Hey. You. Yes, you! Come over here. I’m going to tell you a secret. OK, well, it’s not really a secret. It’s more of a question. A most important question. One that, when asked, can provide a wealth of productive power…
"Where does this belong?"
Want to know how to organize a messy desk? Take everything off, put it in a box, then take each item out, and ask that question. For some items, the answer is obvious. For other items, maybe they don’t have a place – find one. Maybe the answer is not “on the desk” or even “in the room”. Maybe the answer is not even “in the house” or “in my life”. Answering this question can not only make the clean up quick but also ensure quick work when things get out of control again. Because, everything belongs somewhere and now you know where that somewhere is.
The thing is, this question works with more than just clutter.
Want to make your task list more powerful? Ask that question of each task. Sometimes the answer is “as an immediate action”. Sometimes the answer is “on a context specific list” or “broken into smaller chunks”. Sometimes, the answer is “as part of a greater project or goal”. But, sometimes, the answer is “with someone else” or “done at some future date” or “not done at all”.
Want to get your email inbox under control? Never look at another message without asking the question. Does it belong in the inbox now that you have looked at it? No? Perhaps in a separate folder of things you need to take action on or respond to. Perhaps in a folder for reference on a project you are working on. Perhaps read and archived. Perhaps in the trash.
But, where the question becomes truly powerful, is when you apply the question to everything. Because if something does not have a place in your home, in your relationships, in your job, or or in your life, perhaps it should not be there.