One Minute NOW Can Save Hours Later...
Looking at my desk, I took a deep sigh as my eyes scanned the stacks and stacks of â€śstuffâ€ť that had no home.Â These things were important â€“ somewhat – at least important enough not to recycle just yet.Â There was a warranty for my new printer, quote for core aeration on the lawn, white paper from Harvard Business Review, business card from some guy I met at last monthâ€™s chamber meeting, rebate paperwork from the office supply store, contract for my new health club, and countless other mundane things that can pile up and multiply while youâ€™re not looking.
From time to time I would sift through the pile, hoping to get control of the mess. â€śI might need this someday,â€ť I determined, and not wanting to deal with it now led me to place each item back in the stack.Â The pile continued to grow, my workspace continued to shrink, and my stress continued to escalate. It was time to get control!
I had heard great things about a book on productivity called Getting Things Done by David Allen.Â I was looking for the magic bullet â€“ the one secret to success that would take me from paperwork hell to organization euphoria in one easy step.
What I found was not a magic bullet â€“ but rather some common sense ideas on how to control your workspace before it controls you.Â After reading just 25 pages â€“ I knew there was hope for me!
One key recommendation Allen gives is to PROCESS items immediately, the first time youâ€™re you touch them. This includes mail, memos, e-mails, project files, etc.Â Common sense, I know, but not common practice.Â For items that have an ACTION associated with them (something you need to DO), he suggests that if it would take a minute or less to complete â€“ DO IT NOW.Â This saves an inordinate amount of time later, in preventing you from reviewing items again and again.Â For other items that may take longer or have follow up required at a future date, you FILE the items immediately into a trusted system.Â Â This keeps your desk clear as well as your mind!Â
Well I am pleased to say that Iâ€™ve set-up the trusted system, and it works! Allen describes the system fully in his book, and itâ€™s simple, but not easy.Â Simple to in concept, simple in design, but requires discipline to follow.Â As Norman Schwarzkopf once said, â€śWe always know the right thing to do; the hard part is doing it.â€ťÂ In office organization, as in life, exercising discipline is the key.
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