So this week I wanted to put my military hat back on and talk a little bit about organisation, optimisation & efficiency!

We all know its true because we’ve all experienced it at least once in our lives but when we’re organised & prepared for something no matter what it is things generally tend to go a lot smoother, there’s a lot less anxiety & stress & most of the time the end result is always better wouldn’t you agree?

I learnt a lot of lessons in the military about organisation, efficiency & the need to have good ‘admin’ skills & they are lessons that I have carried with me throughout my life. I’ve found these skills have not only served me to live a better life in general but they’ve also helped me to live at the fast pace that I do relatively easily. They’ve also made my life a lot less stressful when it comes to things like work, travel etc.… but the place these skills have really served me the most is as an amputee. The way I look after my prosthetic limbs is the same as the way I used to look after my rifle, the way I prepare for the next day is the same as whilst I was in the military & the pro-active approach I take to many of my issues as an amputee have all come from what I learnt in the Royal Marines.

So in general what can we do to get ourselves whipped into shape, reduce those feelings of anxiety & overwhelm & bring a bit more peace & order into our lives. Well here are some of the things that I do & remember even if some of these points seem trivial; small changes now lead to big changes in the future.

Unsubscribe to old or irrelevant email newsletters (not mine though 🙂

If every time you open your emails you spend at least 2 minutes deleting the ‘spam’ you get from old newsletters/updates or similar imagine how many hours you would waste over the course of a year. Take the time to sit down with your email & hit unsubscribe to things you no longer want to be bombarded with, I did it a few months ago & not only does it save me time but it also reduces the feeling of overwhelm I used to get from having an overflowing inbox.

-TOP TIP If you have a Hotmail account you can use the ‘sweep’ function to delete & unsubscribe from all emails in your inbox from any one sender in a few clicks which means not only will you unsubscribe but you’ll also clean up your inbox & free up some space.

Clean up your phone

Every night I delete anything I don’t need on my ‘recent calls’ list as well as any text messages that I don’t need to keep so that when I get up the next day I don’t feel overwhelmed with huge amounts of stuff on my phone or have to waste time searching through texts or numbers for information that I need.

Once a week I also delete any old ‘notes’ duplicate photos, old answerphone messages & other things like ‘WhatsApp’ messages that I don’t need & then back up my phone so my calendar & new contacts are safe.

Organise your office

There’s nothing that drives me crazier than a messy desk. Just take the time each evening before you leave to ditch anything you don’t need, tidy things up & prep the things you need for the next day, it pays dividends in the morning.

Organise your car

When you travel as much as I do your car is basically an extension of your office. Only having one hand means that while I’m driving I really can’t do anything else as my hand is always on the wheel so here particularly it pays to be prepared. In my car I have everything setup exactly how I like it & exactly where I need it so I’m always read to go. The things I do will be different to the things you do but this is an area I’ve found to be particularly useful to have organised.

Have a crash bag packed

Another good thing I learnt in the military which works well for me with the life I live is to always have a small case packed with the bare essentials so if I need to go somewhere last minute its just a case of throwing some clothes on top & going. This may seem over the top for some but for me because I travel so much & I have a lot of essential items I need for my prosthetics, things I can’t afford to forget, it always pays to be prepared in this area.

Plan Your Day

One of the biggest wastes of time in my opinion is to wake up in the morning & have no real direction for the day ahead. Now this subject of planning can go DEEP but lets keep it simple, just simply use your smart phone or an old fashioned piece of paper & write down what you want to achieve the next day. It makes things easier if you put them in order of importance & even easier if you give each task a deadline. If you stick to it you’ll be surprised what you can achieve in a day.

Prepare for the following day

It may seem a bit over the top but as an amputee it takes me a little longer to get ready in the morning than an able bodied person so if I know what I have on the following day I lay out my clothes and any other things I’ll need.

If I’m training, then working & then going to an event in the evening I’ll lay out my gym clothes & the prosthetics I need, then I’ll lay out my clothes for work & if I need it I’ll prep my shoes & a suit for any event I may be going to so that if anything pops up in the day I can afford a bit of disruption & won’t get stressed out because of any unanticipated distractions.

Delegate things

If there are things that you’re not very good at or that you don’t particularly enjoy doing then why not task someone else to do it. That’s how it works in the military, the tasks get pushed around the team & everyone plays to their strengths, it also works in business & in life.

Now some of these tips may be relevant to you & some may not but the overriding point is that it really pays to be organised & prepared no matter what. The effort you put in at the beginning pays dividends in the long run especially if like me you have extra needs & issues that need addressing, you have three children & you don’t want to miss a minute of the day that you don’t have to.

So have a think about it, think which little changes you could make now that over time could lead to huge positive changes in your life.

Until next time…

#livetoexcel

Mark

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