7 Things Organized People Do That You (Probably) Don’t Do

– Hey, what is up, guys? So I want to start off
this week’s video with a little story about my formative years. So back when my brother and I were kids, we were the recipients
of many pieces of advice and lectures from our father
and out of all those lectures, out of all the advice he gave,
there are two main pieces of advice that stick out to me and that I’ve remembered
more than any others. The first of them, which I am sharing here simply because it is the most
prominent one in my head is, there are two ways to do
something: right and again. And we would often hear
this after being told that what we had just
done was not good enough and that we did have to go do it again. So that’s the one that
sticks out the most to me. But only slightly less
prominent in my memory was the common command
to always put things back exactly as you found them the
moment you are done with them. And it is possibly because
I heard this so often and found myself grounded
or otherwise in trouble because I ran afoul of it, that ever since I have
been basically obsessed with being an organized person. It’s why I try my best to
keep my room as organized as possible despite having
a lot of equipment in it. And it’s probably why I
have color-coded calendars and why I love to go on and on about the beauty of elegantly-designed tree-like folder
structures on my computer. But of course there is more
to being an organized person than just having color-coded calendars and making sure to keep
all of your folders off of your computer’s desktop so in today’s video I’m
going to be going over seven things that organized people do that you probably don’t do. Now, I can already hear
you getting defensive and in your defense, yes, you probably do at least one of these things
and possibly some of them. But do you do all seven of them? Well, we’re just gonna
have to go through the list to find out so let’s get started. Item number one, which is
actually not written down on this notebook paper because
this is just random numbers from an older video,
organized people do not rely too much on their brains
to store information because organized people
understand that our memory is fallible, things fade,
especially when we don’t use them. So when they want to remember something, organized people put it into
a system that they trust. Now what exactly separates
a system that you can trust from one that you can’t, from one that’s probably
going to fail you? Well, I think there’s a
few different criteria that we have to list out here. First and foremost, a
system that you can trust is one that is not
going to lose your data. This immediately rules out your brain, because our brains forget
things all the time, but it may also rule out a paper notebook if you don’t keep that notebook
backed up some other way such as digitizing it. On the other hand, you’ve
got systems that are designed with data retention in
mind, apps like Evernote or OneNote or Google
Drive or anything else that has redundant
servers across the world that make sure your data
is backed up and safe even if the computer where you
originally recorded that data ends up breaking somehow
or gets burned up in a fire or is otherwise destroyed. Secondly, that system needs
to be easily accessible. So if you do really want to use paper, make sure it’s a paper notebook that you are keeping
with you wherever you go. Or if it’s a note-taking system, make sure it’s a cloud-accessible
note-taking system so whatever device
you’re using at the time you can easily search it to
find what you’re looking for. Third, that system needs
to be well organized itself and easily searchable. So whatever app or tool you decide to use, make sure that it has a
logical file or folder system, make sure it has a usable search tool and make sure your naming
convention makes sense. Secondly, organized people
make sure to label things. And they’re especially
diligent about doing this with things they aren’t
going to use or interact with for quite a long time. To give you a very
succinct example of this, the desk right next to
me has some hardware that I almost never need to use except for in instances where I’m moving. So of course I’ve tossed that
hardware in a plastic bag, it’s in one of my cube
organizers, it’s safe and sound but if I didn’t label that plastic bag and I go maybe three
years in between moves, I’m probably not going to remember exactly what that hardware is or what it goes to when I pull it out of that cube organizer and try to figure out what to do with it. And, actually, this is
a pretty timely example because I’ve got plans to
move out of this apartment in just a few months. But luckily my past
self thought about this and remembered to buy plastic
bags with little label areas. So last time I was moving
and I put all that hardware into that plastic bag, I
remembered to write down that this hardware goes to my desk. So when I go to move in a few months, it’s going to be very easy to find it and I’ll know exactly what it’s used for. Now this is just one example and there are probably
other things in your life that you should be labeling
besides just plastic bags. For example, if you have one
of those physical hanging folder organizers, you
probably wanna use the labels that it comes with to write down what should be going in
each one of those folders. Item number three, organized people build what I like to call a mindfulness loop which constantly goes through
the different dependencies in their lives and
basically checks up on them. What exactly is a dependency? Well, it’s pretty much what it sounds like and I’m gonna give you a
really simple example here. So every single organism in existence, down to the most simple
single-cell prokaryotic blob has things that they depend on. For example, our little
blob creature needs a watery environment to move around
in and a food source. It doesn’t have a whole lot
of dependencies in its life but there are still dependencies and without them it will die. And what is true for our
blob is true for you as well, except for that you’re a much
more complicated organism and you have a much more
complicated life with many different facets, you’ve
got a lot more dependencies. You have your food, your shelter, your academic goals, your relationships, there are so many things to keep track of. And here is where one of the
biggest differences between organized people and
disorganized people can be found because disorganized
people are constantly being caught off guard by one
of their dependencies needing maintenance,
needing action from them. And on the other hand,
organized people are constantly looking ahead and figuring
out what those dependencies are going to need in the future. They have this mindfulness
loop constantly going on in the back of their mind. My absolute favorite example
of a mindfulness loop in action actually comes from my mom. This was a story back from
when I was probably 14 or 15 years old. I think I was up in my
room on the computer just doing something that a
15 year old does on a computer and I heard her shout up to me, “Have you brushed your teeth today?” And this was like at two
P.M. in the afternoon, she was doing something
completely unrelated to teeth brushing and yet
she thought to ask me. Why? Well, the health and well
being of her children were one of her main dependencies. And because my mom is an organized person, she got this regular mental notification to check up on that dependency. Now, admittedly, this is
one of those mental patterns that does take a lot of
time and effort to build, you’re not going to be able
