THE BLOG

50 Ways to Organize Your Life After 50, Part 4

02/17/2015 04:32 pm ET | Updated Apr 19, 2015
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Baby Boomers,

Do you remember my "Honey Do" list from Part 1 of our discussion on "50 Ways to Organize Your Life after 50?"

That list included:

  • Package and mail the items I sold on Ebay this weekend
  • Finish my eBook
  • Pay my monthly bills
  • Schedule my next "Meet Up" networking meeting
  • Buy my Nephew Steven a Birthday card
  • Update my email contact list
  • Clean and brush down the pool

That's right, that's the list I posted on Day 1 of our discussion. It really looked like I had my work cut out for me that morning. Guess what... I got everything completed on that list. But guess what? I have a whole new list to work on again today.

Like I said before: "Are these new things still important?" Hell yes!

"But, are they the biggest priorities that need to be completed right now?"Hell no!

Hopefully, over the past three parts of this discussion, you are already picking and choosing a few ways to start focusing on and redefining your "Honey Do" lists.

We all want to get the important stuff done without forgetting whether it's the work we have to do so we can get on with the work we want to do, or indeed, the projects we feel are our true purpose in life.

I can only suggest again that you chose the organization tactics that will work for you and I will do the same.

Hopefully, by the end of this exercise, you will all feel a little more secure knowing that you are concentrating more directly on the important issues in your lives.

So, today is part four of our series and let's take a look at 10 more ways to organize your life.

50 ways to organize your life after 50

1. Habits

The great philosopher Aristotle had this to share about habits: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

The motivation for developing a positive habit may come from a New Year's resolution, a great financial loss or a suggestion from your doctor. While bad habits can easily get set in stone overnight, developing a good habit takes a bit more coaxing, commitment, deliberation and time. But you can become a true master at developing a good habit. You just need the resolve to help you get there.

Habits are as much about the way we see and respond to the world as about the actions we routinely take. Examine your own habits and ask what they say about your relation to the world -- and what would have to change to create a worldview in which your goals were attainable.

2. Visualize

This is a strong, strong habit that can make great changes in your life. Imagine yourself having already accomplished your goal. It can be as small as checking something off you "Honey Do" list to making life changing decisions. Visualize the most positive outcome that can come from you completing a task and repeat it to yourself constantly as you progress through the task.

Oftentimes, the task is never as daunting as you you first built it up to be.

And the outcome almost always makes you feel better stronger and more motivated to move on to your next task.

In the big scheme of things, ask yourself: "What is your life like? Are you who you want to be?"

If not, rebuild your goals and then visualize yourself taking the steps you need to take to get there.

You've got yourself a plan; write it down and do it all the time seeing the success that lies ahead for you.

3. Tickler File

A set of 43 folders, labeled 1 - 31 and January - December, used to remind us of tasks we need to do on a specific day.

For instance, if you have a trip on March 23rd, you'd put your itinerary, tickets and other material in the "March" folder.

At the start of each month, you move the previous month's folder to the back. On March 1st, you'd transfer your travel information into the "23″ folder. Each day, you move the previous day's folder to the back. On the 23rd, the "23″ folder will be at the front, and everything you need that day will be there for you.

4. To-Don't List

This technique can be as powerful as having a "To Do" list.

It is a list of things not to do -- useful for keeping track of motivations, impulses, mannerisms, routines and habits that lead you to be unproductive.

Everybody has them, whether it's spending too much time on social media, playing online games or simply watching too much TV. Write them down so you become really aware of them and you have to admit to yourself that they do exist in your daily patterns of life.

5. Templates

Create templates for repetitive tasks, like letters, customer reply emails, blog posts, etc. These are big time savers and big helpers when it comes to keeping focused. Look for help online. There are numerous websites that offer free templates for almost any type of written concern.

6. Checklists

When planning any big task, make a checklist so you don't forget the steps while in the busy middle part of doing it.

Keep your checklists so you can use them next time you have to do the same task.

7. SUCCES* Formula

*No, that word is not spelled wrong.

Taken from Chip and Dan Heath's book, Made to Stick, SUCCES is a set of characteristics that make ideas memorable or "sticky."

These former Harvard researchers developed this formula based on the concept of "stickiness" popularized by the great author Malcolm Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point.

Sticky ideas are Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional Stories:

Simple -- find the core of any idea

Unexpected -- grab people's attention by surprising them

Concrete -- make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later

Credible -- give an idea believably

Emotional -- help people see the importance of an idea

Stories -- empower people to use an idea through narrative

8. Covey Quadrants

A system developed by the world-famous Stephen Covey for assigning priorities.

I have used this process repeatedly in my business and personal lives.

Make a square with two axes; one for importance, the other for urgency.

Tasks are assigned to one of the four quadrants: not important, not urgent; not important, urgent; important, not urgent; and important and urgent.

You should purge the tasks that are neither important nor urgent, defer the unimportant but urgent ones, try to avoid letting the important ones become urgent, and as much as possible work on the tasks in the important but not urgent quadrant.

9. Role-Playing

Everyone fills several different roles in their life.

For instance, I'm a blogger, a researcher, a writer, a sales manager, a salesman, a father, a step-father, a partner, a brother, a son, an uncle, a sports enthusiast, a motorcycle rider, an album collector and so on.

Understanding your different roles and learning to keep them distinct when necessary can help you keep some sense of balance between them.

Make goals around the various roles you fill, and make sure that your goals fit with your goals in other roles.

10. Flow

The flow state happens when you're so absorbed in whatever you're doing that you have no awareness of the passing of time and the work just happens automatically.

It's hard to trigger consciously, but you can create the conditions for it by allowing yourself a block of uninterrupted time, minimizing distractions, and calming yourself.

To you sports fanatics it's the same as being "In the Zone."

It's the most focused and creative place to be when you are trying to reach a goal or complete a task.

OK, that's it for today and I will again end our discussion today with a great quote.

This one is from Robert Lewis Stevenson. I always try to use it as the cornerstone of my daily attitude: "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."