My Ridiculously Simple Secret for Maintaining Order

5 years ago

Herein lies the stumbling block that most run up against. You have to make order the path of least resistance! How do you do that? By having a place for everything and clear focus on, doing what’s in front of you, doing what’s next and doing what’s important.

Let’s take that one step further…

You have to expend large amount of energy setting up and maintaining new systems.
What if I told you that you don’t actually need any “system” to have more order in your life…?

Blasphemous, I know, especially coming out of the mouth, (or from the keyboard) of a productivity proponent. That is not to say that systems for productivity are bad, or ineffective. They can be extremely effective if used properly and consistently. In fact, I have many systems and rules that I live and work by. However, I am a naturally organized person, so routines are comfortable. I tend to gravitate to order, so increasing that order or getting back into the groove comes pretty easily to me.

What about the person who doesn’t have my preferences or personality. Are they doomed to hopeless disorganization? Nope, not by any stretch of the imagination.


Shhh, here’s the secret…


Ready? DO IT NOW.

No elaborate system. Just one single rule. DO IT NOW. Take whatever action is required immediately, not in a few minutes, not in a little while, not tomorrow or when I have more time. YOU’LL NEVER HAVE MORE TIME.

Come in the door; take off your coat, HANG IT UP NOW. No coats on back of chairs or stairway rail!

Getting out of the car, grab the wrapper, cups, papers, etc. BRING THEM DIRECTLY TO THE GARBAGE NOW. – Clean car!

Get an email, read it. Take action right away. DELETE, DO, DELEGATE, DEFER. – Less cluttered inbox!

Want to exercise? Get out workout clothes, before bed. Wake up, put on exercise gear first thing, and goDO IT. Absolutely must do it later in the day. Make an appt. with an exercise partner. Put it on your calendar.

Don’t put papers in a pile. Put them where they go. Filing folder, action folder, folder of papers to delegate/deliver to someone else. If you don’t have appropriate folders or baskets, make them. In those situations where a system is absolutely necessary, MAKE IT RIDICULOUSLY SIMPLE.

What happens when you can’t do something now? Record it as a task for later. Assign a due date if you can. You don’t have to use an elaborate system with categories if that doesn’t work for you. (If you follow GTD, you probably don’t need this post anyway.) Just write it down so you don’t forget.

Long before 7 Habits and GTD, men like Benjamin Franklin accomplished remarkable things without complicated systems. If you’re like most, seeking more order and complex systems don’t work for you, try this simplest advice there is.

Do it now

Put it where it goes

If you can’t do it now, record it, then when the time comes…do it now.

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