During our 31 Days to GTD for Homemakers series, we’ll be lining out the steps to setting up and implementing key strategies to keeping life – even home and family life – running without “Where’d I put that bill?” or “I lost my keys!” sorts of stresses.
Previous Post: Examples of the Lists I Keep
What is “Organized”?
Now you’ve collected your projects, thoughts, ideas, random tasks, and anything else plaguing your mind, set up your containers and your lists, processed that collected stuff, and are now left with a list of stuff to be distributed into your containers and lists. That is the organizing process.
One thing to keep in mind as you go about organizing is that this really isn’t a process that can happen all at once, even if we did have the time. As you use your system, you’re going to see ways to improve it, so tweak it as you go and don’t get bogged down in setting it up “perfectly” from the outset.
As you decide where your stuff is going to go, remember that your goal is to keep what you need to know and do “current and conscious.”
As long as you know where to find what you need when you need it, quickly and without stress, you are organized.
Go Forth & Organize!
Now, go through that list of pending items and disperse them into their appropriate places.
If it is an item that has no task associated with it, then it belongs either in the trash, your reference material, or added to your someday/maybe list.
If it does have tasks associated with it, make sure the next task that has to be done is on your next action list, and date-specific tasks and information is on your calendar or to-do list as you sort and organize your project materials.
As you go along, remember to just do anything that will take you less than two minutes to do.
You will probably end up with several — or many — list items or papers that you will be tempted to create a “hold and review” pile to keep them in. But that is really procrastinating and putting off the final processing of all this stuff. It is what will stall the functionality. You should have a “To Read” file or bag or box, so maybe it is a magazine or catalog that belongs there, perhaps with a sticky note on it that says, “Browse for read-aloud books” or whatever it is you are hoping to get out of it. You also need to be honest and brutal — is it really something you should just toss? Or, do you want the information but you’re not likely to do anything with it anytime soon? Then file it.
Is it something you want to remember later, but don’t need to have it on your mind now? Good! You now have created a way to be reminded of such stuff without your brain having to keep track of it. Enter it into your trigger system.
Don’t be afraid to tweak your set-up whenever you get an idea for a better way to do it. I do this all the time and I have given up the idea that “organizing” is something that can be finally accomplished and completed. It’s an ongoing process that needs to be constantly tweaked at as new stuff comes in and as new situations and seasons arrive.
The key to making this all work isn’t a perfect organization set-up — let that stay in flux somewhat as you work with it and get used to it — the key is review, which we will cover soon.
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