Mr. Organized…do you fit the title?Guys, do you think you cannot be organized? That maybe it is just not on that Y chromosome? Well, you can be, you just have to find the systems that work for you. Traditional lists and notes don’t work for everyone.One of the most interesting examples of an unconventionally organized guy is Douglas Merrill, the chief information officer for Google, who has a mind boggling schedule. A recent article in Men’s Health provided a fascinating look into how he works. He is organized, laid back, and noted for being truly present with people. He is also dyslexic, partially deaf, and says he is sometimes forgetful. However, he has found methods that work for him.Knowing he cannot remember everything, he uses Google products (surprise) — Calendar, Notebook, Reader, Docs, etc., to keep up with what he has going on. He stores information in the Cloud where he can retrieve it easily from any browser, keeping very little on his laptop, which mostly serves as a portal to the cloud. Having easily retrieved information allows Merrill to be truly present, with a “clear head," without a multitude of things floating around in his brain.However he has no problem with having people around him who organize and use their skills differently, finding that diverse ideas and perspectives enrich the work of the team. Merrill limits meetings and utilizes video conferencing. He consolidates his schedules on Google calendar, color coded by whether it is work, personal, etc. He processes email quickly, and uses an online filter for keeping current with the world.His organization style can be briefly summarized like this:•Use your best tools, and the organizing style that works best for you: Certainly not everyone can manage their life in the way Merrill does, that’s just the system that works for him. You may be much more comfortable with paper and pen and a real calendar. You may use computer apps, with documents in folders. As long as your system works well for you, use it.•Be Present: Pay attention to the people you are talking with, the project you are working on. Focus, and deal with what needs your attention right now. Then move to the next thing. Be concise, not everything needs a long answer or discussion. •Streamline your mail: Do not let mail pile up. Set aside time to deal with it, then do as quick a response as possible. Delete unnecessary emails unread. Handle the quick ones, and do simple concise answers to longer ones. •Get other people to work together: Recognize that everyone has his or her strengths, thoughts, and perspectives, and ways of working, and be open to them all. •Streamline meetings: Merrill’s time limited meetings, often by video conference, are excellent solutions. He also sends out pertinent information before the meeting so everyone arrives informed about issues and ideas.Organization will not happen overnight, and some days will still be chaotic. But using your best system will result in fewer days in disarray.
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