Just get started.
If you don’t read any more of this, just follow that first line and you’ll be ahead of the game.
But… if you want to go further, let’s talk about how to get started quickly and get the benefits as quickly as possible.
THE BIG SECRET: Gather, then divide to conquer
Here it is, the one thing(tm) that you need to do: Just gather everything into one big pile. Then split the big pile into a few less-big piles.
Ok, that’s really simplistic. But it honestly doesn’t have to be much more complicated than that. Start simple, grow complex only if and when necessary.
Let’s break this down a little bit.
Whatever you are trying to organize, it probably has a bunch of small parts. Pieces of information, books, tasks around your home, computer parts, relationships, random notes, our calendars….. these are all things that cause us stress when they are unorganized. Especially when there’s a lot of them.
So wouldn’t gathering them into one spot make it worse? For a few seconds, maybe.
But once they are all in one spot, make a quick high-level division of the pile. Something like:
- Keep/throw away
- Read/give away
Once you manage to split the pile into 2 piles, then you can get down to more serious organization. For example, if one pile is the “throw away” pile…. then throw that away!
Marie Kondo will smile upon you.
Then repeat this procedure but ask new questions instead of the one you asked before. The goal is to understand what you have in front of you. Once you have that, then it should become clearer what needs to be done.
Waste no time
Certain things don’t need to be organized.
Anything that is in a computer and can be searched for is a great example.
Spending time organizing your emails is a waste of time. Use the search feature.
If you still are having problems, then use filtering to apply a label to certain emails… to make them easier to find when you search.
Some nerd out there is going to say “But I have to keep my X in a certain order!!!”.
But if it is something that is easily changed, like how you have directories organized on a disk, make that decision quickly!
Like, do it in 5 minutes quick.
If it isn’t perfect, don’t worry about it. It is way easy to change, so in a few days/weeks you can come back and spend another 5 minutes shuffling it around.
The important thing is to NOT WASTE TIME ON STUPID THINGS.
Let’s repeat that just to hammer it home: