My mother is one of the best bureaucrats and most positive citizens I know about. She is 78 years old and still works full time as the bank’s CEO’s personal assistant! (I come from amazing genes – it’s making my long-term outlook very optimistic!) One of her productivity secrets is what is sometimes referred to as “the tickler register.” Many people used to use such a device, but like many good things, they started using it, even though it was so simple. Basically, the tickler file is based on a weekly, monthly and annual tracking scheme consisting simply of a collection of “1-31” and “January-December” file directories.
Under “all old is new” – it’s time to get this old scheme back – it’s just bigger and stronger than ever before. Now called “The GO System: Get Organized for Life,” it’s a 2- hour seminar given by several PTACs around the world – and let me tell you why I am so enthusiastic about it!
Surveys reveal that people’s stress levels are at an all-time peak and “information overload” is a significant cause of stress. In reality, we know that there are six big problems which are disorganizing people. If you read this newsletter, you can hopefully relate!
Knowledge meets us in five ways:
- Document 1. 1.
- E-Mail 2.
- Speech mail.
- Mundane messages
- Your head feelings
Think of a five-lane route. You are speeding down the highway and you see orange barrels unexpectedly, and you know that you are in trouble! This is exactly what happens when you sit at your desk and are confused by the position to proceed. You starting the e-mail? Most people do, but are you expected to? Or if you start the verbal notification that you are going to the office, in the “In package” you haven’t looked at in days the highest priority could be – or it might be the fact you had the matin in the bathroom! What do you think is the most important thing – now?
There are only five possibilities for information:
- Delete. 1.
- The deputies
- Make it now.
- Apply it for reference
- File the intervention file
Let’s look at every one of them:
Discard Discard I spent a lot of time spreading the power of The Wastebasketry® Craft!” Do not lack the constructive capacity to wonder “What’s the worse thing if I didn’t have it or did it?”
Representative One question in this field you might ask: ‘If you don’t delegate any of your jobs, why not?’ The most productive individuals in the world are those who devote 80% of their time doing something they can only do and who are complementary to their abilities.
Make it now This is a good topic to ask: “Is this the best use of my time right now?”
Reference file There are stuff you like or need to hold in the future. Fortunately, you have no stress because you can find everything you file with The Paper Tiger app in five seconds or less!
Follow-up file That’s what you want to do or need to do. We name these “Action Folders” in the Paper Tiger programme framework. In other words, you have the ball in your court to behave. This is where the device of the GO enters.
Let us return to the 5-lane route. You will definitely experience discomfort as the 5 lanes converge into one lane, but if you fuse into the lane at last you are on your way to the destination with ease. This takes me to the missing piece of personal efficiency – a framework for convergence of those five knowledge paths into one. I write about how you can handle paper, electronic records, Voice mail and lists “to do” in my book, Taming the Paper Tiger at Work (www.ProductiveEnvironment.com). These are excellent tips and I am now sharing knowledge about how these concepts can be further developed: to implement in one method using the “same yet modern” tool: the Go System.
This is the charm! Regardless of the medium of which the information is taken – print, electronic, voice mail, verbal or headline letter – your response would be “I must do this.” If you want to maximise efficiency and focus your job, the question you have to answer is “When?” As terrifying as it is sometimes, you must decide. (Remember, “Clutter decisions® have been postponed”) You put a note to make the decision in your tickler system. You now have a method for prioritising the work and measuring whether the delay is more important than what you said today.
When people, in particular highly structured administrative professionals, learn about this method, anxiety is always their first response. This response is the same as people meet the Paper Tiger numeric filing scheme first – it will never work for me – but I don’t know anybody back to the alphabet system after having a serious trial with The Paper Tiger!