Inspired by David Allen’s book, “Getting Things Done,” for the last couple of months I’ve been trying to put everything back in its place. And to be honest, I am shocked that this has had such a positive result. Suddenly it is easier to find everything; I know where to look for whatever I’m looking for. I feel better with cleaner space that isn’t cluttered with stuff, both at work and at home.
The rule is as simple as this: put what you have in your hands in the place where it belongs. If I follow this rule strictly, it pays off immediately. Below you can find a few examples:
- Instead of just putting documents on my desk or in a drawer, I put them where they belong. That means I either put them in a folder (financial documents to the folder titled “Financial,” contracts to the folder called “Contracts,” etc.), or I give them to the right person (invoices to the finance department, receipts to reception, etc.). Recently, I’ve been scanning and filing the documents that I don’t need in paper form into the right folder on the computer, and then I just throw away the paper copy.
- I try to put all clothes that I take from the drier or that I take off after coming back home in the right cabinet, on the right shelf, etc. The feeling of order on my shelf and in my apartment is priceless! Not to mention that I know where to look for my stuff.
- I put all sorts of keys in a designated box, whether for the car, or for home, or anything else. I don’t have those stressful moments of searching for the keys just before leaving home anymore – I just know where they are! Because they’re always in the same place.
- Computer files are moved to the correct folder. I move miscellaneous allowance from business travel to the folder with all other files of that type, and project-related files to the “Projects” folder. It is so much easier to find them when they are in the correct and predictable location.
- Notes in OneNote are stored in the correct Notebooks and Sections. If notes from meetings with my boss are in the Notebook called “Notes/Meeting with my manager,” I can find them in seconds.
- I put all of my spices in small jars and put those jars on one shelf. When I cook, I now know where to reach for them and I put them back in their place just after I use them. Next time I need them, they’re there.
- I file all pictures I take in a well-defined structure. For the few last years, I’ve organized photos according to this template: year/month/date+title of the event. Thanks to this, I’m able to locate pictures from our holidays that we had in June 2014 in a blast. I just know where they are.
I could give you many more examples, but I think you get an idea. As with many things I write about in this blog, this requires a habit to be formed. If you try this approach for a week, or maybe a month, you will see how dramatically it changes your life. It is so much easier when everything has its place and is always where you expect it to be!