to flip it on like a switch. But I think the first step to
building this mental pattern which is incredibly useful is to sit down and consciously list
out your dependencies. Maybe even sit down and draw a mind map of all of your life’s
different dependencies. And with this application
of conscious thought, all the different aspects of your life, over time it’s going to
sink into your unconscious and you’re gonna start building that loop. Item number four, organized
people live by the mantra, two is one, one is none. Essentially, this
translates to have a backup of anything that you
use on a regular basis, especially if running out of that thing in the middle of your work would hamper the rest of your day or screw it up. For example, the camera that
I’m filming this video on right now relies on a battery to run and if that battery were
to die during filming, well, luckily for me I
have an extra battery that’s always on the charger on the wall, always fully charged, ready to go because two is one and one is none. If the battery ran out and
I didn’t have the backup, I wouldn’t be able to film and I might not even get a video out on time. And the same goes for many
other things in my life. Memory cards, I’ve got many, many backups. Smoothie ingredients,
well, there are two jugs of milk in my fridge instead of just one, that way if I run out of
one while making a smoothie, I’ve still got milk to use
and I don’t have to abstain from my smoothie that day. So just remember, if
running out of something would cause an interruption in your life, make sure you have a backup of it, that way you can use the
backup, go on with your day and then replace it when it is
convenient for you to do so. Item number five, organized
people set things up in a way that is useful
to them and that works based on their own experience
and experimentation not simply based on dogma or
how other people do things. Now, my favorite example of this principle comes from one of my
favorite books which is Anthony Bourdain’s book,
Kitchen Confidential. In that book he talks about
how many chefs inventory all the stuff in their kitchen
alphabetically because, well, it just seems like the
obvious way to create a list. But he didn’t, instead he
organized his inventory sheets so that the order of the items mirrored the geographical location of
everything in the kitchen. And this actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it but, of course, not everything that people
do is based on sense. So ditch the dogma if
it doesn’t make sense, question the established ways and constantly experiment
with your processes and the way that you organize things so you’re doing things as
effectively as you possibly can. Item number six, and I have
run out of stupid things to do with this notebook prop. Organized people respect
the value of mise en place. And this is a French term
that roughly translates to everything in its place. To call back once again
to Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain describes mise
en place as your setup, your working environment, and to some degree, your
state of mind as well. And within the culinary world, this is one of those
concepts that every single competent chef and line cook swears by because to not use it, to
not respect mise en place, would mean to work in chaos. And you don’t wanna have
burners on the stove, you don’t wanna have greasy or meaty hands when you’re trying to
find your chef’s knife or you’re trying to find
something else that’s important, you wanna make sure that
everything is in its place and you know where it’s supposed to be and it’s organized
before you start working. And this is a concept
that’s not just useful in the culinary world,
it’s useful for anybody. Make sure that your work
environment is set up properly before you begin your work. And once you’re done,
put things back exactly as you found them, as my dad
constantly yelled at me to do. And, finally, the list
has led us inexorably to item number seven which is worthy not of a notebook, but of
a Captain America shield. Organized people are very deliberate about what they own, what they buy and what they choose to keep. And, of course, choosing
to keep this shield was a very worthwhile decision. Now I am not going to say
that I am a minimalist, mainly because my best friend, Martin, who is a minimalist
and who runs my website would probably hack my
website and destroy it if I used that term, just
out of pure annoyance. But I do take care to buy
things that bring me value, that bring me joy or utility. I don’t keep things around
if they’re not useful to me, I don’t let them clutter up my space. And I think this is something
that you should keep in mind as well because remember,
the more things that you own, the more energy and time you
have to spend maintaining them and storing them and
keeping them organized. And it’s a good thing to
remember that organized people don’t spend more time and
energy than they have to on organization, it’s a means to an end. So be deliberate about
the things that you buy, ask yourself, am I buying
this because it will bring me joy or utility or am I buying it for some frivolous, stupid reason? Or, am I buying it just
to impress somebody else? And likewise with things you already own, be asking yourself on a regular basis, do I still need to keep this thing? Could I donate it to somebody else? Could somebody else get more
use out of it than I could? Or, can I just get rid of
it because it’s no longer valuable to me or anyone? Do that, along with the other
six things I’ve mentioned in this video and you
will be well on your way to becoming an organized person. Now at an earlier point in
this video I talked about a concept that I like to
call the mindfulness loop. This is the process of
constantly checking through the different areas of your life and making sure that their
dependencies are taken care of. But the mindfulness loop
actually has different levels. At its lowest level, this tool is simply
concerned with maintenance, with maintaining the state of
your life as it currently is. But at a more advanced level,
it’s also looking forward, constantly prompting
you with questions about what you could do to set yourself up to take advantage of future opportunities. And if you wanna put yourself
in a place to take advantage of a wide array of those opportunities, then one of the cognitive
skill you’re probably gonna want to work on is
that of lateral thinking. Lateral thinking is the
process of solving problems using indirect lines of reasoning. It requires lots of creativity
and it also requires a wide, interconnected base of knowledge. And fortunately, both of these things can be acquired through practice. And if you’re looking for a resource that can efficiently give you practice in both these areas at
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Brilliant.org/ThomasFrank and if you’re one of the first 83 people to use that link and sign
up, you’re also going to get 20% off your annual premium subscription. Big thanks to Brilliant
for sponsoring this video and being a huge supporter of my channel. And, as always guys, thank
you so much for watching. Hopefully you found this
video helpful and if you did, definitely give it a like
to show your support. You could also subscribe right
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come out every single week. Grab your free copy of
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and last but not least, you can check out one
more video on this channel right over here. Thanks again for watching
and I will see you in the next video.

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