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Need help on the front end

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  • Need help on the front end

    This is a bit embarrasing, but I am stuck with regards to GTD. I have my structure set up for inbox, projects, support material,etc. Once something is in my inbox, I try and process it within 1-2 days.

    Here's my typical week. Monday starts off with my inbox empty and my floor clean. As the week progresses and I am busy alot of stuff gets put on the floor. So, for example, I'll have a pile for bank statements, one for stocks I'm looking at, one for web sites to view, one with info on routers I'm researching, etc.

    The point is by the end of the week, my floor is covered with papers. Maybe I'm just not processing (too tired) and all this must go into inbasket. BTW, I've also noticed my father has tons of piles on the floor, so this is probably genetic.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    David

  • #2
    When you say you have piles of e.g. bank statements on the floor - presumably these are not all new statements coming in. So is this a case of you removing papers from your reference files or project support files and then not putting them back when you are finished with them?

    Paul

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    • #3
      This might boil down to me being lazy.

      Using bank statements as an example, I have a pile of statements going back about 3 months that I haven't got around to reconciling. Probably should go into a project folder at this point.

      Most of my floor stuff is new stuff coming at me. Now that I think about it, my floor serves as a giant inbasket. It fills up to the point where I get sick of it. Of course, with all this, it's hard to retrieve something I need.

      Am I the only one who tosses stuff on the floor?

      thanks for the reply.

      DAvid

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      • #4
        Hey, that sound like my Dad (tho he's ten times worse).
        I have some tendencies that way to--it may well be genetic.

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        • #5
          I'm a big pile-maker too, although I've tried hard to keep them off of the floor (not always successful). There might be something to the genetic idea...my dad's the same way.

          I bought some of those accordian folders and that seemed to help some.

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          • #6
            I USED to be a floor piler! This is one habit that I have managed to break using GTD. I occassionally will use the floor now as a large surface area when I need to sort through a stack of unprocessed material. I set up smaller piles for reference materials that I am going to archive. But this is really really temporary and I do not allow them to sit there by the end of the day. I still have a lot of boxes of archived material to sort through after several home and business office moves where I have accumulated a lot of stuff. For me, breaking this up into smaller chunks with a quick pass is far easier than trying to process each large box one at a time.

            Paul

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            • #7
              Piles genetic...naaah...



              Actually, my dad and my brother both do this, and I have the same habit.
              Still, I have gotten it under control using Good File folders and the GTD system.
              After the initiation, having only 1 (ONE!!!) inbox with very limited space helps a lot. That way, you HAVE to clean it up once a while.

              ::: emp :::

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              • #8
                Came across this page yesterday which might help on the subject of "Stealth Clutter" - has a couple of nice insights into behavior:

                http://www.ritaemmett.com/tips_2003_10.htm

                Dave

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                • #9
                  Hi - what you are describing was probably one of the hardest habits to break as I was implementing GTD. I didn't think it was even possible to have paper put away until I finally did it. I used to have stacks everywhere.

                  For me, I had to realize I just had to slow down and take the time to stop and think about what to do with each piece of paper. I hated slowing down. Dealing with paper is not something I enjoy at all, so I think I just had desire to get it out of my line of site quickly so I'd shuffle it rather than file it, process it, etc. People now actually tell me my office is "zen-like" which is a complete miracle. I have no stacks at home either. (like any reformed anything, I'm a little fanatical about this).

                  I had a couple of realizations that helped:
                  1) it really doesn't take that long to put paper where it needs to go - I timed myself and it takes me 7 seconds to put away a file.
                  2) It is faster in the long run....compare that 7 seconds to the 15 minutes it would take searching for that file if it gets lost.

                  I think the problem is you don't get the payback right away....it takes a few weeks to reap the benefits.

                  For example, it only takes a few seconds to create a "waiting for" when you delegate something, ask for information, etc. and just another few seconds to check your waiting for list.....but it is tempting to get in a hurry and skip that step. But compare that few seconds with having something blow up because that person didn't follow through on time, you let it slip through the cracks and now you have a fire to put out.

                  It may seem like it takes too long now, but in time you'll begin to notice how much faster you work.

                  It is a tough habit to break! You guys may have something with the genetic bit. My mother has two houses and there is a room in both of them with filled with stacks of paper!

                  I don't know you at all, but you might also be the type of person who tends to run late (I'm that way..it is something I am really working on), so you are in a hurry and you just move your paper around. Again, I encourage you to try to learn to just take your time...it is a good investment in the long run.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Speeding Up by Slowing Down

                    Bellaisa,

                    Nice job of showing us the pot of gold at the end of the learning curve.

                    Your post is the perfect reply to anyone who says they are "too busy" to do the necessary work of getting and staying organized.

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                    • #11
                      It also involves getting into the habit and routine of capturing your information.

                      For example, today I started back to school for teacher in-service. We had a faculty meeting and there's all sorts of dates to remember, forms to fill in, things to get ready for Open House, etc, etc. I just followed along in the meeting, circled the important info on the agenda we were given, then went home and calmly filled in the appointments, tasks, etc. that needed to be done. All finished in 10 minutes and I'm comfortable that I'll know what needs done when it needs to be. No stress! You just have to "find your groove" and the success of the system will follow.

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                      • #12
                        7 seconds vs. 15 minutes

                        So true, what you said, Bellaisa! I have a quotation written on a 3x5 card somewhere around here, that says, "If you don't have the time to do it right, where are you going to find the time to do it over?"

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                        • #13
                          I hope that helped a lttle - thanks...at least for myself I went into GTD thinking it was going to speed me up and then - yikes! - I had to slow down first.

                          David - when one of these things that tends to get stacked comes into your world - a bank statement or whatever - does it go right into a pile or into your inbox, then processed (recorded somewhere that it needs to be dealt with) and then into a pile?

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                          • #14
                            Bellaisa:

                            Piles get formed both ways. Something might go from inbox, get sorted into piles then placed on the floor. Say I have toastmasters stuff in my inbox with some next action, this gets put in a pile (probably should be a project).

                            Other way is I bring stuff home from my office that goes into an immediate pile to be dealt with later.

                            Maybe I don't trust my in-box because I don't process it daily.

                            With everybody's help here I am better about not piling on the floor. But I looked over and I have piles on an extra bed in my room. They do look neater, but are piles nonetheless.

                            On the bed are mags to read, booksk to read, items to return to Target, etc.

                            David

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                            • #15
                              Piles

                              Practically speaking, a good way to rid yourself of the floor piles habit is to get yourself a big clumsy affectionate dog.

                              Mark in Texas

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