For a lot of people, this won’t come as news to them, but for many others, it will be life-changing. I remember a time not too long ago when I was the least organized person I knew. I was constantly missing deadlines, forgetting to do activities I promised I’d do, and unable to stick to any plans I made. My life was pretty chaotic. Strangely enough, I wasn’t really miserable. I still managed to somehow get by. My lack of organization didn’t kill me, but it severely crippled me.
The worst thing was I never really thought there was a problem to begin with. Sure, people closest to me would sometimes hint that I should be a little more organized every now and then but my laid back attitude was the perfect weapon to resist those criticisms. I listened idly as their words glided by, and despite the fact that there were many areas of my life were taking a hit, they still weren’t enough to wake me up.
Interestingly, the day I did wake up didn’t come as a result of a dramatic event that happened in my life that forced me to rethink how I was living. It was actually out of pure boredom and curiosity that I decided to Google search ways to become more organized.
It was then that I was exposed to a great book by David Allen called “Getting Things Done Fast”. I read some reviews and really liked what I was hearing, so to speak. I decided to go pick up a copy the very same day. The amazing thing about the book was that what was being preached was so simple yet so profound. I took away a lot from the book, but the main thing that really stuck with me and is a major part of how I live my life today was simply to write things down.
I found my medium which was my smartphone. And I tried really hard to make it a habit to write things down. Any idea I had, anything I needed to do or buy, any person I needed to see, and any events I needed to attend, I wrote it all down. Yes, to those of you who have been doing this their whole lives, I finally learned that keeping a diary was actually very useful.
The general idea was simple. Your working memory can only process so much information, and every day, you are bombarded by tons of different things to remember and retain. And each of those things had different levels of importance, and deadlines. You simply could not keep track of everything efficiently, and if you tried, you’d end up feeling mentally exhausted and supremely inefficient. This was such a revelation to me, and I remember being really excited when writing things down actually started yielding results. I felt I had so much more energy and time.
The reason why I never picked up the habit sooner was because as a young teen, I thought that wasn’t a cool way to live. That being so organized was something you just do when you’re a grown up, and never think about when you’re younger. And that conviction was so strong that it stayed with me, for years, well into my adult life. Old habits truly do die hard, and this was one of the hardest habits I’ve had to kick.
After I got into the habit of writing things down, I found myself becoming much more organized. In fact, I became somewhat obsessed with the idea. I tried to find to research what the best apps out there were, and I still do till this day. I learned to prioritize more, to understand what things really are important, and what things just aren’t. It was a moment in my life when I learned to grow up and I’m thankful that it came at a time when I was in a safe learning environment, and not out in the real world.
So if you don’t already, write things down. It works.