Staying on top of everything

Being a full-time military wife, mother, and entrepreneur, my life can be very hectic. I’ve got to keep on top of everything so that things get done and my life stays balanced.

A number of years ago, I realized that the method I was using to keep track of my tasks and projects had reached its limit. I started falling behind. I was working inefficiently, spending time on items that were not necessarily the highest priority. Details were falling through the cracks. I kept forgetting to follow-up with people from whom I was expecting information.

I attended a conference in 2009 and learned about a book titled, On Top of Everything: Manage Your Projects and Life With Ease by Laurence Seton. A few weeks later, after hearing some colleagues’ testimonials and reading the reviews, I purchased the book. It is well written and very easy to read. The book introduces a system called “Projecteze®: The Ultimate Organizational System”.

Projecteze® uses tables in Microsoft Word to create a simple, elegant, yet powerful system to track projects and tasks. Most people are familiar with MS Word so there is no need to learn a new software program to implement the Projecteze® system.

Although the author recommends MS Word, I believe that other programs such as Pages for Mac or WordPerfect would work equally well if that is the software you are most comfortable using.

The benefits of using word processing software for Projecteze® include:

  • Low cost — most people already have access to word processing software
  • Ease of use — most people already know how to use word processing software
  • Flexibility — of entering, formatting, and presenting information
  • Accessibility — information can be viewed on almost any computer and easily accessed online
  • Sortable — tables allow information to be sorted by project or by priority so you’re working on the right tasks at the right time
  • Transferable — easy to hand over projects, or parts thereof, to co-workers for completion

On Top Of Everything has many examples of how to use the Projecteze® system in several different types of businesses, for managing school work, and for just following through on personal projects at home. The following is an example of my personal chart to give you somewhat of an idea how the system looks and operates:

When my copy of On Top Of Everything arrived in the post, I read it from cover to cover and immediately put the theory into practice. I designed my Projecteze® table and filled in all of my tasks, projects and plans on which I needed to work.

In less than a week, I was in love and comfortable with this new system. I immediately saw what I had already accomplished, what needed to be done, and where to concentrate my efforts. I could keep track of all my tasks and projects. I was proactive — working on the most important things first instead of reacting to whatever dropped on my desk. I was also able to keep tabs on when I was expecting information from other people — something that I always had trouble with before. I was able to follow up at the appropriate time instead of bothering people constantly or forgetting to contact them at all!

As a professional organizer, I recommended the Projecteze® system to many of my clients and I was pleasantly surprised to read their glowing reviews on Amazon.

7 Comments for “Staying on top of everything”

  1. posted by Verity on

    I love how this system uses Microsoft Word since I always end up back in Microsoft Word writing to-do lists despite several attempts with organizing tools. It also appears easy to implement.

    I’m looking forward to reading the book.

    Thank you for the article!

  2. posted by Kyle Hayes on

    How long have you been using the system? The hardest thing for me about any task/project management systems is building them into my routines and keeping up with them long term even after the novelty has worn off.

  3. posted by Georgina on

    Thank you. Wonderful advice. Love all your posts

  4. posted by [email protected] on

    Interesting. Thanks for sharing this information. I think I’ll take a look at the book.

  5. posted by Jacki Hollywood Brown on

    I’ve been using the Projecteze™ system since 2009. I’m the first to admit that there are times when I “fall off the wagon” and stop using it. Whenever that happens, things just get a little too chaotic and I miss deadlines or forget to follow up with people. Then, I stop what I’m doing, re-establish my Projecteze™ table and start again.

    I always build in some time at the end of my day to ensure my table is up-to-date before I shut down my computer for the night. The first thing in the morning, I check my Projecteze™ table to make sure I start my day off with the highest priority items. It becomes a habit sort of like brushing your teeth.

  6. posted by mcogilvie on

    Projecteze looks pretty old-school to me from your example. In a world where great, simple electronic tools are available at little or no cost, using Microsoft Word seems unattractive. It looks like each project is a table entry with a date and a priority. I also see lots of embedded dates in your project action items that look arbitrary. Even if I were not well-schooled in David Allen’s GTD methodology, my previous experiences with other time-management programs would make me pause before taking Projecteze seriously. There is nothing on the Projecteze website or anywhere else that explains what differentiates this method from other methods. Given that the current price for the 200-page Projecteze paperback is $34.16 ($37.95 list), I am unlikely to find out what Projecteze is like. I do understand that it is working for you, and that’s great.

  7. posted by Rachel on

    It might LOOK old school, but I think that’s because it’s BASIC. For me, it is THE perfect way to keep all my stuff in one place. The dates are not arbitrary; there is a system there. The author takes GREAT pains to detail how to organize the information packets (as he calls them, the 4th column) and use dates within. I am SO excited to put this into practice – thank you SO much for sharing it. I am a bit of a “to-do list app nerd” and this gets my seal of approval ALL. THE. WAY. (another thing it has going for it is spacial organization … for the organizer who needs to “SEE” everything, move things around physically, it works beautifully)

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