Unclutter Your Desk, Unclutter Your Mind.

September 9, 2012 — Leave a comment

Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time in the day to get things done or maybe your inbox is continually overflowing at home and work? My inbox was that way for a long time, that was until I found a system that worked for me.

Uncluttered desk is an uncluttered mind.

Before I explain; let me say I’ve read and tried a number of different techniques to try and resolve my over flowing problem. I’ve tried setting up baskets for each of the different business or clients that I work with. I figured that I would allow me to focus one day a week on each. That didn’t work, something always crept up unexpectedly.

Next I tried blocking out time each day for each one of my baskets.  My thought was that by the end of the week I would have given the same amount of time to each just as if I had given each business and client one day of the week. That didn’t work either, inevitably other clients and situations arose in the designated time slot.

On the email side, I tried opening up multiple email accounts for each business and sometimes clients. I quickly learned that was too cumbersome, too many email accounts to check and invitingly I would forget one or two.

Now I only use a couple of email accounts and I tag each email I keep.

At first, I ran into the problem of not know where to put something some of the emails that pertained to multiple clients or businesses. With tagging I can tag the email with multiple tags; it’s not perfect but it is better than it was and now I can recall them faster. I’ve also made it a habit of empty my incoming email folder each day. How I do that is an entirely different post.

I was struggling with staying organized until I read the booking Getting Things Done, The art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen.

Now when I get a task, project, email I ask the question is it actionable and take the following action:

  1. If the answer is YES, I ask can it be done in two minutes of less?
  2. If it is yes, I do it.
  3. If the answer is NO, I ask can it be delegated or is it something I need to defer and calendar for a specific time.
  4. If it can be delegated it is delegated and I put a note on my Waiting For list.
  5. If I can defer it I put it on my calendar and make a not of the next action step I need to take.
  6. If it is trash, I toss it.
  7. If it is to be used for reference I file it right then and there.
  8. If it is something I want to read but don’t have time to, I put in my Read Later folder which goes with me everywhere and can be pulled out when I’ve to a minute or two.

I’ve left a lot out of my explanation but I think you can begin to see the idea.

I highly recommend that you pick up David Allen’s Book, he does a much better job of explaining the system than I do. He also goes into more details in what to do with your filing system, email and paper inbox. So check his book Getting Things Done,The art of Stress-Free Productivity. It helped me and I know it can help you.

Question: How do you deal with an overflowing inbox of emails, paper work and appointments?

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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