Maybe you can relate: I spent years of my life longing to see my office, my email, my car and my house all neatly organized into color-coordinated files. Surely this blissful state would give me peace of mind and finally allow me to reach my biggest life goals.

As it turns out, getting organized is not the path to achievement. In fact, it might be killing your productivity. While some level of order is essential for success, your quest to reach a blissful state of Pinterest-like living might actually be holding you back.

There is a scientific reason for this, not just this working woman’s opinion. It’s called entropy: the second law of thermodynamics which states that everything is in a state of breakdown. Entropy applies to your body, your car, your house, the laundry, your email, and the list could go on. Everything is breaking down around you.

Have you ever said, “When I get caught up I will ____________.”?  Fill in the blank with the most important thing you should be working on. Because of entropy, getting “caught up” is a scientific impossibility. Now, you’ve put your most important work at the mercy of an impossible task. You’re never really getting caught up!

Let go of that blissful lie that there will come a day when your inbox is empty, your laundry is caught up, there’s no repair needed to the house or car and your calendar is booked appropriately with high-quality work. Waiting for all of this to be organized is more likely to be a form of procrastination than a pathway to productivity.

Instead of dedicating precious time getting perfectly organized, try just doing the thing you’re putting off.

The key to productivity and reaching your goals isn’t organization; it’s focus. I love the dictionary definition of focus which is to “adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.”

Focus requires shining a light on the few most important goals and relationships and the tasks associated with those. It’s impossible to focus on everything, so this approach forces you to choose those things that are going to give you the highest return on both your time and your energy.

Decide on your key goals and projects, then get to work. Getting caught up and then organized is the enemy of achieving your most important goals. Focus is the key to moving forward. The bottom line? Do less, and do better.

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