How are you doing with the clutter in your life?
Previous blogs talked about three of four methods to deal with your clutter. They are :
- Do it
- Delete it
- Delegate it
- Delay it.
This is the delay it part of the tasks to be done on your TODO list. Which ones have to be done today? Which ones do not have to be done until next week, or must be done by the end of the month? I hope you are not wasting energy thinking about that bill that has to be paid by the end of the month. If it can be done in ten minutes or less, you should have already done it and been free of it.
You have not delegated it, and you have decided that you cannot just delete it. But maybe it is a service that you no longer need like a cable television service, or a FAX line.
This is probably the type of task that can be delayed.
The delay procedure is simple and effective. It may require you to develop a new habit or create a system that you can delegate to someone else. Here is how it works,
Set up a filing drawer with 31 folders. Number the folders with the numbers from one through thirty one. In each folder insert a sheet of paper to record the things that have to be done that day. So far, so good? At this point we are all caught up for the month ahead. Don’t you feel great! Everything has been done on the lists in each folder.
Next, look at the paper clutter you have left to do after applying the first three steps.
Take each item and decide when it should be done, put the associated paperwork in the file folder for that day, and write on the sheet of paper a short note of what has to be done that day. Put the page into the folder with the related paper work and put the folder back into the file drawer.
Then pick up the next piece of paper from your desk or to do pile and do the same thing. Repeat piece by piece for each item on your desk or TODO list until all have been filed away including the folder for today.
If you have been doing this properly, you should be able to see the top of your desk again, and have a clean workspace. If may be an ideal time to wipe the work space clean. Do it now if you can do it in less than ten minutes.
How do you feel about yourself and your accomplishment? If you have been able to accomplish this by delegating some of the work, even better!
With that energy that you have freed up, remove the folder with today’s date and begin to complete the work for today. You do not have to see and be reminded of tomorrows work, or next week’s work. You should have all of the paper related to this task in the folder, and should not be wasting time searching through the other papers to find what you need for this task.
When the task you are working on reaches a point that you cannot continue until you get more information, or otherwise have to delay work, put the papers into the folder for the day you plan to follow up, continue, or complete the work. It may be later the same day if you expect the answers the same day. When you add the task back into a folder, add a note to the page included to describe where you have to resume the task.
If you have completed all of the work for today, you can start the work for tomorrow. How great is that?
At the end of the day, if you have not been able to complete all you had planned for the day, you may have to work longer if the schedule does not allow for any delays, or add it to the folder for the next day, with a note added to the summary sheet of what has to be done to complete the task.
Until all of your work is in electronic form, with no loose papers attached with each task, this folder system will work better than a file system on your computer. Your file system on your computer should compliment this system, and may be useful in scheduling the day’s work. The folder system is easier if you delegate the work.
There you go! Enjoy your day and feel in control of your paper jungle with the cages you have created to tame the wild ones.