When I was a child, my father used to walk into my room and say, “Bridget, there is a very curious order in here.”
I never really knew what he meant. Did he mean it as a compliment? A criticism? I didn’t know.
Now that I’m an adult, I think I understand what he was saying. He knew I was creative-minded, and while my room looked like a tornado went through it, there was an order there – it was a crazy, messy order, but there was an order.
I haven’t changed much now that I’m an adult – but not everyone accepts my “curious order” the way my Dad did. Things were falling through the cracks, I was always running late, and I was overwhelmed (and accomplishing very little). I was starting to drive myself – and my clients – crazy.
Even though my creative mind was resisting it, I knew IT WAS TIME TO GET ORGANIZED. So, I turned to an expert on the subject: David Allen, author of The Art of Getting Things Done. I’ll tell you what, David Allen and I are about as opposite as two people can be, which is why he was probably the only one in this world qualified to help me.
His book is filled with tips for organizing the tangible items in one’s life – papers, files, etc. I thought that was the organizational help that I needed, but as the book pointed out, I needed another type as well. I had to learn how to organize the intangible items in my life – all those “things to do” swirling around my head all the time. My “gotta do, gotta do” mentality was hardly translating into “getting it done, getting it done.” All it was doing was overwhelming me, and nothing was getting done as a result.
I started following Allen’s Workflow Diagram, which has really helped me organize all the “stuff” in my life in a manner that will allow me to get things done. You can look at his Workflow Diagram right here. It looks complicated, but it’s as simple as making the connection between “I need to” and making an immediate plan for accomplishing that task. That way, you get it out of your head quickly and even if you can’t do it right that second, you’ve made a plan to get it done.
So, I’ve been at this for about a week now. I can already tell that I’m accomplishing more, and I feel more in control. If productivity is an issue for you, I hope you get a copy of Allen’s book. You’ll be sure to learn a few things from it.
Does your to-do list overwhelm you? What do you do to get into a productive mode?