Leo Babauta from Zen Habits suggests that organization is the key to a stress-free life. Babauta encourages readers to develop an organizational system in order to transition the chaos of your life into effectiveness and calm. In order to foster this transition, habits must be developed in order to create a trusted system. If you can trust your organizational system, you will be confident that everything else is in place enabling easy focus.
Since everyone is unique, there is no generic system to follow. Yet, Babauta described a couple tips to get started on developing your own personal trusted organizational system. First, find a place for everything. Store important information that you might forget in a document (To-Do’s, passwords, appointments, repeating tasks, receipts, etc). Second, once you have developed a system to put everything, stick to it. You have to follow the system and put things where they belong in order for this to work. Third, do the same on your computer – organize your inbox, open browser tabs, and desktop. Find a place for everything, so you know where to find the information at a later date.
Babauta organized his system with the following groups.
1. Incoming: requests, tasks, info, and appointments all come through one channel (he uses Gmail).
2. To-Do’s: all tasks are organized on a system called Trello and reviews them every morning. Babauta organizes his tasks by groups: Important; Appointments; Incoming E-mails; This Week; Later; and Waiting On (requests).
3. Personal Info: uses mobile application called Workflowy that stores all information you could need in one place.
4. Passwords & Secure Information: uses 1Password that stores and generates passwords, and all other secure info, like bank information, credit cards, passport info, etc.
5. Repeating Tasks: uses Google Calender, to remind him of regular appointments.
6. Receipts: uses Dropbox to set up folders and files to store this information.
7. Things to read later: uses Instapaper to organize web pages of interest to read later.
Once organized, it is time to develop habitual behavior. With practice, these efforts made consciously will become habitual and automatic. Babauta provides four habits that are important to establish. First, create a place for everything. Second, don’t procrastinate and put everything away immediately. When you put things away later, this leads to the system falling apart. Begin the first week by making a very conscious effort to put everything away – information, tasks, appointments, etc where they belong. Third, don’t live in your inbox. We tend to leave Inbox open, constantly responding to e-mails rather than focusing on tasks. Archive your e-mails in folders, so incoming e-mails will be organized automatically. Fourth, review this system every morning. Make it a habitual task to review your task list and calendar every morning. Reorganize “Today’s List