Getting organised doesn’t mean being the perfect productivity machine. Prioritisation is more than just doing tasks on a first-come-first-serve basis, and you wouldn’t be able to keep up even if you did use this method.
Having said that, there a couple of tasks that really benefit from not being put off. In business operations, we know that best practice demands that things like filing, and responding to customers are best done right away. If they are postponed things slip through the cracks, mistakes get made and the consequences of delay are higher.
The same goes for personal tasks. There are things that are just better to get done as soon as they come up, as the job becomes so much more difficult or opportunities are lost, if they are delayed.
Here’s my list of things never to postpone:
Prioritise medical appointments and tests
Even minor medical issues can get worse if left untreated. My health is my top priority, so I book GP appointments as soon as I need them and immediately follow up with any blood tests or other diagnostics. I also have a regular reminder to go for an annual skin cancer check-up as I’m in an at-risk category, and I book it as soon as it pops up.
Stay on top of filing and budgets
Just like you would in the workplace, keep on top of your life admin by saving important files right away. Even if they are in email format, they can soon get lost in a busy inbox. I put everything into my Google drive so I’ve got digital copies accessible from anywhere.
I also enter expenditures into my budget trackers as soon as they get made. Trying to paly catch-up is always much more difficult, even if you use credit card statements, as things don’t always get from your account right away and it’s easy to forget which category they should go into. I use the Colorful budget app for everyday expenses, but this also goes for other kinds of projects. I’ve been trying to keep a running budget for our renovations to assess how much we’ve invested into the house, but I’ve lost track of a couple of purchases so it’s turned into more of an estimate.
Empty clothes pockets
Before putting things into the wash, or putting away jackets, check the pockets. This is often how important things like cards and keys get lost, plus it’s nice not to have pockets full of rubbish or bits of tissue.
Hang up your washing
This is my secret to never needing to iron! Just hang up your washing as soon as it’s done, and then when it’s dry put it straight onto hangers. Don’t leave it in folded piles. This prevents wrinkles forming in the first place, so I don’t need to spend time pressing them out. Can’t think of anything I’d rather not do more.
Add things to your shopping list
When I’m actually in the supermarket, I can never remember what I need or what’s in the cupboard. So as soon as I notice I’m running out of something I add it to my shopping list on my phone’s notes, in addition to my ‘master list’ of regular items. This ensures I never run out of anything and reduces the number of times I visit the shops.
Capture your ideas
I use Trello to organise my to-do lists, and I always have cards in here for ideas. I keep lists of blog ideas, restaurants and recipes to try, places to visit and other things that occur to me. This helps me to capture those flashes of inspiration, and gives me a treasure trove of ideas to choose from when I’m ready to create.
What tasks do you always try to get done right away? Let me know in the comments!