GTD Day 4 – Organize

My Blog Block

My dear friend, Leslie A., made this. She's very creative, isn't she?

Chapter 2, Day 3.  This one seems to go on and on for miles.  So dry.

All organizational categories need to be contained in some sort of reviewable set of reminders:  lists on paper, computer program or file folders holding separate pieces of paper for each item.  A list of current projects is ok to have on a page in your Franklin Covey planner or Day Runner, a “To Do” category on PDA, file labeled “Projects List”. 

Incubating reminders (such as “after March 1, contact accountant to set up meeting”) may be stored in a paper-based “tickler” file or in a paper- or computer-based calendar program.

A project requires more than one action step.  “The list of projects is the compilation of finish lines we put before us, to keep our next actions moving on all tracks appropriately.”  Makes sense.

Am I going to be Stepford Woman after I’ve retrained my brain to be organized?  I’ve always thought that to be messy and cluttered was how creative people are.  You look at the desks of famous writers and poets of the past and see how messy their offices were.  Papers everywhere!!!  A sign of laziness?  Just a lack of knowledge on how to organize?  Simply not wanting to go through the hassle of organizing?  Another way to describe laziness. 

I can’t say I don’t have time.  Nobody can say that.  We make the time for anything that’s actually important to us.  We can’t blame the clock.  We can only blame ourselves.  I have time.  I simply don’t want to face it – it’s overwhelming, it’s blah, it’s boring, but when I do get in the zone of putting things where they go, it does actually become fun.  How stressed are you when you cannot find something?  I have just about lost my mind trying to find something, when all the while, it was hiding in one of my many stacks.  How much time did I waste looking for the thing?  If it had been assigned a home and actually housed, it would have taken less than a minute to get to it.  If you want to have more free time, get your house and office organized.  Organize your life.  I know this to be true.  I was organized once.  It didn’t last long but it was a slice of heaven while it lasted.  😉

Project support material:  Information you collect needs to be organized by theme or topic or project name.  “Your “Projects” list will be merely an index.”  Details, plans and supporting info should be contained in separate folders, computer files, notebooks, or binders.

Next-action categories:  What needs to be tracked is every action that has to happen at a specific time or on a specific day (enter in your calendar); those that need to be done as soon as they can, need to be added to your (“Next Actions” lists) and all those you are waiting for others to do:  (“Waiting For” list).

3 things go on your calendar:  Time-specific actions, Day-specific actions and Day-specific info.

Time-specific = appointments.

Day-specific = sometime during the day but no specific time.  Place on the day, not a specific time slot.  You need a calendar that you can list both time-specific and day-specific actions on.

Day-specific information = directions for appointment, activities that other people in your life (family, friends) have, events of interest, or “tickler” info, such as a reminder to call Keegan after the day he returns from a vacation.

Under No More “Daily To-Do” Lists on page 40 – that one is me, or rather, was.  Mostly, my day planner had become a place for jotted down notes from pen, or a day plastered with tiny stickies that had reminders on them of things I need to do, and I filled half of both pages or all of both pages with stuff that needed to get done.  Does it all have to be done today?  No.  But in my crazy mind, I think at a split second that I can do it all, I have 45 hours to a day and have plenty of free time to accomplish everything.  I mean, I must have been thinking that when I was crazy enough to keep writing stuff to do on the same day, right?  It simply does not work. 

A day or two before starting my review of this book, I started my to-do list in a computer file, and I talked about the columns with you on an earlier day, I think, in this blog.  This is working fairly well, but I do have things on there I SHOULD have done but didn’t get done. 

Why did they not get done?  Because I failed to look at the list at the end of the work day.  Had I done that, I would have seen I was supposed to meet someone at 6:10.  And did I place a reminder on my iPhone calendar to alarm me at such a time as I’d be ready to go meet them?  No.  I get a text at 6:00 saying they’ll be at the place in 10 minutes, so since I was at home, otherwise engaged and not able to leave at that moment, I had to rudely cancel and explain having a “blonde moment.”  My bad.  It’s just a good thing they had plans to be there anyway, with or without meeting me.  This is where it pays to review your “To-Do” list throughout the day, along with tacking on a reminder and alarm to alert you of an upcoming appointment. 

Plus, writing everything on a day planner is inefficient, because if you don’t get it all done, you’ll have to rewrite on another day.  It’s a waste of time, and you will eventually get sick of rewriting and, as a result, will not get done.  And only write your stuff or type into your “Next Actions” lists – the stuff that HAS to get done that day.  If you fill it with stuff that doesn’t, it will overpower your mind, overwhelm you, and then you won’t get the really important stuff done.  It’s sort of like a short-circuit.  Power overload!  Cannot function! 

Only jot down in your day what must be accomplished during that one day and make sure you have allotted yourself time to each thing.  All other stuff can stay on your Master Next Actions List and plugged into the actual day you will take care of that action, if it even has a specific day.  And the only thing that should be moved from one day to another is if an appointment was changed. 

If you have over 50 “Next Actions”, you may want to subdivide into categories:  “Calls” to make or “Project Head Questions” to be asked at your weekly briefing.

Typical Partial “Someday/Maybe” List is on page 43 and describes one type of incubation system – the “parking lot” for projects you want to do at some point but not now.  Subcategories in your master “Someday/Maybe” list would be a better list:  CDs I might want, books to read, weekend trips to take, things to do with the kids, etc.

Review this list regularly, just like your other lists:  Projects, Next Actions, To-Do, etc.  Include a scan in your Weekly Review (page 46).  I haven’t gotten that far, yet. 

A tickler file is a “suspended” or “follow-on” file – reminding yourself what is coming up, such as on March 15, you remind yourself tax day is in a month.  It helps you prepare.  Get your stuff together and organized for that upcoming day and make sure that appointment is set and other reminders during that month to keep reminding yourself – 2 weeks before, 1 week before, 1 day before.  Don’t lose track of your items.

Reference is where you store any info you will need to reference in the future, from menus, to instructions to electronic equipment, to vendor information, etc.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired and still uninspired.  I am planning my Saturday for getting groceries and coming home to ORGANIZE.  Hallie has plans of her own, so I will have plenty of uninterrupted time to get things done and I will not be taking time away from her.  I have no excuses.  Wanna get together for coffee?  Just joshing.  I’m focused.  Really.  Make it a wonderful Wednesday.  Hump Day!  Yes! 

Love ya!  *hug*



About Carol B Sessums

Writer, Editor, Coffee Addict, Lover of Mountains. Lives to shrink the planet, one story and connection at a time.
This entry was posted in Body, Mind and Soul, Book Study, Books, Self-help, Self-improvement and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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