We often make “getting organized” far more complex than it needs to be … than it ought to be.
We think it means we have to be neat, clean, square-edged, and particular … everything having a precise and exact place.
The good news is that this is not accurate. That is on the far side of organized. To become a more productive person you do not need to get that anally organized.
One of the most underused components of David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology I think is the organization practices. I often start my coaching courses with the guideline that David Allen set which is that you should be able to find anything you need within 60 seconds or less. And that is I think the hallmark of being organized. Can you find what you need … whatever it is, within 1 minute or less?
This could be a word document, cellotape or scotch tape, a pair of pants you need to change into, a receipt from last month, lunch, and on and on. If getting access to whatever ‘thing’ we needed only took 60 seconds, imagine how much time we could save.
And here’s the thing … taking 1 minute or less to find something is not about how clean it is or how clean the environment is. It’s not about how neat the place is either. It’s only really about having everything assigned to a bucket and being able to define well-sized and accessible buckets so you can get to it in the shortest possible time.
So to get organized, define buckets. Define your stationary bucket, your paper file buckets, your car and house keys bucket, your books bucket, your food bucket (of course that’s a fridge and pantry 😉 ), your clothes bucket, and so on.
And once you’ve defined your buckets, make sure that you do not start mixing it up things that do not belong in that bucket, and that you have it organized in such a way that you find anything in there within 1 minute or less. For instance, in your fridge, this means you may need to put things in sections – milk at the top, leftovers on the middle shelf, condiments in the door, drinks on the bottom shelf, that sort of thing. Do this for each bucket.
You’ll be surprised at what simply defining and putting everything into a bucket can do for you.