Chapter 5, Day 1 of 2 – Collection: Corralling Your “Stuff”
In Chapter 2, Mr. Allen described a little bit about how to collect our stuff. It is discussed in further detail in this chapter. It’s probably going to sound overwhelming, but he says the process for collecting everything that’s out-of-place into your inbox will take between 1 and 6 hours. For some, it’s taken 20 hours. Since my home office is my virtual in-basket, I may be one of the 20 hour people. Ok, perhaps I’m overdramatizing again. Maybe 8 hours? No, I’d say collecting, processing and organizing – all of it – would probably take about 8 hours.
I spent yesterday looking for jobs online. Today, I’ll be focused on getting my office more under control. I feel I’ll function on a much higher level for job-seeking or doing anything else in here, if I’m pleased with my surroundings. Right? Right! All of those hours collecting may make your eyes bug out of your head, but it’ll be worth it in the end, when you can look around your office and feel some peace, knowing everything is in its place. Ah! Rest in that idea. Make it your happy place in your mind. Then, do the work associated with making that your actual happy place.
Now, if you have large objects that cannot be placed in your inbox, write it on a piece of paper and put that in your in-basket, such as, “Clean out the kitchen pantry” and “Empty out the office closet” or “Decide place for piece of artwork behind the door.” If you have tons of stuff and it won’t all fit into your inbox, gather it into stacks around your inbox. Mr. Allen claims it will help you see what all you have to deal with in one place. I’m not sure about that. I think I’d much rather just go around my office, going through stack by stack and do that consistently until lunch, take a 15 minute break, fix me a bowl of soup, then get back to it. I feel like it’ll take too much time to collect it all into one place. I don’t think Mr. Allen realizes how much stuff I actually have piled up in my office. I do understand his concept of gathering or collecting into one area. I just don’t think this would work for me at this point. Ok, well, my way has not worked in the past, so I suppose I need to try his way, since I’m determined to put this book into action. I will implement these steps and go through them, one at a time. Ugh! I am not looking forward to seeing that higgledy-piggledy stack, or stacks, rather. At least, all the areas of my office will be cleaned off and ready to place some of these items that actually belong there. I am guessing that’s one of the reasons Mr. Allen suggests gathering everything into one place.
If you realize, while gathering all your items into your inbox, that a particular item needs to be dumped, then go ahead and trash the sucker. I mean, that takes, what, all of 2 seconds? Plus, less you will have to go through or process later. Just don’t forget your main objective here: Collect “everything into “in” as quickly as possible so you’ve appropriately retrenched and “drawn the battle lines.”
Already got some lists created and stuff in organizers? If you are not familiar with Mr. Allen’s workflow-processing model and have not implemented it, he recommends that you add those lists to your inbox collection.
If you happen to run across an item while collecting that is something you consider an emergency and you just must do something about it immediately, first ask yourself if it really has to be dealt with NOW or can you work through that just like everything else in your inbox collection. I mean, we are going to get to all of that. You’ve lost it in the abyss, so it must not have been THAT important. It could probably wait another hour or two. However, if you must, create an emergency stack such as in front of your computer monitor or somewhere you can easily view and locate within an arm’s length away from where you normally sit. But do continue with your collecting until you are done with that part of the process, before you take any action on that emergency stack. One step at a time. I mean, if our way of organizing the clutter hasn’t worked up till now, then don’t we owe it to ourselves to let someone else lead us? Someone who is considered an expert in this field of organization? Someone who has a national bestselling book on how to organize? Let’s give the man a chance, shall we? My stubbornness says, I want to do it this way, but “this” way hasn’t worked well in the past, so I’m trying to trust this dude. Maybe he knows what he’s talking about.
Ok, let us begin collecting. Start with your desktop. Gather everything into an in-basket or part of it and gather the rest around or on the floor around your inbox. If something about your desk needs to be changed, such as your monitor, computer, phone, whatever, write it on a piece of paper to remind yourself and place that paper in the inbox. If you see a stack and you know what’s in it and want to leave it there, ask yourself if this has worked for you before. How long has that stack actually been sitting there? Collecting dust. I wonder what all is lost in that stack.
After the desktop, tackle the desk drawers, then the countertops. If anything is there that doesn’t belong there, inbox it. Or write a note on a paper to remind yourself, or if it’s only going to take a minute or less to put an item where it should live, go ahead and do it. Longer than a minute? Save it for processing. Countertops include tops of credenzas or counters or cabinets – anything there that doesn’t belong. And if it’s just dust, go ahead and clean off that dust – get it gone. That only takes a few seconds.
We will finish the rest of chapter 5 tomorrow. We are nearly half-way through the book. Perhaps it won’t even take 30 days, much less 40! We’ll see. I don’t know what the future chapters hold. 😉 If you need more than one or two days to go through one part of this process, then stick with that and the one or two days of the blog that addresses that part. Don’t feel pressure to move on if you aren’t ready. Those future days of the process will still be there waiting for you. Baby steps, ok? But do take action, when you have time to take action. I have time, because I was laid off. I don’t have to make the time. I encourage you, if you are working, to make the time. We will all be so much happier and life will be a lot easier when our office, or whatever room you are working on, is organized. Think about all the time we’ll save in the long run when we are looking for something and it’s where it should be. Wow! I’m looking forward to that part of the process – the being done part. It’s the prep part that’s killin’ me! Anywho, I did this to myself by letting the room get out of control. What’s the saying? If you commit the crime, then do the time. Or something like that.
Make it a wonderful, productive Hump Day. Hope the rest of your week flows softly. Here’s to smooth sailing. Cheers! Love you guys! *big bear hug*