Simplify Your System and Squeeze Out Stress

  • BigstackofpapersHave fewer buckets. I have found that with Inboxes (buckets), less is more. For instance, I try to put is much in my Outlook Inbox as possible. That’s why I prefer jott to a voice recorder. With jott the message ends up in my Inbox and I’ve eliminated a bucket. Another thing I do is send myself an email for things I need to add to my “brag list”. I used to keep a separate document for this but then I had to remember where that document was and pull it up when I wanted to add to it.
  • Convert your Someday / Maybes to dated Tasks. One of the great things about Getting Things DONE is Someday / Maybe lists. What’s wonderful about these lists is that you can park your thoughts on potential future projects and get them off your mind. What’s not so wonderful is that you need to schedule a time to revisit them or the lists become a black hole. What works better for me is to create a Task for a Someday / Maybe and come up with a date to revisit it. It might be 6 months or a year away but after I give it a date I know it will show up on my Task list on the date I specify (entering a date 6 months out is as easy as typing “6 mo” using Speed Dating ). This way I don’t have to schedule a time to revisit my list. What I was doing before was trying to go though all my Someday / Maybes during my Weekly Review. This took more time than I was willing to give it. Also, it made all the items on my list of equal priority by default. How do you manage your Someday / Maybes?
  • Change paper files to computer files. Or if you prefer low-tech, print out your files. Either way the point is the same, move as much to one place as you can. I am trying to move more and more of my paper to the computer. It works better for me because I can easily search, sort, annotate, and forward electronic documents. Scanning works well but what’s even better is never printing to begin with. A friend of mine introduced me to Microsoft Office Document Image Writer . If you have Microsoft Office, you have it. With Document Image Writer, you can print a document to a file. What you end up with is an electronic copy that you can easily make notes on and file on your computer. I especially like this for “printing” web pages. One day, I will be like Sally McGhee (Take Back Your Life!: Using Microsoft  Outlook  to Get Organized and Stay Organized (Bpg-Other)) who says she only has one file drawer of paper and everything else is electronic. My hero!

One of the best things you can do to squeeze out stress is to streamline your system through simplification. I challenge you to take a look at one part of your system and see how you can simplify it. Let me know how it goes.

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