Getting things done

Getting Things DoneSince I am on vacation, I have had time to reread David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. This book always inspires the unorganized part of me (even though it is aimed at corporate professionals) and each time I read the book I take away at least one useful tip/tool.

The first time I read the book I vowed that I would never allow more than 30 e-mails to accumulate in my inbox. Shocking, yes? I created a bunch of folders to handle all the e-mails that I wanted to keep for reference purposes (eg. Orders, education, personal, travel, blog, etc) and my inbox is now a place for only unread messages. If you have ever waded through hundreds of messages looking for a particular piece of information, then you may find setting up folders to be rather helpful.

The second time I read the book I realized that my calendar is not the place to hold all of my to-do reminders.  Calendars are most useful when they only hold information about what has to be done that day – the hard and fast appointments.  By keeping my calendar as a place onlyfor firm commitments, it is easy to tell what I have time to attempt (or not attempt) to accomplish that day.  I will say that I was just reading about an idea to track what was cooked for dinner on the calendar and I may begin to do this as well.

So, this is my third time reading this book and I think that this time through it has really struck me how dismal (dare I say non-existant?) my reference file set up is.  I certainly have user manauls for appliances tossed willy-nilly into drawers and file totes (confession: not even in the same room!).  An entry that has been on my to-do list forever has been to take an inventory of all of the homeschool curricula and books that I currently have.  I also don’t keep a list of phone numbers of not-often-used numbers, such as the septic system company, the pet resort that we take our dog to when we are on vacation, and my dermatologist.  For some reason if I don’t have to call a number more than twice a year I don’t bother to enter it into my address book.  Anyhow, I think you get the idea – I need to be much more systematic with filing my reference material.

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