I realized last night, the best way to start applying a new system is to just start completely over. I really don’t have anything so pressing that I’m going to be in big trouble if I forget it, nor is there anything I won’t be able to find if I tuck it away for the moment.
That said I cleared out all my old notecards, papers, etc. I’ve stuck three index cards in my pocket labelled: Next Actions, Projects, @waiting (and a NOTES card too). I’m hoping to take the advice of the GTD system in a sort of dumbed down format and simply focus on putting single actions I can take on the Next Action card and list anything that takes more then one step on the Projects card.
I’ll let you know how the system goes.
I’ve browsed/read through the entire book and system of Getting Things Done and realize there is a crucial first step I really need to make. David Allen, the author, suggests that you set aside two full days to do this step, and though I’ve planned on using a full weekend, I don’t think it’s going to happen (especially not at work).
The 1st step to really being able to fully implement the system is getting to Ready. Allen suggests taking literally everything on or in your desk and putting it in your inbox (exceptions are: supplies, reference material, decorations and equipment). Then, you take everything out of your head and place it in your inbox by simple writing down each item and putting it in your inbox. He’s even got a four page list of trigger words that might help you think of other incomplete items to write down.
After placing everything in your inbox, you must then process it, one item at a time, through your new system, into an appropriate place (you’ll have to read the book more, or watch for future post to learn more of the system) where you’ll be able to Get Things Done. And the stickler is that you must go through your entire inbox until it’s empty (He said a lot of people have stacks and stacks of stuff).
If you can manage getting through those two steps, putting it all in and then processing all of it, then you’ve gotten to Ready. For those, like me with less time to do this all in one sitting, I’d suggest putting in and processing as you go, but make it your top priority to do it until you’ve gone through everything.
I’m continuing to read David Allen’s Get Things Done system and I’ve come to a difficult decision point. David makes a few interesting suggestions that make a whole lot of sense. First, he suggestions,especially when starting out, to write one task per individual sheet of paper to put in your inbox. All I’m thinking is “What about all the trees?” I like the idea of writing one idea per notecard too, but then I’d go through a lot of notecards, and even though I have a closet full of them, it just seems like a waste of paper.Along the same paper lines, he suggest using a LOT of manila file folders. Basically being willing to put one sheet of paper in a folder and labeling it and filing it. His reasoning and startegy makes a whole lot of sense, but I keep on worrying about the redwoods. I think I’m writing all of this to just to say that I am going to follow through on his system and just trust the power of recycling over my period of paper consumption.
P.S. This is speaking mainly about work. As for at home I refuse to fully by into the system because it’s going to require too much space. So I’ll be tweaking it a little.
When I decided I wanted to implement some form of organizational system I thought it was going to be easy. I’d just read a book, follow the step by step instructions and ‘viola!’ suddenly my life was organized and happy. Well, that has not been the case.
I got this cool workflow diagram off of David Allen’s website (it was free, let me know if you want me to just email you a copy). Basically the diagram explains the whole book, but in a whole lot less time. The system is all there right in front of you. The problem is how you choose to set it up for your unique situation. None of the organizing things I’ve looked at seem uniquely tweaked to my job and my duties.
It’s so easy to continue just doing things in what ever old way you do them. Trying something new is a challenge. Usually, I like the way that I have things set-up, but it always gets to the point that I realize I could probably use a better system then I currently have.
Any advice for the disgruntled organizer?