The first fundamental principle for successful living is “Personal Organization”. If you don’t organize your life then you will surely agonize. It sounds too harsh but it is a true reality. When you ignore the nitty-gritty of putting first-thing-first in every area of your life, the outcome often times is pain and frustration. In order to avoid the usual “if I had known” statements made by most people after the mess had occurred, you should right now pay close attention to what we shall be sharing in this write up.
As an entity, you are the leader of your own life. Your leadership is best displayed by the things you do on day-to-day bases. This is what is referred to as self-leadership. Personal organization begins by leading yourself aright. If I may ask: Did anyone remind you this morning to brush your mouth? If so, there is something wrong except if you are still a toddler under a nanny’s care.
As a leader, your leadership begins with you before others.
In my previous articles, I made mention of five domains or levels of leadership. The first is what we had just discussed now, self leadership, then followed by leading another person, leading a group, leading an organization, and finally leading your community or nation. You cannot lead the person next to you if cannot lead yourself. Mind you, leadership is influence. In other words, people are influenced by your positive example.
That reminds us of the biblical statement that says, “First remove the beam in your own eyes before you can see clearly to remove the speck in your brother’s eyes”. People first buy into the leader before buying to what he does. That means things like action, values, attitude, character, ethics, and belief system of the leader are closely watched.
What then does it mean to organize? As a leader, to organize means to prioritize, systematize, arrange, and categorize.
If you look closely to the above definition, you will notice that one common denominator is ‘order’. When something is prioritized, systematized, arranged or categorized, there will surely be an ‘order’. Simply put, to organize means to put oneself in order because an order-less life equals a dis-organised life.
Below are few things leaders should note in order to live an organized life.
Decide What You Want: Decide exactly what you want in each area of your life. This is a very critical step in getting yourself started to achieving success in life. According to Ben Stein an American law professor, “The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.” Remember, no one will make this decision for you.
Set A Goal: If I may ask: What are your personal goals? What do you want to achieve in life? I believe at this stage you may have decided what exactly you want in life. Therefore, setting goal puts you in ‘personal order’ because you have a target you are aiming to achieve. Your ability to set and achieve goals will provide you with a sense of direction and is the master skill of success.
Take Charge Of Each Day: Each day is given to you for your taking. As Albert Dunning said, “great opportunities come to all, but many do not know that they have met them. The only preparation to take advantage of them is to watch what each day brings. As a leader, begin each day knowing exactly what you want to do. There is a popular saying that goes: if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Make adequate plan for each day and have a to-do-list to execute your day’s activity.
Put First Thing First: The first step in putting first things first is to identify the “first things” in your life by prioritizing your projects and tasks. The second, and often the hardest step, is to actually put the “first things first” to live your priorities. Once you have the plan for your day as stated above, then you must align your priorities towards achieving it by not engaging in unnecessary activities that will steal your time. Remember that you can do almost anything, but you cannot do everything.
Whenever you start a task, you are automatically giving up everything else you could have done during that time. The best practice of putting first things first means taking conscious control of your choices and choosing to spend more time on the projects and tasks that are important and valuable and less time on the ones that are not as important or valuable.
Effective Time Management: As a leader, you should account for your time, and know how it is spent each day. Management Expert, Peter Drucker, identified this leadership principle: He said, “Good leaders need to regard first of all not their task, but their time.” Time management is a crucial tool to effective personal organization. We all have equal time and no one is deprived of it.
We can only deprive ourselves when we lack the proper management and effective use of the time. Some say there is no time. This is a lie; you only have time for what you create time for and what you consider very important. Developing a mental consciousness of “no time to waste” should put a spring on your feet towards achieving your set goals in life.
Take Personal Responsibility: As a leader you must be responsible for every action that you make. Remember, it is about you not others. Leaders don’t point fingers but assume personal responsibility. When you point fingers to others and your circumstances as the causes of your problems, you are shifting responsibility and thereby missing the mark. Taking personal responsibility enables you to analysis the situation and then put appropriate measure to solve it. And in so doing you think more clearly and become more organized.
Manage Your Emotion: Not managing your emotion has a strong negative impact on your personal organization. Everyone is primarily emotional. Everything that people do, or refrain from doing, is triggered by their deeper emotions. This brings us to “emotional intelligence”, which refers to your capacity to recognize your own feelings and those of others, for motivating yourself, and for managing emotions well in yourself and in your relationships.
Elvis Ukpaka provides impact-FULL Leadership, Self-Improvement and Business Development training and coaching solutions to high profile individuals and organizations. His reputation for helping people achieve peak performance at work, and in life, derives from a burning passion to deliver unparalleled value, by empowering his audience to actualize their potentials to become successful leaders and high performers.