Taking Action on Those Nonactionable Items

My Blog Block

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

Eighteen days now with the book, Getting Things Done.  Chapter 7, still – Day 4.

Organizing Nonactionable Data – As you come to these items in your inbox, it’s really not a difficult task to make the decision whether it is actionable, or not.  If it’s not actionable, then you stick a label on a file or binder, stick the item in it, and go about your business.  Don’t make another stack.  Please?  Again, defeating the whole purpose of going through the stacks of your inbox.  You are trying to find homes for all the stuff.  It’s either garbage, an actionable item or reference material. 

Garbage = toss it.  Actionable = If you can get the action done in 2 minutes or less, do it.  If not, put a note on it and put in your Pending stack.  I know.  Another stack!  Or, if it’s just reading material when you have the time, put it in your Reading stack.  Nonactionable = Put a label on a folder and put it in your filing system.  Easy, right? 

Now, to just getting it done.  You won’t get anything done just sitting there.  Hop to it!  Get it done and get it behind you.  Then, you’ll know where everything can be found.  Ah!  The stress is melting away already, isn’t it?  No?  Well, then, what are you waiting for?  Stop reading and start going through that inbox. 

My main goal for yesterday was looking for jobs.  My main goal for today is going through an entire row of stacks.  I have 5 rows left, as I already attacked one.  What will you do today?  If all you have is 15 minutes to go through your inbox, hey, that’s 15 minutes.  That’s 15 minutes closer to being finished with your inbox and having everything put away.  Just like exercising, 15 minutes a day can get you to a better place – eventually – you’ll be free of the chaos and flabby arms (only if you put in 15 minutes a day, every day).

Again, there are several types of reference systems:

  • General-reference filing–paper and email
  • Large-category filing
  • Rolodexes and contact managers
  • Libraries and archives

You should have already set up your general-reference filing as you started processing your inbox.  Mr. Allen says “most people seem to wind up with 200-400 paper-based general-reference files and 30-100 email reference folders.”  I haven’t actually counted mine, yet, so I don’t know if I’m ‘most’ people, although I do have a ton of files and email folders.

Rolodexes and Contact Managers –  Not only do you need to keep track of people’s contact info such as home and office phone numbers, addresses, cell phone number, email address, and fax number, but you might want to include birthdays in that contact info, as well.  Put the birthdays on your calendar for the particular day and tickle on your calendar to be reminded a week ahead so you can send a card and/or gift and call or email them on your actual birthday.  Not only will this score points with your wife or child, but when you remember clients, your clients remember you and that’s money in the bank, sir!  Don’t forget to add that personal touch if you want to hang on to those clients.  It really is about the little things.  Ask your wife. 

Besides birthdays, include “names of friends’ and colleagues’ family members, hobbies, favorite wines and foods,” etc. 

Also, you may want to include info such as tracking “hire dates, performance-review dates, goals and objectives, and other potentially relevant data for staff development purposes.”

Libraries and Archives:  Personalized Levels – What needs to be with you all the time can be placed in your planner or PDA.  For meetings and off-site events, you need to place your info in your briefcase, pack, satchel, or purse.  You may need items that are off-site.  Make sure you access those at least a week before you need them.  That way, it’ll be sitting on your desk waiting to be plucked when it’s time to go.  Need a reference file from your cabinet?  You’ll know right where to go and grab it to take it with you.  If you need info from the web, print it out, stick it in a folder and put it with the stuff to take with you.  Don’t wait and hope you will have access to a computer at the meeting or try to find what you are looking for the morning of your meeting.  Be prepared.  Better to be safe rather than sorry and look unprofessional as a result.

Someday/Maybes – Track these items in a system, even if it’s just a paper-based folder or computer file that you review once a week or however often you feel you need to.  Have your “Someday/Maybes” listed or trigger them on your calendar or in a paper-based “tickler” system.  Making this list will probably “cause you to come up with all kinds of creative ideas.”  So far, the best paragraph in the entire book is on page 168 where it talks about the power of imagination and adding many wonderful adventures to your life and work.  I’m a dreamer, so it caught my attention and I’m a big list-maker, especially of my dreams, my Someday/Maybe list, bucket list, whatever you wanna call it.

Make an Inventory of Your Creative Imaginings – What do you want to do someday when (not if) you have the time, money and inclination?  Do you have a bucket list?  Put it all in your Someday/Maybe list, or whatever you want to call it.  “Typical categories include:

  • Things to get or build for your home
  • Hobbies to take up
  • Skills to learn
  • Creative expressions to explore
  • Clothes and accessories to buy
  • Toys (gear!) to acquire
  • Trips to take
  • Organizations to join
  • Service projects to contribute to
  • Things to see and do”

Reassess Your Current Projects – You may need to transfer some of these projects to ‘Someday’ if you know you will not be able to give it any attention within the next month.

Special Categories of “Someday/Maybe” – you have interests that involve lots of possible things to do.  Collect these on lists or folders, or a list split into sections, such as:

  • “Food- recipes, menus, restaurants, wines
  • Children – things to do with them
  • Books to read
  • CDs to buy
  • Videos to buy/rent
  • Cultural events to attend
  • Gift ideas
  • Garden ideas
  • Web sites to surf
  • Weekend trips to take
  • Meeting ideas
  • Party ideas
  • Ideas–Misc. (meaning you don’t know where else to put them!)”

Now, those lists can either be in your general reference filing or Someday/Maybe.

That’s all for today, folks.  It’s enough, right?  😉

Make it a splendorific Wednesday!  It’s gonna be awesome!  Happy organizing.  😉  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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