“Your success is directly related to your ability to get and stay — organized.”

Annette Verschuren, former CEO Home Depot Canada

Perhaps you’ve had this feeling before — the feeling of being disorganized, overwhelmed, behind the eight-ball.

And that’s where the problems start:

You lost face, you let someone down, you missed a deadline, you failed to follow up, or you missed out on an important opportunity.

And in that moment you probably weren’t focusing on what you needed to do to get back on track –  instead you were focusing on how badly you messed up.

Then there’s the flip-side.

Those moments when you’re on top of things.

You know what’s going on. You have a plan. YOU FEEL IN CONTROL, Your presence and power as a leader is clear.

But how do you get there – from a place of DISORGANIZED anxiety to a place of  ORGANIZED strength – and how can you stay there?

You get your house in order.

Getting organized and understanding what you need to do is fundamental to leading powerfully. You can’t be clear and decisive when you’re doubting yourself.

Below are 5 Organizational Strategies from Powerhouse Women that will get you back on track.

1. Plan ahead.

Powerhouse women take the time to reflect on the week ahead and prepare.

On Friday or Sunday the week before, or first thing Monday morning, sit down with your assistant and review what’s coming up. Move appointments, cancel meetings, or prepare for engagements – whatever you need to do. Gently review it each morning to keep yourself on track.

2. Shorten your to-do list.

Powerhouse women skip long to-do lists and focus on targeted outcomes instead.


If you give yourself an unrealistic to-do list, you probably won’t complete it. This will trap you in a spiral of feeling unproductive — which will only make you feel discouraged.

Instead, begin each day by choosing three targeted outcomes. A targeted outcome could be making three sales calls, completing a proposal, or editing a blog post. This list should be ambitious, but doable. Make these outcomes the focus of your day.

3. Know what you want to get out of meetings.

Powerhouse women walk into a meeting with a clear sense of what they’re going to get out of it.

This doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible, but you should be purposeful and clear. Know the one thing you want to get out of a meeting to stay focused and organized. For example, if your meeting is a brainstorming session, commit to  locking down three good ideas.

4. Resolve your internal angst about leading.

Powerhouse women don’t waste time, energy, and power second-guessing themselves. If they have a crisis of confidence, they deal with it.

If this happens to you, slow down. Instead of allowing this feeling to turn into a low-level angst that buzzes inside you for days, weeks, months, or years, take the time to address it. Get organized by working on your personal development, talking to your couch, or creating a new plan – whatever helps you get back on track.

5. Be aware of your avoidance behaviors.

Powerhouse women are self-aware enough to know when something is off, and they address it.

Avoidance is a huge organizational and leadership barrier. If there’s something you don’t want to face – such as getting organized – you can go to great lengths to avoid it.

Resist that urge, face what you have to do, and deal with it.


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