Becoming more organized is the key to success for a CEO, or anyone else in the job of managing. First, understanding that management is a job is important. Many managers see their management role as a bother on the way to getting their work done. It is the work.

Next, understanding that you will never be able to do everything you should do as a manager is the second most important thing. So it’s critical that you establish a “triage” system to rank your to do list in order of importance so you spend your time doing what has most value. I call this “satisficing”, satisfying the most important tasks and what you can do on the rest will have to suffice. In today’s world, the call of the “immediate” is so tempting.. to answer that email, respond to that text or take that call. It’s hard to control your agenda and put non-life-threatening issues aside. A good start is to make a daily list of all the things you think you need to do. Add to it as necessary, re-prioritize as you go, and cross of things as you get them done. This gives you visibility to the tasks as they arrive, and a few moments to think about their relative priority. Create three categories of tasks. “Have to do”, “Should do” and “When I get around to it”. Every week or so, throw the third folder in the garbage.

Use color. I use yellow folders for HR things, red for finance, green for opportunities, blue for current projects. This makes a huge difference in my ability to find what I’m looking for quickly.

Create order in your day. Set times for meetings, start on time. Write and distribute clear agendas, minutes and actions. End the meeting when the agenda is complete. I will say that again. End meetings when the agenda is complete.

Create a “drumbeat” for important issues, with a short meeting, phone call or email at a specified time each day, week or month as appropriate. A 15 minute daily huddle, weekly meeting or quarterly review focuses activity around the items on the agenda.

All this should get you on your way to being more organized as a manager, but just the fact that you recognize this as a problem will get you 50% of the way there!

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