bill but can’t remember where you put it. You actually have to get out of bed and check in the kitchen before you can relax. You can’t believe you get so many pizza menus either and didn’t realise until you had to go though everything.
Time goes on and you suddenly remember the day it’s due, even after that night when you had to check. You panic, scramble through all your papers and finally find it, it only took you fifteen minutes. Phew, good job you did or it would have been threatening letter time.
You just can’t believe you have such bad luck and this was the last thing you needed today. You then pay it, after sitting up on your computer until late, and put the letter in a storage box you keep for all your paperwork. Then there’s an issue with the payment several weeks later and you have to check the number you wrote on the bill and the exact figure it asked for.
After about half hour of sorting though your paperwork, you’ve got it and you can deal with it. All you have to do now is clear up all the mess you've made and you just can’t believe you’ve been so unlucky.
The second scenario is a little better. The bill comes in but you've already had a calendar reminder you’d set when you received the last one.
You simply place it in your in-tray and set up a reminder in the monthly folder of your to-do app. It’s also in the middle shelf of your in-tray so when you look at it, you immediately know it’s waiting for a specific thing to happen, or a set time, and it doesn’t need your immediate attention like anything that was in the top tray.
It sits in these places until the week before its due when you notice it while checking your to-do folders. You then pay the bill and have the money ready ,as you set aside an amount each month into a specific account to cover all your yearly expenses.
You then place the bill in a filing box. It’s archived with the previous electric bills and this specific box is where you keep all your other household paperwork, with each section marked and divided.
There’s a query later on, but you have all the information to deal with it within a few seconds as you know exactly where it is. You barely had to think about anything to get that done.
Hopefully, these two examples will highlight how a solid productivity system will help you. It’s also important to consider how then can reduce all the ‘mental noise’ and negativity that can be generated by being out of control.
If this has inspired you, head over to the Plan & Organise section for some great ideas.