Part 2 of Getting Things Done: Practicing Stress-Free Productivity. Part 2 includes Chapters 4 through 10. Chapter 4 begins it today with Getting Started: Setting Up the Time, Space, and Tools. 2 days for this chapter. Day 1:
To be highly productive, it’s a good idea to set up tricks for the not-so-smart part of ourselves. For example, when you take work home with you and it’s imperative you do not leave it at home, you leave it in front of your door so you have no choice but to see it as you are leaving. Otherwise, you quite possibly could have left it behind. This is a trick. One great reason to do this is because we are usually half asleep when we leave our homes in the morning and sometimes we are rushed, so we leave it in front of the door, as not to forget anything.
What works best for Hallie and I is what we call our launch pad. On this launch pad, we keep her backpack and lunchbox, and my purse and tote. Anything else that doesn’t fit on the launchpad goes in front of the door or against the launch pad, such as a tri-fold foam poster board used for a class project assignment. We use part of a table, which is next to our back door in our laundry room, so everything is together and ready to . . . well . . . launch.
If you looked at every single item on your calendar that you needed to do within the next 14 days, you would probably be reminded of some other items to do, as well. This is another trick and a good one. It’s comforting to know it’s all out of your head and placed into a system that will remind you of everything you need to get done. You don’t have to worry that you forgot something, if you make the system work for you, which means review several times per day, or place reminders on your phone with alarms, or set the alarm on your watch, which reminds you to check your calendar for a time-sensitive appointment or item you need to take care of by a certain time.
Try this trick: take out a clean sheet of paper and your favorite pen or pencil and for 3-5 minutes, focus on the most awesome project on your mind. You’ll most likely come up with one or more things you need to consider. Collect your thoughts and ideas on the paper and keep it in an easily accessible, frequently reviewed place.
Setting aside time. Time? What’s that?! One thing I’ve learned is you can totally MAKE time if something is important enough to you. You need to set aside a block of time to create an organized workstation, at home and your workplace, with the space, furniture and tools that you’ll need. Two entire days, back to back, is what’s suggested and I think that’s a fair amount of time. Don’t you? A weekend is usually best, as to avoid all the distractions normally surrounding you, especially at your work.
If you travel a lot, you need to set up a mobile office, which consists of a briefcase or some sort of case to house your laptop, paper, a few file folders, pens, calendar, etc.
If it’s a team effort, such as a husband and wife team sharing an in-basket, it’s a good idea, if you cannot have your own workspace, to decide to have at least separate in-boxes per person. You each have separate items that need to be accomplished and it’s better to keep those items separated and organized. Doing this at the front end will avoid stress later on.
Basic processing tools you’ll need if you are starting from scratch would be:
- Paper-holding trays (at least 3)
- Stack of plain letter-size paper
- Post-its (3X3s)
- Paper clips
- Binder clips
- Stapler and staples
- Scotch tape
- Rubber bands
- Automatic labeler
- File folders
- Wastebasket/recycling bins
Paper-holding trays will serve as in-basket, out-basket, work-in-progress and/or “read and review” stack.
Plain paper or tablets for the initial collection process.
A labeler can label file folders, binder spines, file drawers, desk drawers, many other things. The Brother labeler is the most user-friendly and make sure you get one with an AC adapter to save on batteries. A large supply of cassettes of label tape–black letters on white tape is easier to read. The labeler will save tons of time rather than using labels you print on paper using your computer. Your labeler is immediate.
You’ll need plenty of letter size file folders, or legal size, if you have to. File-folder hangers may come in handy, if you have that form of filing system. Don’t worry about color-coding–not worth the effort. Plain and simple is best.
Your calendar is not just where you collect your incomplete items and actions, but also should keep track of those appointments or tasks that need to be plugged into certain days and time slots. What particular style of calendar is best? That will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 5.
And that’s the first half of Chapter 4. We’ll cover the rest tomorrow and then, on to Chapter 5! Are ya with me? Have you been using this system at all, so far? Let me know if you have any ideas of how to better organize? Any tips you want to share?
Make it a marvelous Monday. We have to make a trip to the orthodontist first thing, as one of the brackets on Hallie’s braces came undone Friday. Not painful, so it’s all good. A little adhesive–a quick fix, hopefully. Thanks for hangin’ out with me. Love ya! *hug*