no inbox? no workie

by rebecca on October 10, 2012

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There are 4 ways I categorize clutter in my home.

  • Deal with Distress
  • Reward and Revitalize
  • Make Visible the Invisible
  • Take Fast Action

Once I choose from a category, I put it through my 4-part formula for dealing with it.

Today I’m Dealing with the Distress of my inbox. My complete and utter lack of an inbox.

For some reason I think I can juggle pieces of paper, zillions of ideas, phone calls and appointments and they are all just supposed to either stay gathered in my head or scattered on my desk.

My plan is failing miserably. As it does for all people who run businesses, homes, or lives. Lots of people, like me, go with the post-it note-on-the-counter-until-the-pancake-batter-gets-spilled-there method. How’s that working for you? Neither tasty, nor completed. I know.

I’ve resisted the 43-folders method for over a year. The embarrassing reason is that I don’t like to be like everyone else. I like to invent my own way. But when I laid out folders and used my colored pencils, cut the metal to fit my basket with hanging files and put the system together, my body relaxed.

Bodies don’t lie people.

What are you resisting because you hate being just another one of the crowd?

Do you have an inbox to catch daily tasks? Does it matter what it looks like? I’ve waited and waited because I couldn’t find the exact right look for my inbox. Isn’t that goofy??

I am participating in 31-days of Soulful Cleansing. This project is the collaborative brainchild of The Nester. Join her here and see all the other 31-day projects.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Margot October 25, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Thanks for sharing this. I actually hadn’t heard of the 43 Folder system, but I can see the appeal. Have you incorporated longer term tasks into this system? I wonder if it is useful for tracking those as well.

Reply

rebecca October 26, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I used a system like this years ago, Margot. It worked great for year long planning. For 3-year planning I do something different. If you’re talking that far out, let me know and I’ll share.

I’ll give you an example of how this is working in my life right now. I’m on a board and my task is to plan annual events. I am in the throws of Halloween. It’s mayhem. But I can see the light of how next year can be better, so I’m putting a reminder in my August folder to add agenda items to our board meeting. I’m giving myself a newsletter announcement in my September folder. Shopping lists are going in the October folder. Bam. Next year the mayhem factor is decreased immeasurably.

Then I allow myself to laugh through this year’s experience because I know I’m rather….control oriented….I gave up controlling some years back 🙂

Does that give you an idea of how the 43 folders help me with long term planning?

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Margot October 26, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Thanks for sharing how it is helping with long-term planning. I particularly like the idea of planning the items for a future date and then moving them out of sight – out of mind.

What I meant was more a single task which will take more than a day to resolve. For instance, this month we are interviewing care providers. It is a repetitive task (messages left and returned, interview responses, pros/cons until we make a final selection). Would you break the task down into specific starting tasks and immediately file them over the days of the month? Would a general reminder move from day to day?

I imagine this is user specific, but I’m curious how it works out for you. Thanks!

Reply

rebecca October 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm

When you are a manager, Margot, (and who of us with a family to care for isn’t??) there is always a plethora of details spinning around eager to make us dizzy.

The best systems are those that get things out of our brain so we’re free, but don’t require too much work. I’ll make today’s blog an elaboration of this theme and meet in the middle of http://altaredspaces.com/2012/10/plan-do-review/ and 43 folders long term vision.

Thanks for your engaging question.

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