This is Day 2 of Chapter 2 – Getting Control of Your Life: The Five Stages of Mastering Workflow.
Can I just say it’s a bit harder to get up in the morning to blog about this one? Yes, this book has the potential for bettering us; for bettering me. We may actually learn how to be more productive if we implement the action part of this book. But in the last book, it was much easier to get up early, read and blog. I was inspired. A little giddy, even. This one? Not so much. May I just say BLEGH!? I’m just not inspired.
But, on with it. I do need to learn some control over my house, work and my life, so here we go.
PROCESS – This is where we downstream stuff from our in-box or collection bucket and get it to the trash if it’s no longer needed; incubate or tickler file/calendar if it’s not needed now but may be needed later; a reference file if the item may be of use later on, etc.
Take each item: e-mail, voice-mail, memo and self-generated idea and ask ourselves what needs to be done with it, then answer where it goes. What to do with it? Don’t know? You must do something with it. Now, you can add this to a computer calendar or iphone calendar or something electronic to remind yourself of the date you need to reference that item again, so you don’t forget about it, if it’s something you need to remember to do at some point. Or place a reminder in your day planner book, if you will actually look at your calendar every day.
You can’t really “organize what’s incoming; you can only collect and process” the stuff. You can “organize the actions you need to take based on the decisions you’ve made about what needs to be done” with the stuff.
There is a Workflow Diagram – Processing flowchart on page 32 that may be of benefit to you if you need help going through your inbox. This may help you to make a decision about your stuff and where each item should go. Let’s try this by grabbing a to-do list or small stack of papers – say, about 10 things. By using this flowchart, try assessing what needs to be done with each item and process or downstream it. I’m going to give myself 6 minutes to go through about 10 things. I’ll let you know how it goes. . .
Wow! I just processed 33 things in 6 minutes. Granted, most of the stack was a piled up bunch of coupons, some expired, which went into the garbage and others were sent to my coupon box in the kitchen, while other papers in that stack were sifted through, only to wind up in another stack, DANGFLABBIT! But hey, at least I did something with 33 things, right? Gotta look on the bright side? Defeating the purpose? Maybe. I still feel like I accomplished . . . a leetle. 😉
I was looking for what I could do the fastest: trash or quick file, where there is already a file in place to store my items and get them to where they belong. My downfall, besides making another stinkin’ stack was finding some yummy recipes for bruschetta and patio pizza, so I got majorly distracted.
Why did I not go ahead and choose a cookbook to work through or collection of recipes I’ve never tried, but clipped out of a 100 different magazines? Well, I suppose that would take moolah, and that’s one thing I’m low on these days, as I just purchased braces for my young’ne. Maybe in the not too distant future, we can go through some recipes together? Cookbook you are interested in? I can cook something different every evening or morning, share it with my daughter, save some for my mom or have her over for supper, then bring the rest to work. This way, we can eat a new creation every day and have no leftovers to help us get fat. Ok, I know I’m getting way off the chapter here, so let me get refocused. I just love food! Ok, here we go. I only have 25 more minutes before I have to get ready for work. Focusing . . .
“Two things need to be determined about each actionable item:”
- “What “project” or outcome have you committed to? and
- What’s the next action required?”
“If It’s About a Project . . . capture that item on a “Projects” list – that’s the stake in the ground reminding you of your open loop. A Weekly Review of that list (see page 46) will bring this item back to you as something that’s outstanding. It will stay fresh and alive in your management system until it’s completed or eliminated.”
“What’s the Next Action?” This is the next step in the process of completing the item. Decide what that thing is you need to do next and get it done. Sounds simple, right? It’s easy to read about it. Taking the time to take action is completely different than just reading about it. Will you take action? I did . . . for 6 minutes. 😉 Even if we just take 15 minutes per day of going through our stacks, think about how much closer we’ll be to a clutter-free life. I need a week’s worth of around-the-clock 15 minutes to work through all this clutter!
Anyway, “once you’ve decided on the next action, you have three options:”
- “Do it.” If an action will take 2 minutes or less, do it now.
- “Delegate it.” If an action will take longer than 2 minutes, ask if someone else would be better suited to do this thing, and delegate to them.
- “Defer it.” If action will take longer than 2 minutes and you are the right person to do it, defer it till later and track it on a “Next Actions” list.
We’ll touch on “Organize” tomorrow.
Make it a terrifical Tuesday. Love ya! *hug*