I've been working on getting organized for the past few weeks. I just read Getting Things Done: The Are of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen at the recommendation of a friend. I checked it out at the library and then renewed it so I could continue to work through some of the ideas.
Yesterday, I parked myself at Panera Bread for a little while to brainstorm while I had lunch so that I could get the book back to the library. Allen has a lot of good ideas in the book, but the main idea is that if you get your to-do list out of your head and onto paper, you'll stop obsessing about what you need to do all of the time. This will free up your mind for more creative pursuits. I think he's onto something. When my mind spins with all that I need to accomplish, sometimes, I get nothing done because I don't know where to begin. And my writing inspiration is all but gone when all I can think of are things I should do.
David Allen helps the reader figure out how to divide tasks into compartments such as phone calls to make, things to do at the computer, projects to do, etc. He describes several ways to set up a notebook or a file system where everything that needs to get done can get out of your head and onto a reminder list that works.
Then he also talks about how important it is to have actions steps on a to-do list, not just the end result. For example, if my to-do item is to organize my office, I would need to think of specific action steps to put on my list. Sort file cabinets. Get more manila folders. Process junk mail pile. You get the idea.
Now, for a system to work for me, it has to be functional and appealing. It's just part of my creative side. I like pretty folders and baskets, but they can be expensive. So I've discovered some ways to organize on the cheap. Here's one little thing I did.
I needed to organize my notebook where I track piano students. I didn't want to spend money on plastic tabs, so I went to my scrapbook supplies for inspiration. I was able to use scraps of paper to come up with this.
The little tabs are made with a punch and I had plenty of little scraps to make a bunch of cute tabs.
I was also using the labeler that day, so it ended up in the picture.
You just punch the tabs, fold in half, and then attach with glue or 2-sided tape. Next I'm working on my to-do notebook using tabs to separate categories. Cute and functional. Win!
Need more organizing help? Check out 8 Ways to Simplify.
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