I was a bit surprised when I read Merlin Mann’s post at 43folders about his very simple folder system for email. I have ten folders and it still doesn’t seem like enough. Then I read his notes about the latest podcast with David Allen. And I must agree that the more I struggle with this time management stuff, the more I find out that it is indeed, after all is said and done, in his book. For some reason, it’s just not easy to see that on the first reading.
I’m reminded of making a “work” of art, and being told: “You’re trying too hard!” The simplest system possible that is still enough of a system to work well is what we are aiming for. I plan to review the folders I use for email, computer files, and physical file system to see how close the set-up is. I have a feeling they are not very similar and that this will take awhile!
LifeDev made the point that “80% of projects you define with more than one action need only a listing of the outcome and a next action.” Only the other 20% require more thought and planning. That was something from the book “Getting Things Done” that I hadn’t “gotten” previously. Why make it more complicated than necessary?
Great insight! I often remind my organizing clients, “Remember… we want to organize JUST ENOUGH so your life works, not so much that we create MORE work for you.” It’s a tricky balance, but it’s important. Over-organizing creates cumbersome, labor-intensive systems that are difficult to sustain over time. We’re seeking quite the opposite… simplicity and long term sustainability.