Results: Day 2 of 21
Well, today’s challenge toward discipline is to make “One Small Change”, which I chose to be “The Great Paper Chase”, as Donna Otto calls it in Chapter 9 of her book Get More Done in Less Time. When I came to this chapter in her book, I was not only relieved to find that I was not alone in this struggle, but I was also excited to find her solution to be one that worked for me (as you may have found, not all ideas/solutions are a good fit all people, and I had found that to be true of a lot of ideas I had come across in the past)!
I am only going to briefly touch on this, and of course, if you would like more detailed information on Donna’s method, you could check out her book, or ask me for more info.
A big problem of mine is stacks of paper being around… in many places. They are a nuisance for a couple of reasons. One is that they are not a pretty sight to behold, and end up getting thrown or buried somewhere when company comes over. The other problem is that it makes it difficult to find things when they are in a pile! (Which pile? Which part of the pile?)
Basically, what I did first was to determine the cause of the problem. For me, papers came from all different places. The mail was a big way of papers getting into the house. Other papers seemed to just show up from various places, church, shopping receipts, etc. Sometimes it was only a piece or two at a time, but it always ended up becoming a “pile” before I knew it.
Donna’s method involved setting up a system to be “prepared” for the items, before they even enter. She starts by talking about the “most essential tool”. Ironically, that tool is DISCIPLINE. (Interesting, huh?) Her first tip is to not open one piece of mail until you have time to open it all. This is a hard thing for me (especially if there’s a fun piece in there that I want to rip open before I even get back into the house)! I have to say – while I was following her advice, I found this idea to be very helpful! (I most definitely fell off the wagon when we recently moved, and even before that, during a time of virtually no order and I am so ready to get back on.)
So, now once you do have the time to open it all, you must have a place to put it. Right away. She has a list of “working files” in which to place every piece of paper that you come in contact with, along with a list of some other items to have in order to make the system function. I ended up adapting her list of files to work for me and my household. The idea here is to “file it, don’t pile it” (as Donna says), even if it needs to be addressed later. In that case, there’s a folder for that. Then you know where it is and when you periodically go through those files, then you can address those. One idea I loved is to have an expandable file folder in which to place all of the magazines, newsletters, etc, that you want to read, but just don’t have the time right then. She suggests dropping these items in the expandable file folder, marked “Reading”, then taking it along when you expect to have a few minutes of waiting (doctor’s office, ball game, plane ride, picking kids up from school, etc).
Like I said, I am just covering this in a very general way, so please ask if you have questions about specifics, etc. I really recommend checking out her book, as I’m sure you’ll find some information that you will find helpful.
The system takes a bit of work to get the folders together and get it all set up, but then it is work the benefits that will be reaped by using it. It also is easy to adapt as you feel the need. In fact, I think I will be reviewing mine again as I get into using it again and see what I may need to add or take away to make it work more efficiently for me.
Today was the day I was going to begin re-implementing the system, since I had been neglecting it and the proof was in the piles (and me wasting too much time searching for items I knew were in them… somewhere!). Well, what do you know, but today we got one measly piece of mail! Oh well. Tomorrow is another day. At least I got to clean out the coupon file and now they are all ready to go, as papers come into my home. 🙂 What a big relief that I will again be able to gain control of this area of my life which will provide peace in this department.
If you completed the challenge for Day 2, please feel free to share your comments and insights. I hope you are having great success! I am so excited to be establishing new habits and strengthening my discipline to create more order in my life! Order increases productivity! The way I see it, the more efficiently we can do the things we NEED to do, then the more time it leaves to do the things we really WANT to do and find enjoyable. 🙂