When you are arranging your system for documents, to-do-lists, referencematerial and other materials, it is normal to ask yourself how it should be done, for instance, how should I store the documents I might need some day?
Should I put the articles, brochures or whatever it might be in binders or should I use a filing system? Should I do my to-do-lists in Outlook, in my smartphone or on loose pieces of paper?
It´s not the form that does it
In my experience, what form you choose to organize your system of structure by is insignificant. There is no one way. It is not the form that determines if your new and improved structured way of working becomes a habit or not.
Choose the form you think suits you and your material best. If a large portion of the referencematerial is not made up of loose sheets of paper and hence difficult to file in binders, choose a filingsystem of suspension files instead. If you are comfortable with a smartphone, use that to organize your material. If not, then perhaps you should stick with regular sheets of paper.
The important thing is that you are consequent with your choice; not in the sense that once you have made your choice, it is permanent and non-reversible, but rather that you at one point in time use only the form which you have chosen and no other method simultaneously to organize your material.
Keep the to-do-list alive
Allow me to exemplify. If you have decided to use the task-manager in Outlook to make and keep track of your to-do-lists, then use only that program to do this. Avoid to, except for in Outlook, write to-do-assignments in your agenda, on a bunch of loose notes that you stick in your diary and, on top of that, on a few loose sheets of paper littering your desk.
If you spread out your notes of tasks needing to be done in several places, you will feel that “to-do-lists does not work for me” since you for instance might be writing the most important things, the ones you just cannot miss, on random pieces of paper which you can keep in your immediate presence.
The to-do-list becomes an elephant graveyard, where tasks go to die and be forgotten. This means that you are deprived of a functioning system you can trust and can not be rest assured that you can easily keep track of your deadlines and due-dates.
One and only one
So, make sure you have a designated spot or proper method for the organization of your to-do-lists, a good place to keep your referencematerial and one folder per client (with subfolders) on your computer so that you have as few places to look in as possible when you need to find something.
More consistent and consequent?
If you want to, take a moment to consider what you could be more consequent with in your system or in your office in order to ease your every-day proceedings so that you can focus your energy to where it is truly needed.
How do you do it?
Do you have thoughts of your own on the importance of consequence and being consequential or perhaps you have a different experience? Leave a comment below. I am always interested in hearing what works for different people.