Self Organization is the key to remote work and to productivity as a whole. Being organized and having a good work ethic actually impacts your mental well being and alleviates stress and anxiety. Most importantly, it affects the quality of work that you deliver. The absence of Self Organization leads to chaos and that leads to stress. And we all know stress is a silent killer. Hopkins Medicine says that people who are under constant stress have a 20% higher chance of developing heart diseases. In the modern world, self management forms the very cornerstone of our work. It helps you achieve a life that is not controlled by external factors but by yourself..
So how does self organization work? What are the principles? In this article we will teach you the very basics of Self Organization.
The pillars of self organization on which self management works:
The first step to self management is planning. Making sure that you think ahead works wonders and lets finish more work than trying to remember what to do next and thrashing about. A point to be noted here is that a lot of people think of planning as an isolated one day phenomena. Planning is a sum total of how far you have come and how far you need to go. It means that not only do you plan your next moves, but the subsequent three or four moves which can be a contingency plan in case your original plan fails. This first step keeps you from running pillar to post at the eleventh hour and constantly running out of time.
There are some elements involved in this process that make planning effective:
Effective communication: It is one of the most important aspects of work that impacts your productivity. Remembering to answer emails on time, knowing which emails are to be prioritised and in the end communicating work goals and expectations efficiently make the whole process much more clearer. Apps like Butter help you to be kept in the loop with your coworkers and keep yourself updated on the work and assigned tasks. For more on team collaboration, check this out
Prioritising work: Deadlines are omnipresent in our worklife. Managing deadlines often becomes a herculean task for us. An efficient method to be utilised here is the Eisenhower Matrix. It divides work into 4 squares based on their importance. It boosts productivity immensely by helping us decide which task to do when. Start with a goal, define clear objectives and work towards them consistently. This helps you get the important work done at the earliest, which leaves scope for rectification which without proper planning would be pushed back to the last moment otherwise.
Calendar Planning: Keeping track of all your work for the week in a calendar helps you make sure there is no overlapping and subsequent delays. One of the main reasons for keeping a calendar is to make sure you are not swamped with work. It helps you pace yourself and keep some time to rest and rejuvenate. A lack of a break could lead to burnout and this impacts your productivity in the long run. A steady and planned schedule keeps you both healthy and productive. It also helps you plan for preventive measures and keep contingencies in place in case of an emergency.
Accountability is one of the key factors in determining your work. It helps build trust, create a better environment for work and improve your overall credibility. Especially for entrepreneurs and remote workers, it becomes important to be accountable for your own work when no one else is there to monitor it. Gallup found that an accountable and highly engaged workforce produced 21% better profits.
Define Scope: One of the first things to do when setting goals is to define the scope for your accountability. Do not take on tasks you are not sure you can fulfil to your best potential. It becomes easier to hold teams and individuals accountable when their scope of work is defined and they are actually invested in the work that they are doing. Clear cut communication when collaborating can help keep the entire team on the right track with easy understanding of who’s doing what. Collaboration tools like Butter help you do exactly that with their Dashboard feature. For more collaboration tools, check this.
Learn to say no: As important it is for you to take on new tasks and prove your capabilities, learn to say no when the situation arises. Focusing on what you are doing and completing it to fruition is better than taking on more tasks than you can complete. Take your time before taking on a task. Tell them that you will get back to them on this.
Acceptance: Take pride in your achievements, learn from your mistakes and most importantly, learn to admit your mistakes. Own up to them and take responsibility. It helps create an environment of trust and sets a precedence for the other to follow.
Collaborate when needed: Collaborating is one of the most essential tasks when working in a team. Use collaborative tools to make sure you stay connected with your team. Understand what their expectations are from you, adjust your own goals to align with the goals of the team. No person can do all the work in a team. Collaboration through candid conversations with your colleagues is the key to success. Reflect on your work, and also hold others accountable when needed. A lot of our work is dependent on the other person’s work. This means that we also have a moral obligation to hold them accountable for work.
Taking initiative in the 21st century is what differentiates you from everyone else. A shift in mentality is needed. Starting to work on your own, setting your own goals and deadlines that are before the actual deadlines is an example of showing initiative. Ask questions, seek advice and learn through constant questioning.
Pomodoro Technique: The Pomodoro technique is used to prevent task hopping. It is helpful for those who are willing to take initiative but still feel a little lost. It is a simple principle which follows the following framework: 25 minutes of intense focus on the work at hand followed by 5 minutes of a brief break. Repeat this cycle four times and then take a 30 minute break. It helps avoid interruptions by making yourself unavailable for 25 minutes. However, our mind must be clear and we can prepare ourselves through simple breathing techniques to focus on the task.
GTD Framework: The Getting Things Done (GTD) framework helps you get work done without any kind. Similar to the Pomodoro Technique, it allows you to be free from distractions. There are 5 stages involved:
i. Capture- Capture and note whatever you feel is important. Make documents, extensive notes and memos. Note ideas, email responses, everything. There is no crime in being thorough.
ii. Clarify- Make sure your goals are clear with your subordinates. Make sure there is no ambiguity. Seek advice on whether action is required or not.
iii. Organize- Use the Eisenhower matrix to plan and organise. Set due dates by priority. Also organize your surroundings. A clean and healthy environment helps you be more productive.
iv. Reflect- On your to do list, your tasks and achievements. See what can be improved, adjust and tweak it to your needs.
v. Engage- This is the final step. Now that all of your work is planned and organized, it is time to execute them. This is the part where the magic happens. It is time for action.
Conclusion Becoming self organized is important for your work. Your productivity increases, your health improves and your work is appreciated more. So remember to collaborate, take initiative, plan ahead and use collaborative tools to improve your self organization.