Today's guest post is from Stephen Smith from Hidden Dragon Biz Blog.
It is remarkable to me that I hear so many stories about people who are bound and determined to “get organized” and seem to fail so spectacularly. They will clean their house or office from top-to-bottom, without regard to where they are actually putting things, or how they use the “stuff” that was not put away in the first place.
There is a fairly common-sense skill that every person would do well to develop, the skill of being ready to start over. Frequently the people that I have known that need to get organized are focused on the wrong things.
These people are looking at the mess, the physical clutter, and not the processes that created the mess. These processes often look like the tangled cables of a collapsed suspension bridge, and are as effective as the same.
As David Allen says, “Are you ready for ‘Ready’?“:
1. Where is your Focus - When some type of crisis grabs your attention, how long does it take you to get back on track?
2. Where is your Balance - Do you have a in place for capturing what you are doing right now, so that you can easily come back to it?
3. Where is your Result - Is your result clear in your mind? Is it written down? Has it been communicated to your team?
Having answers (good answers!) to these three questions can allow you to be ready when an emergency pops up, or when someone else needs your help and you need to re-direct your attention. “Can you surrender control at one level, in order to move quickly to [another] one?” [~David Allen, Ready for Anything, p. 61]
Here are a couple of tips for putting these solutions into place:
· Do you have a summary, or progress-so-far-page, for each of the projects that you are working on that you keep updated? This can make it easier to return to something that you have had to put down.
· Be mindful of your work habits and how you actually use your tools and space. Put your phone on the same side of your desk as the hand you use to hold it. Keep often-accessed file folders in your desk drawer cabinet rather than the cabinet across the way, etc.
· When there is an emergency, take 5 seconds to stop, think, and make a note of where you are, what you are doing. No matter what the emergency is, you have 5 seconds to mark your place.(Unless the building is on fire, then scram!)
“Once you shift the image held in your mind, different things will automatically start to happen. Focus on red, red shows up. Focus on a different outcome for a conversation, and different thoughts will come to you.”
~ David Allen