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22 Oct

Consequence is the key

Datum: 2009-10-22 10:16

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.