First, the bad news:
You actually have to deal with everything that shows up. You can't ignore anything (papers, emails, phone calls, tasks).
What happens when you ignore stuff?
- Work (literally) piles up
- You piss people off -- "Why didn't you respond to my email/phone call?"
- You lose people's trust -- "She never gets back to me, I'll ask someone else."
- You miss opportunities -- deadlines, events, meetings, etc. due to poor scheduling, but also the opportunities that flow from showing up in the world focused and ready to go.
Now, the good news:
You don't have to DO everything. You just have to decide what needs to be done (and then do some of it).
Getting organized really means:
- Getting in touch with all the "incompletes" in your universe.
- Deciding what to do about each incomplete -- it could be "do it," but it could also be "give it to someone else to do," "delete it," or "defer it until I have more time/information/resources."
- Capturing your "incompletes" in a system (calendar, online to-do list, pen and paper) you trust and like to use.
- Reviewing and repeating, on a regular basis, the three steps above.
This, at its essence, is how I understand Getting Things Done. It's no magic bullet, but it's a great place to start.
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