Habits of a Professional Organizer: Productivity Tips from Joshua Zerkel

Habits of a Professional Organizer: Productivity Tips from Joshua Zerkel


Joshua Zerkel is the Director of Worldwide Training & Consulting at Evernote and the founder of Custom Living Solutions, a consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and professionals improve their work habits and leverage productivity tools like Evernote. He’s the author of the book Evernote @ Work. As a professional organizer, Zerkel has deep experience with helping people get control of both physical and virtual work spaces.

What’s your own daily routine like? What habits do you cultivate and what benefits do you find in them?

My main routine is that I start every day with a workout. No matter how tired I am, or where I am, I always begin with exercise. It helps clear my head and puts me in a good state of mind to do my best work each day.

Can you tell us a little bit about how you organize and prioritize your work during the day? Do you have any tips for someone who might want to use Evernote as a tool with organizing their work?

On a weekly basis (usually on Monday) I review my priorities and key tasks for the week, and make sure I’ve aligned my schedule with the things I need to get done. If things don’t look right, I can proactively make changes to my schedule so that I can get the right things done and not go crazy in the process. On a daily basis, I revisit my tasks for the day and reshuffle things as needed. I use Evernote to keep a list of all my tasks, with checkboxes next to each, and mark them completed as I finish them.

Are there any habits you’re trying to develop now? What motivated you to work on them?

I have been actively working on fitness in general and posture in particular. I see so many people around me with truly terrible computer slouch, and I don’t want to fall prey to that. Another personal goal is to learn a new language. I’m fortunate in that I live in a very international city with many languages around me all the time. I want to be able to communicate in more than just English!

Who or what inspires you? Whose habits would you like to know more about and why?

I think habits are interesting in general. There isn’t anyone in particular I’d like to emulate, but I am fascinated by how and why people develop the habits they have. Even more interesting to me is how some adults are able to adopt new habits while others just can’t or won’t.

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