Part of the secret to success for a global business consultant is to be organized. Different countries, multiple time zones, and a myriad of clients and cultures mean it can be pretty easy to get mixed up and miss important appointments. And, admittedly, I did so once in a while in the beginning of my career.

But after some practice and some help, I became a pro at balancing time zones and diverse cultures and climates. It's been a game changer for me personally and professionally. It feels good to be organized and know that wherever I am in the world, things will run smoothly.

So, in the spirit of spring-cleaning, I'm doing a two-part post on the secrets of getting your life organized.

First, I want to share five things you'll never see organized people do:

1. They don't wear pajamas (or exercise clothes) all day.

There's a trend among organized people. They start every morning the same way--no matter if they're going to work or staying home. They get up, eat a good breakfast, shower, and get dressed. This simple act of getting ready for the day no matter where it may take you can change your perspective and help you be more productive. It's the simple knowledge that you're prepared for anything--inside or outside the house.

2. They don't rely on their memories.

Sure, we live in an age where pen and paper is antiquated, but writing is a great way to remember things. Write out checklists, and savor the triumphant feeling you have when you get to mark things off. For important dates and errands, feel free to use your smart phone. But no matter what, write (or type) a to-do list somewhere. It does no good floating around in your head.

3. They don't procrastinate.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but procrastination only adds to stress--and disorganization. The longer you wait to do something, the harder it will be to get the task done (plus, you'll likely do a worse job because of the pressure and time constraints). Getting things done as soon as you can nixes the feeling of having something hanging over your head. Try it! It can be liberating!

4. They aren't perfectionists.

Organized people have the image of being perfectionists, but the truth is, they aren't. It's just the illusion they've created because they have the space and time to do what's important well. If you feel like you must do everything perfectly, you're not going to get anything done. So try to do the best you can for the most important stuff, and be OK with "good enough" for the others--or ask for help. This will help you combat procrastination and free up your time.

5. They don't take on too much.

One of the perks of being really organized is freedom from being really stressed and overwhelmed. And freedom from being really stressed and overwhelmed demands that you not have too much on your plate. Really organized people know how to delegate. If you find that your plate is overflowing, prioritize and consider dropping or delegating the less important tasks. It's OK to cancel plans so you have time to think. Or even just to breathe.

Start with these five actions and you're already on your way to getting yourself organized. Next, I'll share the top five secrets of the highly organized.

Published on: Mar 15, 2017