My husband laughs at me because I read a lot of books about getting organized. After 24 years of being married, living in seven different domiciles of my own, moving cross country, and running our household more or less successfully, he figures I should have it all down pat. What’s funny about this is he’s often not happy with the level of cleanliness and organization in our household. (I suppose he thinks I should put down the book and pick up a broom. And perhaps he's right.) Now, I believe I am a basically organized person, but sometimes the complexity of life and the sheer number of different activities and projects I need and want to do overwhelm me. I’m always on the lookout for something that will make my life run more smoothly with less mess.
With that in mind, I picked up David Allen’s Getting Things Done, mentioned briefly here. This is not a book focused on physically decluttering your house or workplace, but rather one that focuses on setting up a system for getting all your projects, both large and small, corralled in such a way that you clearly see what the next step is for each one, and nothing gets lost in the shuffle. I’ve found it helpful and have been trying to put the principles into practice.
Enter the label maker.
I’ve always resisted a label maker before, feeling like it was an unnecessary purchase, one that would end up adding to the clutter in my life. And that may still turn out to be true, but in the meantime I’m using it to put my files in order, both personal and professional. Before I take the time to print a label, I make sure whatever’s in that file is really something I need or want to keep—is it label worthy? It’s been an excellent way to purge files and simplify the giant wads of paper I tend to accumulate. (Allen isn’t the only one to recommend a label maker. See here and here.)
Despite what my husband thinks, I have not “read every organization book known to man.” If you type “getting organized” in Amazon.com’s search bar you’ll get 5,385 results in books alone and I’ve only read a small fraction of them! I keep reading because each getting organized book provides one more little piece of the having-a-beautiful life puzzle. I do not think the label maker, or any one gadget or program, is going to magically organize my life. My real goal for getting better organized is to have my family life run smoothly and have time to pursue and get better at my many hobbies and interests. Until I feel like I've got a handle on it all, I'll continue to read about and try new systems. (Next up: Organizing for the Creative Person.)
What’s one thing you do to keep your life running smoothly?